HOLIDAY HEAVEN: A handful of area teams will head into the new year on a hot streak after winning out-of-town Christmas tournaments. Top-ranked DeMatha (11-0) defeated Brother Rice (N.Y.), 50-41, to win the Prep Star Shootout in Fayetteville, N.C. Harker Prep (12-1) went straight from Hawaii to Las Vegas where it won four games, including a 70-69 squeaker over Mercer Island (Wash.) in the final. St. John's (10-0) defeated Altoona, 73-60, in the host's tournament final. O'Connell (8-2) needed overtime to beat Christ the King, the nation's top-ranked girls team in the USA Today poll, 78-67. O'Connell lost to Christ the King last year in three overtimes.
Local teams that came up short included High Point, which lost to host Williamsport, Pa., 85-76, in the final. National Christian lost to Mercy Hurst, 63-60, in the Carpet Town (Erie, Pa.) final. Three was not a charm for Dunbar. The two-time defending city champion lost to Dunbar of Baltimore, 58-55, in the War Memorial (Pa.) final, the third time this month the teams have met and the third time the Poets have won.
Another Baltimore school, Western, rode all over the local teams in the IAABO Holiday Girls' Tournament at PGCC. Led by Dana Johnson's 19 points and 37 rebounds, Western, which had defeated Springbrook and DuVal by 41 and 20 points repectively, got past Lee and Zeki Blanding, 59-54, in the final. The nationally ranked No. 12 Doves, with six players 6 feet or taller, have won 35 straight. WALKING WOUNDED: Highly ranked in the preseason, W.T. Woodson lost its first four games before heading to North Carolina for the Wilmington Holiday Tournament. But long-time coach Red Jenkins knew exactly what was wrong with his team.
"Nine of our 12 players have been injured or sick since practice began," he said. "I have never been through anything like this. All of our starters have missed at least one game and we are just starting to get together."
The Cavaliers' starting unit, anchored by junior guard Greg Williams, looked good in defeating South Brunswick, 68-50, in the opening round of the Wilmington (N.C.) Holiday Tournament last week. Woodson lost the next two games to finish fifth.BIG GAMES: Madison, one of the early surprise teams in the area, went to its 6-foot-9 senior center, Bart Lammersen, early and often and defeated defending champion Springbrook, Great Falls rival Chantilly then Potomac (Md.) in the final of the Washington Post Holiday Classic. Lammersen totaled 59 points and 39 rebounds and was named tournament MVP. Fairfax's 6-3 Mara Cunningham used her height advantage over Whitman and Lake Braddock to get 18 rebounds to lead her team to the Post girls' title.
O'Connell's Christy Finney had 78 points and 10 three-point field goals to earn MVP honors in leading the Knights over Christ the King in its tournament final. Jackie Freeman had three-game totals of 59 points and six three-pointers to lead Madison to its own Warhawk Classic championship.