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Gaels make the grade at Heritage

December 21, 2007|By CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

St. Maria Goretti high school students ended a stressful week of midterm exams Thursday.

Perhaps it was that tension that caused the Goretti girls basketball team to start slowly against host Heritage Academy on Thursday night, but it soon gave way and relief set in as the Gaels posted a 34-24 win.

"We came out flat in the first quarter," said Goretti coach Todd Rideout said. "In the second quarter, we started getting it on. We got some inside looks and tried to break the game open."

Goretti (5-3) went 1-for-8 from the field with 10 turnovers and trailed 4-2 after eight minutes. But the turnaround came quickly as the Gaels hit their first four shots of the second quarter and took a 14-7 lead with 4:36 left in the half.

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Senior center Sarah Spierenburg, who lost two offensive rebounds to jump balls in the opening quarter, responded with eight points in the second frame. She finished with team highs of 16 points, eight rebounds and five blocks.

"I started out kind of rough. On the first possession, I had the ball, got hit and lost it," Spierenburg said. "In the first quarter we were all really sluggish. In the second quarter we started getting cuts to the basket and we were seeing each other really well."

The Gaels hit 10 of 18 shots in the second and third quarters combined, and a 14-0 run in the third quarter extended their lead to 28-12 with 37 seconds left.

Senior forward Carrissa Grove helped man the inside and finished with 10 points. The Gaels beat Heritage for the second time this season and improved to 4-0 against the Mason Dixon Christian Conference.

"Both of our bigs came up big for us," Rideout said. "The difference between us and teams in this conference is we have the height. They have to rely on their guards and so we tried to contain them tonight."

The Gaels snapped Heritage's three-game winning streak, during which it averaged 60 points per game. Bri Dorsey led the Eagles with nine points, while Morgan McIntire chipped in with six to go with seven rebounds.

"(Goretti) is a tough team to score 60 against," said Heritage coach Ed Dorsey. "This was a real defensive struggle and I was pleased with our girls' performance in that respect. Our problem was turnovers. ... It was ugly. And we couldn't hit our free throws down the stretch."

Heritage (4-4) cut the score to 32-24 with 3:14 left in the game, but missed its last six free throws. The Eagles hit just 2 of 10 foul shots in the fourth quarter and finished 4-for-16, while committing 31 turnovers.

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