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Sometimes, a loss is more than a loss. That’s the way some folks are reading DeMatha‘s failures on Saturday against St. Anthony’s of Jersey City, N.J.
The game was held in Springfield, Mass., site of the Basketball Hall of Fame. St. Anthony’s scored the first 18 points and ran off to a 75-25 win.
St. Anthony’s ain’t chopped liver: The team is coached by prep legend Bob Hurley, and was ranked #4 in the country going into the game. But DeMatha is, well, something different.
The Hyattsville school has long been the best D.C. basketball has to offer, and D.C. basketball has long held itself as the best basketball that basketball has to offer. DeMatha doesn’t lose by 50. Can’t happen.
But, now it has.
So suffering such a whopping defeat on such a big stage — the game was part of a basketball festival, the HoopHall Classic, held in Springfield, Mass., and sponsored by the Basketball Hall of Fame, and was televised nationally by ESPN — has caused the area’s hoops obsessives to look for larger meaning.
Over at dcsportsfan.com, a favored gathering spot for those types, the melodrama flows.
Take the summaries offered by a poster on the site’s forum going by the name BigDrop, who says he’s been watching DeMatha since 1962.
BigDrop still cherishes memories such as the momentous Stags victory over Power Memorial and Lew Alcindor in 1965, and Adrian Dantley’s “40-plus game” winning streak in the early 1970s.
But for all the decades of joy DeMatha basketball’s given him, Big Drop’s crushed by Saturday’s performance, already dubbed “The HoopHall Massacre.” To wit, his post-loss post:
After a FIFTY POINT LOSS-the worst loss I have ever seen a DeMatha team associated with (Almost DOUBLE the worst loss since ’62)-I believe this game has done more to embarass the school, more to impact the program…than any game I have seen in almost a half century.
Careers are ended with losses like this. New field houses have empty seats. Hyattsville, the WCAC and DC ball are going to be different tomorrow morning.
And, it was on national television.
After losing by fifty a victory over Gonzaga won’t mean the same tomorrow.
I am not suggesting that [DeMatha Coach] Mike Jones should leave. I am not. I AM suggesting that this was a seminal game that marks a turning point in the DM program.
Just as the Power Memorial game was a turning point so is this. It will be more difficult to recruit athletes, more difficult to hold onto them.
Wowie. Call me naive, but I still gotta figure that despite the creep of national television and the onslaught of national tournaments, high school basketball remains a local endeavor.
So if DeMatha wins yet another City Title — and no matter what happened this weekend, the Stags remain the favorite — by March the Massacre will be a distant memory around here.
To everybody but BigDrop and his pals, that is.