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Basketball notes - Week's results shake things up

January 31, 2003|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

They were, for sure, a pair of boys' results that caused heads to turn over Thursday morning's coffee.

Goretti 68, No. 2 Martinsburg 27.

Boonsboro 70, No. 3 Middletown 65.

In one, a team proved itself against one of the area's best. In the other, a team turned the Monocacy Valley Athletic League race into anybody's ballgame.

* There's no question the Gaels (12-13) had shown flashes of brilliance prior to Wednesday's dismantling of the Bulldogs.

Three days earlier, Goretti went on the road and knocked off Calvert Hall for coach Cokey Robertson's 700th career victory.

On Jan. 18, the Gaels outscored Scotland - one of Pennsylvania's better small-school squads - 20-2 in the fourth quarter for another statement victory.

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But nothing prepared anyone for what Goretti did to Martinsburg.

What occured at the Gael Center Wednesday has a lot to do with the schedule Goretti plays. The Baltimore Catholic League slate is a difficult task - the Gaels are 2-7 in conference play. But Goretti has steadily improved, as shown by the victory at Calvert Hall, as well as a 55-51 loss to Archbishop Spalding a week ago. The Gaels lost by 16 to Spalding in December.

Derrick Davis (17.7 points, 4.9 assists per game) continues to be the team's sparkplug, but no longer does he have to pull most of the weight. Joey Breslin (12.2 points per game) has stepped up his scoring and is a threat both inside and on the perimeter.

Goretti is 5-0 in games against area teams, having defeated No. 10 Mercersburg twice, Jefferson and Greencastle. The Gaels' next test comes Tuesday, when they host No. 4 St. John's at Prospect Hall.

* Sitting at 8-0 in the MVAL, the Knights seemed to have a death grip on the league title. Middletown, after all, had beaten its closest pursuer - No. 6 North Hagerstown - by 10 in a December meeting, and held a two-game lead on the Hubs and a three-game lead over the rest of the league.

Not anymore.

By upsetting Middletown, Boonsboro has changed the entire scheme of things in the league. What used to be a safe lead for the Knights could completely evaporate tonight, when Middletown travels to play North.

With a victory, the Hubs would suddenly find themselves tied with Middletown in the loss column (two each) and one game ahead in the standings. What was already a big MVAL matchup, the Warriors made a much bigger one.

Aside from the first-place game tonight, Boonsboro's win proved there are a handful of dangerous teams in the league, all of them capable of toppling either the Hubs or the Knights on any given night.

The Warriors (7-4) are an aggressive team that attacks the inside offensively. Lonnell Smith (16.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists per game) is the main offensive weapon, and Keith Kellinger had 20 points and 18 rebounds against Middletown. When both are playing well, the Warriors are a team no one in the league wants to play.

Much the same could be said for No. 9 Smithsburg (7-4). Corey Brown (18.4 points) and Ryan Marquiss (14.0) lead the Leopards in scoring, and Brown can dominate inside - he scored 38 points and made a school single-game record 16 field goals in an 89-81 double-overtime victory over South Hagerstown a week ago.

The Rebels (6-4) are the only team in the league with four players averaging in double figures - David Miner (a league-leading 21.8 points per game), Ben Mertz (13.4), Jamel Smith (12.0) and Jesse Gutekunst (11.5). If their defense can create turnovers and get the transition game going, they can beat anyone.

Williamsport, Brunswick and Walkersville probably have too many league losses to challenge for first, but both will likely have an impact on who does.

The Wildcats (5-6), once 1-5 in the league, won four straight to get back into the race before losing to Smithsburg Thursday night. Nick Adenhart (17.4 points per game) leads the Wildcats.

Brandon Dykes (16.5 points per game) and Jeremy Hueston (14.8 points) anchor the attack for Brunswick (5-6).

Walkersville (6-7) holds a victory over North in the Hubs' gym, and boasts the league's only player - Brock McCollum - averaging a double-double (19.8 points, 10.3 rebounds).

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