Boys' Basketball Wrap-Up

Montrose Christian Finishes on Top

Montrose Christian's Terrence Ross dunks against Oak Hill on March 6. The Mustangs have finished in the top five of The Post's rankings the last seven years.
Montrose Christian's Terrence Ross dunks against Oak Hill on March 6. The Mustangs have finished in the top five of The Post's rankings the last seven years. (By Preston Keres -- The Washington Post)
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Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 17, 2009; Page E10

While there might be some debate regarding the Washington area's top team -- a few players wanted to give their opinions after Maryland and Virginia concluded public school state tournaments on Saturday -- there is no question that Montrose Christian is the area's most consistent team.

The Mustangs took over the top spot in The Post's rankings in January and that's where they will finish for the third time in the past seven years. During that stretch, Montrose Christian has finished in the top five every year, including back-to-back seasons at No. 2 in 2007 and '08.

Helped by newcomers Mouphtaou Yarou, a 6-foot-10 senior center from Benin in West Africa, and Terrence Ross, a 6-6 junior guard from Portland, Ore., Montrose Christian is 21-2 this season. Yarou and teammate Isaiah Armwood, a 6-8 forward, have signed with Villanova.

"I was very proud of this team," Montrose Christian Coach Stu Vetter said. "One of our goals at the beginning of the season was to be the top team in the area, which would lead to us being one of the top teams in the country. This team achieved that goal."

The Mustangs have one more tournament remaining, the National High School Invitational set for April 3-5 at Georgetown Prep.

No. 2 Springbrook finished its season 27-0 and won its second consecutive Maryland 4A championship with a 73-61 victory over Wise this past Saturday night. After the Blue Devils' 36th consecutive victory, star forward Jamal Olasewere and guard Jeremy Williams were ready to present their team's case to be No. 1 until Coach Tom Crowell shepherded them toward the team bus.

"It's a great run, 52-2 in two years," Crowell. "What is Montrose's record in two years?"

The Mustangs are 42-6 during that stretch.

The other team hoping to stake a claim atop the rankings is No. 3 DeMatha, which won the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title for the fourth time in five years despite having a youthful lineup and playing the final 1 1/2 months of the season without standout guard Josh Selby, who was suspended from the team for violating team rules.

DeMatha (29-3), No. 4 Gonzaga (26-5) and No. 5 Bishop McNamara will play in the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament that begins Thursday in Frostburg, Md.

No. 6 Riverdale Baptist (28-5) won the National Association of Christian Athletes Division II title behind tournament most valuable player Javorn Farrell.

While Virginia's Beltway suburbs failed to win any state championships, star forward Josh Hairston, who has committed to play for Duke, had 29 points and 13 rebounds as seventh-ranked Courtland beat Salem, 93-69, in the Virginia AA Division 4 title game. It marked the first boys' basketball title for a school that opened in 1980.

"It's surreal, it really is," Courtland Coach J.T. Nino said. "We could easily be 29-0, but a state championship is a state championship. It's still pretty surreal to me."

Maryland 4A runner-up Wise (21-6), Virginia AAA Northern Region champion T.C. Williams (27-3) and National Christian (26-6) rounded out the top 10.

Special correspondent Matthew Stanmyre contributed to this report.

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