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St. Maria evens the score with Martinsburg

January 29, 1997

By BOB PARASILITI

Staff Writer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - There was one quick redeeming factor about Tuesday's win over Martinsburg for Cokey Robertson.

"It'll be more fun riding up I-81 after this win," the St. Maria Goretti coach said.

Anything Robertson saw outside the bus window was better than practically anything he saw on the basketball court. St. Maria won the battle of missed shots and full-court run fest, mainly by hitting 17 of 23 foul shots, to notch a 51-42 victory over Martinsburg.

But then again, Tuesday's game was far better performance for the Gaels (12-11) than they showed in Sunday afternoon's loss to St. Frances. Goretti showed better rebounding and took care of the ball far better against the Bulldogs to avenge a loss from last month.

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"We rebounded much better as a team - Thomas, Rice, Runkles and Logan - they all got back in there and did a good job," Robertson said. Our team ball handling was a lot better too. We went from 26 to 16 turnovers tonight."

Both key points in a game which fell aesthetically somewhere between Swan Lake and swan dive. It wasn't a thing of beauty and neither team fell completely on their collective faces.

"We were not very good tonight," Martinsburg coach Vic Holmes said. "(Goretti) was the reason why. We are small and even though they aren't very physical in stature, they are bigger than us. To play a team that is bigger and more experienced than us is a learning experience."

Martinsburg (9-2) battled back from a 12-7 first-quarter deficit to take a 15-14 lead on a pair of foul shots by James Franklin with 4:35 left in the half. It became the Bulldogs' only lead in the game as Goretti finished the half with a 10-4 run, primarily off the transition game, for a 24-19 advantage.

Jason Jones scored six points in the first three minutes of the third quarter to help Goretti pull away to a 33-21 lead, its largest of the game. Martinsburg never got back within six points the rest of the game as the Gaels iced the game with 10 straight foul shots.

Goretti's Kyle Logan finished as the only player in double figures with 11 points while Jones added eight. Jason Dirting led Martinsburg with eight points.

"I've been in this long enough to realize that when you have a young team, there are a lot of waves and peaks and valleys along the way," Robertson said. "Once I'm able to get them to be more consistent, they'll be OK. I'm tickled with this win."

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