The George Marshall High School boys varsity basketball team hit the ground running this season with back-to-back wins in the Potomac Construction Tip-Off Tournament and showed no signs of slowing down this past Tuesday night, as the Statesmen swept past Princeton Claremont, 76-70.
Finding themselves trailing by double-digit margins at several points in the game, Marshall pulled back into the game and then into the lead with a flurry of three-pointers.
Sophomore Stanley Watts exploded for 27 points, nine of them from the foul line, to lead Marshall's high-scoring win. Senior guard Nate Whittington was locked in from behind the three-point arc, raining down five threes over the course of the game. In the final quarter, Marshall outscored their opponent 32-17 to rally for the victory.
The 76 points by Marshall, which included 11 each by Daniel McClain and Bryan Whittington, are the most scored this year by the Statesmen and signal an emerging offensive cohesion by Head Coach Bobby Forst's team.
“[The players are embracing] an unselfishness where they are wiling to make the extra pass and find the open teammate,” Forst said, stressing that sharing the ball, and not simply his preference for a more uptempo pace, is leading to higher and higher point totals.
Made free throws has also played a key role in the wins. On Tuesday, Marshall converted 20 of their 25 free throw attempts, a pivotal stat in the close victory over the newly formed team from Accokeek, Md.
Princeton Claremont is coached by Van Whitfield, who gained notoriety for building succesful basketball programs at Progressive Christian and Southern Maryland Christian before moving to Princeton Claremont this season.
The Statesmen, who have yet to play a road game this season, continue their homestand with a game against Fairfax on Dec. 14. They will then take a short bus ride to face J.E.B. Stuart on Dec. 18 before returning home to begin Liberty District play against Madison on December 21.