Gaels pull in reins on Blue Storm

January 15, 2009|By JACK HILL III

St. Maria Goretti weathered Mercersburg Academy's heat to create a hot spell of its own.

As a result, Gaels defeated the Blue Storm 48-39 on Wednesday night in a private high school boys basketball game at the Gael Center.

"I will credit Mercersburg for making their run at us," St. Maria Goretti coach Chad Brashears said. "But I will credit us for staying confident and taking care of the basketball down the stretch.

"We were able to knock down some big foul shots. We countered back with every punch that they threw at us."


Goretti (5-14) led 29-18 at the end of the third quarter behind a pair of 3-pointers from Tyler Sterling.

But the Blue Storm (3-9) opened the fourth quarter with eight consecutive points to narrow the gap to 29-26 with 4:51 remaining.

After that, the Gaels took control of the game by outscoring the Blue Storm 19-13 the rest of the way to pull out the win. Point guard Nic Martin scored 10 of the Gaels' 19 final points.

"It wasn't the greatest game, but we all focused on what we had to do," Martin said.

Martin finished with 16 points, including a 7-for-8 performance from the foul line, and four assists. Stephon Berry collected 15 rebounds, 10 points and four blocked shots and Sterling had 10 points for the Gaels.

"That was probably Stephon Berry's best board game of the season," Brashears said. "We wanted to limit them to one shot. Stephon was able to do a nice job on the defensive boards. We were then able to turn our defense into offense."

The Gaels made 12 of their 16 free throws.

Taylor Dunn chalked up 17 points, Nigel van Oostrum got 12 points and Cam Banta grabbed seven rebounds for the Blue Storm.

"We didn't make layups," Mercersburg Academy coach Mark Cubit said. "That was the bottom line."

In the JV game, Mercersburg Academy came back from a 26-16 halftime deficit and got a game-winning basket by Chris Atkinson with two seconds left to edge St. Maria Goretti 39-37.

Goretti 48, Mercersburg 39

Dunn 17, Oostrum 12, Muller 2, Jefferson 4, Banta 4. Totals 16 3-8 39.
Wilkinson 4, Martin 16, Murray 4, Engle 4, Berry 10, Sterling 10. Totals 16 12-16 48.
Mercersburg 5 5 8 21 -- 39
St. Maria Goretti 2 12 15 19 -- 48

3-point goals -- Mercersburg Academy 4 (Dunn 3, Oostrum). St. Maria Goretti 4 (Wilkinson, Martin, Sterling 2). JV: Mercersburg Academy 39-37. (Mercersburg: Sam Elwood -- 10 points. St. Maria Goretti: Jordan Fortson -- 14 points.)

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