By John Ourand
After a basket from Myles Dread and a big stop on defense, the Gonzaga Eagles were down 78-75 with 45 seconds to go. However, just seconds later, the ball was back in DeMatha guard Ryan Allen’s hands on a fast break to put DeMatha’s lead out of reach.
The Eagles weren’t able to ruin DeMatha’s senior night, and fell 80-75 at DeMatha in a game that came down to the final seconds.
Neither team had a clear advantage at the beginning of the first quarter. Both teams traded baskets in a one possession game until a Myles Dread offensive rebound, which led to a basket, gave Gonzaga an 18-13 lead. The lead didn’t last long though, as DeMatha went on a 9-0 run late in the quarter that helped the Stags build a seven-point lead.
Free throws by Eddie Scott and a 3-pointer by Chris Lykes coming out of Gonzaga’s first timeout helped cut DeMatha’s lead to three points. But a DeMatha full-court shot at the buzzer gave the Stags a 30-25 lead going into the second quarter.
Something must have clicked for Lykes in between quarters because he dominated the second quarter. He sunk three 3-pointers that quarter and also picked up a few assists and free throws. Gonzaga also did a good job shutting down DeMatha’s big man, Josh Carlton. He failed to score in the second frame, and the Eagles forced him to turn the ball over multiple times. But this didn’t mean DeMatha was silent and, at the end of the half, Gonzaga only lead 44-41.
The third quarter seemed to be a shootout between the two teams. Scott, Lykes and Anwar Gill each hit 3-point shots of their own for Gonzaga, but they didn’t go uncontested. Allen drained two 3-pointers to keep the Stags in the game.
DJ Harvey also started to make himself known in the third. He converted an and-one late in the quarter to keep his team and the home crowd in the game. Gonzaga was up 63-61 heading into the fourth.
The fourth quarter came down to the final minutes of the game, but the rest of the quarter was controlled by DJ Harvey. He scored 11 points in the quarter to give DeMatha a three-point lead and the ball with 1:22 left. Gonzaga was able to make a good stop on defense, but couldn’t get a good shot off on the other end. A late basket by DeMatha’s Ryan Allen put the Stags up by five, and they held on to win the game 80-75.
Gonzaga has defeated the top two teams in the WCAC, DeMatha and Paul VI, earlier this season, so despite Thursday’s loss, head coach Steve Turner doesn’t think there’s a big problem. He did admit that DeMatha was able to take advantage of Gonzaga’s mistakes.
“Empty possessions,” Turner said. “They capitalized when we had empty possessions, they scored on the other end. I don’t think it was anything major.”
Looking ahead, Gonzaga has its final regular season game Friday at Bishop Ireton. Gonzaga beat the Cardinals 65-48 on Jan. 22 and is confident that it will get the win. While that game is still important, Coach Turner is already focused on the playoffs and hopes his team can learn a lesson from this loss.
“It’s an opportunity for us to grow right now,” Turner said. “It’s all about next weekend. After tomorrow we’re 0-0. The record has got to go. We’ve done enough to keep ourselves at the top of the league and have an opportunity to play a quarterfinal game at home next Friday.”
Edited by Max Marcilla