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Rice is Gael's force in 51-47 victory

January 25, 1997

By CURT HORNBECKER

Staff Correspondent

Jamie Rice certainly made the most of his opportunity to start a basketball game for St. Maria Goretti.

With the Gaels' leading scorer, Kyle Logan, on the bench, Rice scored 16 points Friday night to pace Goretti to a 51-47 Baltimore Catholic League victory over Towson Catholic.

"He played an excellent game for a sophomore," said Goretti coach Cokey Robertson. "Most people only saw the hoops he made, but he made a lot of good passes, and a lot of key passes down the stretch. He was our trigger man. I can't say enough about him."

With the Gaels (11-10, 2-4) facing a 46-45 deficit, Rice - a 6-foot-3 sophomore - calmly canned his second 3-pointer of the game with 1:21 remaining to give Goretti a lead it never relinquished.

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A Todd Sykes free throw closed the gap to one before Brad Runkles sank a layup for a 50-47 Goretti advantage. Runkles then rebounded Dion Carter's errant 3-pointer with 26 seconds left.

The Owls (10-8, 2-4) committed the first of five straight personal fouls before John Thomas was sent to the free throw line with just three seconds remaining.

"This was a nice win for us," said Robertson. "We showed a lot of character. On Tuesday night, we lost a game like that. Tonight we fell behind, kept our composure, came back to take the lead and held on."

Rice was the offensive sparkplug early in the game, hitting 11 first-half points on 5 of 8 shooting. Jason Jones, the Gaels' other surprise starter, added eight first-quarter points including a pair of 3-pointers.

Goretti hit all three of its 3-point tries in the first period, but it was not necessarily by design.

"When the shooters are open, and we get a good look, we don't care where we get them," Robertson said. "We knew (the Owls) played a lot of zone. Jones is a good zone player, so that's what predicated his start."

Towson led by as much as five points in the fourth quarter before the Gaels rallied for the win by outscoring the Owls 14-6 in the final six minutes.

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