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'Dogs get over hump to dump Gaels

December 28, 2005|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Martinsburg coach Dave Rogers couldn't understand at halftime how his team wouldn't be excited about playing in its own tournament, on its own floor, hoping to be in the championship game.

His worries were scuttled as Martinsburg turned a 360 with a powerful second half for a 68-53 victory over St. Maria Goretti in the nightcap of the Bulldog Classic.

The win put the Bulldogs (3-0) into tonight's title game against Wheeling Park, a fortunate victor over Jefferson in the opener 55-52 despite a whopping 32 turnovers. They'll meet after Goretti and Jefferson square off in the consolation game at 6 p.m.

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"I'm not sure why we were like we were in the first half," said Rogers. "It's your own tourney and we acted as if we weren't even there. We got more aggressive in the second half with our size and quickness."

With Andre Hornes going scoreless and Goretti controlling the first half with its patience, the Bulldogs were in la-la land. Only Emile Payne's nine points kept the Bulldogs within 25-23 at the half.

"(Goretti) was very patient and that, I think, was our downfall in the first half," said Rogers.

"They came out an ran us to death in the second half," said Goretti coach Cokey Robertson. "We controlled with patience, dictated the tempo, and then lost our legs. If they had one, they had 10 uncontested baskets in the second half."

Tied 31-31, Hornes woke up and teamed with Q'Monte Matheny and the Bulldogs worked both ends of the floor, working smoothly in transition and leaving Goretti (6-6) with one shot attempt per possession.

Matheny hit two field goals and Hornes one and the Bulldogs led 37-31, increased it to 44-35 at the end of three periods and t

Hornes hit for eight points, Matheny had five and the Bulldogs hit 9 of 14 (19 of 28 in the second half) to deny the Gaels.

Hornes ended with 16, Matheny had 15 and Jordan Jackson and Payne each had 11. Hornes had 10 rebounds.

Andrew Chambers led three Gaels in double figures with 14 points. Gene Johnson, saddled with three personal fouls in the first half, ended with 11 points and Ben Allencherry added 10.

- "We were a day late and a dollar short on everything," said Jefferson coach Bob Starkey after his troops failed to take advantage of 32 turnovers by Wheeling Park (2-2).

"We weren't quick at all, everyone was waiting for Josh (Brown) to score and we didn't get any second chances on the boards," said Starkey.

Despite a start in which Jefferson did not tally its first goal until 3 minutes remained in the first half, the Cougars hung tough through the first half before Wheeling Park took a 31-24 advantage.

The Patriots offset their turnover woes in the third period to fashion a 40-29 lead before Ryland Newman began to put a charge into the Cougars with consecutive steals for two baskets. In the bridge to the fourth period, Newman hit a trey, Vance Hosby had three buckets in the paint and Brown hit a deuce and then, Hosby a free throw to tie the game 52-52 with 1:50 to play.

Then, Wheeling Park's miscues became those of Jefferson's. The Cougars had two turnovers, Wheeling Park's Daree Goodwin made good on a bucket and then a free throw with 2 seconds left before a final desperation heave by Brown bounced off the rim.

"Too many turnovers (21) ... Ryland had six, Josh had six," said Starkey. "We weren't quick, didn't have any second chances and (Wheeling Park's) height bothered us some."

Hosby had 14 points and 10 rebounds to lead Jefferson and Brown added 13. Goodwin led Wheeling Park with 18 points and Sean Thomas contributed 17. Wheeling Park hit 23 of 39 for 61 percent.

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