It wasn’t a perfect season for the DeMatha Stags, but the Hyattsville, Md private school ended the year on a high note.

DeMatha made the nearly three-hour trek to Frostburg State University to cap their season by claiming the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Basketball Tournament (ACIT) title with a 53-43 win over Benedictine High School of Richmond, Va. on March 19.

The win gave DeMatha a clean sweep in the drive to win three most coveted annual trophies: the ACIT title, the Abe Pollin City title and the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) crown. DeMatha (27-7) topped the Gonzaga Eagles in late February for the WCAC championship before beating Theodore Roosevelt 51-48 on March 7 in the City title game and securing their first ACIT title since 2006.

Benedictine thwarted another matchup of DeMatha and Gonzaga this year by defeating Gonzaga in the semifinals and ending their three-year reign as tourney champions.

Despite all their success this year, DeMatha could be even better next season. Though star senior forward Mikael Hopkins will graduate and play for Georgetown University in the fall, DeMatha should return as many as four starters for next season, most notably junior guards James Robinson and Jerami Grant and sophomore center BeeJay Anya.

As opposing schools focused on Hopkins, it was Robinson, Grant and Anya who each shared the spotlight down the final stretches of DeMatha’s season. Grant led DeMatha in scoring in the WCAC championship and Anya led the team in scoring in the City title game before Robinson iced the City championship with several free throws.

Game Notes: The ACIT featured eight schools, seven of them from Maryland, Virginia and D.C. Gonzaga represented D.C. Maryland saw five representatives with the Bishop Walsh School of Cumberland, the John Carroll School of Bel Air, Bishop McNamara of Forestville, St. Frances Academy of Baltimore and DeMatha. Benedictine and New Jersey school St. Benedict’s Prep rounded out the field of eight teams.

Gonzaga edged John Carroll, 62-58, to finish in third place.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO