MAIT is opening act to Goretti Hall induction

November 24, 2011|By TIM KOELBLE |

The 29th Mid-Atlantic Invitational Tournament won’t be the only big event this weekend at St. Maria Goretti’s Gael Center.

The longtime tournament will share top billing with the inagural St. Maria Goretti Athletic Hall of Fame induction.

Bishop O’Connell (Va.) will battle St. Paul’s School at 6:30 p.m. opener, followed by St. Maria Goretti facing Bishop Walsh in today’s semifinals.
On Saturday, six former Gaels will be inducted as the first class to the new shrine after the tournament’s 6:30 p.m. consolation game.

Goretti has opened its season by splitting two games, including Tuesday’s victory over Washington Christian Academy. Yannick Zanfack, a 6-foot-5 senior, scored 23 points.

The Gaels also have a pair of quick guards in senior Gavin Rajahpilay and junior Tyrus Fleetwood, both 5-11, along with Lithuanian newcomer, sophomore Martinas Geben, who stands 6-8.

“We want to be uptempo but, at the same time, a good defensive team,” said second-year head coach Amrit Rayfield. “We’re looking for a big year from Yannick and Geben has some skill as a sophomore.”

Bishop Walsh will open the season with high expectations after last year’s 19-9 campaign and a number of newcomers from an unbeaten JV team.

Senior Pat Jones (6-5) leads the veterans along with junior Quincy Redmon (6-6) and senior Devin Hawley (6-0). Redmon averaged 16 points and 13 rebounds last year. Also expected to see action will be 6-4 senior Trey Jessie, a transfer from North Hagerstown.

The opener on Friday will pit teacher vs. pupil in the coaching ranks.

Bishop O’Connell is coached by Joe Wootten, the son of legendary DeMatha coach Morgan Wootten. St. Paul’s is coached by Seth Goldberg, who spent several years as an assistant under Joe Wootten at O’Connell before taking over at St. Paul’s.

Bishop O’Connell might feature some of the best talent, despite only one senior on the roster. There are several players that have Division I potential, including the guard tandem of 6-2 sophomore Melo Trimble and 6-2 junior Will Ferguson and on the front line with 6-7 Rashard Kelly.

“We’ll push and try to go up and down the floor,” Joe Wooten said. “The guards have a year of experience and Kelly is a very athletic player and a Division I recruit.”

Joe Wootten, in his ninth year at Bishop O’Connell, has won four Virginia Independent Schools state titles and averaged 23 wins a year over his eight previous seasons.

St. Paul’s is coming off a 20-8 season and has six players returning with experience, led by Tanner Brooks, who averaged 12 points last year, and Lamont Wade, who averaged 11 points and seven rebounds and has already committed to the University of Maryland to play baseball.

“As a team we are working to be an unselfish team,” said Goldberg. “Our style is going to play together on offense or playing defense.”
St. Paul’s also has a freshman to watch in 6-foot-6 Daniel Wilson.

The six inductees into the Goretti Hall of Fame include:

Richard (Dick) Keller, St. Mary Class of 1949 (before becoming St. Maria Goretti in 1955). Keller was captain of the Gaels in 1948-49 and led Washington County in scoring in 1948 with 338 points. Died in 1973.

Bill Wills, Goretti Class of 1959. Scored over 1,600 points in his four-year career. Led the senior team to a 20-1 record in 1959. Played at Shepherd College after transferring from Middle Tennessee State. Deceased.

Susie Garrott Brown, Goretti Class of 1976. Played basketball four years before playing two years of volleyball, basketball and club tennis at Hagerstown Junior College.

Cokey Robertson, Goretti coach from 1974-2008. Robertson coached the Goretti boys basketball team to four BCL championships in his 34-year tenure. In his 48-year coaching, which includes stints at Thomas Johnson and Westminster, Robertson had 860 wins, second most in Maryland history.

Rodney Monroe, Goretti Class of 1987. Ranks as the school’s greatest boys basketball player. Scored 3,407 points in his four years. Became North Carolina State’s all-time leading scorer and the ACC Player of the Year in 1991.

Jen Piccolomini, Goretti Class of 1999. Played basketball and volleyball from 1997-99 before continuing her career in both sports at McDaniel College. Scored 1,336 points in basketball at Goretti and went over 1,000 at McDaniel in 2002.

The Herald-Mail Articles