Linked Stags in January

DeMatha basketball is emerging as a national contender after returning from the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic Tournament in San Diego with championship hardware and an undefeated record. The Stags are still perfect with ten wins and no losses despite playing very stiff competition early on. The best games of the Holiday Classic Tournament are still on YouTube so the wins against Lincoln, Mayfair, Newark Memorial, and Los Angeles Winward are there for you if you need them.

Jerami Grant was named the MVP of the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic, but the Stags aren’t the only team making noise nationally in the prestigious Washington Catholic Athletic Conference. The Gonzaga Purple Eagles are also undefeated after their holiday jaunt to Charleston, South Carolina and can boast their Piggly Wiggly Roundball Classic championship title. Even Paul VI still enjoys significant attention after their loss to the number one team in the country two weeks ago in the Chick-fil-A Championship finals.

Something has got to give in the WCAC when you have three top teams with only one combined loss and as the regular season progresses basketball fans are sure to be treated to some of the greatest spectacles in high school sports. One of them already happened last night when Paul VI (11-1, 3-0) hosted Bishop O’Connell (9-4, 4-1) in what is half of one of the greatest rivalries in Northern Virginia –besting them 77-66.

Bishop O’Connell, led by a super sophomore, will certainly be heard from later on in the season as they are the best out of the teams that have been beaten in WCAC play. Bishop McNamara (7-7, 3-2) in Forestville, MD gets my vote for the fifth place team because wins are hard to come by. Cervus Elaphus Linked WinterSaint John’s College (7-7, 1-2) and Bishop Ireton (8-4, 1-2) are two teams that are still very much still full of fight.

Good Counsel (6-7, 1-3) will probably still play DeMatha very tough on the road tomorrow night at the Kathy & Morgan Wootten Gymnasium. Both St. Mary’s Ryken (2-8, 0-4) and Archbishop Carroll (6-5, 0-4) are searching for their first win in conference play and demonstrate how brutal it can be. After the league games tomorrow night, however, all three of the top WCAC teams will participate in the Cancer Research Classic in Wheeling, WV on Saturday.

One of the most prestigious tournaments in the country, the Cancer Research Classic raises the awareness of men’s health issues, and hosts the top Catholic high school basketball teams in a one day showcase. The “tournament” aspect of this event isn’t realized until one understands that it is also a veiled attempt at consolidating all of the top teams in the country by giving them common opponents.

Paul VI kicks off the tournament January 7, 2012 at 1 PM EST against St. Raymond of the Bronx. Later on DeMatha plays Neumann-Goretti of Philadelphia at 5:30 PM EST. And finally, Gonzaga will play Whitney Young High School of Chicago in a game that will be broadcasted on ESPNU at 10 PM EST.

The one day event will garner considerable prestige due to the fact the headline game features two top five teams playing each other at a neutral site when Miller Grove of Lithonia, GA takes on Simeon of Chicago at 8 PM EST –a game that will also be broadcasted on ESPN2. Mater Dei of Santa Ana, California is also playing in this event so the full schedule is definitely worth checking out.

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