Bulldogs add to win total

February 16, 2005|by DAN KAUFFMAN

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The mathematics of Tuesday night's boys basketball game against No. 8 Martinsburg just didn't add up for No. 4 St. Maria Goretti.

First, the Gaels had to deal with the subtraction of starting center Joe Spierenburg, out for a third straight game due to bruised ribs.

Then the Bulldogs' addition of reserves Emile Payne and Jamaal Robinson into the lineup made the overall equation too difficult for Goretti to solve in a 66-45 setback, giving Martinsburg two wins in three tries against the Gaels this season.


Payne had 14 points and Robinson 12 off the bench, complementing starters Q'Monte Matheny (15) and Andre Hornes (14) and giving Martinsburg (12-8) too many weapons for the Gaels (17-12) to contain, especially without Spierenburg and his 5.3 blocked shots per game in the middle to help neutralize things inside.

"When you take a Spierenburg out of a lineup or a Hornes out of our lineup, you can't fill that hole," Bulldogs coach David Rogers said.

Goretti started out quickly, getting three baskets in transition and three more from Gene Johnson - two on offensive rebounds and putbacks - to run out to a 14-9 lead five minutes in.

"We were playing well and got to 14, and then we didn't play well defensively and had turnovers," Gaels coach Cokey Robertson said. "We turned it over four straight possessions."

Martinsburg responded with an 11-0 run bridging the first two quarters for a 20-14 lead, before Payne went to work inside against the taller but thinner Johnson, scoring six points in the final five minutes of the half.

"They had their two big kids, and they had a big advantage with Payne," said Robertson. "He was sort of a rest guy (in the first two games), and now he's becoming a big factor."

"He's a good-hearted kid who comes to practice every day to get better," Rogers said. "He has a wonderful attitude."

Robinson - a second-semester addition to the Martinsburg roster who has seen more playing time because of Nate Sowers' ankle injury - also scored six points in the second quarter as the Bulldogs took a 34-24 lead into the half.

"He's an athlete. He's got some skills," Rogers said. "Nate's been out, so I've been able to get him in."

The third quarter was a quarter of runs. A quick 5-0 spurt by the Bulldogs on Hornes' inside bucket and Scotti Smith's deep 3-pointer made it 39-26. Goretti's 6-0 run capped by Johnson's three-point play made it 39-32.

But the Gaels got no closer as a Martinsburg 8-0 run to close the quarter made it 47-32, and a 9-0 fourth-quarter run behind six points from Matheny made it 56-34 and ended all suspense.

Johnson, who fought through visible fatigue and played every minute but the last couple, finished with 15 points for the Gaels.

Martinsburg defeated Goretti 70-68 in double overtime at the Martinsburg Invitational on Dec. 29, 2004. The Gaels answered with a 59-50 victory at the Gael Center on Jan. 17.

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