WASHINGTON, DC -- Down three points with just 0:04.9 ticks on the clock, West Forysth High School from Clemmons, NC, needed to bring the ball the complete length of the court for a chance to send their opening round match with Georgetown Prep (Rockville, MD) at Gonzaga College High School's 14th annual DC Classic into overtime. The play went the way Coach David Laton set it up but the three point shot bounded off the rim at Gonzaga's Carmody Center, giving the Little Hoyas a 73-30 win.
The Little Hoyas and the Titans battled it out throughout the contest as the lead seesawed between the local team and the Tobacco Belt squad until 6-9 junior forward Davis Nwankwo took a pass from junior point guard Tommy Moss halfway through the closing stanza to give GP the lead for good at 59-58. Moss' two free throws with 1:55 remaining gave Georgetown their largest lead at 67-60. But the Titans weren't done just yet.
Led by senior point guard and Wake Forest signee Chris Paul, the Titans started chipping away, as the ACC-bound point guard first hit a three to bring the margin down to 67-63. Moss again sank two free throws to up the spread to 69-63. The Little Hoyas took the air out of the ball but that didn't put away the Titans when Paul, fouled by junior center and Georgetown commit Roy Hibbert, made both charity tosses to tighten the game to 69-65 with just less than a minute left. Paul responded after Moss converted one of two free throws by hitting another three-pointer that further reduced GP's lead to 70-68.
A foul put GP's Danny Glading on the line for 1 + 1. Glading missed the first but grabbed the rebound thereby giving the Little Hoyas more time to run their spread offense. Senior guard Pat Coyle, fouled with 0:22.2 left, canned both free throws which increased the lead to 72-68.
Paul was there again, grabbing his own missed shot for a score and a two point deficit (72-70) with 0:06.9 left. Quickly fouled, Glading made the first but missed the second with the dead ball going to the Titans, who were down three (73-70) after just two seconds had run off the clock. Coach Laton called a timeout.
The Titans, taking the ball out under GP's basket, inbounded it to Paul who brought it up-court and found an open David Gelatt on the right wing. His shot, as time expired, just wouldn't fall. Georgetown Prep Head Coach Dwayne Bryant spent extra time with the young man after the traditional greeting line, a nice touch following a game between kids.
Coach Laton said, "Georgetown is as big a team as we'll face all season. I thought we adjusted to their play and had a chance to win in the fourth [quarter]. We missed makeable shots well before the final play." The Titans are now 2-1, having a number of games re-scheduled because of the snowy/icy weather and the school's football team's run in the states.
"We played well in spurts," said Coach Bryant. "But we kept letting them get back in. Chris Paul is an excellent player; he's all that we had heard. We got great play off the bench from Sean Ivey with nine points and a bunch of important rebounds. Roy Hibbert played well but is still rusty." Hibbert, who injured his foot just before his sophomore season, re-injured it this summer.
Moss led the Little Hoyas with 16 points followed by Coyle and Hibbert with 15 and Nwankwo's 10. Georgetown made 12 of 15 free throws. Paul led West Forsyth and all scorers with 26 points, senior center Martynas Versinskas added 16, including 10 of 13 from the foul line, and junior Isaac Rose contributed 10.
The Little Hoyas move into Friday's semifinals against host Gonzaga College High School at 6:45 pm at American University's Bender Arena. West Forsyth matches up against Baltimore's Mervo Senior High School in a consolation game at 3:15 pm, the opening game of the tournament's day two.