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Devils settle for loss after Gaels settle down

December 23, 2005|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

St. Maria Goretti got its turnover problem out of the way early and recovered. Greencastle's problem with the roundball came in the third quarter and it couldn't recover.

With an aggressive defense, the Gaels took advantage of the opportunities they had and went on to post a 64-52 victory over Greencastle on Thursday night in the Gael Center.

Leading 24-21 at the break, Goretti (6-5) stormed to a 32-21 lead as it converted eight points off five Greencastle turnovers.

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"The one thing about (Goretti) is they make things different on defense and we didn't seem comfortable with it," said Greencastle coach Garon Gembe. "And that comes with the quickness they have."

After opening in a man-to-man defense, Goretti switched to a swarming, hand-hawking zone that paralyzed Greencastle (5-2), forcing the Blue Devils into 21 shots from behind the 3-point arc.

Despite eight of its 16 turnovers in the third quarter, Greencastle hung tough, down only 40-35 early in the final period after a basket by Jaren Gembe.

Then, Goretti went to work in conventional style over the next 1:05 of play, scoring nine points on three old-fashioned 3-pointers.

Kevin Breslin drove the lane and converted, Andrew Chambers responded with a putback and free throw and Gene Johnson collared a missed shot for a three-point play and the Gaels were back up 49-38, eventually streaking to a 58-41 lead with four minutes left.

"We didn't get a good, early start and that had to do with our spacing," said Goretti coach Cokey Robertson. "One of our goals was to outrebound someone, and we did a good job on the offensive boards."

Goretti hammered the Blue Devils 43-19 on the glass, pulling down 14 offensive rebounds, including nine from Johnson and six each from Ben Allencherry, Chambers and Breslin.

Johnson was benched with the game less than two minutes old and then settled down to score a game-high 17 points.

"I was rushing way too much too early," said Johnson, who also contributed four assists. "(Coach) wanted me to post down low, but when I got out on top I was able to look at the floor and they were overplaying us."

"We'll get Gene out top when we've got two guards in the game," said Robertson. "He hit some back doors with passes when he was out there. He likes to go up top anyway."

Breslin supported the offensive effort with 13 points and Allencherry continued his improvement with 10 points, giving Robertson reason to smile.

"We've needed additional scoring support, and those two played a very good game," said Robertson, also noting Logan Bolinger's nine-point effort off the bench. "Breslin and Bolinger did great jobs on the perimeter."

Jaron Gembe led Greencastle with 12 points and Daemetric Scott and Ty Thrush each added 11. Scott scored eight points in the last period and also led the Blue Devils with six rebounds.

"I'm not disappointed with the loss as much as I am with how we played overall, said Geron Gembe. "We tried to run set plays, but (Goretti) switches so well. That's why we play them ... to see the competition."

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