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Gorman at full strength, flexes muscle in victory

Bishop Gorman’s boys basketball team made a national reputation by winning two holiday tournaments without sophomore star Shabazz Muhammad, who was out with a hip injury.

And with Muhammad back on the floor, area teams are proving to be no match for the defending Class 4A state champions.

Muhammad had 18 points and nine rebounds Friday as the Gaels, ranked 13th nationally by USA Today, rolled to a 90-47 road win over Desert Oasis to improve to 17-1 and 8-0 in the Southwest League.

“Shabazz is so dynamic out there, so it gives us a lift offensively and rebounding the ball,” Gorman coach Grant Rice said. “Shabazz really rebounds. He hits the glass on the offensive and defensive end. And then he gives us 20 points a game.”

Muhammad was one of five Gorman scorers in double figures. Anson Winder had 14 points, Ryan Parks and Johnathan Loyd each scored 12 and Taylor Spencer 10. Loyd also had nine assists and seven rebounds.

“Ryan Parks came off the bench and hit four 3s tonight, so the good thing about our team is we’ve got several different guys who can score,” Rice said.

Gorman rolled through the first half of league play without being challenged. The Gaels’ closest game was an 81-71 win over Western, and Gorman has outscored league opponents by an average of 32 points.

“We’re happy to be undefeated through the first half of league play, but the second time around’s a little tougher,” Rice said. “We’ve seen those teams once, but they’ve also seen us.”

Desert Oasis (9-7, 5-3) saw a team talented enough to bring Winder, a Brigham Young signee, off the bench. Rice said Muhammad’s injury might have helped in the long run, as it forced Gorman to use younger players in key situations.

“You never want one of your main guys to be down, but it definitely gave some other guys some confidence,” Rice said. “It gave them some real experience at the varsity level that they might not have gotten.”

Anthony Lianzo had 13 points to lead the Diamondbacks, who lost for the third time this week.

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