HYATTSVILLE, MD – The second annual Charm City Challenge assembled the area’s two preeminent Catholic leagues for an early-season showdown on Saturday at DeMatha.
In the end, the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference proved its supremacy, sweeping the Baltimore Catholic League in five matchups – only a few of which were even close.
Bishop Ireton, St. John’s, Paul VI, Gonzaga and DeMatha all won to give the WCAC its first victory in the event after the two leagues split four games in 2017. The Charm City Challenge - presented by Charm City Charities - is a reboot of the Charm City Classic, which ran from 1992-1998.
“We just had to prove the WCAC is the best league in the country,” Villanova-bound DeMatha guard Justin Moore said after his team’s 77-56 win over St. Maria Goretti. “Of course Baltimore wanted to come to us, so we had to bring that back. And they were 5-0, so we wanted to give them their first loss.”
Here’s a recap of the day’s action:
BISHOP IRETON 61, LOYOLA BLAKEFIELD 59
Bishop Ireton 2019 guard Ethan Lynch hit the go-ahead bucket on a drive to the basket in the waning seconds, and the Cardinals got a piece of Loyola’s desperation heave to seal a win in the day’s most evenly-matched game.
“We drew up a good play and we wanted to get the last shot being that the game was tied,” Lynch said. “My teammates set some good screens for me to get open and I knew I just had to get to the basket and put some pressure on the defense and maybe get fouled and get to the line, but I made the shot so we didn’t have to do all that.”
Lynch finished with a team-high 18 points, while 2020 guard James Berry had 12, 202 guard Sese Mobutu 11 and 2021 forward Ariel Goddot finished with 9.
2020 forward Mitch Fischer had a game-high 22 points for Loyola, which also got 13 from 2019 guard Brendan Fox and 10 from 2019 forward Tryllian Young.
ST. JOHN’S 52, ST. VINCENT PALLOTTI 35
2020 guards Darius Maddox and Ishmael Leggett had 11 points apiece to lead a balanced effort as the Cadets controlled the game from the opening tip.
2019 guard and Virginia commit Casey Morsell finished with 9 points for the Cadets.
2020 guard Anthony Blunt had 12 points to lead the Panthers and 2019 guard Isaiah Oshinnaiye added 9.
PAUL VI 67, ST. FRANCES 58
PVI turned to its impressive backcourt depth to hold off a late charge from St. Frances.
Paul VI came into the game without star 2020 guard Jeremy Roach, who tore his right ACL in a preseason scrimmage and will miss the season. Then in the second quarter, Virginia Tech-bound 2019 guard Anthony Harris went down with with a left ACL injury that will knock him out for the year. 2021 guard Trevor Keels picked up the scoring slack, but then hobbled to the bench himself with an ankle injury.
“Jeremy’s already out for the season and then Ant went out in the first half,” 2019 guard Xavier Joyner said. “Then Trevor had the ankle injury, so somebody had to step up. We always preach next man up, so everybody had to step up as a team and pull out this game.”
Joyner was in that group, coming off the bench to drain five 3-pointers en route to a team-high 15 points. Keels finished with 13, highly-touted 2022 guard Knasir “Dug” McDaniel had 12 and 2020 guard Josiah Freeman finished with 10.
2022 guard Carlos Alexander led St. Frances with 16 points. 2020 forward Jamal West and 2020 guard Jordan Toles had 14 apiece.
GONZAGA 76, MOUNT ST. JOSEPH 36
In the night’s most one-sided affair, Gonzaga jumped out to a quick lead and never relented in a rout of the rebuilding Gaels.
The Purple Eagles were coming off a conference loss to McNamara on Friday and took their frustration out on MSJ, building a 25-8 lead after one quarter and a 40-18 advantage at the break.
2020 forward Terrance Williams led Gonzaga with 16 points, while 2020 wing Myles Stute and 2021 guard Malcolm Dread had 10 points apiece and 2019 guard Anwar Gill finished with 9.
2020 forward Jason Edokpayi had 9 points to lead Mount St. Joseph. 2019 guard and Louisiana State commit James Bishop - one of the area’s most prolific scorers - was held to just 7 points.
DEMATHA 77, ST. MARIA GORETTI 56
In Saturday’s nightcap, DeMatha outscored the Gaels 24-8 in the second quarter to blow open a close game and cruise to victory.
The Stags led 17-15 after one quarter, but opened things up and never looked back. 2021 forward Hunter Dickinson had a game-high 21 points for DeMatha, while Moore had 19.
2019 wing RJ Blakney led Goretti with 12 points, while 2019 guard Rahsaan Edwards added 10.