Paul VI (Va.) 59, DeMatha 55
First up in semifinal action was the matchup between No. 1 seed Paul VI and No. 4 seed DeMatha Catholic. In the first half it was all DeMatha. The Stags formula of forcing PVI to execute in the halfcourt proved vital for the thrilling half. University of Connecticut commit Josh Carlton was the catalyst for the Stags on both ends of the court. In one sequence that was Tim Duncan-like, Josh Carlton blocked a PVI layup, grabbed that rebound, and threw an outlet pass that led to a Gielen 3-pointer that made it 28-22.
During the first quarter the Stags were able to go on a 9-2 run to end the first quarter 17-13 . PVI countered with a 7-2 run that tied the game up 22-22. Devin Richmond hit a 3-pointer in response to that ignited a countering 12-2 run that gave DeMatha a 34-24 run.
PVI turned everything around in the second half. With the Panthers staring at a 10-point deficit to begin the third quarter, they battled back and never lost confidence in each other.
“Over the course of the year we’ve been down and we just found a way to come back,” Jeremy Roach said. “We just have so much heart and no one can kill us.”
PVI closed the gap to as close as four points in the third quarter when Jeremy Robinson buried a 3-pointer to make it 42-38. DeMatha countered with layups from both Carlton and Harvey to make it 46-38 before Aaron Thompson hit a layup to make it 46-40 to close out the third quarter.
In the final frame, PVI grabbed the lead late 51-46 when it went on a 9-2 run punctuated by a Brandon Slater trey. DeMatha refused to give up as Paul Smith made it a one-possession 57-55 game. That set the stage for an exhilarating finale for the game. Anthony Harris was able to clinch the Panthers victory when he hit a scoop layup off a pass from Jeremy Roach to make 59-55 and send DeMatha packing.
“I was supposed to come around and turn the corner,” Roach said of the final play. “I lost the ball so I had to just throw it to Ant and he got the bucket.”
Gonzaga 66, St. John’s (D.C.) 36
From the first whistle to the last, Gonzaga imposed its will in its dominant victory. The Purple Eagles raced to a 17-3 lead behind their free-flowing and balanced offense and stifling defense on the other end. The fiery Myles Dread was the benefactor of this clinical performance as he was able to score 17 points in the first half.
“I just used my teammates energy to push me forward,” Dread said. “I kept shooting my shot and my teammates kept finding me.”
As if the offensive explosion weren’t enough to deal with, Gonzaga only allowed 10 points, while scoring 43 in the first sixteen minutes of the game alone
“To hold a team like that to 10 points in the first half, that’s pretty good,” Gonzaga coach Steve Turner said.
In the second half, St. John’s took a small victory in outscoring Gonzaga 14-13 in the third quarter. That fact was nearly overshadowed by Prentiss Hubb when he nearly posterized a St. John’s defender after a nasty crossover late in the third quarter.
Late in the third quarter, the Gonzaga lead of 35 points was outpacing the 21 points SJC had scored. Despite emptying the bench, the Purple Eagles never released the defensive grip it had on its opponent, as the bench guys only allowed the Cadets only scored nine points in the final frame.
For Prentiss Hubb and Myles Dread they realize how precious these last fews games are with seniors like Chris Lykes, Eddie Scott, Michael Myers are.
“These are my guys,” Dread said. ” I love them to death, I’m just trying to send then off right.”
Monday evening at 8 p.m. the Gonzaga Purple Eagles and PVI Panthers will face-off for the boys WCAC championship in what has been a hectic year for WCAC hoops.