DeMatha loses first league game

January 28, 2016

Photo courtesy Rebecca Bennett.

BY CHRIS MCMANES — Gonzaga College High School took round one of its regular-season rivalry with DeMatha on Jan. 20 with a 73-70 victory. It was the Purple Eagles’ first win at the LT (SEAL) Brendan Looney ’99 Convocation Center, which opened in 2010.

The Stags were ranked sixth in the nation by USA Today and No. 1 locally by The Washington Post at game time. Gonzaga (15-2) checked in at No. 14 and No. 3, respectively. The squads are now tied for first in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference at 7-1.

Junior Chris Lykes, a 5-foot-8 point guard, led the Eagles with 30 points, including a huge 3-pointer in the final minute. Nicky Miller and Myles Dread contributed 12 points apiece.

DeMatha got 21 points from Markelle Fultz and 19 from Ryan Allen. The Stags began the sold-out contest with a 10-2 lead, but five Gonzaga treys in the second quarter powered the Northwest Washington school to a 36-28 halftime lead.

The Eagles led for most of the second half and took a 62-57 lead on Lykes’ two free throws with 2:21 to play. Fultz then took over for the Stags, scoring 10 straight points, including two three-point plays. His second one put DeMatha up, 67-65 at the 51-second mark. That would be the Stags’ last lead.

Lykes hit a deep fadeaway trey from the right wing to give Gonzaga a one-point cushion. The 6-1 Miller blocked a short baseline jumper by 6-6 D.J. Harvey (10 points), and Eddie Scott collected the rebound for the Eagles.

Lykes made a foul shot with 13 seconds left but missed the second with the Eagles clinging to a 69-67 advantage. Fultz grabbed the rebound and started dribbling up court through two defenders but turned the ball over. Gonzaga sandwiched four free throws around another DeMatha turnover, this one by Allen. A 3-ball by Stags’ freshman Justin Moore closed the scoring.

DeMatha Coach Mike Jones was disappointed with how his team performed late.

“We just didn’t make the plays down the stretch – too many turnovers, too many missed free throws, a couple of missed defensive assignments,” Jones said. “You can’t play that way at the end of a close game like that and expect to win.”

Lykes scored six points in the final 34 seconds.

“Tonight, in a hostile environment, Chris made the plays that we needed him to make when the game was on the line,” Eagles Coach Steve Turner said. “He finds a way to make other guys better [and] just continues every night to be our leader.”

The Stags’ rematch at Gonzaga is slated for Sunday Jan. 31.

“We get another shot at them over at their place, which will be really tough,” Jones said, “but we look forward to that challenge.”