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Goretti finishes on winning note

February 28, 1997

By JACK HILL III

Staff Correspondent

ST. JAMES - The St. Maria Goretti girls' basketball team couldn't have scripted a better finish to its first season of varsity basketball.

After all, wrapping up any season with a win is icing on the cake.

Sophomore Jen Piccolomini scored 18 points and added eight rebounds, seven assists, six steals and five blocked shots as the Gaels defeated St. James, 50-37, Thursday afternoon.

"It was nice to win the last game of the season for a first-year team," St. Maria Goretti coach Gary Carter said. "The key to our victory was being more patient in our offense and working the ball down low, instead of gunning for 3-point shots. We dropped back into a zone defense and that forced them to take outside shots."

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Piccolomini canned a 3-pointer with 1:15 remaining in the second quarter to give Goretti a 26-16 halftime advantage.

The Gaels (15-11) opened the second half with a 10-4 run to increase their advantage to 36-20. Piccolomini scored six points in the spurt.

But St. James didn't fold.

The Saints (5-12) outscored Goretti 8-1 to close the quarter and trailed 37-28 as the final quarter began.

But Goretti put the game away with a 13-3 run to open the fourth quarter. Sophomore Brianne McManus scored all nine of her points during that stretch.

"It was a tough game," St. James coach Ted Camp said. "They were a lot deeper than we were and they move the ball better than us. They got too many second shots and we turned the ball over too much. Despite the loss, our team still gave a good effort right down to the last minute. We may not have a lot of skill, but we make up for it in grit and determination."

Megan Brown scored the final six points of the game for St. James. She finished with 16 points and seven rebounds. Carolyn Burton added 13 points and eight rebounds. Erin Call had 12 rebounds and three assists, while Tammy Hall added six rebounds, five assists and three steals.

Freshman Kristy Divelbliss added 11 points and 13 rebounds for the Gaels.

"We are very proud of the way that the girls came together and stayed together as a team," Carter added. "We ended the season on a very positive note by winning four out of our last five games. The girls worked pretty hard all year long. It was an excellent group."

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