Playing without two starting post players, including one who has signed with Oregon, would cripple most high school basketball teams.
Bishop Gorman certainly isn’t most high school teams.
The Gaels put on a show in their season opener Friday night, rolling to a 93-53 win over visiting Durango.
Shabazz Muhammad, the nation’s consensus No. 1 senior, had 30 points and six rebounds to lead the way for Gorman.
“We’re just playing great as a team,” Muhammad said. “And we just wanted to go out here and get the win and have fun doing it.”
Gorman was without 6-foot-8-inch power forward Ben Carter, an Oregon recruit who was in a walking boot with a stress fracture in his right foot. The Gaels also were missing 6-7 center Ronnie Stanley, who still is recovering from a dislocated left elbow suffered in the Sunset Region football final.
Without those two, 6-9 senior Demetris Morant stepped in at center and was a force from the beginning. The UNLV signee blocked two shots on Durango’s first possession and finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and three blocks.
“I was very happy with Demetris,” Rice said. “That’s the best game he’s played as a Bishop Gorman Gael. He had some good moments last year, but he was complete tonight.”
The gym was nearly full Friday, and there was a large contingent of fans dressed in red behind the basket. They came to try to convince Muhammad to sign with UNLV and greeted him with chants of “Be a Rebel,” and “Hometown hero,” when he made a good play.
Muhammad gave them plenty of opportunities, with some highlight-reel dunks. He had nine dunks in the game, including a tomahawk to end the first quarter, a windmill slam midway through the third quarter and a dunk where he took off well outside the lane late in the third.
“It was a great atmosphere in general,” Muhammad said. “The Rebel fans came out here and spent their time to come watch me play, and I really appreciate it. It was a really great experience.”
Rashad Muhammad added 13 points, and 6-11 freshman Stephen Zimmerman had eight points and four rebounds and three dunks in his first varsity game.
Gorman shot 63.6 percent from the field and was 14-for-15 on dunk attempts.
Tyler Jones led Durango with 18 points.