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Gaels rout Devils in BCL tuneup

January 03, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - For the most part, St. Maria Goretti's boys basketball team has passed the preliminaries with flying colors. Now, the real test that is the Baltimore Catholic League looms.

Leaning on the inside strength of Joey Spierenburg and Mike Nelson, the Gaels overpowered Greencastle-Antrim inside for an easy 64-34 victory Friday night in Goretti's final tuneup before moving into the bulk of league play.

"The goal was to be 8-3, but we didn't get beat by cupcakes," Goretti coach Cokey Robertson said. "Now we have to step it up in the league and meet the challenges."

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The Gaels (7-4) were too much of a challenge for the Blue Devils (3-7), who had difficulty maintaining possession against a variety of Goretti defenses. Greencastle committed 16 first-half turnovers and 22 overall.

"We know going into any game we have to take care of the ball," Blue Devils coach Garon Gembe said. "We had five turnovers in the first three minutes, and that's not the kind of start we needed."

Despite the rocky opening, Greencastle stayed as close as 16-12 early in the second quarter. But the Blue Devils' foul trouble sent Goretti to the line 14 times during the rest of the half, and the Gaels made nine of those foul shots and worked for five other baskets - four in the paint - in a 19-2 run to end the half up, 35-14.

Goretti closed the third quarter on a 14-2 run to open up a 53-25 lead, as Spierenburg (14 points, six rebounds, three steals, three blocks) and Nelson (10 points, six rebounds) continued asserting themselves.

"I thought our kids should be a little better (inside), and they proved that," Robertson said. "(Greencastle 6-foot-11 center Clay) Marquiss got a few blocks, but we did what we needed to."

"They're overall just bigger than us, and they pound the boards, too," Gembe said. "A lot of the time they'd miss the shot but follow it with an easy putback."

Greencastle never established much of an offensive threat, in part due to turnovers and in part due to poor shooting. The Blue Devils finished 13-for-46 (28.2 percent) from the floor.

"At the varisty level, you have to make those shots," Gembe said. "We got more good looks than 34 points indicate."

"We were pretty satisfied with what we did defensively, for the most part," Robertson said.

Trevor Cobb had nine points and Mason Herman and Kevin Brashears added eight apiece for the Gaels. Andy Chambers had five rebounds and Tim Alexander added four assists.

Adam Wiestling led Greencastle with six points and Brett Huffman had five.

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