HYATTSVILLE — Leading up to Saturday’s clash against Pennsylvania power Westtown in the National Hoop Fest at DeMatha Catholic High School, schoolmates interacted with Georgetown Prep guard Jared Bynum pessimistically.
The chatter centered around how Bynum and the Little Hoyas were tasked with containing one of the best players nationally in Cam Reddish, a 5-star small forward committed to Duke University. Bynum’s peers weren’t confident about the prospective result.
“Coming into the game, a lot of people at school said we’re playing Westtown and Cam Reddish, and they were a little nervous for it,” Bynum said. “In my mind, I’m just laughing. We’re going to go out there and play no matter who we’re playing.”
On Saturday night, Bynum silenced all doubt in front of a packed house on the national stage, dropping 29 points and dishing seven assists to propel No. 9 Georgetown Prep past Westtown, 79-77.
Westtown jumped out to early four-point leads of 8-4 and 10-6, but Bynum scored the Little Hoyas’ last 10 of 13 points in the first quarter to push them ahead, 19-17, after eight minutes.
Reddish (35 points, five rebounds, four assists) capped a 6-0 to start the second frame with a jumper, which gave his team a 23-19 lead. But two possessions later, Bynum picked Reddish’s pocket clean and chugged down the floor to upstart a decisive 9-0 run that dug Georgetown Prep out of a four-point deficit and into a 28-23 lead with under-4 minutes until the break.
“It’s a big moment, a lot of fans here; a big event,” said Bynum, the Saint Joseph’s commit. “I just wanted to come out here and show what I could do to anybody, no matter who we’re playing against.”
When Reddish pulled Westtown within 30-28 on a pull-up trey, Bynum answered with a triple of his own. The Little Hoyas led 35-30 at the half and never trailed in the second, but also never led by more than double-digits.
DeJean Desire, who guarded Reddish for most of the night, finished a layup in transition to put Georgetown Prep ahead, 46-37, its largest lead of the contest. Westtown lurked for the rest of the way, and when it was down 74-67 with roughly 45 seconds to go, Reddish canned back-to-back treys off two turnovers to make it a 74-73 game with 20 seconds left in regulation. But for the final time, Bynum answered Reddish’s play, and sealed the win with a pair of free throws.
Little Hoyas’ third-year coach Ryan Eskow thinks Reddish will “probably play in the NBA one day” and called the win “one of my favorites.”
“That’s a helluva win,” he said. “It gives us a lot of momentum, and that’s first and foremost. It gives us a lot of momentum. More than that, it showed today when we played as a team that anything can happen.”
Many local media members have pegged Georgetown Prep as the favorites to dethrone Bullis in the Interstate Athletic Conference and rise above the competition this winter. Alongside Bynum are two more college-bound seniors in Mezie Offurum (George Washington; 12 points) and Ike Nweke (Columbia; 14 points, eight rebounds), all whom provide stability with leadership and high-level production on the hardwood. And despite Reddish’s outburst, the Little Hoyas found a way, which is a promising sign for things to come.
“We’ve grown a lot together,” Eskow said. “This team’s been together for a while, and they’ve weather a lot of storms. They’ve weathered a lot of good games and bad games. To come out here on a big stage, and to finally get a big, big, big win, I’m just proud.”