HAGERSTOWN —St. Maria Goretti coach Amrit Rayfield emerged from his postgame meeting with his players grinning after a 58-54 Gaels win over Calvert Hall on Wednesday night.
“We wanted to give the people their money’s worth,” Rayfield said after the Gaels nearly blew all of a 10-point lead before hanging on against the hard-charging Cardinals for the Baltimore Catholic League win.
“Calvert Hall is a team that doesn’t quit,” Rayfield said. “We knew they would not back down.”
Martin Geben and Tyrus Fleetwood each had four points in an 8-0 run in the third quarter that gave Goretti (13-7, 4-4) a 41-31 lead with 2:49 left in the period.
Behind Drew Edwards, the Cardinals (10-11, 2-6) gradually worked back into the mix with less than 60 seconds to play.
Edwards hit two free throws following a technical foul on Fleetwood, and made two additional free throws to cap the following possession and cut the margin to 56-52 with 43 seconds left.
After Ryan Grant missed the front end of a 1-and-1 at the line, Edwards went to the line for Calvert Hall and sank two more shots to make it 56-54 with 37 seconds left.
Goretti committed a turnover on the inbounds play, giving the Cardinals an opportunity to tie or win the game.
An off-balance shot by Edwards, who was heavily defended by Fleetwood, was well short of the mark. Geben grabbed the rebound and Isaiah Harris-Winn was fouled in transition. He calmly made both ends of his 1-and-1 opportunity with 2.5 seconds left for the final margin.
“When we got the lead, we stopped playing smart basketball,” Rayfield said. “We had fouls away from the ball and their scores were coming with time stopped on the clock.”
There were three early ties, but Goretti never trailed in beating Calvert Hall for the second time this season.
Ahead 27-26 as the first half neared its end, Goretti held off Calvert Hall with two baskets in the final seconds, both by Forest Buterbaugh, that gave the Gaels a 31-26 lead and kept their momentum going entering halftime.
Calvert Hall opened the game in a 1-3-1 matchup zone, hoping to keep the ball away from 6-foot-9 Martin Geben and force the Gaels to shoot from the outside.
But Geben hit a 3-pointer in the first quarter, then went inside to dominate with 22 points and 13 rebounds, adding to his list of double-doubles.
Harris-Winn added 11 points, Fleetwood had 10 and Buterbaugh scored all eight of his points in the second quarter, including two straight baskets that gave the Gaels a 21-17 lead.
Edwards had 15 points for Calvert Hall. Wesley Blackwell had 13 and Sean Mayberry scored 11.
JV: Calvert Hall, 52-49.
St. Maria Goretti 58, Calvert Hall 54
CALVERT HALL (10-11, 2-6)
Mayberry 11, Grace 2, Phoenix 4, Edwards 15, Rouse 3, Blackwell 13, Evans 5, Duckett 1. Totals 17 16-21 54.
ST. MARIA GORETTI (13-7, 4-4)
Fleetwood 10, Harris-Winn 11, Geben 22, Buterbaugh 8, Grant 3, Christensen 2, Akaya 2. Totals 23 9-16 58.
Calvert Hall 10 16 8 20 — 54
Goretti 13 18 14 13 — 58
3-point goals — Calvert Hall 4 (Edwards 3, Rouse), Goretti 3 (Harris-Winn, Geben, Grant). Fouled out — Evans, Akaya. Technical foul — Fleetwood.