Gonzaga Wins An Improbable Third WCAC Title In Last Five Seasons

Gonzaga Wins An Improbable Third WCAC Title In Last Five Seasons

WASHINGTON D.C. – After coming up short in the 2018 Washington Catholics Athletic Conference championship,Gonzaga College High School junior Terrance William and senior Anwar Gill told their teammates and head coach Steve Turner all season that they’ll be back to make up for that letdown.

“Everybody was counting us out at the beginning of the season,” Gill said, ” We got the W and it just feels good.”

Monday night, Williams and Gill fulfilled their promise and led the Purple Eagles to a 60-56 win over St. John’s College High School. Williams scored a game-high 20 points and nine rebounds, Gill followed up with 19 points and eight rebounds, and junior Myles Stute put up 10 points and eight rebounds. The Cadets were led by Casey Morsell(19 points), Darius Maddox(14 points), and Ishmael Leggett(11 points).

” They’ve been dying for this,” Turner said of his championship squad, “This has been all they’ve talked about since the day we lost here last year at the same time. They worked their tails off. We’ve had some ups and downs and when it mattered most, this team bonded at the right time to make it happen for them to stand here tonight as WCAC champions.”

If you followed the WCAC all season, you know that these two programs being in the championship was a shocker. Gonzaga hit bottom when they lost to PVI, 69-44, but ended the conference and regular season winning 14 of their next 15 games. St. John’s themselves had some tough moment collapsing late in games, including losing to PVI and Baltimore Polytechnic in buzzer-beating fashion. They changed things around on an early season 10-game winning streak but they ended up losing four of their final seven regular season games to PVI twice and DeMatha and Gonzaga as well. However, three of the losses came to DeMatha, Gonzaga, and PVI at a combined 14-points, and looked to be playing their best basketball despite the losses.

Gonzaga and St. John’s came out trading buckets from the opening tip, until the Purple Eagles went off on an 11-0 run, with Williams scoring nine of those points, including back to back turn-around jumpers. Gonzaga turned an 18-9 lead into a 13-point lead after a Williams reverse layup gave the Purple Eagles a 28-16 advantage. St. John’s refused to give in and cut the lead to 29-22 after Morsell nailed a 3-pointer, but Stute came back with a tip-in and gave Gonzaga a nine-point lead going into the second half.

The Cadets were able to cut their deficit to seven points once again after going on a 9-2 run at the free-throw during a sloppy third quarter where St. John’s got a 10-2 advantage in team fouls. The Cadets and Gonzaga went back-and-forth in the fourth quarter. The Purple Eagles built a 12-point lead when Stute corralled an offensive rebound and put it back up to make 51-39, Gonzaga. The Cadets responded with a 9-0 run, cutting the lead to 55-53 when Leggett knocked a 3-pointer to make the score 51-48 midway through the final frame. Gill came back down after a timeout laying the ball up on end and stripping Casey Morsell and throwing down a dunk in the subsequent possession to make it 55-48. John “Manzie” Wilson then connected with Morsell for a timely 3-pointer to make it a one-possession game with 30 seconds left in the game, but Williams was able to close the game out at the free-throw line, knocking five down.

“It’s a great moment,” Williams said, ” You know close throughout the game, solidifying the championship win, live for moments like that.”

DeMatha Silences Wilson In Overtime Thriller

ICYMI: Technical Difficulties have been resolved! Click the link and read more about the the controversial overtime classic that went down at Madison Ave Saturday night

Photo Credits Courtesy of The Hop Media

Hyattsville ~ Finally! After three days we now have a DeMatha Christmas Tournament champion. Not only that, we have a true champion bearer of DMV hoops. Speculation of who would win a game between DeMatha and Wilson was finally answered Saturday night.

“That was just a great game,” Stags coach Mike Jones said, “It was ugly, the referees let us play. Ultimately we had the ball last and thats, I think why we were successful.”

The Stags extinguished the Tigers, 56-54, in a thrilling overtime victory that ended on a controversial buzzer-beater from Earl Timberlake. Timberlake led all scorers with 18-points and a number of jaw-dropping blocksHunter Dickinson joined him in double-digits with 17-points. Makhi Mitchell led Wilson with a 13-point performance.

“We been playing against each other since we were kids,” Timberlake said, “They’ve always been good as a friendly rival.”

The sellout crowd on provided the ideal background for the game. Fans from all over the Washington D.C. metropolitan area traveled to Madison Avenue just to see these two champions play. Funny enough, it seemed like the crowd was split mainly between the Tigers and Timberlake, whom lives and grew up in the city himself. The game itself was fast-paced and physical. Neither team giving an inch to the other, bodies flying and falling on the floor like it was a 90’s NBA playoff game. Back-and-forth they went when Jay Heath hit a floater, DeMatha fed Dickinson on the right block and let him go to work. In fact, that hook shot led to a 9-2 run, giving the Stags a 20-15 lead going into the second quarter. The Stags entered the second half up 27-24, after Carlos Dunn’s double-clutch layup to end the half. Midway through the third quarter, Heath drove to the rim for an and-1 opportunity and had a chance to make tie the game at 33, but missed the subsequent free throw. Romaro Hutchinson tied the game up at 37-all when he knocked down a 3-pointer after a feed from Mekhi Mithcell. Hunter Dickinson responded with a hook shot from the right block to give the Stags a one-possession lead going into the fourth and final quarter.

It was in the final frame that Wilson finally took the momentum on a 9-0 run, highlighted by Dimingus Stevens’ back-to-back 3-pointers, including finishing a 4-point play over Justin Moore. Mekhi Mitchell than gave Wilson a 49-48 lead to give the Tigers their first lead of the game. Justin Moore had a chance to give the Stags a one-point lead but bricked the first free throw and then sunk the other one for just a 49-all tie. Heath’s ensuing fadeaway against Dickinson fell well short and forced overtime.

In the decisive overtime period, Wilson had to go at it without the Mitchell twins, M Makhel being disqualified at the 2:13 mark and Makhi leaving at 24.3 seconds. Nonetheless, the Tigers took the lead after back-to-back buckets from Zaakir Williamson gave Wilson a 54-50 lead. Dickinson, ever a consistent offensive hub, dropped another hook shot and then Jahmir Young sunk both his field trip to tie the game up. On their final possession, Jay Heath drove to the rim but lost the ball on the way up, giving DeMatha the ball with 24.9 ticks left. That’s when Earl Timberlake worked his magic and hit a fadeaway over Dimingus Stevens.

“We knew it was going to be one the top games in the DMV,” Timberlake said, “We just tried to use our heads and play tough.”

Despite the controversy of the game-winning shot going up in time or not, we would be remiss as media and basketball fans alike to say this contest won’t go down as a classic. Wilson’s next game will be against Ballou on January 4, while DeMatha goes up against Good Council on the same day.

Towson Takes Down Loyola 85-69

Towson ~ The college basketball season is a marathon, not a sprint. A frustrating 0-3 outing at the Island of Bahamas Showcase had Towson Head Coach reminiscing about his first season at the school, a 31-loss season. Nevertheless, he made it clear that he was proud of his guys for their resiliency, especially in the last 10 minutes.

“It’s a work in progress,” Brian Forbes said, “It may take a while, but this game definitely helps especially with our spacing, moving the ball, not being stagnant.”

The Tigers came back from a seven-point deficit at the half to win 85-69 over Loyola. Fobbs andTobias Howard combined for 48 points in the win, 25 and 23 respectively. The two transfer guards are a part of the 10 new players on this squad, and proudly own the pressure and responsibilities of being the leaders of this team. Nakye Sanders, the third of the 10 players, joined them in double figures with 14points and added nine rebounds. Loyola was led by Andrew Kostecka, who scored a career-high 30 points.

“They run good offense,” Towson Head Coach PatSkerry said, “Anytime a guy drops 30 on you, you got trouble.”

It was a tale of two halves for the two Baltimore universities. Loyola was able to run their sets and execute their offense in an efficient manner, hitting on 51 percent shooting of their field goals, including knocking down seven 3-pointers at a 41percent clip. Astonishingly, out of their 17 field goals, 11 of them were assisted. Loyola was able to rip off a 14-5 run to take control of the game, creating a 36-28 advantage. At this moment five different Greyhounds scored, including Kostecka who scored seven points. The junior guard hit a 3-pointer off an assist from Kenneth Jones that gave Loyola a 25-24 lead, a steal-and-dunk, and a tip-in basket.

 “We try to pride ourselves on defense,” Skerry said, “But they’re a hard team to guard.”

The Greyhound formula of forcing catches away from the play and giving up little to no space on dribble-drives resulted in the Tigers initiating their offense deep in the shot clock and having to put up heavily contested shots. Fortunately, Towson hit 48 percent of their shots, but couldn’t hit the ocean from distance, only hitting three3-pointers out of 11. The Tigers turned it around on the Greyhounds, stiflingLoyola into 27 percent shooting from the field, and allowing two 3-point baskets. Towson grabbed the lead and never looked back during a 10-0 run, finished off by the aforementioned Fobbs-Timberlake 3-point connection. Loyola cut the lead to as close as four after a Chuck Champion backdoor layup made it66-62, but that was close as the Greyhounds would get. The Towson defense didn’t allow a single field goal to go down in the final 5:48 of the contest, forcing the Greyhounds offense to a halt. Loyola went 0-8 down the stretch.

“They set the tone in the second half,” Loyola head Coach Tavaras Hardy said, “Thought we did things offensively in the first half that was difficult for them to guard but the second half they were able to get us out of our rhythm. “