Top-ranked Paul VI Catholic continued its dream-like season Friday night as point guard Tilman Dunbar converted a three-point play with no time remaining to lift the Panthers to a 64-63 victory over fifth-ranked Gonzaga in the semifinals of the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament in Frostburg, Md.
The Panthers (34-2) advanced to Saturday’s championship game against second-ranked DeMatha (29-5), which will be teams’ fourth meeting this season. Paul VI has won the first three by a total of six points.
DeMatha advanced earlier Friday with a 64-49 victory over St. Benedict’s of Newark, N.J., which entered with only one loss.
Paul VI trailed most of the game, but got the ball for its final possession with 4.1 seconds left, trailing 63-61. The Panthers threw the ball to half court and called timeout with 3.5 seconds left to set up their play. Dunbar caught the inbounds pass and drove to the basket, where he was fouled while making a layup.
He had made 62.5 percent of his free throws this season but made the one that mattered most.
There was less drama in the other semifinal, as junior center BeeJay Anya had his first career triple-double with 14 points, 15 rebounds and 10 blocks to lead DeMatha. Senior forward Jerami Grant scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Stags.
St. Benedict’s fell to 32-2; its only previous loss coming 51-50 to undefeated St. Anthony’s of Jersey City, N.J.
“They were very good, to be ranked [nationally] as high as they are,” DeMatha Coach Mike Jones said. “It’s huge for us.”
Senior guard James Robinson added eight points, eight assists and six rebounds for DeMatha.