St. Maria Goretti High junior Martin Geben figured to be a problem for Delone Catholic High, and he was.
The 6-foot-9 exchange student from Lithuania scored 19 points and hauled down 10 rebounds to lead the Gaels to a 49-38 victory in boys' basketball action Saturday night in Sonny Sheppard Gym in McSherrystown.
Geben shot 6-of-14 from the field and made 7-of-8 from the charity stripe to lead all scorers.
"He's excellent. He moves so strong and has great touch," Delone head coach Jim Dooley said of Geben. "He had some great post moves that you don't see from a high school kid.
"I wouldn't be surprised at all if he's a pro one day."
Despite being significantly outsized, the Squires hung tough for the first 3 1/2 quarters and trailed 37-34 when Andrew Austin scored his only hoop of the evening with 6:33 left.
Goretti (14-7) started the decisive run on the ensuing possession when Tyrus Fleetwood made a beautiful pass to Toby Christensen for a layup with 5:34 remaining. Positioned on the left wing, Christensen found himself being overplayed by his defender and he made a backdoor cut. Fleetwood found him wide open under the basket.
That started a 6-0 run that saw the Squires go scoreless for more than five minutes before Brett Smith finally ended the drought with 58 seconds left.
"Even though we lost, I thought we played great tonight," Dooley said. "We were very patient on offense, but they're a very talented team and they have a lot of size and ability."
Delone (8-7) found itself in an early 14-5 hole before cutting the lead to 18-14 after the opening period.
A slow second quarter by both squads saw the visitors take a 25-19 advantage to the locker room with Geben scoring all seven of his team's points in the frame.
The Squires cut the deficit to one point on three occasions in the third quarter before Geben's bucket with 2:55 to play in the quarter put Goretti in front, 35-32.
After a pair of empty possessions by both teams, Delone held the ball for the final two minutes of the stanza, but Jake Wiles' baseline jumper right before the quarter horn was off the mark, and the Gaels went to the fourth quarter ahead by three.
"We held the ball at the end of the second and third quarters to try to avoid fouling," Dooley said. "Both times, we got good shots out of it. Unfortunately they didn't go down either time."
Devon Moore led the way for the Squires with 15 points and Smith added 14. However, the rest of the squad combined to shoot just 3-of-17 from the field and Delone was outrebounded, 34-11.
Forrest Buterbaugh, a 6-foot-5 senior, contributed to the Squires' deficit on the glass as he hauled down 11 boards to go with his eight points, and Fleetwood registered 16 points and five assists.
ST. MARIA GORETTI (49)
Tyrus Fleetwood 6 4-4 16, Grant 0 2-2 2, Harris-Winn 0 0-0 0, Shaper 0 0-0 0, Martin Geben 6 7-8 19, Akaya 1 0-0 2, Buterbaugh 4 0-0 8, Christensen 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 13-14 49.
DELONE CATHOLIC (38)
Brett Smith 6 2-4 14, Devon Moore 5 2-4 15, Wiles 1 2-2 5, Austin 1 0-0 2, Orndorff 1 0-1 2, Kilkelly 0 0-0 0, Altland 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 6-11 38.
St. Maria Goretti 18 7 10 14 -- 49
Delone Catholic 14 5 13 6 -- 38
3-point goals -- Delone Catholic 4 (Moore 3, Wiles).
JV score -- Delone Catholic 55, St. Maria Goretti 50.