Twin bill leads Wootton girls’ basketball into Montgomery 4A title race

Host B.J. Koubaroulis runs through the top plays from high school basketball games in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. (Nick Plum for Synthesis/Koubaroulis LLC./The Washington Post)
January 14, 2013

In Wootton’s narrow 56-53 win over Bethesda-Chevy Chase on Friday, Coach Maggie Dyer received a glimpse of both the past and the future. The flashback Dyer remembered, vividly, was watching twins Ellie and Cece Kobylski play basketball as seven year-olds in gyms around the area – often at the Sportsplex in Germantown – inseparable siblings who were born just an hour apart, and who shared an infatuation for the game.

They are still students of the game, years later, and that was key Friday. The twins are now sophomore starters on Dyer’s Wootton squad, and their breakthrough moment came against the Barons (4-7, 1-4). The duo accounted for 43 of Wootton’s 56 points (Ellie poured in a career-high 27 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter) and the Patriots (10-3, 3-2) rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit to stay in the Montgomery 4A South hunt.

“We needed something. . . to spark our intensity,” Ellie Kobylski said of Bethesda- Chevy Chase’s upset bid. “We started to pick each other up.”

The twins’ styles are different, with Cece being more guard-oriented, and their own internal competition isn’t always “friendly.” But after enduring a rough freshman campaign in which both started on an 8-16 team, the Kobylski twins are starting to learn how to pick each other up at a time when Wootton really needs it. The Patriots earned a decisive 10-point win over Whitman (9-3, 3-2) in a 4A South showdown early last week, but have been missing senior captain Sophie Ellis (9.8 ppg) for several weeks due to a sprained ankle. The hope, Dyer said, is to have the four-year starter back within a week and in time for Wootton’s matchup at league-leader Walter Johnson (10-3, 4-1) on Jan. 22 — a game which could have serious implications on the league title chase.

“Our division. . . I think it’s the toughest division out of all the 4As,” Dyer said.

A year ago, Dyer had no seniors in her starting lineup and only trusted Ellis to run the point, which was an unnatural position for the forward. Dyer is a self-professed “basketball junkie” who changes her offense each game, and she said that Ellis was the only player who understood the system well enough last year to run the show. A year later, she has interchangeable parts at point guard, including Cece Kobylski – and the 13-year head coach has a reliable, productive shooter in sophomore forward Sheri Addison, who leads the team with 15.6 point per game.

“Having (Ellis) out, of all the players on the team, that’s one of the biggest losses,” Dyer said.

Moreover, Dyer envisions Ellis returning to a lineup next week with the Kobylski twins continuing to blossom as scorers. The potential is there; Ellie has exploded for 20 or more points three times this season, and has knocked down 25 three-pointers through 13 games. Cece, meanwhile, has scored in double-figures in four straight games and has hit 24 treys, one less than her “younger” sister.

“It’s definitely competition,” Ellie Kobylski said. “She makes it happen on her own. And vice versa.”

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