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Chambers has it made for Goretti

December 24, 2003|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - St. Maria Goretti junior varsity coach Skip Chambers had to be smiling inside Tuesday night.

The smiles were warrented as his son Andy, a sophomore, came of age to lead Goretti to a 56-45 varsity win over Jefferson.

Chambers' 16-point game was easily his career best, especially considering he had only scored 19 points the entire season before Tuesday.

"Coach (Cokey Robertson) pulled me into his office after practice this week and had a few words to say," Chambers said. "He told me to be myself and by picking up my game it will help settle the team down."

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Chambers hit 7 of 9 from the floor, including Goretti's lone 3-pointer and added six assists before fouling out in the fourth period with the Gaels on top, 44-37.

Ten of his points came in the first half when Goretti charged back from a 12-6 deficit to take a 22-15 lead, only to lose the edge when Jefferson (0-2) finished with an 8-0 run, keyed by two buckets from Josh Brown.

"Andy finally stepped it up for the team tonight," Robertson said, noting his past couple games were in the "stinker" category.

Goretti nearly shot itself in the foot with sloppy ball handling in the opening half with 19 turnovers but stayed in the game with 10 of 17 shooting.

"Our backcourt is young and turnovers is our middle name," Robertson said. "Sometimes young kids get out of control and they just need to learn the concept of handling the basketball. We talked about that at halftime."

The Gaels, guilty of only nine miscues in the second half, changed defenses constantly in the second half and shut down Brown, who scored only three of his team-high 12 points after the break.

"We did not address the changes Goretti was making defensively," said Jefferson coach Scott Douglas. "I think some of them got tired as the game went on and lost their focus."

Jefferson was playing for the first time in a week, as West Virginia schools get a later start to the season.

"Gaps in the schedule early in the season don't help, but sometimes the emotional hurt is worse than the physical," Douglass said.

Goretti (5-4) broke away from a 38-35 lead after three periods on a key offensive putback by Joey Spierenburg and a pair of baskets by Mike Nelson before spending the final 1:48 going to the free throw line where the Gaels scored their final five points while holding the Cougars to only one field goal in the last five minutes.

Spierenburg led Goretti off the boards with eight while Brown had a similar number to lead Jefferson. Goretti ended with a 22 of 40 shooting performance while Jefferson went 18 of 65.

But, for now at least, Chambers has brought about some smiles.

"I didn't like picking up the fifth foul, but it felt good to finally contribute," he said.

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