Gonzaga grabs DC Classic basketball title from slew of East Coast challengers

0
The Eagles dominated, winning all three of their games by a margin of 16 points. (Hannah Lynn Wagner/The Current/December 2017)

By Jack Lynch

The DC Classic basketball tournament, held at Gonzaga’s Carmody Center, drew teams from as far afield as New York and North Carolina — but the host Eagles dominated across the board, winning all three of their games by a margin of 16 points to remain undefeated on the season.

In the championship game Sunday night, Gonzaga defeated Philadelphia’s Roman Catholic 71-53. A top-four team last year in the Philadelphia Catholic League, Roman Catholic has won the DC Classic three times in the past. But the team couldn’t keep it close this year against Gonzaga. The Eagles leapt ahead early and stayed there, racking up a 14-point lead in the first half and not allowing the margin to shrink lower than 10 points the rest of the way.

Standout sophomore guard Chuck Harris brought the ball up for the Eagles for much of the game, often battling a tough Roman Catholic press on his way to 18 points. Meanwhile, fellow sophomore Terrance Williams dominated the paint against Roman Catholic’s undersized frontcourt, scoring 14 points of his own.

On the Roman Catholic side of the ball, guard Lynn Greer III dropped a team-high 18 points but appeared frustrated by a sticky Gonzaga defense, picking up a technical foul in the first half after Gonzaga’s physical press on an attempted in-bounds play.

The game’s star, though, was Gonzaga senior forward Myles Dread, who attacked the Cahillites off the dribble and from three-point range while dishing a series of dramatic no-look passes in transition. Dread, who will play for Penn State next year, dropped a game-high 21 points against the Roman Catholic defense. Partway through the second half, Dread scored his 1,000th career point for Gonzaga — prompting Coach Steve Turner to remove him from the floor to a standing ovation. Myles Dread’s younger brother, freshman forward Malcolm Dread, took his spot on the court.

After the game, Myles Dread was awarded the tournament MVP award, and both he and Williams were named to the honorary all-tournament team.

Gonzaga made it to the finals after two similarly dominant outings earlier in the weekend. On Friday, the Eagles downed St. Maria Goretti of Hagerstown, Md., 73-58. In the semifinals on Saturday, Gonzaga defeated North Carolina’s Charlotte Christian 59-43. Gonzaga now improves to 5-0 on the season and will begin regular league play in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference this week.

Wilson, the only other D.C. school at the tournament, struggled early. The Tigers lost a close matchup in the first round on Friday to New York’s Cardinal Hayes 67-65. With just under seven seconds remaining, a long Cardinal Hayes inbound pass broke Wilson’s full-court press and allowed junior forward Adam Cisse to bank in the winning layup with less than a second to go.

Wilson’s losing streak continued the next day when the Tigers fell 72-60 to Riverdale Baptist of Upper Marlboro, Md. On Sunday, though, Wilson finally found its footing, taking down Maryland’s St. Maria-Goretti 56-41. The Tigers are now 4-2 on the season and will begin regular league play in the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association this week.