Hoops notes - Robertson, Powell eye milestones

January 24, 2003|by DAN KAUFFMAN

History could be made at both St. Maria Goretti's Gael Center and Smithsburg's gymnasium tonight.

In town, Gaels coach Cokey Robertson goes after victory No. 700 tonight in a Baltimore Catholic League matchup against Archbishop Spalding.

Fifteen minutes east, Leopards senior Katy Powell will attempt to become Smithsburg's all-time leading girls' scorer, needing 13 points to break Julie Salmon-Houfe's record of 1,474.

Robertson's 700th victory won't come easy. Goretti (10-12, 1-6) is fighting to avoid the BCL Tournament play-in game, and faces an Archbishop Spalding team that defeated the Gaels 50-34 on Dec. 15. Goretti follows with a trip to Calvert Hall on Sunday, and hosts No. 2 Martinsburg on Wednesday.


"We're just trying to win a dang game this year," Robertson said. "It will be nice to get it, get it over with and get on with season. ... The next couple don't look easy. Spalding is one of the best teams we face, and then Calvert Hall. We've got to get ourselves out of the play-in game. The most significant thing is to move up in the standings."

The Gaels have played every opponent tough for at least a half, but have fought second-half lapses all season. They rallied for a 66-54 victory against Scotland six days ago, but faltered against Mount St. Joseph two days later.

Goretti is coming off a 61-56 victory over Mercersburg - which turned around and defeated No. 3 St. John's at Prospect Hall on Thursday - in front of what Robertson said was "the best crowd we had since the (Mid-Atlantic Invitational) Tournament." Robertson hopes for a similar crowd of Cokey's Crazies tonight.

Robertson averaged 24 victories per season through his first 28 years, and "it hasn't been against cupcakes, it's been against legitimate teams, strong teams," he said. "That's what I'm most proud of."

A victory tonight would give Robertson one more thing to be proud of.

Powell has 1,462 points heading into tonight's game against South Hagerstown, and leads the area in scoring with 23.5 points per games.

Chances are, she'll get the school career record, and coach Jimmy Powell - Katy's father - isn't quite sure whether his dad side or coach side will come through more.

"It's hard to say, I try to be both all the time," Jimmy said. "When Katy's on the court playing basketball, I try to focus on the team aspect, she's not the only player out there. But she's still my daughter. I'm probably harder on her than the rest of the team, I try not to do that but I still do anyways."

Katy has been to a state final and two regional finals, but this season brought a whole new challenge. She's the only starter who returned from last year's team and has often been the team's only scoring threat - meaning double and triple teams from every defense she faces.

"That's the sign of a great player, when you know the defense is gonna be against you and you're facing double and triple teams and you're still scoring in double digits," coach Teresa Bachtell said. "Katy has handled this (season) really well."

Katy - who is also only 96 points away from breaking the Monocacy Valley Athletic League career scoring record of 1,117 points held by Catoctin's Tammy Joy - has never scored more than 30 points in any game. Jimmy points to her longevity as the key to her success.

"Last night she played her 90th straight game, and that's a lot of games," Jimmy said. "She's never had a 30-point game in her career, she's had a 29, a couple 28s. ... She's played hurt, she's played banged up, she's played when a lot of kids would throw in the towel."

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