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Bulldogs Ware out Goretti for Martinsburg title

December 27, 2001

Bulldogs Ware out Goretti for Martinsburg title



By DAN SPEARS
dans@herald-mail.com
No. 1 Martinsburg 51
No. 4 Goretti 48

ST. MARIA GORETTI (48)

Hudson 6, Breslin 2, Davis 16, M. Spierenburg 6, Tanner 18. Totals 21-50 4-4 48.

MARTINSBURG (51)

Largent 2, Barrett 3, Ware 16, Springette 9, Horst 2, Johnson 4, Pittsnogle 15. Totals 20-52 8-15 51.

Goretti1910811-48

Martinsburg10111515-51

Three-point goals-Goretti 2 (Davis, Tanner), Martinsburg 3 (Ware 2, Springette). Fouled Out-Carter (SMG).



MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The Martinsburg boys basketball team has plenty of stars: its pressure makes teams recognize guards Brandon Barrett, Buck Springette and Tristan Largent, and 6-foot-10 center Kevin Pittsnogle has already committed to West Virginia University.

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With all that to look at, forward Mike Ware sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. Saturday night, he didn't.

The senior came up with crucial plays at all the big moments in the championship game of the Martinsburg Invitational, leading the No. 1 Bulldogs to a 51-48 victory over No. 4 St. Maria Goretti.

"I think games like this are great," said Ware, who finished with 16 points, five rebounds and key block in the final two minutes. "It's intense, and we like that."

In the first matchup between two top-10 teams in the Tri-State area, the Gaels (5-5) had all the answers for 2 1/2 quarters. Derrick Davis and Matt Tanner buried shot after shot as Goretti led 33-21 two minutes into the second half.

"We said we had to be patient tonight, and we'd get the shots," Goretti coach Cokey Robertson said. "But we got out of our system and rushed things a little bit in the third quarter."

Martinsburg (3-0) still trailed by nine with 3:25 left in the third quarter when Goretti point guard Marcus Hudson picked up his fourth foul. Without Hudson, who had controlled the tempo brilliantly, the Bulldogs unleashed their pressure defense and closed the quarter on a 10-2 run - started on a rebound basket by Ware.

"The leadership took over for us," Martinsburg coach Dave Rogers said. "You gotta be able to survive situations like this, and we did."

Largent hit two free throws to start the fourth quarter for a 38-37 lead, Martinsburg's first since the first bucket of the game. After that, the two teams traded clutch shots and great defense, and Tanner's three-point play gave Goretti a 46-43 lead with 3:18 to play.

"Kevin kept opening things up for us and we had the outside shots," Ware said of Pittsnogle, who finished with 15 points and eight rebounds. "They didn't go down early, but we finally hit a couple and they gave us confidence."

Him most of all. Ware buried a 3 from the corner to tie it at 46-46, then hit in the lane for a two-point lead - both on assists from sophomore reserve Durrell Johnson.

After Davis tied it up on a rebound basket, Johnson scored on a nifty feed from Pittsnogle for the final lead of the game.

"Ware really hurt us in the second half," Robertson said. "In the first half, we did a good job on him, but the open looks in the second half, he got them."

Then Ware made the defensive play of the game. Davis took a short runner and got his own rebound. When he tried to wriggle around Ware and shoot again, the Bulldogs' senior jumped with him and yanked the ball right out of his hands.

Both teams missed shots before Springette hit one of two free throws with 10.8 seconds left. Davis took the final shot for the tie, but his 23-footer on the left wing hit the back of the rim and went out at the buzzer.

Tanner and Davis combined for 34 points and Davis had 11 rebounds for the Gaels.

Parkersburg South beat Southern Garrett 59-55 in the consolation game, hitting 11 3-pointers in the win.

All-Tournament Team: Southern Garrett-Jeremy Tressler; Parkersburg South-Matt Shamblin; Goretti-Matt Tanner, Derrick Davis; Martinsburg-Buck Springette, Mike Ware, Kevin Pittsnogle (MVP).

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