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Green - with envy

February 17, 1999

Green - with envy

Goretti guard's big run finishes off St. James

St. James vs. GorettiBy MARK KELLER / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer




If beating St. James wasn't personal for Lee Green before, he made it personal in the fourth quarter.

The St. Maria Goretti senior, held to nine points in the first three quarters, went on a personal 14-0 run as the No. 2 Gaels beat the No. 4 Saints 74-60 Tuesday in a battle of Washington County private school rivals.

Green's streak began with a free throw with 6 minutes, 5 seconds left in the game and the Gaels (29-4) trailing 53-51.

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When he was finished, with a 3-pointer from the corner at the 3:00 mark, Goretti held a commanding 65-53 advantage.

"Fourth quarter he was a big-time player. He really stepped up," said Goretti coach Cokey Robertson. "They say the cream comes to the top; he certainly did there in the fourth quarter."

Green was held scoreless in the first and third quarters, but he admitted he was holding a little back.

"Third quarter, I was trying to save my energy because I was sick," Green said. "My teammates kept the game close for me and I just decided to take over the game.

"I just felt it. I felt I was in the flow."

Green's teammate Rodney Gibson, got personal during the game, too - as in personally keeping Goretti's head above water. The sophomore scored 15 points in the first period, including a pair of 3-pointers in the final minute that tied the score at 19-19.

"He's been steady all year," Roberston said. "He was a little different Rodney than I had seen. He looked like 'Rodney, the guard' there for a while. That's what he wanted to play, but then he got back into his game."

The Saints (14-7) used a 7-2 burst at the start of the second to grab a 26-21 lead. But Goretti put together a 9-0 run for a 30-26 edge with 3:00 left in the half. Green had help this time, scoring five points while Brad Runkles added four.

A 3 by Haleem White stopped the Goretti string, and John Hartman later scored four straight to tie it at 33-33 with 3 seconds left.

But Green, who was fouled on the inbound pass, sank two free throws as the remaining players headed to the locker room with Goretti leading by two.

Three-pointers by Hartman and Billy Keyes to start the fourth put the Saints ahead 51-47 before Green and Runkles each hit a pair of free throws to tie the score again. Chris Acker drove the middle of the lane for a layup as St. James briefly regained the lead and Green prepared to run wild.

"He played well. He played well in the fourth quarter," said St. James coach Wayne Ridenour. "I thought we defended him pretty well until we got into foul trouble. We had to take our best defender off of him and he started to light it up."

Gibson finished with 22 points and Runkles added 17 for the Gaels in a game Green said had some extra meaning for him and his teammates due to the absence of Jamie Rice. Rice was removed from the team Monday for disciplinary reasons.

"It's big now. To be competitive, playing hard in hard times with each other," Green said. "We really did this for our teammate, Jamie. Because we knew he would like to win with us."

Larry Scott had 14 points, while Jeff Perry and John Hartman each had 10 and Acker and Philip Scott had nine apiece for St. James.

"I hated this game. I knew the way they would come out," Ridenour said. "Just like Maryland when they lost (Obinna) Ekezie, it's like they wanted to step up and show they're very good. And they did."

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