O'Connell first-year boys basketball coach Joe Wootten had his team practice yesterday morning to work on some new offensive plays prior to its game against Bishop Ireton in the St. Albans Holiday Hoopla tournament championship last night.
But it was effective inside play by junior Tim Folayan and a tough pressure defense that propelled O'Connell to a 58-49 victory before 500 in Northwest Washington.
Folayan, a 6-foot-4 forward, finished with a game-high 18 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter. Six of those points came after he got offensive rebounds.
"Tim is a real tough player to stop one-on-one," Wootten said. "And we did a good job of getting him the ball in those situations. Ireton played well. They started out hot and we were flat. But in the end, I thought we played well as a team."
Ireton (8-2) led 35-24 with 5 minutes 13 seconds left in the third quarter after basket by junior Brian Kadish. But O'Connell went on a 15-0 run over the next seven minutes and led, 39-35, with 6:01 left to play. Ireton missed 10 shots in the scoreless span.
"We stepped up the pressure on defense, and I thought [senior guard] Tony Martin did a great job on defense to make sure that Seldon Lindsay did not get too many looks at the basket," Wootten said. Lindsay finished with a team-high 14 points, though 10 came in the first quarter.
The victory continues a fast start for both No. 10 O'Connell (9-0) and Folayan. Folayan, a transfer from DeMatha, has started most of the season after playing on DeMatha's junior varsity last season. But he said that experience is helping him now.
"I really needed to work on my jump shot and get better in my post game and my outside game, and playing on the JV helped me do that," Folayan said. "It made me better, but it also made me want to come out and show what I can do on the varsity level."
Note: Host St. Albans (5-2) took third place, defeating Wilson, 43-39, in the consolation game.