O'Connell senior basketball player Tony Martin said he trusts everything first-year coach Joe Wootten says--even when Wootten told Martin during halftime that he needed to slow down in order to score quickly in the visiting Knights' 67-50 victory over Georgetown Prep last night.
Martin and the Knights (4-0) played at the quick tempo dictated by the Little Hoyas (1-3) in the first half and led by just one point at halftime. But during intermission, Wootten told Martin, who had scored three points, that he would have success if he slowed down and let the game come to him.
Martin responded with 16 second-half points, including eight in the final 2 minutes 48 seconds of the third quarter, to give the Knights a 50-38 lead. He finished with a game-high 18 points; Tim Folayan and Justin Gatling added 10 points each for O'Connell.
"Coach told me to slow down and let the game come to me," Martin said. "Suddenly I had a bunch of points all in a row. In the first half I tried to do it my way, and Coach Wootten told me at halftime to trust him and try his way. And basically, I know whatever he says is true."
Georgetown Prep was led by Justin Burns, who scored 17 points, and Scott Armstrong, who added 15. The Little Hoyas never led but closed to within 42-40 with 2:48 left in the third quarter after Armstrong made two free throws. But Georgetown Prep turned the ball over four times before the quarter ended as Martin scored eight points in a 10-0 run that secured the victory.
The win continued a great start for O'Connell under Wootten, the son of DeMatha Coach Morgan Wootten. In the second half last night, the Knights held the Little Hoyas to two offensive rebounds and outscored them, 34-18.
"We played way too fast in the first half," Wootten said. "But the sign of a good team is how they come together in adversity, and I am very proud of the way our kids responded tonight."
The maturation process continues for the Knights. Like many of his teammates, Martin transferred to O'Connell over the summer. He had attended Annandale High. Folayan and senior Brett Herberger (nine points, 11 rebounds) transferred from DeMatha; reserve guard Ahmad Smith (six points) transferred from T.C. Williams; the team also starts freshman forward Ricky Lucas (six points).
Georgetown Prep also has a talented transfer in Burns, a 6-foot-7 forward who attended Durango High in Las Vegas last season. Burns and senior guard Jack Namvou (two points), who has committed to Bucknell, each were averaging around eight points entering last night. Armstrong leads the team with 16 points per game.
Wootten believes Georgetown Prep could contend for its first Interstate Athletic Conference title since 1991.
"We knew tonight would be a test for us and it was," Wootten said. "They have a tough team and I have to give them credit, they played very well. But I thought once we responded to our pressure we played pretty well too."
CAPTION: O'Connell's Tim Folayan angles in for a shot as Georgetown Prep's Scott Armstrong reaches out. Folayan, a transfer from DeMatha, scored 10 points to help lead the Knights past the Little Hoyas.