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Calvert reverses roles vs. Goretti

February 02, 2005|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

So much for the home-court advantage.

Just one week removed from posting a 56-54 victory on the road against Calvert Hall, the No. 3 St. Maria Goretti boys basketball team turned around and proved to be a gracious host as the invading Cardinals secured a 50-43 Baltimore Catholic League victory inside a sweltering Gael Center on Tuesday.

"You would have thought we were the team that played Monday night," said Goretti coach Cokey Robertson after the Gaels (15-8, 4-5) fell two games behind Calvert Hall (19-7, 6-3) in the race for the third seed in the BCL playoffs.

Calvert Hall beat St. John's at Prospect Hall on Monday 83-69 behind Ricky Harris' 34-point effort, but the Cardinals had more in the tank at the end than did the Gaels.

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"Joey (Spierenburg) was gassed in the second half," said Robertson. "He just didn't have anything left on defense."

Calvert Hall led 24-23 at halftime. The fatigue became the big difference in the second half.

Goretti started strong, building a 9-2 lead behind six points by Spierenburg. The lead could have been larger had the Gaels converted on six missed layups.

"We made some adjustments to their triangle defense and got the ball inside to Braxton (DuPree) and that helped get our guards into the gaps," said Calvert Hall coach Mark Amatucci, dripping with perspiration.

After the teams were deadlocked 37-37 heading into the final eight minutes, Harris followed a DuPree basket with a pair of free throws, which were sandwiched around two free throws by Spierenburg, for a 41-40 lead with 5:49 to play, a lead Calvert would not give up.

Harris scored another bucket and, after a charging foul on Goretti's Gene Johnson, DuPree banked in another layup for a 45-40 margin with 2:46 to go.

A goal and two free throws by Spierenburg, who was the only Gael to score in the fourth quarter, reduced the gap to 47-43 with 1:00 remaining. But Kevin Brashears missed a shot and Spierenburg had a shot rejected by the 6-foot-8 sophomore DuPree, who finished the game off with a slam dunk.

Spierenburg gutted out a team-high 17 points and pulled down eight rebounds while Johnson, in action with a touch of the flu from Monday, added 10 points and seven rebounds. Johnson scored eight of his points in the third period despite being saddled with three personal fouls in the first half.

Goretti has lacked production from its perimeter players in its last two losses, which includes a setback to Towson Catholic last Friday. Only Brashears, with nine points, produced much against Calvert Hall.

Combined, Spierenburg and Johnson were 11 of 22 from the floor and the remainder of the Gaels went 6-for-21.

"We missed too many easy shots in the beginning of the game and we are not getting point production from the perimeter," Robertson said. "We can't pack it in with these losses. We just have to get ready for Thursday (at Jefferson) and come back."

Harris ended with 21 points and DuPree scored nine of his 13 in the second half for Calvert Hall, which hit 19 of 41 from the floor. Russell Frederick, who came in averaging 18 per game, was held to seven points. DuPree also had 11 rebounds.

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