Charlotte Christian v.s. Gonzaga:
The first game on the evening slate was Charlotte Christian vs the defending tournament champions Gonzaga. The game started off terribly for the Purple Eagles as their shots continually rimmed out, while Charlotte Christian was a bit more efficient with their shots they were forced into a shot clock violation in what was a sign of a long offensive night later on. The second quarter started off with both squads trading shots, but the Purple Eagles showing more grit and fire as they forced another shot clock violation and Myles Dread took two charges in the quarter. The renewed focus on defense for the Penn State-commit was something he addressed after a subpar defensive showing Friday evening. His younger brother Malcolm also showed his progession as a playmaker and freshman hitting Terrance Williams on a dump off layup while on the next drive he hit big brother Myles at the top of the key for a 3-pointer. His third assist came when he hit Carlos Hubb for another 3-pointer in the corner to make it 24-21. The Purple Eagles would escape the half with a 27-25 lead.
The Purple Eagles would begin the second half where they left off as they went on an 11-2 run that created an 11-point cushion early in the third quarter. The masterful ball movement of the Gonzaga offense came alive with their patience and willingness to let the offense develop. The familiarity and versatility of the Purple Eagles lineup allowed them to break the game open when they went on another run, this time on a 7-0 run that made the game 50-36 and effectively smothered Charlotte Christian the rest of the way.
Cardinal Hayes v.s. Roman Catholic
The main event featured two of the other out of town teams from New York and Philly. Roman Catholic edged out the Cardinals in a 78-60 victory. The Cardinals were led by Joe Toussaint, Tyrese Williams, and Terry Dawkins who scored 17, 14, and 11 respectively. Roman Catholic was led by Seth Lundy, Lynn Greer III, Allen Betrand who had a game high 19, 16, and 15 for their squad.
The Cardinals came out on fire hitting their first three 3-pointers, dictating the pace of play behind the point guard play of Joe Toussaint and Jontai Willaims. Lynn Greer played a more aggressive and probing game Saturday night hitting teammates backdoor and on drive and dishes throughout the second half. The sophomore guard has played with a ton of confidence and poise and seemed to be getting into the groove of things early on. Before the halftime buzzer Roman Catholic came out looking to make a run, only allowing the Cardinals to score nine points in the second frame and allowing Joe Toussaint to score once on a eurostep. The Philly squad entered the half with a 35-30 advantage and the Big 3 of Greer, Lundy and Betrand clicking on all cylinders. Before the teams would walk off the court a sparkler of tension rose when Betrand and Michael Richardson of Cardinal Hayes exchanged words. Officials made the wise decision of speaking to the players and staff of both teams to get a lid on it.
In the final half Roman Catholic went on a 10-0 run to pull away 52-36 and kept their foot on a pedal on both sides of the court, not allowing the Cardinals to get into any sort of rhythm utilizing their length and athleticism to affect every shot the Cardinals took. Cardinal Hayes would cut the deficit down to 12 late the in third quarter but it was for naught as Roman Catholic rode a 43 point half to victory and a matchup with Gonzaga.
Washington D.C. -- The 29th Annual Gonzaga D.C. Classic started Friday afternoon as teams from Charlotte, Philidelphia, New York, and the DMV all descended on the Nations capital for one of the top early season tournaments in the country. The contests on the Friday slate went off without a hitch with some stellar play by all programs involved.
Charlotte Christian v.s. St. Vincent Pallotti
The opening contest was between the Charlotte Christian Knights and the St. Vincent Pallotti Panthers. The contest in the first half was a back and forth affair as neither team was truly able to pull away from the other. The first quarter went to the Knights when they outscored the Panthers 19-11, but in the second frame the Panthers reversed the momentum and escaped the second half with a 29-28 lead.
In the second half the Knights took control of the temp and imposed their will as they went on a 10-3 run that involved everyone on the Knights offense. By the time Miles Mallory stopped the bleeding with a layup in the halfcourt setting Charlotte Christian was in control 47-38 with a lead that it wouldn’t relinquish. The alma matter of Stephen Curry was paced by Seth Bennett and Blake Preston who had 17 and 13 points respectively. The Panthers were led by Steve Cannady’s 16 points.
St. Marie Goretti v.s. Gonzaga
The second game of the day was between host Gonzaga and Goretti from Hagerstown, Maryland. Myles Dread and Terrance Williams used the contest to showoff their hard work over the summer. The sophomore Williams led all scorers with 22 points, canning a trio of 3-pointers in the contest. The 6’7 forward told me that he was working on basic shooting, ball handling, and inside work as he anticipated playing plenty of the 5 spot for the smaller Purple Eagles. Meanwhile Dread (19 points, five 3-pointers), who has been considered a tweener for much of his high school career, showed the fans and scouts alike the work he’s been putting into refining his guard skills. Despite two terrible turnovers to start the contest, Dread stayed in attack mode, captaining a Gonzaga that is without Notre Dame commit and fellow senior Prentiss Hubb(torn ACL).
The Purple Eagles controlled the contest in all phases throughout the contest, asserting their dominance in the second half when they went on a 9-0 run to open the contest and give them a 44-35 lead and when Goretti responded by cutting the lead to as close as five points after a RJ Blakney 3-pointer made the score 46-41. The reigning WCAC and D.C. Classic champs responded with another 7-0 run and never looked back. The lead ballooned to as many as 18 at one point during the fourth quarter as the Eagles advanced to the second round against Charlotte Christian.
Roman Catholic v.s. Riverdale Baptist
The Cahillites from Philadelphia carried some heavy hitters with them as they vanquished the the Crusaders 76-60. Seth Lundy led all scorers with 21 points while Donovan Toatley led Riverdale Baptist with 19.
The point guard battle between Lynn Greer III (12 points) and Donovan Toatley did not dissapoint. Neither did the matchup between Lundy and Wayne Bristol. In one sequence of the game in the opening quarter Toatley hit Bristol for a 3-pointer, immediately Bristol slammed home a thunderous jam after a David McCullough steal, then right after Bristol got a chase down block on the other end that ended in a Toatley pullup-jumper. The 7-0 gave the Crusaders an energy boost it needed after beginning the game sluggishly. The Crusaders were able to hold a lead until Greer III fed Allen Betrand on the break for a transition 3-pointer that gave Roman Catholic a 25-23 lead. It went into seesaw action until halftime ended with Roman Catholic edging the Crusaders out 36-30.
In the second half Riverdale Baptist refused to go away even as Roman Catholic continued to to make runs. A 10-2 run provided the team stacked squad from Philly a 50-39 lead that it wouldn’t let go of. Free throw struggles plagued the Crusaders as they missed the back end of at least six foul line trips. The only player to make both of his freebies was McCullough late in the third quarter. The Roman Catholic team rode a 13-0 run punctuated by a Lundy outback to ride into the second round and a matchup with the winner of the next game.
Cardinal Hayes v.s. Wilson
The main event contest was between the nationally ranked Wilson and Bronx-based Cardinal Hayes. The final game of the day did not disappoint as both teams showcased plenty of bravado and toughness all game. Wilson was led by the Ayinde Hakim, Jay Heath, and Ricardo Linda who scored 18, 16, and 11 points respectivelyy. Meanwhile the Cardinals were led by Jontai Williams and Terry Dawkins who scored 19 and 12.
The highly anticipated matchup featured everything you could possibly look for in a tournament setting. There was alley oops galore, 3-pointers from parking lot and trash talk and staredowns that not even Larry Bird could match. The Cardinals started off on fire canning their first four 3-pointers and a Tyrese Williams transition layup to start a 14-4 run. The Tigers would show their fight in the waning seconds as Hikim showed off his bounce with a one-handed jam in transition to end the quarter 20-13 in Cardinal Hayes’ favor. In the second quarter Wilson clamped down and started playing their brand of uptempo basketball as they whittled down the lead to as little as a possession after Domingus Stevens hit a pair of 3-pointers to make it 28-26. Cardinal Hayes would keep the Tigers at bay at 43-40 despite an 8-0 run by Wilson to close the half. As the two adversaries jogged off the court everyone in the Carmody Center knew we were in for an even better second half.
The second half Wilson dug deep on the defensive holding the Cardinals to only nine points in the third frame. Hikim scored nine points dished an assist to Stevens to account for every point scored except an Willem Bouma layup in transition. The Tigers escaped the third clinging on to a 54-49 lead. In an intense fourth and final quarter, the action went back and forth as both teams battled it out, leaving everything on the floor. Cardinal Hayes took a lead late when Joe Toussaint hit a pair of free throws to give the Cardinals a 65-63 lead in the final seconds of the game. What ensued next was back to back heart dropping action. Out of the timeout Hikim sliced and diced his way into the lane for a floater that tied the game up at 65-all with about 6 seconds left.
Cardinal Hayes would then heave it to the half-court line where Adam Cise received a pass from Jaylen Murray and sank the game winning layup with about 2.4 seconds left. Jay Heath would attempt an half-court heave but it would hit the front rim as Cardinal Hayes escaped with a 67-65 win and advance to play Roman Catholic.