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Goretti struggles past gallant Vikings

December 05, 2004|by RYAN ALLEN/Staff Writer

Tim Alexander picked a good time to score his first points of the game Saturday.

With his team trailing by three points in overtime, Alexander drained a running 3-pointer at the buzzer to send St. Maria Goretti into double overtime against visiting St. John's at Prospect Hall.

Alexander then made four free throws down the stretch of the second overtime and Goretti (3-0) pulled out a 57-53 victory.

Down 49-46 with 6.5 seconds remaining, Goretti inbounded the ball to Alexander from its own baseline. Alexander weaved his way up the court, elevated off his left foot and made the only three-pointer the Gaels converted.

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"The coach called a screen for me and it was just second nature from there," said Alexander. "I didn't really think about it. I just had the confidence that it was going in and it did."

For three quarters, the game looked like it would have little drama.

The Vikings (0-2) controlled, extending their lead in each of the first three quarters. They made seven first half three-pointers on 12 attempts.

St. John's led 36-26 after the third quarter and 38-26 with five minutes remaining before Goretti rallied with a 14-2 run to end regulation.

"We got more intense and started attacking the basket better," said Goretti coach Cokey Robertson of the game's momentum change.

The Gaels finally pulled even at 40-40 when Gene Johnson tipped in an Alexander miss with 3 seconds to play.

"We just made two clutch plays today," said Robertson. "I thought we won despite a sub-par performance. We were lucky."

Johnson came off the bench to lead the Gaels with 15 points and 11 rebounds, collecting many of his points on offensive rebounds during the comeback.

Three-pointers by David Saur and Kevin Henry gave the Vikings a quick six-point lead in overtime.

The Gaels again rallied by pounding the offensive glass, as Kevin Brashears had a pair of tip-ins to set the stage for Alexander's shot.

Brashears had 12 points and seven rebounds and Andrew Chambers added 11 points.

St. John's coach Rich Fairley said he choose to play his small ballhandlers over his big rebounders to combat Goretti's pressure defense, which gave Goretti the rebounding advantage.

"I don't know what we could have done differently," said Fairley. "I thought they won it more than we lost it."

Saur led the Vikings with 14 points while Henry and Tanner Ellis each added 12.

"We didn't have a lot of success last year, and we're out here trying as hard as we can, but we haven't been in these situations before," Fairley said. "We just aren't ready to win a game like this, but we will be."

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