There were still 2.8 seconds left on the clock, but Cedrick Lindsay was already hanging his head. The Gonzaga guard had just missed two free throws that could’ve sealed the game and with his team now trailing 67-66, the senior couldn’t help but feel shellshocked.

Lindsay’s team was playing its longtime rival, DeMatha, in the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament championship game on March 20, and DeMatha had won the last two meetings over Gonzaga this season.

But Lindsay’s head didn’t hang for long. In front of a packed gymnasium at Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Md., the Richmond-bound guard took the inbound pass to the three-point line, but was fouled on a desperation shot with a half-second remaining.

Lindsay made up for his earlier misses as he swished his first two free throws before intentionally missing the last to give Gonzaga a 68-67 win and their third consecutive ACIT title.

“To be honest I was kicking myself,” Lindsay said about his late misses. “A lot of players don’t get a second chance, I got one today.”

A second chance was something Gonzaga was hoping for after DeMatha routed them, 71-52, in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship on March 8. Gonzaga suffered a poor showing from their senior-laden team in that game, and missed their chance to win the D.C. City title.

But faced with a chance to claim another ACIT crown and stick it to DeMatha one last time, Lindsay and the rest of his teammates didn’t miss out.

“To me, it was more about revenging our loss,” Lindsay said. “To leave our high school career the way we did in the championship game, it wasn’t a good feeling and we knew we had to come out here and we had to revenge it and that’s what we did today.”

DeMatha’s Quinn Cook and Victor Oladipo continued a season of highlight-reel performances, with Cook’s 17 points leading all scorers and the ultra-athletic Oladipo chipping in 10 rebounds and 14 points.

But even DeMatha’s dynamic duo had to take a backseat to Lindsay, who finished with 14 points, and fellow senior Tyler Thornton, who had 13 points. The Duke-bound Thornton closed his Gonzaga career in fine fashion, collecting five rebounds, three assists, two blocks and four steals to go along with his steady poise and leadership throughout the game.

“Not a lot of people get to say they’ve won one of these tournaments so to get to win three I feel honored and I feel blessed to have the teammates and the coaches that we have,” Thornton said. “To have it against DeMatha, that’s our biggest rival and the last game of my career, no better way to go out.”


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO