Saturday night’s Championship game of the Gonzaga DC Classic held at America University’s Bender Arena proved to be as exciting of a match up as its billing promised.
After two days of tournament play, the final two teams, Mater Dei (CA) and Gonzaga College High School (DC,) both nationally ranked programs at 10th and 17th respectively, were set to face off. Based on rankings alone Mater Dei was favored, but no one doubted that the talented Gonzaga squad would make this a tight, action packed game.
The first half was, literally, breathe taking. Court play swung back and forth at a rapid pace with both teams running the length of the court and holding stoppage time to a minimum. Fast breaks set the game’s pace, both defenses played tight, turnovers were abundant and perimeter shooting dominated the scoreboard. The half time score, a low 26-24 with Gonzaga leading Mater Dei, reflected the tight game play.
Coming out of the locker room, Mater Dei’s long range shooting exploded and the Monarchs gained a 12 point lead. However Gonzaga battled back, closing the Mater Dei lead by the end of the third quarter.
Down by 8 entering the fourth quarter, Gonzaga took charge with a scoring run that put the Gonzaga Eagles in the lead, 62-59, with 10 seconds left in the fourth. The Monarchs played for the last shot, a three point attempt, but it fell short at the buzzer. The Eagles where Champions of the Gonzaga DC Classic for the fourth straight year.
Notable mentions go to seniors Tyler Thornton (committed to Duke) and Cedrick Lindsay (committed to Richmond) who led the Zags to victory and to the Monarchs’ Gary Franklin (committed to Cal Berkeley) and Tyler Lamb (committed to UCLA) who both displayed stellar performances.
All in all, the Gonzaga DC Classic Championship game was thrilling with multiple lead changes, an impressive show of shooting skills and a fast paced, engaging match between two top ranked boys’ programs.
As a DC native, it will be of no surprise that I was routing for the local team, and I have to say Gonzaga was very impressive. If you’re interested in catching Gonzaga in action, then I highly recommend attending their home game against local rival DeMatha (ranked 15th in the nation)on January 29th at 7:30pm.