FROSTBURG, MD - Recaps from Day 2 of the 59th annual Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament at Frostburg State University.
SECOND ROUND – FRIDAY, MARCH 8, 2019
St. Maria Goretti 2019 wing RJ Blakney. (Marcus Helton)
ST. MARIA GORETTI 66, ST. FRANCES 46
In a rematch of Tuesday’s Baltimore Catholic League Championship game, Goretti led from start to finish and cruised, earning a bit of retribution for their buzzer-beating title loss.
“It was very important for us” Goretti coach Sidney McCray said, “because we hadn’t beaten those guys in about two seasons - game-wise, it’s been 5 games. It was very important and my guys were excited to come out, just for a morale thing, you know? We lost to them twice in the regular season really tight and then the championship game was just a heartbreaker for us, so I think it was good for my guys to get this win, for sure.”
The Gaels jumped out to a 12-0 lead, punctuated by a windmill dunk by 2019 wing RJ Blakney. Blakney scored 13 points in the first half to help build a 35-20 lead at the break.
“Today, we had to just come out with energy," Blakney said, "because we knew both teams were going to be a little tired from the other games. But we figured if we had a little bit more energy and a little bit more motivation coming off a loss from [Thursday] and then the loss in the championship game, we had to come out and really play hard and showcase what we can do.”
St. Frances tried to make a run in the second half, but Goretti never relented. Blakney finished with 21 points to lead all scorers, while Penn State-bound 2019 forward Abdou Tsimbila added 9 points and 13 rebounds.
Chicago State-bound 2019 guard Rajier Jones led St. Frances with 14 points, while 2020 forward Jamal West added 8.
Bishop Walsh 2019 forward Olivier Nkamhoua. (Marcus Helton)
BISHOP WALSH 78, MOUNT ST. JOSEPH 71
2019 forward Olivier Nkamhoua had 19 points to lead four Spartans in double figures as Bishop Walsh snapped its lengthy Alhambra losing streak.
Bishop Walsh - located just 15 minutes from the tourney site - hadn’t won a game in the tourney of any kind since 2011. Its first round losing streak dates back to 1978.
2019 guard Callum Baker had 18 points, 2019 guard Anthony Torelli 15 and 2019 wing Yavuz Gultekin 14 for the Spartans.
“I thought we did a real good job of moving the ball and finding the mismatch, whether it was Yeezy, Olivier or wherever it was," Bishop Walsh coach Dan Prete said. "I thought we did a good job and to me 16 assists and 6 turnovers, that was one of our best ratios of the year.”
MSJ got another big-time performance from 2019 guard James Bishop, who finished with 40 points a day after scoring 39. 2022 guard Antonio Hamlin (15 points) was the only other player in double figures for the Gaels.
“It was huge for the area, you know what I mean?" Prete said. "The teams up here have always played hard but could never really get over the top. And I thought two games in a row - we had a chance last night with Gonzaga and then today, beating Mount St. Joe’s - I mean the kid Bishop is just incredible. But it was good for our guys, it was good for the area and the support was great.”
DEMATHA 92, ST. JOHN'S 79
Villanova-bound 2019 guard Justin Moore scored 32 points as the reigning Alhambra Champions booked a return trip in a rematch of their WCAC semifinal loss to the Cadets.
2020 center Hunter Dickinson had 23 points, 2020 guard Earl Timberlake 15 and 2019 guard Jahmir Young 14.
Dickinson finished a strong 9-of-11 from field, and also grabbed 6 rebounds.
“[My teammates] were just putting me in great spots to catch the ball and I was just finishing," Dickinson said. "I think they really helped me out, because I think I was struggling the first half to try to catch the ball. I the second half they helped me out a lot by beating their defenders and giving me some drop-offs to get going and stuff. I think that really helped.”
The two teams went in at halftime tied at 45-45, but the Stags built a seven-point advantage after three quarters and never relented.
“I think we got more stops, but the tempo of the game - first half and second half - was the way we wanted it," DeMatha coach Mike Jones said. "St. John’s, I think, maybe would have preferred it to be a game in the 50’s kind of like the semifinals of the WCAC, but we didn’t allow that tonight. It was more our type of game.”
Paul VI 2021 Forward Avery Ford. (Marcus Helton)
PAUL VI 74, GONZAGA 65
2021 forward Avery Ford poured in a career-high 31 points to lead the Panthers into the Alhambra title game - avenging a WCAC semifinal loss in the process.
Ford finished 12-of-17 from the field - including 6-of-10 from 3-point range.
“I think at halftime I had, like, 15 - that’s what everyone was telling me,” Ford said. “And I just kept shooting after.I just wanted to play my game with my teammates and my point guard Dug [McDaniel], Trevor [Keels], Will [Page], Josiah [Freeman] and Josh [Oduro].”
Oduro added 16 points and 11 rebounds for PVI, while Keels finished with 11 points and 5 assists.
“It’s amazing to finish the season with a championship game, and hopefully win it so we can end the season with a win," Keels said. "It sucks to lose your last game, and we lost to them in the semifinals of the WCAC, so my whole team wanted to play. Avery Ford stepped up - 31 points is unbelievable as a sophomore - and I didn’t have my A-game but my bigs took over the game, which I like.”
2020 forward Terrance Williams led the Purple Eagles with 20 points, whole 2020 guard Chuck Harris had 12.