In its illustrious history, DeMatha Catholic High boys’ basketball has produced two Basketball Hall of Famers, sent hundreds of players to Division I programs, and served as the proving grounds for several current collegiate head coaches.

It didn’t matter to John Carroll School.

The No. 1 Patriots stared down the D.C. powerhouse and its mystique for three quarters of their semifinal match at the 51st Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament Friday evening. But the Stags were able to finally grind away from the Bel Air school, 38-32, at Frostburg State University’s Bobcat Arena.

DeMatha, ranked No. 4 by the Washington Post, will play Benedictine from Richmond, Va. for the tourney title Saturday night. John Carroll will play Gonzaga (D.C.) in the third-place game Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

In its first ACIT appearance, John Carroll (33-3 overall) carried a 28-22 advantage into the fourth quarter in a battle of champions from the Baltimore and Washington Catholic leagues. The Hyattsville school outscored the Patriots, 16-4, securing its record 29th trip to the ACIT finals.

“DeMatha is so talented,” said Patriots coach Tony Martin. “We had some opportunities, but rebounding was a concern and we needed to get more.”

The Stags (27-7) opened the fourth with a 9-0 run, sparked by back-to-back three-pointers by Kameron Taylor and Jerami Grant, to take the lead for good at 31-28. John Carroll got to within, 31-30, after a basket by Ronald Scott, but two free throws by Mikael Hopkins and one from Jairus Lyles, advanced DeMatha’s advantage to 34-30.

The Stags went 10-of-13 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter (15-of-22 for game) while Scott accounted for the Patriots’ fourth quarter output with two baskets. Both teams struggled from the perimeter with John Carroll converting just 12-of-38 and DeMatha 10-of-32 in a game dictated by tough and disciplined half court play.

Scott, a senior guard, was the game’s high scorer with 13 points with Malcolm McMillan, the Baltimore Catholic League’s co-player of the year, adding nine. Jerami Grant and 6-foot-8 sophomore Beejay Anya had eight points for DeMatha while Hopkins, a Georgetown recruit, had a game-high 13 rebounds.

The Stags won the rebounding battle, 35-18. The 70 combined points were the fewest in ACIT game since the 1994 title game (DeMatha defeated Good Counsel, 35-34).

For the first time in seven trips to the western Maryland event, St. Frances is on the verge of winless showing. The No. 4 Panthers dropped a 65-56 decision to Bishop McNamara in Friday’s consolation round.

Callon Dailey scored a game-high 22 points for the Forestville school (22-10) and Marcus Thornton, the player of the year in Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, added 19. R.J. Williams, the other co-player of the year in the BCL, led St. Frances (19-9) with 17 points.

The Panthers will play St. Benedict’s Prep from New Jersey for seventh place Saturday afternoon. St. Benedict’s defeated St. Frances during the regular season. St. Benedict’s lost to Cumberland’s Bishop Walsh Friday, the first ACIT victory by the host school in 15 years.

r.j. williams51st Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament

Where: Bobcat Arena, Frostburg State University


Consolation round

Bishop Walsh 61, St. Benedict’s (N.J.) 60

Bishop McNamara 65, St. Frances Academy 56


DeMatha Catholic 38, John Carroll 32

Benedictine (VA) 56, Gonzaga (D.C.) 43



Consolation finals

7th place: St. Benedict’s vs. St. Frances, 3 p.m.

5th place: Bishop Walsh vs. McNamara, 4:45 p.m.

3rd place: John Carroll vs. Gonzaga, 6:30 p.m.


DeMatha vs. Benedictine, 8:15 p.m.