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Bulldogs warm up to wear out Gaels

February 21, 2007|by TIM KOELBLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Maybe it took the No. 4 Martinsburg boys basketball team time to get reacquainted with the surroundings of their own gym.

Playing for the one and only time at home since Jan. 23, the Bulldogs looked a little antiquated in the first half of their game against St. Maria Goretti on Tuesday.

However, a little comfort set in - along with a chat from coach Dave Rogers at halftime - and that combination ignited the charcoals as the Bulldogs heated up to roast the Gaels 66-39 on Senior Night.

"We had a little talk at the half. We talked about a lot of 1-on-1 play in the first half and what (the players) wanted to accomplish," said Rogers after his Bulldogs took a page out of football star Josh Twyman's playbook, running roughshod up and down the court in the second half.

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Martinsburg (14-5) tickled the twine on 18 of 25 2-pointers and 2 of 3 behind the arc in the second half, shooting 71 percent overall to easily break away from a 19-18 halftime lead established when Brandon Cato picked the pocket of Goretti's Kevin Breslin for a goal and the lead at the end of the first half.

Senior Q'Monte Matheny was the catalyst in the third period when the Bulldogs outscored Goretti, 23-6. Matheny alone more than doubled Goretti's output, netting 13 of his game-high 17 points in his best outing since returning from a broken ankle.

"We took some of (Rogers') speech to heart," said Matheny, who hit 4 of 5 deuces and a 3-pointer in the period. "We came out with much more intensity in the second half."

Even though the Bulldogs were heating up, Goretti (11-19) was still within four at 28-24 with 4:55 left in the period before the Bulldogs put the clamps down with their 2-3 zone and torrid shooting.

A 14-0 run to finish the period, including two free throws and a three-point play by Mathney, gave Martinsburg a 42-24 lead entering the fourth.

"I think we as coaches could have scored 19 points in 16 minutes," said Rogers. "We were taking wild shots in the first half and Goretti was being very patient. We'd get a possession and go and shoot after one pass."

Junior Alvin Brown took center stage in the fourth period as the 6-foot-7 center knocked down 11 of his 14 points for the Bulldogs. Isaac Thornton added 11 points.

"We just dissolved after halftime," said Goretti coach Cokey Robertson. "Someone turned on the lights for them. We controlled the first half but I thought when Cato picks (Kevin) ... that was a big play."

Logan Bolinger hit a pair of 3s in the fourth period and finished as Goretti's lone scorer in double figures with 10. Breslin, averaging nearly 15 points per game, started with a six-point first period but ended with only nine.

Martinsburg's hot second half led to an overall 57 percent shooting effort (28 of 49), while the Gaels hit 17 of 47 (36 percent).

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