Recap of Past Years

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Hosts Gonzaga extended its incredible DC Classic championship winning streak to five by defeating another talented newcomer to its annual holiday tournament. In a game in which the home team maintained a small lead throughout, the Eagles, led by Senior Cahli Thomas and sophomores Nate Britt and Kris Jenkins, defeated a solid Charlotte Christian (N.C.) Squad, led by Navy Recruit Worth Smith and Anthony Gill (South Carolina). The Eagles won the game at the foul line, making nearly 90% of their free throws (15-17) while the Knights, from Charlotte, N.C. could manage only 52% (11-21). The consolation game featured New York area rivals Holy Cross against St. Raymond of the Bronx, a three time participant, with the Ravens of St. Raymond edging the Knights 69-64. Local teams Good Counsel and Chantilly, both making their second appearance in the tournament rounded out the tournament field with four timer Mt. St. Joseph and St. John Shrewsbury (MA), a second time participant. Once again the tournament’s reputation as a showcase for underclass talent held true as the tournament hosted a number of college coaches and scouts assessing the wide range of talent among the tournament’s young scholar-athletes.
2009 The 2009 DC Classic saw a continuation of home team dominance by the host Eagles who defeated a talented Mater Dei (CA) team in a thrilling final at American University. Dallas Jesuit (TX) returned to the tournament for the third time but could not keep up with the host Eagles in a first day match up. The Mater Dei Monarchs, led by USC bound Gary Franklin and UCLA bound Tyler Lamb squeaked by a tough Chantilly (VA) team making its first appearance in the tournament, then fought off a determined McNamara (MD) Squad to reach the final against the Eagles. Gonzaga eased past Calvert Hall (MD) in the semi-finals to set up the hoped for matchup between the Monarchs and the host Eagles. The crowd expected a tough, hard fought game and it was not disappointed. Mater Dei took over in the third quarter leading by more than ten points. The Eagles, led by senior guards Cedric Lindsay and Tyler Thornton chipped away at the lead and managed to pull out the win with a great team effort featuring timely support from freshmen, Nate Britt and Kris Jenkins. Sidwell Friends (DC) and Iona Prep (NY) also made their first trips to the tournament marking the first time in 15 years 4 new teams were introduced to the special hospitality of the DC Classic tournament committee. The tournament’s reputation as a showcase for local and national talent continued to grow as a number of area and national coaches were on hand to see the talented seniors and underclassmen in the 21st DC Classic.
2008 The 20th DC Classic was not only a milestone for the tournament and its volunteer committee members, it was also the first ever three-peat – for tournament host Gonzaga. This time, coming off one of the best seasons in school history and returning three key players, including Duke and Princeton bound players, Tyler Thornton and Ian Hummer, respectively, the Eagles came into the tournament as the clear favorite and they did not disappoint. Gonzaga rolled into the finals with a blow out victory against an overmatched Bullis squad then carried that momentum to a strong 20 point final victory over arch rival St. John’s (DC), appearing in the tournament for the third time. The Eagles were led by book end Junior guards Cedrick Lindsay, the tournament MVP, and Thornton, and Senior Center, Hummer. The tournament welcomed St. John’s (Shrewsbury) the first team in the tournament’s history from Massachusetts. Coolidge High School (DC) appeared in the tournament for the 7th time including an appearance in the maiden tournament in 1989. Consistent with the celebration by the DC Classic of a long and successful tournament history, the tournament committee had the honor of welcoming back legendary Coach Jack Curran and his Stanners from Archbishop Molloy (N.Y.) for the 6th time. The Stanners featured an outstanding individual performance by Senior Russ Smith. The tournament also featured the first appearance by Benedictine, from Richmond, Virginia.
2007 The Gonzaga Eagles entered the 19th DC Classic as a clear favorite off the Eagles stellar 2006 season and the return of all key starters including 2006 DC Classic MVP Cameron Johnson. The Eagles reached the finals with victories over tournament newcomer All Hallows (NY) and regional foe St. John’s Prospect Hall, appearing in its second tournament. On the other side of the bracket, Bishop Loughlin of New York, a tournament veteran, made it look easy with a blow out win against overmatched Townson Catholic and a convincing win over Philadelphia power and torney veteran, Roman Catholic.
2006 History repeated itself in 2006 to the delight of fans of the host Gonzaga Eagles. In 1993 Coach Dick Myers won his first DC Classic title after having been upset in the first round the previous year. The 2005 Eagles also lost on the first day. However, as in 1993, the Eagles bounced back with a superb performance in 2006 thoroughly outclassing pre-tournament favorite St. Frances of Baltimore, making its 3rd Tournament appearance. The Eagles led throughout, surging to a 50-27 halftime lead before prevailing comfortably 82-56. Sean Mosely led the Panthers of St. Frances while the Eagles were led by tournament MVP, Cameron Johnson. The tournament featured two new West Coast teams, Fremont from Oakland and Horizon from San Diego, and an old East Coast favorite, Archbishop Molloy.
2005 The 17th annual tournament turned into an all Baltimore final when nationally ranked Mount St. Joseph and St. Frances reached the final marking the first time two Baltimore teams played in the Championship Game. While the two teams were closely matched, the senior depth of Mount St. Joseph, led by tournament MVP Dejuan Goodwin and George Mason bound Louis Birdsong proved too much for the Panthers of St. Frances who were led by sophomore Sean Mosely and Senior Deshawn Bradshaw. Roman Catholic (PA) nearly spoiled the all Maryland final but succumbed in one semifinal to the eventual champion 56-54 despite the efforts of all tournament team members Bradley Wanamaker and Mike Ringgold of the Cahillites from Philadelphia. Newcomer St. Stephens/St. Agnes made it into the semifinal by upsetting host Gonzaga in first night action at Gonzaga but could not overcome the talented Panthers of St. Frances at the larger Bender Arena (AU) venue for second day action. The Cadets of St. Johns (DC) and DCIAA member Eleanor Roosevelt High (DC) along with tournament veteran, Bishop Loughlin (NY), rounded out the field. The tournament raised over $55,000 for Gonzaga’s local, regional, national and international Charitable Service Projects.
2004 The 16th Annual Tournament featured a renewal of the historic rivalry between DeMatha and Gonzaga who met in the tournament final for the third time. It was an old rivalry with a significant twist, however. The Stags were appearing for the first time without the retired legend, Morgan Wooton while the Eagles were in their first season under new coach Steve Turner, after the retirement of long time coach and teacher, Dick Myers. The tournament field also included Westbury Christian and Germantown Academy, both making their fourth appearance in the tournament, along with St. Albans, a five-time participant. Jesuit High from Carmichael, CA made its first visit to the tournament and also became the first team in the DC Classic from the West Coast. The Eagles appeared to be severe underdogs in the final after DeMatha’s convincing wins over Westbury Christian and Mt. St. Joseph. However, the Eagles, behind the sharpshooting of seniors Paul Johnson and Brian Slaninka never trailed, until the last minute. Key plays by Nigel Munson and Mamadi Diane enabled the Stags to eke out a last minute victory, 54-51, marking the Stags 3rd DC Classic Championship, but the first behind Coach Mike Jones.
2003 2003 marked the historic 15th year of the tournament and featured McQuaid Jesuit and Archbishop Molloy (NY) and Georgetown Prep. The host Eagles raced into the Championship game with convincing wins over Potomac School (VA) and St. Joseph Prep (PA) behind the solid play of seniors Stanley Hodge and Antwan Harrison and junior forward Paul Johnson. In the other bracket Georgetown Prep used Seniors Roy Hibbert (7’2″), Davis Nwankwo (6’9″) and Aris Williams (6’9″) to get past McQuaid and two-time tournament champion Archbishop Molloy, coached by the legendary Jack Curran and led by senior standout Sundiata Gaines. In a dream final featuring two neighboring Jesuit rivals the height of the little Hoyas and a semi-final injury to Gonzaga star Antwan Harrison allowed Georgetown Prep to control the final despite a late charge by the Eagles. Prep pulled away at the end to win 46-38 behind tournament MVP Roy Hibbert, Jr. The tournament’s final day also featured a shooting exhibition between Mount St. Joseph and McQuaid. McQuaid’s Jack Leasure set a new record for Three Point Field Goals with 9 for the game (8 in the fourth quarter) and 18 for the tournament, but the Gaels of Mount St. Joseph prevailed in part because of the free throw perfection of Brian Johnson who made all 13 tries during the tournament including 10-10 against the Black Knights of McQuaid. The out of town teams were treated to a special tour of the Capitol. The tournament also marked the last DC Classic for Gonzaga’s own legendary coach Dick Myers who retired after the season.
2002 The 14th DC Classic featured the return of national power and previous tournament Champion Christ the King from New York. Local upstart, The Potomac School, led by junior Peter Prowitt, nearly pulled off the upset of the tournament missing a last second shot to fall by one point to the Royals in the 1st round. The Tournament also featured West Forsyth, the first participant from North Carolina, led by Wake Forest bound Chris Paul, Mervo School, and Paul VI all making their first tournament visit. The 2nd round featured a long awaited match up of local Jesuit rivals, Georgetown Prep and host Gonzaga. The Eagles, led by senior Luke Owings defeated the Little Hoyas who were led by towering 7′ 2″ junior center Roy Hibbert, Jr. The Eagles brought their pressing defense and fast paced game into the final against the co-favorite Royals who had little trouble in the semi-finals beating a tough Paul VI Panther team. The final was an epic battle from the start with Christ the King holding a small lead at the end of each quarter, only to see the Eagles tie in the last minutes. In the end, the Royals, led by tournament MVP Japhet McNeil and Brian Williams prevailed in a controversial last minute exchange, 50 – 48. The Eagles were led by Senior Luke Owings and Juniors Antwan Harrison and Stanley Hodge.
2001 The 13th edition of the DC Classic was held with subdued excitement due to the tragedies of September 11th. Jack Curran brought his Stanners from Archbishop Molloy (NY) to the tournament for the third time, seeking championship number two. The main competition figured to come from highly ranked Germantown Academy (PA) led by super seniors Matt Walsh (FL) and Lee Melchionni (Duke). Fighting through injuries and illness Germantown was unable to overcome the Stanners in one semi-final match up. In the other semi-final host Gonzaga, featuring a talented group of underclassmen faced Houston power Westbury Christian, led by 2002 national player of the year runner up, Ndudi Ebi. The Wildcats advanced to the final with a thrilling and controversial last minute victory over the host Eagles, led by senior Chris Sumner. In the final, the Stanners took advantage of the Wildcats’ let down and steadily pulled away from the Wildcats. The Stanners were led by junior point guard Marlon Smith and senior forwards Kevin Diffly and Kevin Hamilton. The 2001 tournament also featured newcomers Roanoke Catholic (VA) and T. C. Williams (VA) of “Remember the Titans” fame. With highly touted underclassmen such as Ebi, J. R. Reynolds of Roanoke Catholic and Stanley Hodge of Gonzaga, the tournament attracted a large number of college coaches and scouts.
2000 The 12th annual tournament provided another thrilling ending. Old friends South Lafourche and Coolidge High, were joined by Strake Jesuit (Houston), St. Joseph’s Prep (PA), St. John’s Prospect Hall (MD) and long time Gonzaga neighbors and rivals Good Counsel and Georgetown Prep. Gonzaga renewed its rivalry against Prep with a hard fought semifinal victory. Good Counsel advanced in the other bracket taking advantage of inconsistent play from Scott Bouzigard’s Tarpons of South Lafourche and the absence of key players from Strake Jesuit. In the final, Gonzaga, often led by two freshmen Antwan Harrison and Eric Price, roared from behind then prevailed in a thrilling overtime victory. After an 0-4 start in tournament championships, the Eagles had now won 5 of the last 8 tournaments. The tournament showcased some rising stars and rising teams including St. John’s and St. Joseph’s, and particularly Georgetown Prep behind new coach and former Georgetown star Dwayne Bryant, a college teammate of Gonzaga star Mark Tillman. Honoring his 12 years of service to the tournament and leadership as tournament chairman, the MVP trophy was permanently named the “John J. McLaughlin MVP Award.”
1999 The 11th annual tournament produced a familiar “refrain” as tournament favorite Roman Catholic went down to defeat to Archbishop Molloy (NY) coached by legendary ‘two sport coach’ Jack Curran. Molloy and Roman were joined by local teams Archbishop Spalding (MD) and McNamara (MD). Host Gonzaga sported a young team that could not match up with eventual winner Molloy in the semi-final despite a strong effort by Senior Center Howard Blue. Bishop Loughlin (NY) succumbed in the semi-final unable to control national player of the year Eddie Griffin for Roman Catholic. Sunday’s tournament final showed that after 40 years of coaching baseball and basketball and receiving coach of the year awards in both sports, Molloy’s Jack Curran still had the touch. The Stanners produced a smothering defense that hampered Roman’s Eddie Griffin. Junior big men Wendell Gibson and James Hauser lead a balanced attack that constantly produced open shots. In the end the Stanners frustrated the Cahillites and Coach Curran had his first DC Classic championship in his second try.
1998 The tournament celebrated its 10th anniversary with equal amounts of fanfare and anticipation. The tournament field included returning powers South Lafourche and DeMatha. South Lafourche turned on a tenacious pressing defense right from the opening tip-off, surprising the Cahillites of favored Roman Catholic of Philadelphia, leading to the long awaited rematch with DeMatha. The Stags, led by seniors Keith Bogans and Joe Forte, proved too much for the Tarpons in one of the semi-final match ups. On the other side of the tournament bracket, Gonzaga moved ahead, winning its first two games against Longwood (NY) and Towson Catholic (MD), setting up a dream match against DeMatha, the nation’s #1 ranked high school. Although recognized as a skilled team, Gonzaga was given little chance against DeMatha, a team touted by USA Today as the most talented high school basketball team in the past twenty years. In one of the most exciting high school games in memory, Gonzaga outlasted DeMatha in a thrilling, overtime victory won by a last second shot from Gonzaga senior floor leader Billy Glading. He was ably supported by seniors Pat Mitchell, Brandon Newby and Tim Folan. The Stags were again led by senior All-Americans, Joe Forte, unprecedented repeat MVP, and Keith Bogans. An international element was introduced to the service projects supported by the tournament through the addition of a senior summer work project in the Dominican Republic.
1997 The 9th year of the tournament registered another first with the Gonzaga Eagles’ Wings-sponsored, congressional reception hosted by Congressman Billy Tauzin (LA). Newcomers, South Lafourche (Galliano, LA) and Westbury Christian (Houston, TX), attended the reception and provided a refreshing Southwest flavor to the tournament. South Lafourche outplayed Gonzaga in the tournament semi-final, gaining the chance to meet national power DeMatha, coached by the legendary Morgan Wooten. Despite a decided height and depth disadvantage, the Tarpons of South Lafourche, behind the play of juniors Clarence Moore and Ross Chouest, stayed with DeMatha until the very end, before falling to the Stags and their junior stars, MVP Joe Forte and Keith Bogans.
1996 In its 8th year the tournament continued to expand, recruiting the Red Cloud Indian School of Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Red Cloud’s visit included several intercultural exchanges and resulted in a visit to Red Cloud by Gonzaga students the following summer, the start of an annual student service project. Gonzaga became the first three-time champion with a convincing win against highly regarded Bishop Loughlin, which had earned a place in the final with a defeat of nationally ranked, New York rival, Bishop Rice. Unfortunately, the success of the tournament was marred by the sudden death of Mike Kelleher, tournament founder and inspiration. In his honor, the tournament permanently renamed its Scholar-Athlete award the Mike Kelleher Scholar Athlete award.
1995 The 7th year of the tournament was dominated by juniors Mark Karcher, the tournament MVP, playing for nationally ranked St. Frances, and Alvin Brown of Gonzaga, who met in the tournament final. Gonzaga became the first team to win the tournament twice, repeating its 1993 1st place finish with a dominating defensive performance. Players from Herndon H.S. (Herndon, VA.) and St. Raymond joined host Gonzaga at Children’s Hospital where tournament Chairman, John McLaughlin, presented Children’s with a check from the tournament. Halftime of the final featured the announcement of the 1st annual Scholar Athlete Award, presented to Gonzaga’s team trainer, senior John Gans (Northwestern).
1994 The 6th DC Classic featured three of the nation’s top teams: DeMatha, ranked #1; Roman Catholic ranked #4; and LaSalle Academy (NYC), ranked as high as #6 during the year. The tournament’s geographic horizons were stretched by the addition of Jesuit College Prep (Dallas, TX). In the semi-finals, Roman Catholic stunned DeMatha at the buzzer. In the final, LaSalle rode tournament MVP Shammgod Wells’ (Providence) 20 points and superb ball handling to a decisive 57-48 win over the Cahillites. Visiting teams were treated to a private tour of the White House, a tournament tradition. George Washington’s head coach, Mike Jarvis (now at St. John’s) was the keynote speaker at the renewed team breakfast for all participants.
1993 Host Gonzaga started momentum toward an outstanding season with a victory in the championship game of the milestone, 5th Gonzaga DC Classic. The tournament invitees included nationally ranked St. Raymond (NYC) and Archbishop Wood (Phila.). St. Raymond, behind Kareem Reid (Univ. of Arkansas) and Charlton Clarke (UMass.), cruised to the final with easy wins over Langley (VA) and Wood. In the final, Gonzaga star and tournament MVP Kenny McFarland (St. Bonaventure) sank a buzzer-beating lay up to climax a breathtaking 63-61 come-from-behind win over the Ravens. The tournament also featured an alumni match-up between local and long-time rivals, Gonzaga and St. John’s, that preceded the tournament final.
1992 An incredibly strong field drew media attention to the tournament in 1992. Teams included defending national champion Dunbar of Baltimore and Philadelphia city champion, Roman Catholic. Dunbar nipped Anacostia in the game opener termed, “worthy of any tournament championship,” by the Washington Post. Washington’s St. Albans, featuring Anwar McQueen (Univ. of California), lost its only game of the year to Roman Catholic in other first-round action. In the final, Roman Catholic, behind the strong play of tournament MVP Marc Jackson (Temple), shocked Dunbar, led by Keith Booth (Maryland), to end the Poets’ 57-game winning streak.
1991 In its 3rd year, the tournament expanded to an eight-team format and received national recognition by Street and Smith. The field was headlined by perennial New York powers Christ the King and Archbishop Molloy, coached by Jack Curran, and by Southern of Baltimore. Undaunted but undersized Gonzaga, led by two-sports stars, Ike Wilkins (Northeastern) and Chad Leonard (The Citadel), stunned Molloy in the semi-finals and was leading heavily favored Christ the King deep into the third quarter before falling to the Royals, led by Jason Cipola (Syracuse) and Rich Veteri (George Mason).
1990 The tournament field expanded to six teams in its second year including perennial high school basketball power St. Anthony’s of Jersey City. In the tournament final, Dunbar of Baltimore, led by Terrence Alexander and Donta Bright (UMass), nipped St. Anthony’s powered by high school All-Americans Danny Hurley (Seton Hall) and Roderick Rhodes (Kentucky/Southern California/Houston Rockets) in overtime. The loss proved to be St. Anthony’s only loss of the year. Washington’s own Dunbar H. S. finished only third in the tournament, even though it was nationally ranked all year.
1989 The Gonzaga DC Classic, organized by a committee of volunteers from the Gonzaga Fathers’ Club, inaugurated the annual December tournament. Playing at the tournament’s regular home, Bender Arena at the American University, the four-team field gave fans a taste of the excitement to come. Washington’s Coolidge H. S. and Dunbar (Baltimore) joined local rivals, DeMatha and host Gonzaga. In the tournament final, televised by Home Team Sports Network, DeMatha, behind Kenny Blakeney (Duke), beat a strong Gonzaga team led by Robert Churchwell (Georgetown).