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Gaels close season on high note

February 23, 2006|by JACK HILL III / Staff Correspondent

ST. JAMES - The St. Maria Goretti girls basketball team took advantage of its opportunities at the free throw line Wednesday, making 13 of their 17 foul shots in the fourth quarter to take a 40-28 victory over St. James in the season finale for both teams at Alumni Hall.

"It was a good win for us, because it was the last game of the season," St. Maria Goretti coach Todd Rideout said. "It got down to the fourth quarter where we had to make foul shots. We shot about 70 percent from the foul line during the fourth quarter."

For the game, the Gaels were 19-for-26 from the charity stripe.

Goretti senior Erin Haney went out in style by contributing nine points in her final high school game, including 4-for-4 from the foul line in the final minute of the game to pad the Gaels' cushion.

"It feels really nice," Haney said. "It was a good win. Since they beat us last time, we really wanted to come in here and get a win. I just wanted to cap off my career by making those four foul shots. I knew that if they put me at the line, then I would make them. I hadn't scored in the second half, so I wanted to finish off good."

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Goretti (14-17) had a 16-14 halftime lead, but the Gaels started the third quarter with an 8-2 run to widen the gap to 24-16. Spierenburg got six of the Gaels' eight points in that scoring spurt.

Spierenburg finished with 10 points, three blocked shots and three steals. Kathleen Costello added seven rebounds for the Gaels.

Leila Chouai had 10 points and seven rebounds, while freshman center Fatimah Jefferson collected 12 rebounds and four steals for St. James (8-16). Heather Lowery grabbed nine rebounds and Hannah Palin had seven rebounds.

"I think that our kids played hard," St. James coach Robin Curley said. "I think that we gave 102 percent effort in the game. We just had a lot of turnovers. St. Maria Goretti crashed the boards well and they got a lot of offensive rebounds."

St. James beat the Gaels 46-44 last month at Goretti.

Haney said that the Gaels did all of the necessary things to defeat the Saints.

"I think that our defense stepped up in the second half," Haney added. "We got the ball inside to Sarah Spierenburg more in the second half and that helped us."

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