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Gibbons nails Gaels with drive

February 06, 2004|by JACK HILL III

After the St. Maria Goretti's boys basketball team did everything it could to get its house in order, the Gaels forgot to lock the front door.

Cardinal Gibbons center Leon Williams muscled his way through the middle for a basket with six seconds remaining Thursday to lift the Crusaders to a 56-55 over Goretti in a Baltimore Catholic League basketball game at the Gael Center.

"It was a very disappointing loss after we worked so hard and played our hearts out to get back in it," St. Maria Goretti coach Cokey Robertson said. "We did everything but get a win."

Cardinal Gibbons (22-4, 9-4) scored the first basket of the fourth quarter to extend its lead to 45-40. That was the wake-up call for the Gaels (11-12, 2-9), who responded with a 13-3 run over the next 4 1/2 minutes to take a 53-48 lead.

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Pat Grace hit a 3-pointer to move the Crusaders within two points before Andy Chambers hit a pair of foul shots with 2:07 remaining in what became Goretti's final two points of the game.

Williams scored a three-point play with 2:02 to go before his game-winning drive to the hoop produced the victory.

Goretti had one last chance for a miracle, but Kevin Brashears' half-court attempt hit the backboard and bounced off the front of the rim at the final buzzer.

Williams had 18 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots for the Crusaders.

"Leon Williams came up big for us in the fourth quarter," Cardinal Gibbons coach Bob Flynn said. "Some teams can contain him for a while, but he is going to eventually wear you down. We went inside to him at the end and they couldn't stop him."

Kenny Hasbrouck added 14 points and four steals, Brett Foelber scored 11 points and Coby Holmes had four assists for the Crusaders.

Joey Spierenburg scored 14 points, while Mike Nelson collected 13 points and nine rebounds for St. Maria Goretti. Chambers added 10 points, including 7-for-9 at the foul line, while Tim Alexander had four assists for the Gaels.

"Leon Williams is really awesome," Robertson said. "He is hard to stop on the inside. We made a few bad defensive plays at the end. We left him open inside the box and he just killed us."

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