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Goretti hangs on to Mercersburg's number

January 17, 2008|By LARRY YANOS

The St. Maria Goretti boys basketball team completed the "hat trick" on Wednesday night at the Gael Center.

For the third time this season, the Gaels defeated Mercersburg Academy - but it didn't come easy.

This time it was 60-55 as John Duhring connected for 18 points and teammate Kevin Breslin added 15.

The Gaels hit seven 3-point baskets and made 11-of-19 foul shots but missed key free throws in the closing minutes, and an impatient offensive attack bothered coach Cokey Robertson.

"We played just good enough to win," Robertson said. "We're not being patient enough on offense and the missed foul shots at the end of the game could have really cost us. We need to play better.

"This game was similar to the other two. We won but things didn't come easy."

Goretti (8-9) jumped to an 11-8 first-quarter lead on Wednesday but struggled in the second period before a late flurry of points turned the game around.

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The Blue Storm (3-8) took a 22-17 advantage on Jordan Riley's two foul shots at the 2:18 mark, but then Goretti went to work.

Matisse Gaillard hit two foul shots, Brendan Engle added a bucket and Duhring swished a long 3-pointer in the closing seconds as the Gaels took a 24-22 halftime lead.

Duhring finished the first half with 11 points on three 3-pointers and two free throws, but he was held in check after intermission.

Mercersburg, while applying more defensive pressure, couldn't get its offense in gear the second half.

"It seemed every time we would score, they would match it," Mercersburg coach Mark Cubit said. "I thought we played hard, though, and fought to the end. This is only our fifth game back after a 17-day layoff and we're improving, I'm seeing progress. We just didn't finish the game like I would have liked."

Goretti enjoyed its biggest lead of the evening at 52-42 on Breslin's layup and foul shot with 2:37 remaining in the game, but Mercersburg refused to fold - exchanging baskets with the hosts right to the final buzzer.

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