No. 6 O'Connell Tops No. 8 Good Counsel, 65-56

O'Connell's Larry Savage (16 points, 7 rebounds) blocks a reverse layup by Good Counsel's Hugh Roberts.
O'Connell's Larry Savage (16 points, 7 rebounds) blocks a reverse layup by Good Counsel's Hugh Roberts. (By John Mcdonnell -- The Washington Post)
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By Carl Little
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, January 10, 2009

Despite standing just 5 feet 8 and playing in a league where he faces giants and Division I prospects on a near nightly basis, O'Connell senior point guard Devin Cole has carved out his niche on the floor.

"No matter who we play, I'm the quickest on the court," Cole said. "I use my quickness to get guys easy shots."

Cole's prowess proved crucial last night when the sixth-ranked Knights hosted No. 8 Good Counsel. In the critical fourth quarter, Cole drew double teams before dishing to open teammates, sparking the Knights to a 65-56 victory in front of a rowdy capacity crowd in Arlington.

Cole does not start for O'Connell, but his role on the team has grown. A summer's worth of work at an overnight basketball camp at Frostburg State has sharpened his shooting touch, improved his ball handling and bolstered his confidence. And each of those improvements came to fruition last night in a physical game against a tenacious league opponent.

Cole finished with a season-high 10 points and four assists.

Entering the fourth quarter, neither team had led by more than four points. But Cole capped a 9-4 run by O'Connell (10-3, 4-0 WCAC) with six minutes to play by penetrating through the middle of the defense and scoring a difficult layup. Three minutes later, he sent a no-look pass to sophomore forward Jordan Burgess, who converted easily.

Burgess scored seven straight points, six of them on layups, and gave the Knights a 57-46 advantage.

"At the start of the game I had a couple layups that I missed," said Burgess, who had nine points and a team-high 14 rebounds. "I just got it out of my head and concentrated on the next play."

Good Counsel (10-5, 1-4) went on one last run. Rodney Glasgow hit a jump shot while falling away to bring the Falcons to within 59-56 with 40 seconds to play. But Cole slowed the Falcons and put the momentum back on O'Connell's side by making a steal and converting a layup. On O'Connell's next possession, he made a full-court pass to a streaking Burgess who effectively put the game out of reach.

"We didn't play smart at the end," Good Counsel senior co-captain Recardo Gaddy said. "We played hard, but had a couple of mental lapses."

O'Connell 65, Good Counsel 56

Savage Beast: Sophomore reserve forward Larry Savage gave O'Connell a spark, scoring a season-high 16 points and hauling in seven rebounds.

Big Ben: Good Counsel senior co-captain Ben Hazel scored a team-high 16 points, 11 coming in the first half.

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