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Bulldogs' poll votes out Gaels

February 07, 2001|By BOB PARASILITI

Bulldogs' poll votes out Gaels



MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Martinsburg coach Dave Rogers takes a simple approach to designing the Bulldogs' game plan.

He uses an informal poll of his players.

"We don't like to be pressed," Rogers said. "And as a rule, if you don't like it, (the other team won't) like it."

That's about as subtle as a headlock. The No. 10 Bulldogs turned the vice and the ball popped out of No. 4 St. Maria Goretti's hands. True to their name, the Bulldogs played fetch and ran off Tuesday with a 59-55 victory that was more convincing than the score.

Martinsburg (11-5) won its ninth straight game - a sweep since losing to Goretti on Jan. 3 - by taking advantage of the Gaels' inability of performing the most basic of functions ... dribbling the ball past halfcourt.

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"We can't handle the ball," Goretti coach Cokey Robertson said. "You can't win when you can't throw the ball away. In the first half, we were having trouble bring it up. We fixed it at halftime, but then in the second half, they were getting us at the top of the key and turning them into layups. Those are four-point turnovers."

Goretti again played without point guard Derrick Davis, who is out due to an academic suspension. Without Davis to handle the ball, the wind was knocked out of the Gaels.

"That's our game," Rogers said. "It's been our game since four or five games into the season. Against a lot of teams, we get a lot of steals, but against a good team like Goretti, you have to be careful. Still, the pressure mounts."

Goretti ultimately popped like a warm bottle of soda in the final six minutes. The Gaels fought back from an 11-point to tie the game at 40-40, but Kevin Pittsnogle hit a 5-footer for two of his 19 points to give the Bulldogs back the lead.

The Gaels struggled up the floor in the hands of Matt Tanner, a forward who was the only one to handle Martinsburg pressure. The senior passed the ball over halfcourt and then got it back at the top of the key, where J.J. Bullett stripped him and went the length of the floor for a layup. Two minutes later, Ryan Morris did the same thing to give Martinsburg a 49-42 lead.

"We tied it and then they scored and we had the ball," Robertson said. "That's when they had the turnover. Someone has to be able to get the ball upcourt. But once we did, their pressure got us off rhythm."

Bullett finished with 14 and Buck Springette had 13 before fouling out. Tanner scored 24 for Goretti and Rodney Gibson had 21, making up all but 10 of the Gaels' points.

"We up-tempoed the game to put pressure on people," Rogers said. "We are too small to stay with people and our halfcourt defense is pretty good. That's just our game."

No. 10 Martinsburg 59

No. 4 Goretti 55

ST. MARIA GORETTI (55)

Gibson 21, Tanner 24, Spierenberg 6, Wills 4. Totals 25 4-6 55.

MARTINSBURG (59)

Springette 13, Bullett 14, Pittsnogle 19, Barrett 6, Horst 2. Totals 20 16-20 59.

Goretti10111222-55

Martinsburg1218920-59

Three-point goals - Goretti 1 (Tanner), Martinsburg 3 (Springette 2, Pittsnogle). Fouled out - Springette.

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