Gaels convert to knock off Calvert Hall

February 03, 2001

Gaels convert to knock off Calvert Hall

By CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

When Bullwinkle J. Moose attempts to pull a rabbit out of his hat, he always finds something he wasn't expecting.

St. Maria Goretti basketball coach Cokey Robertson met with the same fate Friday night, but unlike the cartoon character, Robertson and the No. 4 Gaels pulled out a 52-51 Baltimore Catholic League victory over Calvert Hall.

Matt Spierenberg's free throw with 15 seconds remaining broke a 51-51 tie, and somehow two Calvert Hall shots from point-blank range failed to fall as St. Maria escaped with its fourth straight win.

It was a minor miracle the Gaels were in a position to win at all. Robertson used just six players all night - the sixth played about 60 seconds - and faced a much quicker team without point guard Derrick Davis, who is out for two weeks on an academic suspension.


In addition to that, Goretti was held without a field goal for an eight-minute span in the second half, and hit just three shots from the floor in the final 16 minutes.

"It seemed like more than eight minutes," said Robertson. "It seemed like a day. (The Cardinals) were so quick and scrappy; they were driving us crazy."

Tommy Wills' 3-pointer gave Goretti (14-6, 7-2) a 33-29 lead with 5:12 left in the third period, but only a Brad Lukens layup as time expired in the quarter allowed Calvert Hall to enter the final period with a 39-38 lead.

Four free throws by Rodney Gibson and a pair from Matt Tanner to open the final period gave Goretti a five-point lead which it maintained until a four-point Cardinals' run closed the gap to 50-49. Maurice Barksdale had an opportunity to tie the score, but missed the free throw side of a potential three-point play with 1:07 left.

Tanner canned on of two free throws at the other end before Birden tied the score with a layup to set up Spierenberg's game winner.

"We knew we had to rebound," said Gibson. "That was the key to the game, and we did a good job of that; especially at the end when Spirenberg got the offensive rebound, and got fouled to win the game in the fourth quarter."

That Gaels faced a trapping, pressure defense throughout the game, but chose to sit back in a zone at the defensive end of the floor. That strategy worked well enough to keep the Cardinals (13-7, 3-5) from maintaining the quicker pace they preferred, and was effective enough to keep Calvert Hall from shooting with any consistency from the floor, hitting just 21 of 54 field goals (39 percent). The Gales connected on 47 percent of its attempts from the floor.

No. 4 Goretti 52, Calvert Hall 51


Graves 6, Thompson 2, Jones 14, Birden 13, Lukens 2, Barksdale 4, McClinton 10, Totals 21 7-12 51.


Gibson 13, Tanner 23, Spierenberg 10, Carter 1, Wills 5, Totals 14 20-27 52.

Calvert Hall8151612-51


Three-point goals: Calvert hall 2 (McClinton 2). St. Maria 4 (Gibson 2, Tanner, Wills).

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