Second-ranked DeMatha avoided the sweep Saturday night, finally getting the best of top-ranked Paul VI Catholic in the championship game of the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament in Frostburg, Md.
Tournament MVP Jerami Grant scored 23 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked three shots to lead the Stags to a 71-56 victory over the Panthers.
The teams had met three times earlier this season, with Paul VI winning twice in the regular season and again in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title game. Those victories were by a total of six points.
Saturday, though, DeMatha pulled away in the third quarter and made sure there was not a dramatic finish. The Stags led 26-25 at halftime, but outscored the Panthers 22-11 in the third to take a 48-36 lead.
“The first half was typical DeMatha-Paul VI . . . it was too similar to all the other three games and the other six halves,” DeMatha Coach Mike Jones said. “I thought we were scared, ‘Here we go again.’ But we hit a lot of big shots.”
Guard Patrick Holloway led Paul VI with 13 points.
DeMatha finished 30-5, while Paul VI (34-3) will play seventh-ranked Coolidge in the Abe Pollin City Title Games on Tuesday at Verizon Center.
Earlier, fifth-ranked Gonzaga lost to St. Benedict’s of Newark, N.J., 64-61, in the third-place game. Kris Jenkins scored 19 points, Nate Britt had 16 and Jordan Abdur-Ra’oof 15 for the Eagles, who finished 27-7.