City Desk

DeMatha Gets ‘Massacred’ on ESPN, End of World to Follow?

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, 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.

And later:

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.

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  • sedcdude

    Yeah that was a VICIOUS ASS WHOOPIN' handed out by St Anthonys, man!
    No sense of urgency, lack of interior presence and piss poor ball movement on national TV!

    But don't fret, it's just high school and they will bounce back!

    Adversity reveals character and BIGDROP reads more like a leaky faucet....that needs fixing!

  • Typical DC BS

    Maybe Lerch on The Sports Junkies will stop running his mouth now about DeMatha.

  • dpc1994

    Wow. Somewhere in Northern Virginia, Morgan Wooten's son is lighting up a fat cigar for the world. LOL. A lot of the shitty things being said about Mike Jones are precisely what was being said and done when he got the job at DeMatha, which isn't surprising to real DC area hoops fans.

  • dave mckenna

    wow, so could mike jones become the dave mckenna of the hs sports world? relegated to a program/paper that is at best 4th tier in this city and forced to get yelled at by sidwell parents?

  • dpc1994

    @ Dave McKenna,
    The hand-wringing on is hysterically funny. Some schools in the WCAC have never won a City Title let alone the myriad of City Titles and handful of mythical national titles that DeMatha's got. One blow-out loss to New Jersey's version of DeMatha and every kid with hoops dreams in the DC Metro should just hang it up because the "rep" and "street cred" of DC area basketball has been sullied? That's what the chicken little faction is trying to sell. What. A. Joke.
    Mike Jones had a tough act to follow in Morgan Wooten. Everyone knew that. Every loss, no matter how infrequent on the Beltway, that DeMatha takes is like insulting a legacy. Mike Jones isn't coaching against St. John's, Gonzaga and McNamara. He's coaching against his predeccessor's legacy. And no matter how many big-time players fall into DeMatha's lap because they move here to play for the Stags, no matter how many kids travel an hour-and-a-half in the morning to be a part of the tradition, no matter how good a coach Mike Jones may be: people will assume it's an easy job. It's not. If the job were easy, Morgan Wooten wouldn't have dominated the Catholic League as long as he did when he coached.
    I've also heard the "today's kids" argument that some are putting out there, and it's ridiculous, too. There won't be another Power Memorial with Lew Alcindor to beat and build a legend. There weren't be two DeMatha grads on a single Olympic team. Those were once-in-a-lifetime achievements. Achievements that an area program will likely never duplicate. But, hey, let's expect Mike Jones to pull that out of his @ss. LOL.
    And I can't stand DeMatha. But facts are facts.