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Familiar faces tip off on ESPNU

DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) and Bishop O'Connell (Arlington, Va.) may be unfamiliar to some fans tuning into ESPNU's high school basketball broadcast Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET, yet these teams are quite familiar with each other -- both on the court and on the sidelines.

O'Connell and DeMatha both play in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) and play twice in the regular season every year. Most years, they meet in the conference tournament, too. But for the coaches patrolling the sidelines, the familiarity extends beyond the season.

DeMatha head coach Mike Jones and O'Connell head coach Joe Wootten both graduated from DeMatha in 1991.

Wootten is the son of legendary high school basketball coach Morgan Wootten, who was the head coach at DeMatha for 45 years and compiled a win-loss record of 1,274-192.

Jones took over as DeMatha's head coach when Wootten retired in 2002 and has compiled a record of 169-50.

Joe Wootten was an assistant on his father's DeMatha teams in the mid- to late-90s and took over as head coach at O'Connell in 1999. His teams have won 216 games in nine years.

O'Connell got the best of DeMatha three times last season, but the Stags defeated the Knights 62-53 on Jan. 23.

Jones said both teams were missing players because of illness during the Jan. 23 game, but for the ESPNU game, both teams are expected to be back at full strength.

"I don't think you can really go off what happened in the past," Jones said. "I think it's going to be a great team. Both teams are playing pretty well right now."

DeMatha and O'Connell are locked in a battle for the WCAC tournament's No. 1 seed along with Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.). With only two games remaining in the regular season, Tuesday's DeMatha-O'Connell clash likely means a No. 3 seed for the loser.

The key matchup on the court is expected to be between DeMatha's Naji Hibbert, a 6-foot-6 senior, and O'Connell's Kendall Marshall, a 6-6 junior.

"[Marshall] had a pretty good game against us the last time," Jones said. "He scored some points, and when they were trying to make a run at the end he was the catalyst for that."

Marshall scored 22 points in the team's earlier loss and is averaging around 13 points per game on the season. Hibbert is averaging around 12 points per game.

Hibbert is committed to Texas A&M, and Marshall committed to the University of North Carolina during his sophomore season.

DeMatha is ranked No. 17 in the latest ESPN RISE FAB 50 rankings and has several athletes expected to play Division I basketball.

Sophomore Josh Shelby is committed to Tennessee, and fellow juniors Victor Oladipo and Jerian Grant are receiving interest from the ACC and the Big East. Senior Marcus Rouse is committed to Stony Brook.

O'Connell's roster boasts future Division I players Dave Eismeier, Maurice Williams, Jordan Burgess and Larry Savage.

DeMatha travels to O'Connell for tip-off at 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday. The game will be televised on ESPNU.

Mike Loveday covers high school sports for ESPNRISE.com. Mike can be reached at Michael.Loveday@espn.com