On Sunday, it was No. 11 Wilson hoping to make that statement. The Tigers, playing in their third consecutive DCSAA championship game, had knocked off Gonzaga before. They toppled the Eagles in the 2018 semifinals and beat the WCAC’s Archbishop Carroll on Friday to earn a spot in this game.
But Gonzaga was ready for everything the upset-minded Tigers threw at it Sunday, earning a defiant 55-49 victory.
“These D.C. teams always have more energy,” Eagles senior Chuck Harris said. “Their fan bases, too, as we saw today. We know they want it bad, and we know we’re the team to beat.”
The crowd — loud and proud for both sides all night — played a larger role in the fourth quarter as Gonzaga tried to hold on to its lead. The Wilson students treated Gonzaga to one taunt after another, and the Eagles players ate it up. Senior forward Terrance Williams, after converting a big and-one with four minutes remaining, raised his arms high to ask them for more.
Later, with a few seconds remaining and a Gonzaga victory imminent, a fan threw a beer can onto the floor. More debris was aimed at the Gonzaga bench during the handshake line.
“It just made me play harder,” Williams said. “In my four years, that’s the first time a student section has ever thrown anything at me. And it was crazy. But it gave me momentum to keep going, keep making them mad.”
Williams finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds. After a close second half, the Eagles (25-10) took control by holding Wilson (24-5) to four points in the third quarter. In the fourth, every Tigers run was answered by a big basket from Williams or Harris.
This is the second DCSAA title for Gonzaga, which also won in 2017. Harris, Williams and forward Myles Stute were freshmen on that team. Sunday’s victory gave them another title to bookend impactful careers.
“This group has been special,” Coach Steve Turner said. “I’m just so proud. They’ve really cemented their legacy on Eye Street.”