HAGERSTOWN —Brady Shaper and AJ Abolarin were part of an all-senior starting lineup for St. Maria Goretti against Williamsport on Friday night as the Gaels honored them for playing their last home game.
Both were instrumental in the initial stages of the contest en route to a 74-38 Goretti landslide victory.
Shaper drained three 3-pointers in the first period and Abolarin, a 5-foot-8 seldom-used guard, hit his first 3-pointer of the year to give him double digits for points scored this season.
“That was all coaching,” Goretti coach Amrit Rayfield mused about Abolarin’s goal. “He had an assist on (Shaper’s) first goal. He’s the kind of kid that works his tail off every day. I’m glad for him.”
Williamsport had its only lead of the night at 12-11 as Sterling Christy came out like gangbusters attacking the bucket, scoring eight points to fuel the move to the lead.
Shaper’s second 3-pointer gave the Gaels (21-11) a 14-12 lead with just over two minutes left in the first quarter and he hit another seconds later as part of 10-0 run to give the Gaels a 21-14 lead after the first break.
Despite a rough first half with 10 turnovers, Goretti maintained its lead at 32-22 heading to the break, thanks in part to senior Forest Buterbaugh, who had six points and pulled down six rebounds in the quarter, part of his team-leading 13 rebounds.
“We had a rough first half trying to force some things, but in the third quarter we just came out, quit trying to grab at everything defensively,” Rayfield said. “We had more discipline in the second half.”
And Goretti added more punch on offense.
Still with a 36-26 lead, Goretti slammed the door on Williamsport (12-9) with a 13-0 run in the third quarter, starting with a bucket by senior Tyrus Fleetwood and six straight points by Martin Geben, including a pair of slam dunks.
“Our defense helped get our offense at a pace in our favor,” Rayfield said.
Fleetwood led the Gaels with 17 points and Geben produced 15 in about 12 minutes of play, along with seven rebounds.
Goretti shot 72 percent on 13 of 18 in the first half and finished 29 of 50 for 58 percent. The Gaels also controlled the rebounding, 39-19.
Christy had a game-high 21 points and Nick Johnson had 10 points and eight rebounds for the Wildcats.
“We hung around but I thought (Goretti’s) defensive intensity in the third quarter really hurt us,” Williamsport coach Scott Mowbray said. “In the end their athleticism took over. We had good inside looks early in the game but their overall size hurt.”
NOTE: Goretti’s 21st win matched their highest win total since the 2001-02 season.
Goretti 74, Williamsport 38
Christy 21, Seibert 4, Johnson 10, Crabtree 2, Baylor 1. Totals 13 12-19 38.
Fleetwood 17, Grant 2, Abolarin 3, Harris-Winn 6, Stewart 2, Buterbaugh 8, Akaya 4, Geben 15, Shaper 9, Christensen 6, Blenckstone 2. Totals 29 10-21 74.
Williamsport 14 8 6 10 — 38
Goretti 21 11 19 23 — 74
3-point goals—Goretti 6 (Shaper 3, Christensen 2, Abolarin).