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Gaels' big man sinks bigger shots vs. Warriors

December 08, 2007|By DAN KAUFFMAN

The tallest player on Cokey's Court on Friday night was also the guy with the best shooting touch.

St. Maria Goretti forward John Duhring - all 6 feet, 6 inches of him - did most of his damage away from the basket. He made five 3-pointers - four of them in the fourth quarter - and finished with 28 points as the Gaels built a big halftime lead, then needed Duhring's hot hand to hold off hard-charging Boonsboro for a 76-54 victory.

"I'd gone to the bench, and when I went back in, I started running the floor and we started moving the ball and playing our game," Duhring said. "I got open and hit a couple shots and it started to flow."

"John got his confidence and felt it," said Goretti coach Cokey Robertson. "He was unbelievable in the fourth quarter. He was fantastic."

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Goretti (2-1) made it look easy in the first half. The Gaels forced the Warriors (0-1) into 16 first-half turnovers, while Duhring scored 11 points and Stephon Berry added 12 in the half as Goretti raced to leads of 21-8 after one quarter and 43-24 at halftime.

"We were our own worst enemy with our turnovers," said Warriors coach Dave Scaggs, who was making his debut at Boonsboro.

But the teams changed roles at the start of the third quarter. Suddenly it was the Warriors who were playing with intensity - forcing five Goretti turnovers and ripping off a 12-3 run on the way winning the quarter 17-6 to cut the Gaels' lead to 49-41. Seth Poffenberger scored nine of his 13 points in the quarter, nailing a pair of 3s.

"He's your typical (small forward), he can do a bit of everything - shoot, rebound, defend and run the court," Scaggs said.

"Give them credit, they didn't fold their tent," Robertson said. "They came out hard and we lost our concentration. We thought we had it won, we weren't focused and we couldn't afford to take plays off."

But the Gaels regrouped and made eight of their first 10 shots in the fourth quarter to put away the Warriors, who had eight more turnovers in the quarter and 29 overall.

Berry finished with 14 points and nine rebounds for Goretti, and his physical presence inside allowed Duhring to punish Boonsboro's collapsing defense with his range.

"It's great having that size. We go 6-4, 6-5 and 6-6 and it lets me play small forward and slip outside," Duhring said.

Kevin Breslin also had 14 points and Mitch Belella added five rebounds and five steals for the Gaels.

Shane Zbir matched Poffenberger for team-high honors with 13 points for Boonsboro. Zbir, a 6-4 forward, used his length and athleticism to block four shots. Nico Wanko had six rebounds and Colby Burker added five boards.

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