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Goretti's last point stands up as Saints run out of time

December 02, 2011|By TIM KOELBLE | koelble@herald-mail.com
  • St. Maria Goretti's Gavin Rajahpillay, right, makes a strong move to get around Saint James' Alec Wheeler on Friday during the first half of the Gaels' 55-54 victory.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Forrest Buterbaugh hit the second of two free throws with 26.4 seconds remaining to give St. Maria Goretti a 55-54 lead over Saint James on Friday night.

No one in the Gael Center thought that would be the final point of the night, but it was after Goretti held off a final flurry by the Saints in the paint to pull off a come-from-behind victory.

Three times, Saint James’ Avery Wilmore had opoortunities in the paint that could have put his team ahead, but Goretti’s crashing defense made it tough for the senior guard to get off a good shot.

The final miss went over the rim and into the hands of Martin Gebens with 1.2 seconds remaining to spark a Goretti celebration.

“I trust the ball in Avery’s hands 110 percent,” said Saint James coach Paul Easton, making his debut. “I can live with the shots. We thought he created contact that wasn’t called.”

Goretti (4-2, 2-0 IPSL) scored the final five points in the final minute to pull out the victory.

The Gaels, who trailed 54-49 after the Saints’ Nnamdi Enechionyia scored, began their rally on a Buterbaugh basket off an assist from Gavin Rajahpillay.

Rajahpillay was fouled while driving for a basket with 47 seconds remaining and converted for a conventional three-point play to tie the game at 54-54.

After Wilmore missed inside, Buterbaugh was fouled on a move to the basket, which led him to make the second attempt in the two-shot foul, which was the final margin of victory.

Saint James appeared ready to chase Goretti out of its own building from the opening tipoff.

Enechionyia, a 6-5 junior guard, scored 10 points in rapid-fire order and the Saints had a 16-2 lead with three minutes still to play in the opening quarter.

“We came out fast and energetic,” said Easton. “We just didn’t adapt to their defensive change.”

Goretti coach Amrit Rayfield used two timeouts to stem the Saints’ run.

“The first time I told them to ‘wake up’ and the second time to ‘take a deep breath’” said Rayfield. “I never saw a look in their eyes that said they could not come back.”

The Gaels switched from man to 1-3-1 zone defense, which worked effectively.

“(Saint James) started settling for jump shots and we got some buckets off the defense,” said Rayfield.

Gorreti came back and closed to within 28-25 at the half as Buterbaugh came off the bench to score six points in the second quarter.

“(Buterbaugh) comes off the bench and he helps energize, keep things alive,” said Rayfield.

Goretti took its first lead at 29-28 on a putback by Martin Geben off a miss by Yannick Zanfack in the first minute of the third period.

A 3-pointer by Emmett Orfan gave the Saints a 52-49 lead with 1:25 left, followed by a jumper from Enechionyia before Goretti rallied down the stretch.

“We showed some mental toughness,” said Rayfield.

Geben had 13 points and 11 rebounds for Goretti, while Buterbaugh finished with 12 points and eight rebounds. Guard Tyrus Fleetwood went scoreless but dished out nine assists and Rajahpillay had six assists.

“It’s disappointing to not get the first win, but we played hard,” said Easton.

Enechionyia finished with 17 points and seven rebounds, freshman guard Fred Slater had 13 points and Orfan added 10, along with eight rebounds.

Goretti 55, Saint James 54
SAINT JAMES (0-1)
N. Enechionyia 7 3-3 17, Wilmore 2 0-0 5, Wheeler 1 1-3 4, Orfan 4 0-0 10, Slater 5 0-0 13, O. Enechionyia 1 0-0 3, Thompson 1 0-0 2. Totals 21 4-6 54.
ST. MARIA GORETTI (4-2)
Fleetwood 1 0-0 2, Rajahpillay 2 1-3 5, Geben 5 2-2 13, Zanfack 3 1-2 8, King 4 1-1 9, Buterbaugh 5 2-5 12, Proctor 2 0-0 6. Totals 22 7-13 55.
Saint James    21    7    14    12    —    54
Goretti    10    15    15    15    —    55
3-point goals—Saint James 8 (Wilmore, Wheeler, Orfan 2, Slater 3, O. Enechionyia); Goretti 4 (Geben, Zanfack, Proctor 2). JV—Goretti 53-30 (SJ: Conner Abeles 8, G: Mikail Zoretich 12).

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