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Gaels find game to amaze Grace

St. Maria Goretti saves the best part of its game for last as the Gaels put it in high gear in the final minutes to turn back Gr

St. Maria Goretti saves the best part of its game for last as the Gaels put it in high gear in the final minutes to turn back Gr

January 14, 2004|by JACK HILL III

Since the St. Maria Goretti girls basketball team spent so long looking for its offense, it is a wonder that the Gaels didn't check the Lost and Found department.

The offense seemed to be in some office closet somewhere as Goretti had trouble finding the basket, too, leading Grace Academy by only 22-13 with two minutes remaining in the third quarter.

The Gaels saved the price of a classified ad as everything suddenly began to click in the final 10 minutes as a closing 32-5 run gave Goretti a 54-18 victory Tuesday that ended up being tougher than it looked.

Sophomore guard Jackie Palmer provided game-high totals of 18 points and 11 steals for Goretti (7-11), with 12 of the points coming in that closing flurry.

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"You have just got to read where the person is looking to make the pass and then pick it off," Palmer said. "I was having a good game with my shooting. I was looking for backdoor cuts. Once you get it, you just go. Once you get down the court and you are open, then you can take the shot."

As time wore on, so did Goretti as the Gaels seemed to improve in the later stages of the game.

"I think that our team had a pretty good night overall," Palmer said. "I think that we were a little bit off in the first half. But in the second half, we got it together."

Freshman forward Jessica Myers had 19 rebounds and three blocked shots for the Gaels, while Tasha Deneen added 12 points and five steals. Katie Martin finished with eight rebounds, seven steals and three blocked shots for Goretti.

"We played a slow-down offense as we tried to get the ball inside," Goretti coach Todd Rideout said. "We were trying to be patient on offense. We were fortunate to get some baskets on transition. We got those baskets off of their turnovers. We played some solid defense."

Senior forward Lisa Horochowski led Grace Academy (1-8) with eight points.

"We bowed under pressure, that's for sure," Grace Academy coach Rick Sowers said. "We couldn't handle their defense. We weren't stopping their fast break, either. I was most impressed with St. Maria Goretti's tenacity. They just kept coming at you. They are very aggressive and very well-coached."

The game was another chapter in experience in the continuing saga of learning to play for Grace Academy.

"One of our disadvantages this year is that we have a young team," Sowers added. "We have five freshmen and two eighth graders out of our 10 players. Our team did not give up. We always play to the last second of the game."

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