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Goretti goes only halfway

February 01, 1999

Spalding vs. GorettiBy DAN SPEARS / Staff Writer

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer




St. Maria Goretti center Brad Runkles didn't want halftime to come during Sunday's 71-60 loss to Archbishop Spalding. Neither did coach Cokey Robertson.

Robertson simply didn't want to stop watching his Gaels roll the top team in the Baltimore Catholic League in the second quarter. No. 1 Goretti used a 20-4 advantage in that frame for a 31-24 lead at the break.

[cont. from sports page]

"We were playing good defense; we were moving the ball well on offense," Robertson said. "One thing leads to another, and it was working. It's too bad you have to take the halftime break."

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Runkles couldn't have agreed more.

"Ever since I've been here, the third quarter is always our worst quarter. Always, " Runkles said. "I don't know why, and today it came back to haunt us."

Runkles' turnaround jumper at the 6-minute mark of the third gave the Gaels (21-4, 5-3) their biggest lead at 33-25. Then the Cavaliers turned the gym into Goretti's house of horrors.

Spalding (19-2, 8-0) erased the lead in 1:50, capping a 9-0 run with two free throws by Derrick Snowden for a 34-33 lead. Lee Green's free throws gave the Gaels one last look at the lead before Spalding took it away for good on a three-point play by James Bowen.

"We just let it slip away," Robertson said. "Defensively, we broke down, and then we had to catch up. ... We just couldn't hit the shot to break their roll."

Goretti helped the roll along with two crucial mistakes. Down two with 35 seconds left in the third period, the Gaels stalled for one shot, but Chad Brashears pulled the trigger too early. Spalding got the miss and gave the ball to Snowden, who canned a 3-pointer at the buzzer for a 44-39 lead.

Goretti got the ball back to start the fourth quarter, but it took a weird bounce off the taping on Green's left hand. Snowden took advantage, stealing it and completing the three-point play for an eight-point edge that never got closer than four the rest of the way.

"I don't know what happened," Runkles said. "Coach would call a play, and then we'd have three people in the wrong spot. It was like we all got confused at the same time."

Runkles finished with 15 points and seven rebounds, while Jamie Rice had a team-high 16. Rodney Hudson finished with 12 for Goretti. Snowden had a game-high 21 for Spalding.

"I can't fault us for playing hard, but we had some mental problems out there today," Robertson said. "We just didn't make the plays to win."

The loss leaves Goretti in third place in the BCL heading down the regular-season stretch. The top seed for the conference tournament, which the Gaels believed would be theirs, is all but mathematically eliminated.

"Hey, we may face them again in the tournament," Runkles said. "We just hope to get another chance then."

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