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Goretti stands between Wootten, history

December 01, 1996

By MARK KELLER

Staff Correspondent

History could be made this afternoon at St. Maria Goretti, but Gaels coach Cokey Robertson wants no part of it.

Goretti beat Xaverian of New York City, 44-42, Saturday night in the semifinals of the Mid-Atlantic Invitational Tournament, earning the right to play DeMatha in today's championship game.

The Stags overcame an 11-0 first-quarter deficit to defeat St. John Neumann, 77-72, in the other semifinal. The win was No. 1,096 for DeMatha coach Morgan Wootten, tying him with Bill Krueger, most recently of Houston Clear Lake, for most wins ever by a high school basketball coach.

Despite a long-time friendship between Robertson and Wootten, Robertson doesn't want to go into the record books in this fashion.

"To go down in history as Morgan's 1,097th win, I don't want to be that," Robertson said. "We get to come out and play in the championship game for the first time in a while, we want to come out and win."

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In the fifth-place game, Chambersburg scored 20 of the first 25 points en route to a 92-65 victory over Providence Day School.

Goretti (2-0) led 35-28 midway through the fourth quarter before an inside jumper by Derroll Hickman cut the Gaels' lead to five points.

Kyle Logan drove to the basket on Goretti's next possession and was fouled. Logan made both foul shots, beginning a streak of six straight Logan free throws that stretched Goretti's margin to 41-30.

Goretti led 42-33 with under two minutes to play, but Xaverian (0-1) stood its ground. Michael Conforti was fouled on a layup, then swished the free throw to complete the three-point play.

After a Goretti turnover, Al LaRoche drained a 3-pointer from the right corner to make it 42-39 with 38 seconds to play. Xaverian regained possession after forcing a held ball, and George Karis hit a 3-pointer from the left side to knot the score at 42 with 16 seconds left.

The Gaels brought the ball down court looking for one shot. John Thomas drove from the left side and was fouled with four seconds left. Thomas, who scored the first two points of the game from the foul line, hit both shots to give Goretti the win.

Logan led all scorers with 21 points. Thomas finished with 10 rebounds.

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