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Goretti stuns Martinsburg

February 08, 2008|By TIM KOELBLE

There seemed to be no reason to surmise that St. Maria Goretti had a chance to beat Martinsburg in boys basketball Thursday night.

After all, both teams were on six-game streaks -- Martinsburg to the positive and Goretti to the negative.

But that's why the game is played.

And when it was over, Goretti (11-16) had changed both streaks with a commanding 60-47 victory over the Bulldogs at the Gael Center, giving retiring coach Cokey Robertson his 777th career win at Goretti.

"Maybe I should go to Charles Town tonight and bet 7-7-7," mused Robertson after his team had thoroughly dismantled the No. 3 Bulldogs (15-4). "It was our most enjoyable victory of the year."

The Gaels had Martinsburg reeling from the opening tip, boosted tremendously by a lineup change that included sophomore Nic Martin, who made his presence felt immediately and finished with a career-high 12 points.

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In the first 1:32 of the game, Martin had two rebounds, two assists and one bucket as the Gaels took a quick 8-0 lead. He later scored another basket in transition and John Duhring followed with a 3-pointer to give the Gaels a 17-6 lead.

"I was nervous starting," said Martin. "I just wanted to be patient, play hard defense and help us out. We all know our roles here."

"We thought (Nic) could give us some energy and quickness out of the five spot," Robertson said. "We were getting zilch there. Nic lit the fire the first two minutes."

When it seemed things couldn't get worse for Martinsburg, they did.

The Bulldogs had three turnovers to open the second quarter and Goretti made them pay for each, using a 14-2 run to take an amazing 31-8 lead with 4:12 left before halftime. Goretti led 33-17 at the break.

Martinsburg began to show life on offense behind Isaac Thornton and Michael Cole and sliced the deficit to 35-27 early in the third, but Goretti stood its ground. A 3-pointer by Mitch Belella and a conventional three-point play by Kevin Breslin left the Gaels with a 45-29 lead heading into the final quarter.

Even with the big lead, Robertson knew it was far from over.

"I knew it wasn't done, especially when it got under 10 points," he said. "But we got some good shots off and played defense."

The Bulldogs scored six straight points to start the the fourth, but Martin hit two free throws and Duhring released in transition for a slam dunk. Duhring hit two more buckets and Goretti went 6 of 7 at the line in the final 3:10 to hold on for its biggest win of the year.

"Downright embarrassing at times," Martinsburg coach Dave Rogers said. "They were better in every phase of the game. They shot better and they were quicker than us."

Duhring finished with a game-high 19 points and Breslin and Belella each added 11 for the Gaels. Breslin had 10 rebounds.

Thornton led Martinsburg with 15 points, all but two coming in the second half. Cole added nine points and a team-high eight rebounds.

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