By BOB PARASILITI
11:11 PM EST, December 21, 2012
Martin Geben lives in the moment.
That’s a good thing for St. Maria Goretti’s center. He had a lot of them on Friday.
Geben dominated the center of the floor, with 20 points and 21 rebounds in less than 25 minutes of playing time, as the Gaels jumped on Mount Carmel early and steadily pulled away for a 79-59 Baltimore Catholic League victory.
If that’s considered dominant, Geben didn’t notice.
“I don’t look at it like that,” said the 6-foot-9 junior. “I just work possession by possession and try to play 35 seconds of defense. It all depends on effort.”
Geben gave the effort, but everyone else did the noticing.
Mt. Carmel was too undersized and undermanned to handle the Gaels (8-5, 2-2) in the paint. Goretti came out of the blocks smoothly — and according to plan — to take the game from the very beginning.
“That’s was the first thing we told them,” said Goretti coach Amrit Rayfield, pointing to “Jump on them early” written at the bottom of his scouting report. “We wanted to get out to a good start and then play intense and play hard.”
The Gaels went right at the Cougars from the start and then allowed Geben to join in at his own pace.
Tyrus Fleetwood drove the lane for the Gaels first basket and Forest Buterbaugh got fouled on a strong move and hit one of two free throws, the second rebounded and put back by Geben to set the tone for the game.
Goretti jumped out to a 15-6 lead and settled for an 18-13 advantage by the end of the first quarter. Mt. Carmel scored seven of its points in the final minute to stay close.
The two teams sparred evenly to open the second quarter with Geben on the bench. Once he returned, the Gaels took off again because the Cougars couldn’t match his size and strength inside.
“Martin, with his size, strength and experience, was a good matchup for us tonight,” Rayfield said. “He does a lot of the dirty work for us and he communicates well.”
Goretti ran off a 14-7 run in the final 5:13 of the half once Geben re-entered. Fleetwood hit a pair of baskets — including a 3 — and Geben took over the inside, then popped out for a 3 of his own for good measure to finish with 11 points and 14 rebounds in the first half.
Mt. Carmel made a run to start the third quarter, getting as close as 43-32 with 3:18 to go in the period.
“(Mt. Carmel) is that kind of team,” Rayfield said. “They are scrappy and they run and jump. It was the type of game that we could be leading by 30 or by less than 10 in a matter of minutes.”
Goretti closed on a 12-8 run behind Tobias Christensen and Ameka Akaya to maintain a 15-point, 55-40 lead.
Goretti’s lead was up to 20 — 67-47 — by the time Geben left the game for the final time with 4:11 remaining. The Gaels played the Cougars even the rest of the way.
Christensen finished with 14 points — including three of Goretti’s eight 3s — to go with six assists for the Gaels, while Fleetwood finished with 15. Geben added four assists and four blocked shots.
Brian Cunningham led Mt. Carmel with 12 points.
Goretti 79, Mount Carmel 59
MOUNT CARMEL (3-6, 0-5)
Rhodes 10, Groom 11, Smith 8, Poli 6, Cunningham 12, Webb 8, Erebor 4. Totals 20 14-20 59.
ST. MARIA GORETTI (8-5, 2-2)
Fleetwood 15, Stewart 4, Blenckstone 3, Shaper 9, Heffle 1, Geben 20, Akaya 10, Buterbaugh 3, Christensen 14. Totals 29 13-21 79.
Mt. Carmel 13 9 18 19 — 59
Goretti 18 20 17 24 — 79
3-point goals — Mount Carmel 5 (Cunningham 3, Groom 2), Goretti 8 (Christensen 4, Shaper 2, Fleetwood, Blenckstone, Geben). Technical foul — Poli.
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