Little Hoyas Carry On Minus Starks

Georgetown recruit Markel Starks grabs a rebound against Landon. Starks left with a knee injury in the third quarter.
Georgetown recruit Markel Starks grabs a rebound against Landon. Starks left with a knee injury in the third quarter. (By Toni L. Sandys -- The Washington Post)
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By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The raucous crowd of 2,000 at Georgetown Prep shared an awkward silence last night as they watched Little Hoyas junior guard Markel Starks roll around in the lane, writhing in pain as he grabbed his left knee following a collision with a group of Landon defenders.

The Georgetown recruit had dazzled the standing-room only crowd through nearly three quarters, displaying his full arsenal of skills -- deep three-pointers, pull-up jumpers, undeniable dribble-penetration moves, high-flying lay-ins, no-look passes -- and most importantly an impressive poise as he scored 17 points to help the Little Hoyas build an early 20-point lead.

But Starks could only watch from the bench with an athletic trainer wrapping his knee in ice as Landon cut that lead in half in the final seven minutes of the third quarter.

He even hobbled to team huddles during timeouts to hype his teammates, but by the beginning of the fourth quarter it was evident that No. 8 Georgetown Prep didn't need him or his pep talks to dominate No. 11 Landon, 69-53, en route to sole possession of first place in the Interstate Athletic Conference.

Georgetown Prep (15-3, 6-0) won its 10th straight and ended Landon's (13-5, 5-1) six-game winning streak.

"When I went down, the whole rest of the team looked at each other and said 'Let's go,' " said Starks, a 6-foot-2 junior who is averaging more than 20 points per game. "I don't look at myself as the savior of this team. I look at myself just like these guys and tonight, it was great to just sit back and watch."

Little Hoyas senior guard Robert Olson (17 points) -- a 6-foot-4 Loyola (Md.) recruit -- senior guard Paul Llewellyn (nine points), sophomore forward Nat Eggleston (eight points), 6-7 senior center Kevin Mulquin (eight points) and junior guard Thurgood Wynn (eight points) not only survived Starks's absence, they dominated Landon in the second half with a smothering defense that held the Bears to three field goals in the fourth quarter.

"[Markel] really is the centerpiece of this team, but I think tonight says a lot about our team," said Llewellyn, a deep sharp-shooter who knocked in two three-pointers as part of the second-half push.

Landon's Daniel Rubin scored 13 of his team-high 18 points in the second quarter to help the Bears crawl back from a 23-7 first-quarter deficit to make it 43-30 entering halftime.

Landon senior guard Christian Webster had 16 points, but Prep's smothering defense helped limit the high-scoring guard's opportunities.

"I think the main thing tonight was our defense," Olson said.

No. 8 Georgetown Prep 69, No. 11 Landon 53 Prepping for Last Night: Since Landon swept Georgetown Prep in the 2004-05 season, the Little Hoyas have posted a 7-1 record against Landon, winning those seven games by an average of 20.7 points. Starks Update: Georgetown Prep junior guard Markel Starks will have an X-ray on his left knee tomorrow, according to a team trainer.

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