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DeMatha holds on to beat Gonzaga in WCAC rivalry

Defense and timely shooting was key in DeMatha’s conference victory over Gonzaga.

Photo from dematha.org

DeMatha-Gonzaga is one of the biggest high school basketball rivalries in the nation. Whenever these teams go at it, the game tends to be hard-fought and down to the wire.

Tuesday night’s game, which saw the Stags beat the Purple Eagles 62-58, was just another example of high level of intensity this longtime rivalry has to offer.

“Playing Gonzaga is always a big game,” DeMatha senior guard Justin Moore said. “We played them is the championship last year, so it brought back a lot of memories.”

Both teams went at in the first quarter, trading baskets and generating points in the paint. Gonzaga juniors Terrance Williams and Myles Stute set the tone for the Purple Eagles, each scoring seven points in the quarter.

“No defense in first quarter,” DeMatha head coach Mike Jones said. “That was awful on both sides. 25-22 at a DeMatha-Gonzaga game never happens.”

Both teams stepped up its defensive intensity in the second quarter especially DeMatha, who kept Gonzaga scoreless until the final two minutes.

“We had to lock back in,” DeMatha senior guard Jahmir Young said. “We had to go back to what we do in practice and take control.”

DeMatha led by as many as nine points in the second quarter. Gonzaga answered back by going on a 6-0 run, which included a deep three-pointer by senior John Marshall at the buzzer to cut the deficit to 36-33 at the half.

Gonzaga jumped out to a 46-44 lead in the fourth quarter. DeMatha senior Carson Kogelnik and junior Earl Timberlake hit back-to-back three pointers to give the Stags a four-point advantage. Gonzaga spent the rest of the quarter playing catch up, but DeMatha made clutch offensive plays down the stretch to keep the Purple Eagles from making a comeback.

“We just tried to limit [Gonzaga] to one shot,” Moore said. “We always try to play good defense. We just had to take our time on offense and that’s what we did.”

DeMatha had four players to score in double figures. Moore finished with 13 points and went 4-4 from the free throw line. Timberlake added 12 points and made a pair of three-pointers. Young tallied 12 points, while junior center Hunter Dickinson registered 11 points.

Gonzaga guard Anwar Gill and Stute each scored 11 points. Williams, who was dealing with foul trouble, had nine points. Senior Josh Watts tallied 10 points, while freshman Devin Dinkins chipped in eight points.

DeMatha’s next game will be against St. John’s on Thursday night at home.

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