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Wootten sets record at Goretti's expense

December 02, 1996

By MARK KELLER

Staff Correspondent

Legendary DeMatha coach Morgan Wootten got his record-setting 1,097th win Sunday, but he didn't get it without a fight.

St. Maria Goretti gave the Stags all they could handle before falling, 52-44, in the championship game of the 14th Annual Mid-Atlantic Invitational Tournament at Goretti.

In the third-place game, St. John Neumann beat Xaverian, 72-63, after Xaverian had cut a 21-point deficit to five in the fourth quarter.

The win put Wootten, in his 41st year at DeMatha, atop the career win list for high school basketball coaches. His record is 1,097-163.

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Wootten said he is proud of the record, but just as happy that it is now behind him.

"I try not to think about it. The important thing is that the kids won," Wootten said. "Now that it's done, we can go and play out December and get ready for the league."

The Gaels (2-1) kept the stronger DeMatha team within reach throughout, never trailing by more than eight points. DeMatha outrebounded the Gaels, 37-25, but Goretti was able to keep bodies on the Stags' big men inside.

"They are a good board team and that wore us down," Goretti coach Cokey Robertson said. "We did a respectable job inside, but that banging, banging, banging really took its toll."

After DeMatha (2-0) took an early 4-0 lead, Kyle Logan, the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, scored six points in a 10-2 Goretti run for a 10-6 lead. Logan and John Thomas would later hit long jumpers for a 14-10 lead, but Keith Bogans and Brad Martin scored late in the period for DeMatha to knot the score at 14 after one.

DeMatha led 25-23 at the half, but Goretti tied the game at 27 early in the third quarter. Thomas got John Day in the air with a fake, then drove underneath for a layup. The Stags scored the next five points before Logan scored on a putback. Thomas then converted a three-point play to even the score at 32.

Fatigue had set in on the Gaels by the fourth quarter and DeMatha inched away. A baseline drive by Bogans and a breakaway slam by Martin pushed the margin to seven with about three minutes left.

Martin had 24 points and nine rebounds, and Bogans had 17 points for DeMatha. Logan had 15 points and nine rebounds, and Thomas had 15 points and six rebounds for the Gaels.

"I'm very pleased with the effort," Robertson said. "That was superb. There are a couple of things to work on that will help us down the road."

"There's no better way to start a season," Wootten said. "My kids hung in and showed great composure. If any coach can get the max out of his team, it's Cokey."

Bogans was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament. The all-tournament team consisted of Thomas, Martin, Victor Thomas and Rashime Middleton of Neumann and Chris Clever of Chambersburg.

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