FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Al Jackson
29TH GONZAGA DC CLASSIC TIPS OFF FRIDAY, DECEMBER 8
Field Includes Teams from New York, Philadelphia, North Carolina & DC Region
All Games Played at Gonzaga College High School
December 3, 2017 – The 29th Annual Gonzaga DC Classic basketball tournament begins Friday afternoon, December 8 at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, DC. Games continue Saturday and Sunday at Gonzaga.
Gonzaga, the 2016 WCAC Champions, will be joined in this advancing tournament by a very strong field, featuring top talent and highly recruited athletes from up and down the east coast in this advancing tournament.
Along with Gonzaga, teams competing for the championship include Cardinal Hayes (New York City), Charlotte Christian (Charlotte, NC), Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, MD), Roman Catholic (Philadelphia), St. Maria Goretti (Hagerstown, MD), St. Vincent Pallotti (Laurel, MD) and Woodrow Wilson (DC). All proceeds from program sponsors, advertising and ticket sales go to support Gonzaga’s far-reaching service programs here in the Washington region and across the U.S. and on the U.S. – Mexico border. The tournament’s slogan is, “Great Basketball Supporting Good Works.”
Games begin at 3:15 on Friday at Gonzaga when Charlotte Christian takes on St. Vincent Pallotti. The 5:00 game will feature St. Maria Goretti against host Gonzaga. At 6:45, Roman Catholic takes on Riverdale Baptist and the 8:30 game will feature Cardinal Hayes versus Woodrow Wilson.
Second round games begin at 3:15 on Saturday at Gonzaga.
Sunday’s games, which will also be played at Gonzaga, begin at 1:30 PM and the championship match-up is set for 6:45 Sunday. Tickets are $10 per day. A three-day tournament pass is available for $25.
The entire tournament will be webcast and can be viewed at the tournament website: www.gonzagadcclassic.org. The official tournament twitter feed can be found at @gonzagaclassic and on Instagram at GonzagaClassic.
Qualified organizations and individuals (press, college coaches, scouting services) may request tournament passes via email to Al Jackson at email@example.com. Please include name and links to your publication(s), website(s) and/or twitter feed(s).
Brief profiles of participating teams can be found below.
Gonzaga College High School (Washington, DC)
Gonzaga enters the 2017-18 basketball season after capturing the coveted triple crown last year. With a 32-5 record, Gonzaga won the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) tournament, the DC State Championship, and the Alhambra Catholic Invitational tournament last year. Gonzaga earlier won the 2016 Gonzaga DC Classic tournament and finished the year ranked as the best local high school basketball team by the Washington Post newspaper. With multiple returning players, including two players that have signed National Letters of Intent to play college basketball, there are high expectations for the Eagles. Gonzaga has a strong squad with three returning seniors including Myles Dred, Allin Blunt, Will Turgeon, and Prentiss Hubb. The squad of 2017-18 is fortified by a number of juniors, sophomores, and one freshman.
For the 2017-18 season, Gonzaga will play a very competitive WCAC schedule, as well as a number of nationally ranked opponents including Bishop Loughlin (NY), Mater Dei (CA), and Sacred Heart (CT). Following the three-day Gonzaga DC Classic tournament, the Eagles will participate in the “Slam Dunk to the Beach” tournament in Lewes, Delaware in late December.
Cardinal Hayes (Bronx, NY)
Cardinal Hayes is proud to make its second appearance in the Gonzaga DC Classic basketball tournament led by Coach Joe Lods, now in his eleventh season (202-56). The Cardinals have a veteran team consisting of seven lettermen from last year’s team which finished 21-6, won the League Championship and the CHSAA NY City and State Championships. Key for the Cardinals this year are junior guard Joe Toussaint (6-0) with 15.0 ppg and 6.0 apg, senior guard and Quinnipiac commit Tyrese Williams (6-3) with 15.0 ppg and 5.0 rpg, senior forward Terry Dawkins (6-3) with 12.0 ppg and 8.0 rpg, senior guard Jontai Williams (6-0) with 13.0 ppg and 4.0 apg, junior center/forward Adam Cisse (6-9) with 6.0 ppg and 8.0 rpg and senior guard Terrence Reaves (6-1) with 6.0 ppg. Senior Michael Richardson and Freshman Jaylen Murray will also be major contributors this year. Antonio Colclough, Shawn Dewangso and Al-Qadir White are seniors who will provide veteran leadership and rebounding. Other players to watch are juniors Brandon Giles, Richard Cruz and Ismar Martinez. The Cardinals will try to build on their first championship since 1990 with this experienced group, and are optimistic about a return trip to the city finals.
Charlotte Christian (Charlotte, NC)
Charlotte Christian coach Shonn Brown is looking forward to having his team in the Gonzaga DC Classic again this year. In their last appearance in the Classic in 2010, the Knights made a strong showing but lost to Gonzaga in the championship game. Coach Brown, in his 12th season as head basketball coach at Charlotte Christian, believes his team can improve this season on last year’s overall 22-8 record and a squeaker loss in the quarterfinals of the 3A North Carolina Inter Scholastic Athletic Association (NCISAA) state tournament. Despite having lost three seniors to graduation and a promising sophomore transfer to Oak Hill, the team has experienced returnees including senior center Blake Preston, 6’9 220, headed for Liberty University next year, and senior guard Terrell Brown, 6’0, undecided. Five juniors are also back from last year’s team, including power forward Garrett Shrader 6’5 195 (quarterback on this fall’s 3A division state championship football team) and guards Seth Bennett 6’3, Efosa E-Udosomwan 6’2, JC Tharrington 6’0, and Jere Drummond 6’0. Junior “transfer-in,” power forward, Paul Hudson, 6’5 210, is expected to provide strong point and rebound production. Coach Brown says the Knights play in the tough Charlotte Independent Conference where last year’s 6-4 win-loss record featured a win over the conference champs and several cliffhanger losses. This year, he is looking forward to the challenges in the Gonzaga DC Classic to help get his team ready to take on that conference competition, and move on to the state tournament afterwards.
Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, MD)
The Riverdale Baptist High School, located in Upper Marlboro, MD, returns to the Gonzaga DC Classic for its second appearance and will be looking for another great tournament experience. The Riverdale Baptist “Crusaders,” members of the Capital Beltway League, won the 2017 Maryland State Private School Championship and finished with a record of 31 – 9. Led by Coach Louis Wilson, who is in his 17th year with the Crusaders and is the winningest active Coach in the State of Maryland, the Crusaders return some talented seniors. These players include forward David McCullough (3.8 GPA), 7 points per game (ppg), 4 rebounds; senior guard Wayne Bristol, Jr. (3.83 GPA); and point guard Donovann Toatley, 11ppg, 5 assists (4.0 GPA). Toatley has signed to play basketball at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga next year. Junior forward Charles Creek (3.0 GPA) and junior guard Myles Anderson (4.0 GPA) are experienced players who are also returning from last season’s squad. Coach Wilson expects contributions from 6’6″ senior forward Thomas Gaskins, 6’5″ senior forward Grant Grimes, and 6’10” junior forward from France Josaphat Bilau. In addition, talented freshman guards Zion Russell and James Gross will see action.
Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, PA)
In Matt Griffin’s first season as head coach, the Cahillites finished 20-6 overall and third in the Philadelphia Catholic League, after being picked to finish eighth. This year, the team returns three starters, junior Seth Lundy, sophomore Lynn Greer III, and senior Allen Betrand, a Towson University (MD) commit. All three starters averaged better than 10 points per game last season. Seth Lundy led the team in rebounds per game and Lynn Greer led the team in assists.
In addition to the returning starters, Roman Catholic has brought up multiple junior varsity and freshman players as well as two transfers: Louie Wild and Hakim Hart. The entire coaching staff is back this year. Joining Head Coach Matt Griffin are assistants Bill Goebig (8th season), Mike Wild (2nd season), Bill Lally (2nd Season) and Mike Ringgold (2nd Season).
St. Maria Goretti (Hagerstown, MD)
The St. Maria Goretti Gaels, out of Hagerstown, MD, come to the DC Classic after winning their ninth Mid-Atlantic Invitational Tournament in late November. In the title game against St. Andrew’s (Potomac, MD), juniors RJ Blakney and Przemek Golek led the Gaels with 23 and 21 points, respectively.
Competing in the Baltimore Catholic League and the Inter-Parochial Athletic Conference, Goretti finished the 2016-17 season with a 29-9 record, good for a BCL regular season co-championship and IPSL championship. At last season’s Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament, Goretti knocked off DeMatha and was a shot away from beating WCAC champions Gonzaga. Coach Matt Miller’s Gaels are a young team, with one senior, Josh Mack, on the roster.
St. Vincent Pallotti (Laurel, MD)
St. Vincent Pallotti High School from Laurel, Maryland returns this year to the Gonzaga DC Classic after participating in last year’s classic. The Panthers finished 13-17 last season in the competitive Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA).
Led by Head Coach Dennis Murphy in his fifth season, the Panthers return a talented team, including three starters. 5’11” senior point guard Stephen Cannady signed a letter of intent with Division II power Wheeling Jesuit in West Virginia. Senior forward Amir Warrick (3.7 GPA) is an athletic 6’5” wing that can shoot the three and get to the rim. Kyron Martin a senior forward is a 6-4 sharpshooter that will add offensive punch off the bench. Miles Mallory, a 6’6” junior is a smooth shooting forward that is a tough perimeter defender and is part of the National Honor Society. Isaiah Lattimore (JR) and sophomore Austin Allison will add toughness and scoring to the line-up along with smooth shooting lefty freshman Edward Johnson.
Coach Murphy notes that two juniors, guard Ronell Giles and forward Gilbert Otoo (4.5 GPA) have several Division I scholarship offers, including Columbia, St. Frances of PA, and Howard University.
Woodrow Wilson (Washington, DC)
Woodrow Wilson High School from Washington, D.C. returns to the Gonzaga DC Classic for the first time since 1997. The Tigers are coming off a highly successful 2016-17 campaign in which they finished 29-4 playing in the District of Columbia Interscholastic Athletic Association. (DCIAA).
Led by Head Coach Angelo Hernandez, the Tigers return a talented young team, including 6’8” senior guard Ricardo Lindo who was one of three leading scorers. 5’11 Sr. Guard Ayinde Hikim returns as the leading scorer for Wilson last year. Other returner 6’8 Sr. Center Josiah Marable will return to harness the middle and show a lot of low post moves. Jr. Carlos Dunn returns and looks to finish off where he left off by having a break out game against Gonzaga in the State Semifinals. 5’8 So. Chase Cook looks to return off a great season and add much needed depth at the PG position by leading the team being able to score from several different dimensions. With the additions of 6’8 Sr. Willem Bouma to protect the paint amongst doing many other intangibles. Another addition 6’4 Jr. PG Jay Heath Jr. who brings experience to a group that lost 3 seniors and will look to lead the area in scoring. 6’6 Soph. Dimingus Stevens is another addition who will add depth and the ability to stretch the floor.
Coach Hernandez notes that Ricardo Lindo, and Jay Heath Jr. have several Division I scholarship offers, including Kansas State, Rhode Island, George Washington, Harvard, Long Beach State, Princeton, Yale, to name a few.
“We are excited to participate in this year’s Gonzaga DC Classic. I am well aware of the prestige and history that goes along with the tournament,” says Coach Hernandez. “Our schedule has always been tough and this is a great measuring stick early in the season to see where we are.”