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Gaels lose another lead, another game

February 08, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

St. Maria Goretti has held on to leads this season like they were holding a hot potato.

For at least the 10th time this season, the Gaels lost a reasonable cushion to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory as Bishop Walsh rallied from a 12-point deficit to snare a 60-59 decision over Goretti at the Gael Center.

"This is the most embarrassing loss for Goretti in a long time," said Gaels coach Cokey Robertson.

Logan Bolinger's baseline jumper at the horn went astray, leaving the Gaels (9-19) to wonder how they let the game get away, especially with a defense that hounded the Spartans into 26 turnovers.

"When you force 26 turnovers and can't win, it's sorry," said Robertson.

Even with senior Gene Johnson missing the game with a thumb injury and Andrew Chambers playing sick, the Gaels clicked in the first 16 minutes. They raced to an early 18-7 lead as Kevin Breslin's six points and Dan Toft's only five points of the night put Goretti in a commanding position with a 31-19 lead at halftime.

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Bishop Walsh (9-12) began to whittle away at the deficit with eight points in the first 90 seconds of the third quarter.

The Spartans were 8 of 13 from the floor as Travis Peck and Nathan Harriott started hitting some shots from the outside, which opened up the middle for Milan Travinovic, a 6-foot-8 import from Yugloslavia.

Bishop Walsh took a 43-41 lead 15 seconds into the final period when Peck hit an NBA-length 3-pointer, but Goretti stayed tough and held a 55-49 lead with 2:27 remaining as Breslin hit a trey and Kevin Brashears nailed two free throws.

"We started (Travinovic) up high in the second half, and when (Peck and Harriott) hit some outside shots, we were able to drop the big guy down low," said Bishop Walsh coach Gene Paul. "I think they lost track of him when we did."

Goretti led 59-56 with 30 seconds remaining before Harriott cut the lead to one. After a Goretti turnover, Travinovic dumped in the winning bucket with 7.2 seconds remaining.

"We've only won nine games now this year, but this is by far the biggest," said Paul.

Bishop Walsh outrebounded Goretti 7-1 in the fourth quarter and held a 34-20 advantage in the game, with 10 coming from Travinovic. Peck, Harriott and Travinovic each had 17 points.

"I can't count the games we've given away," said Robertson. "It would have been nice to have (Johnson) to match up with their big guy and Andrew probably shouldn't have played at all.

"We just went completely bonkers," he added. "I take nothing away from their effort, but we let them get confidence in the second half."

Breslin led the Gaels with 18 points, hitting 8 of 11 from the field. Brashears contributed 15 and Chambers had 12.

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