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Applemen's core game plan dismantles Gaels

January 08, 2008|By CONNER GILBERT / Staff Correspondent

After a 10-day layoff, it would be easy to assume that No. 5 Musselman might stumble out of the gate in their Apple Valley League matchup against No. 7 St. Maria Goretti on Monday night.

But the Applemen showed more rest than rust, looking sharp from the start in a 67-28 win over Goretti at the Gael Center.

"We had our three best practices of the season last week," said Musselman coach Mike Marsh. "It's tough to not keep up a game rhythm, but we committed ourselves to starting the second half of the season well."

Musselman (7-2, 1-1) opened with a 6-0 run, courtesy of a trio of layups by Morgan Harms, Lacey Williams and Nikki Stephenson. The Applemen never looked back, cruising to a 32-14 halftime lead.

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Musselmen applied full-court pressure for much of the game, forcing the Gaels into 22 turnovers.

"The pressure defense is our style and we have a nice combination of athletes running it," said Marsh. "They have grown into what we want to do defensively."

Musselman outscored Goretti 35-14 in the second half, including a 14-1 run to open the third quarter. Williams finished with a game-high 20 points, while Stephenson scored 14 and Harms had 13.

Meanwhile, Goretti (8-5, 0-3), which had won of four of its last five games, struggled to find consistency.

"They came out on all cylinders, they shot well and they lived off our turnovers," said Goretti coach Todd Rideout. "We just couldn't get any scores back-to-back."

One bright spot for Goretti was senior center Sarah Spierenburg, who scored 13 points to go along with seven rebounds, four steals, and two blocks. But in the end, the Gaels were unable to overcome their early miscues.

"Our league is so competitive that once a team gets you down, they keep you down," said Rideout. "We came out with a lack of intensity and they kept pouring it on."

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