Cody and Caleb Martin are identical twins both headed to North Carolina State. But you could tell them apart Friday by their contrasting performances. Cody was mostly invisible in the first half while Caleb kept Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) in the game.
After intermission, they switched roles as Cody took over the game and Caleb stepped aside.
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"As bad as he was in the first half, that's how good he was in the second half," Oak Hill coach Steve Smith said after Cody Martin scored 20 of his 22 points after the break to spark a 64-56 victory over three-time national champion Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.), 64-56, in a semifinal of the Dick's Sporting Goods High School National Tournament at Christ the King in Middle Village, Queens.
"My shot wasn't falling in the first half and I was getting frustrated," Cody Martin said. "But I just got in the flow and let the game come to me."
Caleb, who scored eight of his 13 points in the first half, said he encouraged his brother to "Keep going. Keep your head up. You're a scorer."
That was evident when Cody scored 10 points during a 16-3 run to close out the third quarter. His putback off a miss by Caleb beat the buzzer and put the Warriors (41-3) ahead for the first time since early in the second quarter. Cody scored six straight points midway through the fourth quarter and his steal and jam put Oak Hill on top to stay at 51-49. Shelton Mitchell made 11 of 12 foul shots down the stretch to ensure sixth-seeded Oak Hill would play for the national championship Saturday at noon at Madison Square Garden against top-seeded and defending champion Montverde (Fla.) Academy, which outlasted Huntington (W.Va.) Prep, 56-51, in Friday's other semifinal.
In addition to his brother's prodding, Cody Martin also was inspired by the steady stream of trash talking by Findlay Prep. "I don't like it when people talk smack," Cody said. "It just feeds the fire and motivates me."
Cody made an emphatic statement late in the third quarter, finishing a fast break with a one-handed dunk that came seconds after Findlay's Craig Victor missed a one-handed slam. That exchange prompted Cody to strut just a bit as he raced back on defense.
"I knew they liked to talk junk," he said. "They disrespected me by not guarding me in the second half. I was going to make them pay."