But the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship game Monday night came down to the final few seconds and Holloway had the ball in his hands. He dribbled around the key, faked to get his defender in the air, then rose up for a 10-foot jumper that will long be remembered at his Fairfax private school.
Holloway’s jumper gave the Panthers the lead with 11 seconds left and Paul VI held on to beat DeMatha, 55-54, and win its first WCAC title before 3,400 at American University’s Bender Arena.
“Oh man, I knew they were going to be overly aggressive,” said Holloway, a George Mason recruit. “They knew I was going to shoot. I gave a pump fake because I knew he was going to be aggressive. I got a good look.”
It was a thrilling finish for Paul VI (29-2), which has won 17 consecutive games and earned a date with eighth-ranked Coolidge in the Abe Pollin City Title Game, tentatively scheduled for March 12 at Verizon Center.
Junior forward Jamall Robinson, who entered averaging 5.3 points, led all scorers with 16, while senior center Coleman Johnson added 10 for the Panthers, who were the first team other than DeMatha to go undefeated during the Catholic league regular season in 50 years.
“People said if we lost this game, this whole season going undefeated wouldn’t have meant anything,” Holloway said. “We had to finish.”
Junior guard Jairus Lyles led DeMatha (27-5) with 13 points, including a three-point play with 19 seconds left that gave the Stags a 54-53 lead. After Holloway’s basket and some commotion about whether Paul VI had a timeout left with 2.7 seconds left — it did — DeMatha’s jumper from the left wing hit the front of the rim.
“It’s amazing,” Paul VI Coach Glenn Farello said. “WCAC history was made tonight.”
The three meetings between the two teams — twice in the regular season and Monday night — were decided by a total of six points.