2022 center Favour Aire posted 36 points and 16 rebounds to help Bishop McNamara weather a late Gonzaga run and pull away for their first victory of the ACIT.
Both teams started slow offensively, with Gonzaga building a 10-6 lead after one quarter.
The Mustangs found their rhythm in the second quarter, and led 32-23 at the half. They extended it to 51-38 after three quarters, but Gonzaga made a move in the fourth, eventually slicing the deficit to three points (62-59) on a Derek Dixon 3 pointer with 3:04 remaining.
The Purple Eagles wouldn’t get any closer, though, as McNamara pulled away behind Aire - who made 10 of his last 12 shots from the field - 2023 guard Jeremiah Quigley and good free throw shooting.
Quigley finished with 18 for McNamara, while Jaren Curtis had 12.
Dixon had 12 points on 4-of-6 3-point shooting to lead Gonzaga, while 2022 forward Quinn Clark finished with 11.
For the second straight night, Bishop Walsh 2023 guard Mikey Allen hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift the Spartans to victory.
The play came after MSJ looked to have a winner of its own, as 2022 forward Jonas Sujeta hit a corner 3 to put them ahead 73-71 with 4.2 seconds to go.
After a timeout, BW inbounded to 2023 guard Mike Williams, who found Allen high on the wing in front of the Bishop Walsh bench. Allen released a deep 3 that fell through the net as the buzzer sounded and his teammates rushed him yet again.
“The play was drawn up for me, and I just hit it," Allen said. "Man, I’m just speechless, I don’t even know.”
With the win, Bishop Walsh won multiple ACIT games for the first time in school history.
The shorthanded Gaels - they only had 3 available players on the bench and were without starting guards Bryson Tucker and Ace Valentine - set the pace early on, taking a 25-13 lead after one quarter and a 39-27 lead at halftime.
"We came out flat in the first half," Spartans 2024 guard TJ Robinson said. "I'm not going to disrespect them, but we were taking them lightly seeing that they were missing two key players, so they jumped out on us - we didn’t expect that. Then in the second half, we said we were going to win this game for our senior Travis Roberts, and we had to lock in defensively and offensively.”
MSJ led 58-49 after three quarters, but Bishop Walsh made its move in the fourth. Williams made two free throws to give the Spartans the lead with 13.9 seconds to play. MSJ called a timeout to set up Sujeta’s bucket.
Robinson led the Bishop Walsh comeback and finished with a team-high 20 points, while 2022 guard Travis Roberts had 17, Allen 15 and Williams 11.
2023 guard Austin Abrams had 26 points to lead MSJ, while 2023 forward Amani Hansberry had 16 and 2024 forward Tyonne Farrell 12.
2022 guard Bryce Lindsay was fouled shooting a 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds remaining and made all three to give St. Frances the victory.
Linday drew the foul just seconds after Long Island Lutheran guard Jayden Reid hit a 3-pointer to tie the game.
"When they called a timeout when they had the ball, we were just trying to not give up a 3.," Lindsay said. "But [their] Coach ran a great play and they made the 3, and I just knew I was going to take the last shot.”
2022 forward Taion Robinson had 13 points to lead St. Frances, while Lindsay, 2025 guard Tyler Jackson and 2024 guard Jordan Downs each had 11.
Reid had a game-high 28 in the loss, while 2022 center Jaxon Koroll added 12.
DeMatha’s three Division I-bound seniors - Tyrell Ward (Xavier), Rodney Rice (Virginia Tech) and Jerell Roberson (James Madison) led the way as the Stags downed their Washington Catholic Athletic Conference rival to win their third consecutive ACIT title.
It was the 26th overall ACIT title for the Stags - the most in the history of the event.
Ward finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds, Rice 19 points and Roberson 12.
“It's special,” Stags coach Pete Strickland said of adding another ACIT title to his team's collection. “DeMatha and Cumberland have a special relationship and they’ve come up here and won it 25 times - now 26. You know, the standards are high for us here, so for us to kind of finish it that way is special. The seniors carried it - Jerrell was great early - and Tyrell and Rodney, they’re big shot makers. They take - and make - big shots, and that’s a real talent.”
The game - as expected - was intense throughout. Paul VI led 14-9 after one quarter, and the teams were tied at 30-30 after a half.
DeMatha led 45-43 after one quarter but slowly built a cushion in the fourth, going up by 10 points with 2:38 remaining.
As they've done so many times this season, PVI fought back, but couldn’t close the gap.
2023 guard DeShawn Harris-Smith had 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Panther, who got 13 apiece from 2024 guard Ben Hammond and Michigan-bound 2022 guard Dug McDaniel.