The Washington Catholic Athletic Conference had a big day Sunday, as two conference squads won both District of Columbia State Athletic Association (DCSAA) championship games at the George Washington University Smith Center in Northwest.
On the boys’ side, the Gonzaga Eagles won its first state title with a 77-66 victory over the Maret Frogs, while the St. John’s Cadets took the girls’ championship with a 63-51 win over the Georgetown Visitation Cubs.
Maret took a 39-38 lead into halftime behind the dominant play of 6’11 senior Luka Garza, who had 16 of his game-high 37 points in the first half. However, Gonzaga picked up the pace defensively in the second half and limited Garza’s teammates from scoring.
Eagles senior Chris Lykes took the game over offensively, scoring nine points in the third quarter including a three-pointer at the buzzer. Gonzaga would outscore Maret 21-9 in the third stanza to take a 59-48 lead, and Maret wouldn’t truly threaten the rest of the way.
Gonzaga head coach Stephen Turner said the key to his team’s victory was defense.
“We had to defend in the second half and not allow Luka those easy paint touches,” Turner said. “He still got some but we limited him compared to the first half.
“I’m proud of this senior group,” Turner added. “This is our first D.C. state championship. We’ve lost before in this event the last two years and I’m excited for them to finish out the way they did.”
Lykes, who has signed with the University of Miami, led the Eagles with 24 points and five assists and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. Junior Prentiss Hubb added 16 points, six assists and four steals. Garza, who will be heading to the University of Iowa, added 17 rebounds, three blocks and two assists to his 37 points and he was seven for seven from the free throw line. Junior Elijah Bowens added 15 points and five assists.
In the girls’ championship, St. John’s had four players in double figures en route to its second straight state title. Led by sophomore Malu Tshitenge Mutombo, the niece of Hall of Fame center Dikembe Mutombo, who scored a team-high 17 points, the Cadets fended off numerous runs by the Cubs, stiffening their defense in the second half as Georgetown struggled to run its offense.
Visitation made a final push late in the fourth quarter, taking the lead at 48-47 on a Cristin George three-pointer with 3:18 remaining. But St John’s would finish the game on a 13-4 run to earn the victory.
Mutombo, who also grabbed nine rebounds, was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. Senior Aisha Sheppard added 13 points and was eight for eight from the foul line. Junior Jaylin Carodine scored 12 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and had five steals. Visitation’s Maeve Carroll, a senior, led all scorers with 20 points and sophomore Ellie Mitchell added 12 points.