DeMatha’s basketball team is known around the nation as one of the top high basketball programs in the country. With 39 WCAC Championships and 6 National Championships, there is no reason they shouldn’t have that title. But in the last four years, championships have been hard to come by for the Stags. The lost against Gonzaga in the championship marks the third time in the last three years that DeMatha has made it to the championship and failed to come away with the gold. Here is a look back at all the miss opportunities by DeMatha in their chase to get 40.
The 2012 season was the season DeMatha was looking to win a four straight WCAC Championship. They had a good chance in doing so too. The team was filled with great players like James Robinson, Jerami Grant, and BeeJay Anya. DeMatha played great in the regular season finishing with the second best record in the conference. The Stags that year looked like a team with the chance to go for a four peat, but then came Paul VI. Lead by their sharpshooter Patrick Holloway, the Panthers was the best team in the conference and went to the WCAC Championship to play DeMatha. The game was close from beginning to end but it was Paul VI that came out on top thanks to a game-winning shot by Patrick Holloway.
In 2013, DeMatha was a very young team that lost a lot of key players due to graduation. The Stags struggled throughout the whole season and ended the year with a below .500 record, 14-17. Despite the disappointing regular season, DeMatha still had a chance to make it to the championship. Sadly, championship hopes came to an end when they lost to St. John’s in the quarterfinals by a buzzer beater.
2013-2014 season was sort of resurrection year for DeMatha after the disappointing season before. They had a lot of returning players like Joe Hampton, Corey Henson, Terrell Allen, and Alani Moore. DeMatha also added some new players like DJ Harvey and Nate Darling. DeMatha used the talent they had to good use by finishing the season number two in the conference and making it to the championship once again. In the championship they faced a familiar foe, Paul VI. The Stags looked to get revenge on the team that beat them in the same game two years ago, but Paul VI didn’t let that happen. Paul VI blew DeMatha out to win their second WCAC Championship.
This season was a very good season for the Stags. They went 25-3 and went 16-2 in the conference. DeMatha junior Markelle Fultz shocked the whole nation in his first year on the varsity team. He led DeMatha in scoring and helped the Stags win the first ever Victor Oladipo Holiday Tournament. He also helped the team beat some of the top schools in the country like Chaminade and Roselle Catholic. Besides Markelle, the team as a whole played well together. Terrell Allen, DJ Harvey, Nate Darling, and Thomas Bruce, are some of the players on the DeMatha team that made them one of the best teams in the country.
Going into the playoffs, DeMatha was sure favorites to win the championship this year. They beat Good Counsel in the quarterfinals, then took down a good St. John’s team in the semi’s to move on to the championship game against their long time rivals Gonzaga. DeMatha had a good chance of winning the game since they beat Gonzaga twice in the regular season. The game will probably go down as one the best championship game in conference history as both teams played each other neck to neck.
In the fourth quarter DeMatha looked like they were going run away with a win but Gonzaga made sure that didn’t happen. Gonzaga came back to tie the game after trailing by thirteen points. With three seconds remaining in the fourth and the game tied at 53, DJ Harvey went to the free throw line to try to give his team the lead. Unfortunately, DJ missed both free throws and the game went into overtime. The game went into another overtime and that’s where Gonzaga was able to roll past DeMatha to claim championship crown.
For DeMatha, getting their 40th Championship has been very hard. For the last four years DeMatha students, fans, and alumni have waited to see their team hold up the championship trophy. Well, it looks like they will be waiting a little longer. When will DeMatha win their 40th championship? At this point it’s hard to predict. Right now it’s best to say only time will tell.
Follow Inside The Locker Room on Twitter: @lockerroom2015