By John Ourand
Photo courtesy of Marcus Helton
After getting a defensive stop, Gonzaga threw the ball down court to a wide open Prentiss Hubb. Hubb, with nothing but the floor in front of him, went all the way to the rim with a highlight-worthy one-handed dunk. This dunk brought Gonzaga fans to their feet and gave the Eagles their largest lead of the night late in the fourth quarter.
That dunk was just part of what helped Gonzaga defeat Maret 77-66 in the DCSAA Championship game on Sunday afternoon at George Washington University.
Maret took the early advantage in the first quarter, but Gonzaga still played tough to keep itself in the game. The first two baskets of the game were 3-pointers, one from Maret’s Elijah Bowens and one from Gonzaga’s Chris Lykes to tie the game. It stayed a one possession game for a while, until Maret’s 6-foot-11 senior Luka Garza checked back into the game after suffering a minor injury. He had nine points after he checked back in and helped give his team a 24-16 lead after the quarter.
Garza got the second quarter started with seven straight points for his team, putting Maret up by 13 points. But midway through the quarter, Gonzaga responded with a 13-0 run to tie the game. This run included a 3-pointer from Lykes, and baskets and free throws from Myles Dread, Eddie Scott and Josh Watts. Later in the quarter Dread made two free throws to give the Eagles their first lead all game, but Bowens made a late basket to put Maret up 39-38 heading into halftime.
Gonzaga came into the third quarter ready to take the lead, and an early Hubb basket and foul forced a Maret timeout. Maret began to feed Garza for seven straight points to take the lead, but this would be the last time it led in the game, and the last points it scored that quarter. Gonzaga went on a 13-0 run to end the quarter, a run so strong even a Maret timeout couldn’t stop it. Gonzaga led 59-48 heading into the fourth quarter.
In both Sunday’s game and the semifinal game against Wilson, Gonzaga was down at halftime but came back in the second half to win it. It seemed like a different team in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter. Shots fell, it played good defense, and it has won games.
Maret wasn’t able to overcome Gonzaga’s play in the fourth quarter, even with 14 points from Luka Garza before he fouled out. Besides Garza’s effort, Maret stayed mostly quiet in the fourth quarter, leaving the playmaking to Gonzaga. A 3-pointer from Chris Lykes followed by the Prentiss Hubb dunk gave Gonzaga a 12-point lead, and put Maret’s championship hopes out of reach. Gonzaga finished the game with a 77-66 victory.
Luka Garza scored 37 points for Maret, but the Eagles still worked hard to slow him down. Gonzaga’s head coach Steve Turner though Gonzaga did a better job of slowing him down.
“We tried to use our quickness and speed against him,” Turner said. “We always thought that playing them on a college floor would wear him down, and as you saw we started getting some fast break opportunities which took him away from being a rim protector at the basket.”
With the season coming to an end, the Gonzaga basketball program has to say goodbye to their seniors: Chris Lykes, Eddie Scott, Michael Myers and Brian Doolan. Lykes and Scott led the team tonight with fifteen combined points in the second half. Myers had a late free throw to seal the deal in the fourth quarter and was a big leader on the defensive end. Although Doolan didn’t get a lot of playing time, he played a big role as a motivator. Next year Lykes will play at the University of Miami, Scott will play at the University of Pennsylvania and Myers will play at Williams College.
“I’ve been proud of their effort and everything they’ve put into the program,” Turner said. “Their hard work and dedication and their commitment. This is a group that now had two WCAC championships, so I’m just very proud of them.”
After winning the WCAC Championship less than a week ago, this was the perfect way to finish off such a historic season. The trophies won this year will not soon be forgotten, and future Gonzaga teams will look at this years team as an example for generations.