Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
N.C. State-Bound Martin Brothers Set to Play For National Title
By JOHN PAVIA
Special to ZAGSBLOGNEW YORK — After trailing by 10 points at halftime and as many as 14 in the second half, Oak Hill Academy completed a tough comeback, led by twin brothers Cody and Caleb Martin, to defeat Findlay Prep in the semifinal round of the DICK’S Sporting Goods High School National Tournament, 64-56, at Christ the King High School.
Oak Hill will meet defending NHSI champion Montverde (FL) Academy in the championship game Saturday at Madison Square Garden. The game will tip at noon on ESPN.
The Martin brothers, who are heading to play for coach Mark Gottfried at North Carolina State next year, combined for 35 of their team’s 64 points in the victory. Cody finished with 22 points, 20 of which came in the second half, and six rebounds while Caleb had 13 points and forced five important steals that started the comeback in the third quarter.
In a losing effort, Kansas commit Kelly Oubre finished with just 22 points after scoring 19 of them in a tremendous first half effort. His teammate and Arizona commit Craig Victor finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. UNLV commit Rashad Vaughn struggled with his shot and finished with only eight points in what was his third game in three days.
After the game, Cody confirmed that there was some jawing coming from Oubre in the first half and that fueled the two of them after the break.
“I don’t really like when people are talking junk like that, but all it does is motivate you.” Cody said. “It gets the whole team into it and all it does is just feed the fire. I wanted to guard [Oubre], but my brother said he wanted to so I let him guard him. I trusted him and he [Oubre] ended up with what, three points in the second half? It shut him up.”
Cody had a rough first half with only two points, but described what he did to get going in the second half.
“I knew that in the first half that my shots weren’t falling and I was kind of getting frustrated,” he said. “I told Caleb I was just going to make it up on the defensive end and try to do something else to help out the team whether it was scoring or just playing defense. I just tried to figure out a way to help the team out in some way and in the second half I kind of just got in the flow and let the game come to me instead of just trying to make everything happen.”
Once Oak Hill switched to their “41” press, the entire game changed as Findlay Prep failed to handle the pressure and turned the ball over several possessions in a row resulting in steals for Caleb and transition dunks for Cody. Their length and athleticism combined with their shooting ability should have Gottfried excited on his team’s future.
“I feel like with T.J [Warren] leaving and with Tyler [Lewis] transferring, I feel like there’s going to be big shoes to fill, but I think we can come in there and make an immediate impact with the program,” Caleb said. “I think we fit in well with Cat [Barber], that fast-paced running, we have Trevor Lacey coming in from redshirt. I mean, I think our perimeter players will be very, very good and we still have Beejay [Anya] so we’ll have a good inside presence. We have Abdul-Malik Abu coming in. I think our class is good coming in and I think NC State really has a bright future.”
“I mean, we’ll come in and do a little bit of everything,” he continued. “With T.J. leaving, someone’s going to have to pick up the slack with him scoring 25 a game last year. We’re going to come in there and bring our scoring ability plus sit down on defense with our length. I think we’ll be really good on both sides of the ball next season.”
“Whether we don’t play as much next year, we’re going to be good teammates and if we do play a lot, we’re going to get people involved whether it’s scoring or rebounding or just cheering the team on,” Cody stated. “I’m not really going to try to fill in someone’s spot or take up after them. I’m just going to go in there and play how I normally play. [The coaches] just going to tell me what to do and Caleb and I are just going to play as hard as we can and help the team out.”
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.