By: Owen Kutlu, Staff Writer
Gettysburg opened up its 2023 basketball season by hosting its annual Tip-Off Tournament this past weekend. In the first set of matchups, Gettysburg faced off against Muskingum, while Messiah took on Washington & Lee. The winners and losers from their respective games would then play one another.
Gettysburg and Muskingum kept it close throughout the majority of the contest, as they stayed within a couple of possessions. The teams traded leads during the first half, but the Muskies eventually took a 31-28 lead at the break.
Gettysburg came out of the gate hot to start the second half and scored 11 unanswered points to go up 39-33. Muskingum managed to even the score shortly after, and the teams stayed within a bucket of each other until roughly six minutes were left. From then on, Muskingum began to slowly pull away and closed out the game from the free throw line to secure a 64-55 victory over the Bullets.
Guard Jordan Stafford ’25 led the Bullets with 15 points. Nate Williams ’26 added 13 points of his own, and Carl Schaller ’25 tacked on 8 points as well. Filip Puzic ’27 was strong on the glass and pulled down a team-high eight rebounds in his first career game.
In the tournament’s consolation game, Gettysburg faced the loser of the other matchup, Messiah. Gettysburg and Messiah exchanged blows early on, as neither team was able to establish a significant lead for an extended period. Gettysburg held a 37-33 lead going into the half.
As was the case for most of the game, Gettysburg went on another run to begin the second half, but Messiah managed to put together one of their own to tie the game back up. From that point on, it was all Gettysburg. The Bullets stormed away to a double-digit lead and did not look back. As the final seconds ticked off the clock, Gettysburg was victorious by a score of 77-57.
Stafford once again led the way for the Bullets and tallied 21 points, while also hauling in eight rebounds. Schaller followed with an impressive showing of 14 points and seven assists. Antonello Baggi ’24 added to the scoresheet with 11 points as well. Ryan McKeon ’24 and Max Pernetti ’24 both joined in on the fun, totaling 10 points each.
In the championship game, Washington & Lee topped Muskingum 71-68 with a game-winning three-pointer in the final five seconds.
Despite some difficulties, the Bullets looked solid overall and showed that their roster is deep enough to hang with any opponent. As the season continues, the team’s chemistry will only grow and the ceiling for the group is extremely high. Gettysburg is projected to be right in the mix during Centennial Conference play and can make some noise if they are playing their best ball.
The Bullets return to action at home on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 8 p.m. against Stevenson.