Top Five Games

5. 1998 - Longwood v. Bullis

The longest game in tournament history took four overtimes before the Longwood Lions prevailed. It was the first DC Classic for both teams.

4. 1993 - Gonzaga v. St. Raymond

Gonzaga had lost in the first round in the 1992 tournament and had lost in its only other tournament final appearance (1991). In the 1993 final, the Eagles faced a stacked St. Raymond team that featured three Division I recruits, led by point guard Kareem Reid (Arkansas). The game stayed close for the first three periods, but St. Raymond’s threatened to pull away in the fourth period. The Eagles held St. Raymond’s to only 3 points in the final 9:24 to give the Eagles a chance to win. After forcing a turnover with only 5 seconds left, with the score tied at 61, the Eagles inbounded the ball from the far end of the court to junior center Ahmed Evans, at half court. Ahmed immediately turned and passed to Senior Kenny McFarland (St. Bonaventure) who was racing toward the Eagles’ basket. Kenny put up an awkward running shot with enough touch to bank in right as the buzzer sounded signaling Gonzaga’s first tournament victory.

3. 1994 - Roman Catholic v. DeMatha

Only a year after Gonzaga’s thrilling last second championship game victory, two national powers faced off in the semi-finals of the sixth annual tournament. DeMatha was ranked No. 1 in the country coming off a 28-4 season with almost its entire 1993-4 squad intact including guards Tim Hill (Harvard) and Terry McGann (Furman). In the tournament semi-finals they faced Roman Catholic of Philadelphia, led by Lari Ketner (U. Mass.) and Donnie Carr (LaSalle). The Cahillites were also ranked among the top ten teams in the country. Both teams entered the tournament undefeated. In the thrilling semi-final, Roman started fast and held a small lead throughout the game. When DeMatha’s Greg Cristell (Florida) fouled out with over 4 minutes left, Roman’s Lari Ketner figured to control inside. However, after falling behind by 5 points, the Stags went on a 6-0 run to take a one point lead with only 7 seconds left. Roman senior guard Will McKnight took the inbound pass and drove furiously up the court releasing a soft floater as time expired for the upset. The next day, as Roman visited the White House (a tournament tradition) young Mr. McKnight was quite the celebrity to the White House Secret Service detail. Ironically, Roman did not win the tournament. It faced Shammgod Wells (Providence/Wizards), Ron Artest (St. Johns/Rockets), and LaSalle Academy (NY), another undefeated team, in the finals. The end of that game typified the dominance of MVP Wells who dribbled away the last minutes with the entire (it seemed) Roman Catholic team in pursuit.

2. 1990 - Dunbar v. St. Anthony’s

The second tournament also attracted several nationally ranked teams including St. Anthony’s (NJ) and Dunbar (Balt.), along with D.C.’s Dunbar. Predictably, St. Anthony’s and Dunbar (Balt.) met in the final, a repeat of another tournament final only a week before in which St. Anthony’s squeaked out a victory over the Poets. In the DC Classic final the teams played a close, see saw battle for the entire game. Although very evenly matched and well coached the two teams played very different styles. The Poets, coached by Pete Pompey, were young and athletic playing an aggressive, pressing defense. St. Anthony’s, under the helm of legendary Bob Hurley, played a more ball control game trying to slow the tempo for a half court offense featuring junior Rhoderick Rhodes. Fittingly, the game ended in a tie forcing overtime. In the end the Poets prevailed, led by Dante Bright (U. Mass.) and Terrence Alexander. St. Anthony’s was led by Danny Hurley (Seton Hall) and Rhodes (USC). Ironically, it was the last loss of the year for St. Anthony’s which finished No. 2 in the country. The very next week the two teams squared off again in a tournament in California where St. Anthony’s beat Dunbar in another, close contest. It was the last loss for the Poets until the DC Classic Tournament Championship of 1992!

1. 1998 - Gonzaga v. DeMatha

Despite the other great games described above, and still others that did not make this list, there can be no doubt what the greatest game in tournament history was - the 1998 epic final between the Eagles of host Gonzaga and the Stags of arch rival DeMatha. DeMatha entered the season, not only ranked No. 1 in the country but described as one of the best high school teams in the last twenty years. Not only were the Stags under the tutelage of the legendary Morgan Wooten, but the Stags featured two of the top five rated players in the country, Keith Bogans (Kentucky/Magic) and Joseph Forte (North Carolina/Supersonics). The Stags were also the defending DC Classic Champions and had most of their 1997 team back for another try. The Eagles were also a talented team, led by seniors Billy Glading and Pat Mitchell(James Madison) and a large cast of significant role players. Despite the obvious talent of the Stags, the Eagles came into the tournament a confident group. In a game described by broadcasters Glen Consor and Larry Michael as more like a college game than a high school game, the Eagles and Stags traded blows throughout a dramatic, error free game. At the end of the second half, the Stags wiped out a small Gonzaga lead forcing overtime. The game stayed close throughout overtime. With the Eagles clinging to a one point lead, Gonzaga’s senior guard, Billy Glading, went to the foul line for two after he was fouled with three seconds remaining in overtime. He made the first putting the Eagles up by two. However, he missed the second shot. The rebound was grabbed by DeMatha’s Joe Forte who turned and threw the ball the length of the court hoping for a 3 pointer. It missed and the Eagles won the championship. The Stags lost only three games with both of their senior stars playing, all three were to the Eagles who also finished nationally ranked.