In the WCAC, Bishop McNamara is the Maryland to DeMatha's Duke. They hate them so much, but DeMatha doesn't really consider them when thinking about their main rival; spending most of their time thinking about Gonzaga. In fact, when the two teams played last night at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, there was a, "Where's Our Rival?" sign in the Dematha student section. The way the game ended last night, however, might add a little bit of fuel to that fire.
McNamara led for most of the game, thanks to another strong performance from their star guard Marcus Thornton. But DeMatha stormed back in the fourth quarter, finally using their enormous size advantage to bully the Mustangs down low. A layup from James Robinson tied the game up at 54, with about 24 seconds left to play. McNamara was going to have a shot to win it, or at the very worst, a chance to win in overtime; or so I thought.
They held the ball at the top of the key until there were about eight seconds left on the clock, then started to drive to the hoop. Mustang's point guard Ibn Muhammad took the ball to the hoop, but his layup attempt clanked off the side of the rim. DeMatha scooped up the ball with about four seconds left in the corner of the court, fired up a full court shot that missed everything. It was at that point that I texted my girlfriend to tell her I would be home later than expected because the game was going to overtime.
But then I saw the refs convening at mid court, and the scoreboard did not yet reflect the extra period. After a few minutes of deliberation, they decided that DeMatha coach Mike Jones had called a timeout before the end of regulation. They put three seconds back on the clock, and gave DeMatha the ball deep in the backcourt. A chorus of boos from the Mustang faithful followed.
Robinson took the ball out of bounds and threw the ball to Mikael Hopkins at half court, and DeMatha took another timeout, only taking 1.1 seconds off the clock. McNamara coach Marty Keithline was furious because he felt that Hopkins had traveled when he caught the ball, and from the looks of it, he kind of did.
Moments later, Robinson inbounded the ball from the front court, throwing a lob to the rim. It was batted down, but Marcellous Bell scooped it up and layed it in as time expired, giving DeMatha a two point win. You can see video highlights I put together from the game here.
Coach Keithline was predictably upset with the final result, and I asked him exactly which part of the last sequence had him fuming. He gave me a multiple choice.
"They gave them the amount of time, then he walked at half court, then they shoved my kid out of the way on the rebound tip in," he said. "That's three calls in three seconds. I don't know what else to do, I don't know what else I could have done."
It's interesting to note that this was the same officiating crew that was calling DeMatha's loss to Bishop O'Connell, a game in which coach Jones felt as though he was not awarded a timeout towards the end.
McNamara fans are definitely not pleased about the result. But from what I saw it was called correctly. It was just a series of unfortunate events for the Mustangs, and will provide even more of a basis for their hatred.