Bishop Gorman forward Keenan Bey (2) gets inside of Centennial guard Elijah Burney (44) during ...

Bishop Gorman was short-handed in its Class 5A league opener without junior guard John Mobley with a hip injury.

Without his presence on the floor, Gorman struggled to find its rhythm early, and Centennial was able to break its pressure defense early for some early baskets.

So Gorman coach Grant Rice made the change to play man-to-man defense midway through the first quarter. The move paid off.

The Gaels, who trailed most of the first quarter, overcame their early struggles and cruised to a 63-39 road victory at Centennial on Tuesday night.

Four Gorman players scored in double-figures, led by junior guard Jase Richardson with 14 points. Senior guard Keenan Bey added 12 points, while junior guard Ryder Elisaldez and sophomore forward Chris Nwuli each added 11.

“I was really happy with the way we adjusted when the 3-pointers weren’t going in,” Rice said. “We took the ball to the basket or penetrated and kicked for some layups and some dunks.”

Centennial opened a 11-6 late into the first quarter as Gorman worked to figure out its defense. Then Richardson provided the spark the Gaels needed.

Richardson knocked down a 3-pointer with under 90 seconds left in the quarter, starting a 17-0 run over the next three minutes that put the Gaels ahead 21-11 early in the second quarter.

“We had to step up,” Richardson said of the team’s mindset without Mobley. “Missing a guy like (Mobley) he fields a lot of our offense. So we had to come out swinging, get 2-pointers, 3-pointers and play defense.”

The Gaels led 29-21 at halftime. Richardson hit another 3-pointer to start the second half, and a quick 9-0 run put the Gaels ahead 38-24, and they never looked back.

The Gaels were zeroed in, making shot 24-of-31 (77.4 percent) on 2-point attempts.

As impressive as the offense was, Gorman’s move to man-to-man defense gave Centennial fits trying to drive and finish at the basket. The Bulldogs were held to 14-of-48 shooting (29.2 percent) from the floor. Senior guard Toby Roberts led Centennial with 15 points.

Rice expects Mobley to be back at practice soon after he gets treatment on his hip.

Richardson has battled his own knee injury that has limited him early in the season. Rice said Richardson is getting better as he recovers and knows Gorman is a different team when Richardson is on the court.

“It feels great,” Richardson said of getting more minutes. “It’s been a long nine months. I’m just glad to be out there. I’m just working on getting back into shape and getting ready for these big games.”

As the Gaels get into the swing of 5A play, Rice said they will focus on the defensive end of the floor.

“Sometimes we’ll play hard defense for 25, 30 seconds and then give up a layup at the end,” Rice said. “We just have to keep playing defense and stay intense.”

Contact Alex Wright at Follow @AlexWright1028 on Twitter.

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Mike McNamara

Mike McNamara

A Las Vegas Realtor since 2008. Mike has a wide range of knowledge around all things Las Vegas.

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