St. Frances vs. DeMatha in the 2019 ACIT. (MARCUS HELTON)
The Prestigious Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament returns this week after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and its as loaded as usual.
The 60th annual event will take place march 10-12 at Frostburg State University's Bobcat Arena (101 Braddock Road, Frostburg MD).
This year's field includes tourney host Bishop Walsh, along with four Washington Catholic Athletic Conference teams (Bishop McNamara, DeMatha, Gonzaga, Paul VI), two Baltimore Catholic League squads (Mount St. Joseph and St. Frances) and New York power Long Island Lutheran. Paul VI and Long Island Lutheran are ranked in the latest MaxPreps National Top 25, with the Panthers at #9 and the Crusaders at #23.
First round action begins at 4 pm on Thursday, March 10. Friday's semifinal games will also begin at 4 pm. Saturday's games will start at 3, culminating in the consolation and championship games.
Tickets each day are $10 for adults and $8 for students and will be sold at the door.
DMVelite will have full recaps and analysis of every game on our ACIT event page.
All games will be livestreamed by Monumental Sports Network and broadcast online at cumberlandsmagic.com.
LOCATION: Forestville, MD
COACH: Marty Keithline
2021-22 HIGHLIGHTS: WCAC Tourney Finalist
PLAYERS TO WATCH: 2022 center Favour Aire (Miami), 2024 guard Jeremiah Quigley. 2023 guard Chase Lawton, 2025 guard Jaren Curtis, 2023 guard Jhace Johnson.
THE BREAKDOWN: The Mustangs (21-4) have enjoyed one of their strongest seasons in recent years behind the 6'10 Aire and a collection of talented young guards led by Quigley and Curtis.
McNamara dropped a heartbreaker in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title game, but will look to close the season on a high note, starting with Thursday's 4 pm opener against St. Frances.
LOCATION: Cumberland, MD
COACH: Dan Prete
PLAYERS TO WATCH: 2022 guard Travis Roberts (Jacksonville State), 2024 guard TJ Robinson, 2023 guard Mikey Allen, 2023 guard Mike Williams, 2024 forward Isaac Temilola.
THE BREAKDOWN: The host Spartans were a member of the loaded National Interscholastic Basketball Conference, alongside national heavyweights Montverde, La Lumiere, Oak Hill and Sunrise Christian, to name a few.
That sort of competition should have Bishop Walsh (7-13) well prepared for this week's ACIT field. The Spartans open Thursday at 5:45 pm against DeMatha.
LOCATION: Hyattsville, MD
COACH: Pete Strickland
PLAYERS TO WATCH: 2022 guard Rodney Rice (Virginia Tech), 2022 guard Tyrell Ward (Xavier), 2022 forward Jerrell Roberson (James Madison), 2024 wing AJ Swinton.
THE BREAKDOWN: The two-time defending ACIT champions are making their first trip under coach Pete Strickland.
The Stags (18-7) have been quite productive in their previous trips to Cumberland, winning the ACIT a record 25 times. They'll look to add another against a very talented field. They open at 5:45 pm Thursday against host Bishop Walsh.
LOCATION: Washington, DC
COACH: Steve Turner
2021-22 HIGHLIGHTS: MAIT Champions, Gonzaga DC Classic Champions
PLAYERS TO WATCH: 2022 guard Devin Dinkins (George Mason), 2022 guard Jared Turner (Northeastern), 2022 wing Quinn Clark, 2022 forward Nick Evans, 2022 forward Thomas Batties, 2025 guard Nyk Lewis.
THE BREAKDOWN: The Purple Eagles (18-9) fell in the WCAC semifinals to eventual champion PVI and to DCSAA playoff runner-up Wilson the following week. They'll look to close out 2021-22 strong in Cumberland and send off an accomplished senior class.
LOCATION: Chantilly, VA
COACH: Glenn Farello
2021-22 HIGHLIGHTS: WCAC Champions, VISAA A Champions, Bass Pro TOC Champions
PLAYERS TO WATCH: 2022 guard Knasir "Dug" McDaniel, 2023 wing DeShawn Harris-Smith, 2024 guard Ben Hammond, 2025 forward Jaquan Womack, 2025 center Christian Gurdak.
THE BREAKDOWN: Runner-ups at the last ACIT in 2019, the Panthers (29-4) come in this year on a roll, having captured the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference and Virginia Independent Schools Division I titles in the past two weeks.
PVI will look to pull off a triple crown at the ACIT, starting with a much-anticipated Thursday night contest against Baltimore Catholic League and MIAA A champ Mount St. Joseph.
LOCATION: Brookeville, NY
COACH: John Buck
2021-22 HIGHLIGHTS: Arby's Classic (TN) Champions
PLAYERS TO WATCH: 2022 guard Jayden Pierre (Providence), 2022 guard Louis Hutchinson, 2023 guard Jayden Reid, 2023 wing James Johns, 2022 forward Finley Sheridan, 2022 center Jackson Koroll.
THE BREAKDOWN: After playing just three games in a pandemic-scuttled 2020-21 campaign, the Crusaders rebounded to put together an impressive 18-5 campaign, highlight by winning the Arby's Classic in December.
Long Island Lutheran has had a bit of a break, with its last game coming on February 19. They'll be well-rested as they open on Thursday at 7:30 pm against Gonzaga.
LOCATION: Baltimore, MD
COACH: Pat Clatchey
2021-22 HIGHLIGHTS: Baltimore Catholic League Tournament Champions, MIAA A Conference Champions
PLAYERS TO WATCH: 2024 wing Bryson Tucker, 2023 wing Amani Hansberry, 2023 guard Ace Valentine, 2022 forward Aidan Mess, 2023 guard Austin Abrams.
THE BREAKDOWN: MSJ (31-5) comes in riding high after capturing both the MIAA A and Baltimore Catholic League titles in recent weeks, with longtime coach Pat Clatchey picking up his 750th career victory along the way.
The Gaels are seeking their first ACIT title, and they'll open with perhaps the most highly anticipated game of the tournament, facing off with WCAC Champ Paul VI in Thursday's nightcap.
LOCATION: Baltimore, MD
COACH: Nick Myles
2021-22 HIGHLIGHTS: Baltimore Catholic League Regular-Season Champions
PLAYERS TO WATCH: 2022 guard Bryce Lindsay (South Carolina), 2022 forward Cortez Johnson (UNC Greensboro), 2023 guard Jahnathan Lamothe, 2024 guard Daquan Davis, 2024 guard Carlton Carrington III.
THE BREAKDOWN: The Panthers (33-7) continued their recent run of league dominance by capturing their fifth straight Baltimore Catholic League regular-season title. They stumbled in the MIAA and BCL Playoffs, but will look to end the season with their first ACIT crown since 1996.