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Goretti player off team

February 16, 1999|By BOB PARASILITI

St. Maria Goretti was enjoying a season to remember.

On Monday, it was all tarnished by an incident to forget.

The No. 2 Gaels' season took a serious turn when senior forward Jamie Rice was expelled from the team after he and four other Hagerstown residents were charged with drug violations on Sunday.

"He's done," Goretti coach Cokey Robertson said.

"He's gone for the rest of the season."

Rice was charged by Sheriff's deputies who, while on patrol at 10 p.m. Sunday, spotted a van in a parking lot. The deputies noticed the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle, deputies alleged.

A search of the van revealed a small amount of marijuana, deputies said. Rice, one of two adults, was charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

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Rice was charged after the Gaels returned from their 76-51 Baltimore Catholic League victory over St. Frances. The senior played a key role in the victory, scoring 16 of his game-high 18 in the second half.

"It comes at a point when he has everything in front of him,'' Robertson said.

"All I know is that we got back here last night after a big win while playing in a very tough place and I just got my 100th (BCL) win. We were on the top. Then I get a call on Monday morning, and now I feel like I'm at the bottom of the ocean."

Rice's dismissal comes at an inopportune time for the Gaels. Goretti faces crosstown private school rival St. James tonight before traveling to meet Mercersburg Academy on Wednesday.

Goretti (27-7) is in third place in the BCL with a 9-3 record, poised for the league tournament.

"This is one of the most disappointing things that have ever happened (to the Goretti program)," Robertson said.

"I don't think I've ever had to tell a kid that he's off the team like this."

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