The Matchup: No. 13 DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) vs. traditional WCAC rival No. 10 Gonzaga College (Washington, D.C.) in Washington at 3:30 p.m. ET
DeMatha player(s) to watch: The Stags are led by five-star guard Markelle Fultz, who was among the American Family Insurance ALL-USA Midseason Player of the Year candidates. Fultz, a Washington signee, is tough to stop when he has the ball in his hands. He has come up big in big games for the No. 13 Stags. Fultz had 31 in a loss to Montverde Academy, which was No. 1 at the time, and had 20 in a loss to Oak Hill Academy in the Les Schwab Invitational final. Watch out for Nate Darling, who also plays in a shooting guard/sometimes swingman role and will attend UAB in the final. The strength inside comes from juniors D.J. Harvey, a 6-foot-7, borderline top-10 prospect in the Class of 2017 being recruited by just about everyone, and center Josh Carlton, a three-star prospect with high upside as he continues to develop.
Gonzaga player(s) to watch: The Eagles are all about Chris Lykes, a shifty 5-foot-6 junior point guard who can take over a game. He is ranked as the No. 1 player in Washington, D.C., in his class and recently took an unofficial visit to Georgetown.“Chris is our leader and he’s doing great things but he’s adapting his game to allow other guys to step up, too,” Eagles coach Steve Turner recently told The Washington Post. Fellow junior Eddie Scott, a 6-4 swingman, provides scoring versatility. Sophomore shooting guard Prentiss Hubb is a versatile shooting guard who can change a game when he’s hot. He’s considered the top player in D.C. in the Class of 2018 and already has five offers, including Penn State.
What to expect: If the last two meetings are any indication, expect another close game. Gonzaga won in double overtime last February in the WCAC championship game. Just 11 days ago, Gonzaga took a 73-70 victory in Hyattsville. Nicky Miller’s key block late in the game sealed the win and he had 12 points off the bench. Lykes had 30 to lead the Eagles despite being guarded by Harvey, who’s 6-6. Gonzaga enters the game with only two losses by a combined eight points, both in overtime, to Roman Catholic (Philadelphia) and WCAC rival St. John’s (Washington, D.C.). DeMatha has three losses to top-five powers Montverde, Oak Hill and the loss to Gonzaga. It can’t set well with DeMatha that it has lost the last couple of meetings to Gonzaga. The question is whether DeMatha can contain Gonzaga’s depth at the guard spots and use its advantage inside. This is one worth watching.