There's a reason coaches always tell players to play smart and hard because you never know who might be watching.

If the X-and-O guys ever need a future Exhibit A, they can reference JG.

We take you back to Jan. 9, which turned into quite the special occasion for Joe Getz, a 5-11, 165-pound senior combination guard for Archbishop Wood High.

It's not unusual for good players to attain 1,000 career points, of course. But these circumstances were likely unprecedented:

When Getz reached that number vs. West Catholic, he did so with a free throw. Also, that digit gave him 41 for the game, enabling him to break his own school record of 40 and he wound up scoring all 25 of Wood's second-half points.

Among the spectators was Randy Monroe, the head coach at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County (and a one-time star at Roman Catholic, Class of 1981). He liked what he saw to such a degree, he stayed around afterward to speak with Getz and within days was calling to offer a scholarship.

"I didn't know coach Monroe was there," Getz said. "But it was nice to finally get that D-I offer.

"My coaches had been telling me to keep playing, that hopefully something would come along. Same with my family, friends, everyone. I tried not to let my mind get sidetracked over what colleges were or weren't coming around. I just knew I had to play well this year as part of what we're doing as a team."

Getz spoke yesterday after his latest top-notch performance. It featured 29 points, two assists and four steals and it helped the visiting Vikings best Monsignor Bonner, 61-56, in a Catholic League game.

Getz shot 10-for-15 (one trey) from the floor and 8-for-8 at the line. Among his buckets were two back-door layups (one a reverse) off feeds from Kyle Adkins and a one-handed, way-up-there follow that was delivered from maybe 4 feet away as he soared through the air.

In the second half, to boot, Getz held junior sharpshooter Billy Cassidy to no points until he beat the buzzer with an unchallenged trey. Cassidy (21) had outscored Getz, 18-17, in the first 16 minutes. He didn't attempt his next shot until 2 1/2 minutes remained.

Jack Walsh, Wood's coach, is Getz' biggest fan, and he remains perplexed, even hissed, that more D-I schools have not shown the same level of faith.

"His athleticism doesn't even have to be mentioned. It's obvious," Walsh said. "The way he can get to the rim. The way he can break someone down. When coaches ask me what position he'll play in college. I say, 'Wherever you need him.' He can run the offense or score from the wing.

"To the guys who have backed off from Joe, or have only dabbled, I hope they regret it 4 years from now. Because he can play."

With Josh Hoho (violation of team rule) inactive and the Slade brothers, senior Scott and junior Craig "Poppy," battling foul trouble, Bonner's inside game was basically nonexistent in the first half. But those three combined for 29 of the Friars' 34 post-intermission markers, and Wood's lead dwindled to as low as two.

Getz' acrobatic follow pushed it to four (49-45), and his layup off a steal and three-quarter-court drive made it six (53-47), and he hit Drew Greenfield for a bunny at 0:58 to pretty much decide the issue (57-49).

"When I start hitting shots, I pretty much go off and Mr. Walsh lets me do what I want," said Getz, who remains uncommitted and is making plans to soon visit UMBC. "If I'm not in that kind of zone, I get the other guys involved. I pick my moments.

"Sometimes I'll go off the ball a little if I need a breather, but usually whether Kyle or me is playing the point is dictated by what the defense does. And you saw what we do if teams are really overplaying me. I'll go backdoor and get those nice passes from Kyle."

Getz, a Fox Chase resident with an interest in business or sports management, has also received an offer from D-II Kutztown, and coach Bernie Driscoll was among yesterday's witnesses. D-I Hartford continues to sniff.

Also for Wood, Shane Neher and freshman Joe LoStracco halved 18 points and the latter claimed 11 rebounds. Adkins had four assists and three steals. Jack Walsh, the coach's son, had to depart 5 minutes, 51 seconds before halftime with a left ankle injury suffered on a layup.

Bonner's Joe Phelan, the player with whom Walsh became entangled, banged his head hard on a different play, and was also shut down for the day. Scott Slade (15) and Hoho (13) joined Cassidy in double-figure scoring. Hoho added seven rebounds.

Back to the 1,000 Day . . .

"Everybody was going absolutely insane," said Getz, who's believed to be one of only two players in CL history to reach 40 points more than once. Cardinal Dougherty guard Shawn Newman had 43, 45 and 58 (all in non-league games) in the 1990-91 season. "Since it happened on a foul shot, they were able to sub me out [to wild applause].

"Beforehand, Mr. Walsh had given me a ball to celebrate the school record of 40. And then he came up to me afterward and said, 'Now I have to get you another one.' "

Both basketballs are currently being inscribed. Don't be surprised if Walsh is making sure Joe Getz' name is followed by "a Division-I talent."