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Goretti races past Williamsport

February 27, 2008|By LARRY YANOS

WILLIAMSPORT - The St. Maria Goretti boys basketball team presented retiring coach Cokey Robertson with his 779th career win with the Gaels on Tuesday night, defeating No. 5 Williamsport, 59-44.

The Gaels (13-18), who connected on 14 of 15 foul shots and played an aggressive defense en route to the triumph, raced to a 26-19 halftime lead, pushed the advantage to 45-28 after three periods and then held off a late Williamsport spurt.

While Robertson was pleased with the triumph, he didn't like what he witnessed in the late going.

"We made 10 turnovers in the fourth quarter and made some bad decisions to allow them back in the game," Robertson said. "We were playing like we were behind instead of ahead. We didn't take care of the basketball. There was no need to rush."

After trailing by as many as 17 points in the final stanza, the Wildcats (18-4) made a determined run in the late going.

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Senior guard A.J. Jamison drilled home two 3-point shots, Greg Minnick added a layup and it was suddenly a 51-44 game with 2:45 remaining.

Goretti, however, remained calm and scored the last eight points to win in convincing fashion.

"We played hard but we had a bad third quarter, offensively. We couldn't hit anything," Williamsport coach Scott Mowbray said. "Then trying to climb back took a lot out of us. I can't fault the effort. We played hard, but St. Maria hit the shots in the late going. I'm still proud of the guys, finishing the regular season with an 18-4 record."

Senior John Duhring led Goretti with 17 points - one of four Gaels in double figures.

Clutch foul shooting and an aggressive defense were the keys to victory for Goretti.

"We changed up our defenses a lot, tried to give them different looks and keep them off balance," Robertson said.

Minnick, a senior, directed the Williamsport offensive attack with 18 points, but was the lone Wildcats scorer in double figures.

Goretti hosts Bishop Walsh on Friday at 7:15 p.m. at the Gael Center. It will be Robertson's final home game as head coach.

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