Another Stunner! Gonzaga Upends PVI for Berth at the ‘Chip Versus SJC.

Another Stunner! @GonzagaHoops Upends PVI Thanks to @Cth23Chuck , @StuteMyles , @Devin2__ and @iamjodybreeze For A Chance At The WCAC ‘Chip vs @SJCBoysHoops

WASHINGTON D.C. – Washington D.C. – The WCAC descended once again on American University for their annual playoff to determine their conference champion this past weekend. After a long regular season, the final four teams remaining were DeMatha Catholic High School, Paul VI Catholic High School, Gonzaga College High School, and St. John’s College High School. The winners of these two games will advance to play for the championship on Monday.

After a stunning () the crowd at AU was clamoring for the second game between no. 2 seed PVI and no. 3 seed Gonzaga. Gonzaga pulled off the second upset of the day, prevailing 63-55 and have the right to face off against SJC for the conference crowd. Junior Chuck Harris scored a game-high 17 points and handed out three assists, followed up by double-digit performances by forward Myles Stute(14 points and 12 rebounds), freshman Devin Dinkins (12 points), and senior Anwar Gill (10 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds). Freshman point guard Knasir “Dug” Williams led PVI with 12 points, while wing Josiah Freeman and sophomore Avery Ford each contributed 11 points.

“For our kids to gut out, we were down what, (13)? 13-point comeback to win against one of the best teams in the league all year,” Gonzaga head coach Stephen Turner said, “I’m just proud for them and their opportunity to go out tomorrow night and have a chance to bring home a championship.”

In any conference, it’s hard to beat any team three times in a row. In a conference like the WCAC, widely regarded as the best high school basketball conference in the country, it’s nearly impossible. However, PVI seemed like they would scoff at that notion, building a 13 point edge by the end of the half behind a balanced offensive onslaught, sophomores Avery Ford and  Trevor Keels dominated with 16 points at the half, relying on the physical drives of Keels and finesse of Ford to build their lead. A 3-2 zone that Gonzaga had trouble adjusting too also played a large roll in forcing the Purple Eagles were unable to execute as they traditionally do and the Panthers to walk into the half up 35-22.

That all changed in the second half when Gonzaga was able to neutralize the threat of Keels and forced everybody else to make plays. The revitalized defensive effort by Gonzaga forced PVI into scoring just 18 points the rest of the way. The Purple Eagles patiently chipped away at the deficit, being able to whittle down the lead to four by the end of the third quarter. By midway into the final frame, Gonzaga knotted the game up, 46-all, when Chuck Harris fed Dinkins on the left wing for a 3-pointer. That was the impetus to a 10-run that ended with three straight trips to the free throw line for Stute as he fought off PVI wings and forwards for several rebounds.  The gritty sequence by the junior provoked a smirk and flex moment as he soaked in cheers from the Gonzaga student section.

“Just felt good,” Stute said, “I was in my rhythm, affecting the game in different ways other than scoring, getting rebounds, getting to the line. When I got to the line, I knew I had to convert.”

PVI wasn’t done however, they went off on a 7-0 run and cut the Purple Eagles, 56-55, after Freeman nailed 3-pointer. That would be as close as PVI would get, Gonzaga ended the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run that ended all doubts for the Panthers. Harris finished a pair of three-point plays, smiling and letting out a loud “Let’s Go” after converting the second and-1. Forward Terrance Williams shot the final free throws of the game and secured the improbable Gonzaga win.

“ We just came out and played our hardest from the jump,” Harris said, “ We knew PVI was going to be a tough opponent and just had the best of them tonight.”

Trevor Keels Rips the Cadets Hearts Out Late In a WCAC Classic

Washington D.C ~ With just 3.3 seconds left and PVI down 60-58, Trevor Keels and Panthers teammates had all the confidence in the world that they would make the game-winning shot and steal one from St. John’s on Military Road.

“I knew I was going to hit the shot,” Keels said, “I had confidence in it. My team believed in it, I told them the games not over it.”

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PVI stole a key WCAC win over St. John’s, 61-60 to extend their conference win streak to 32 wins. Keels finished the contest with 24-points and Dug McDaniel contributed 15-points. The Cadets were led by Casey Morsell who scored a game-high 29-points. Ishmael Leggett joined him in double-figures with 14-points.

“They just don’t want to give that up,” PVI head coach Glen Farello said smiling and on the steak, “I thought we fought the whole game and Trevor kinda willed willed that shot in.”

It was a back-and-forth affair between the Cadets and Panthers. The Cadets held the lead for the majority contest, only facing a deficit twice. The game was tied up only three times as well. The largest lead of the night was just nine points after Casey Morsell dished an assist for a John Wilson layup to make it 23-14 early in the second quarter. Despite the adversity throughout the afternoon, the Panthers continued to dig and dig away at leads. Through the patient and poised play of Dug McDaniel, and the constant battering ram forays of Trevor Keels was all the offense PVI needed.

“Just pick up the slack,” McDaniel said on his role, “And just lead the team.”

The Panthers never gave up throughout the afternoon, and when Josiah Freeman implored to Keels to takeover late in the second half, that’s exactly what he did. In fact, he scored 17 of his 24 alone. That’s with Keels being blanketed by Morsell, one of the best on-ball defenders in the DMV. It was also Freeman that initiated the final exciting sequence of the game. The junior guard nailed a pair of free throws to tie it at 58-all after Morsell turned the ball over on the baseline with 29 seconds left. Casey Morsell patiently dribbled the clock down until nearly eight seconds were left on the game clock until he attacked the rim. He easily shed the defense of Trevor Keels off and extended for a left handed layup over the outstretched hands of Josh Oduro.

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The late bucket left 3.3 seconds on the clock and enough time for PVI and Trevor Keels to get a potential game-winner off. The Panthers subsequently dropped the pass off the Keels who ran to the right side of the court and put up a near half-court shot that hit nothing but net. Dagger! Effectively ripping the Cadets hearts out and making a meal out of it.

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The Cadets play Bishop Ireton and the The Heights this coming next, while the Panthers play DeMatha, McNamara, O’Connell, and Good Council.