Early season pride will be on the line in the coming week with some quality boys basketball mixers featuring some of the area’s top teams.
This Saturday, four of the top metro area private schools will find out how they stack up against some of the top teams from the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference at the inaugural Charm City Challenge at UMBC. On Thursday, the 2nd Williams Wells Challenge features area private schools going up against some of the finest from Baltimore City at Coppin State.
On Dec. 8 and 9, the 3rd annual Shirts vs. Skins Classic at Coppin State will feature 11 games — including two girls games — with five states represented among the boys games.
Also on Dec. 9 at Lake Clifton, the annual Baltimore vs. D.C. Challenge has more Baltimore City schools taking on D.C. squads.
“I think growing up in Baltimore City, there’s always been a rivalry between Baltimore and D.C. Who has the best basketball and who has the best players, so this is a chance for us to showcase our talents as a league against their league,” St. Frances coach Nick Myles said. His Panthers will take on Gonzaga at the Charm City Challenge. “I think it’s something that’s long overdo and we’re excited to play in it.”
Here’s a closer look at each event:
Charm City Challenge
Where: UMBC’s RAC Arena
No. 6 Mount Carmel vs. Bishop McNamara, 2 p.m.
No. 5 John Carroll vs. St. Mary’s-Ryken, 3:45 p.m.
No. 2 Mount Saint Joseph vs. St. John’s (D.C.), 5:30 p.m.
No. 7 St. Frances vs. Gonzaga (D.C.), 7:15 p.m.
Headline game: The nightcap features red-hot St. Frances, which is off to a 4-0 start against defending WCAC champion Gonzaga, which is ranked No. 5 by The Washington Post. The Panthers have been getting balanced scoring and rebounding with their overall size and depth wearing teams down in the early going. Seniors Elijah Epps and Ed Ferguson have set the tone on an otherwise young team. Gonzaga is led by guard Myles Dread. All four games will be streamed live by TRUESITE SPORTS.
William Wells Challenge
Where: Coppin State
No. 5 John Carroll vs. No. 10 Lake Clifton, 5:30 p.m.
Calvert Hall vs. No. 8 Dunbar, 7:30 p.m.
Headline game: Both John Carroll and Lake Clifton have a quality mix of returning players and promising new talent, which makes the opening game intriguing. The Patriots opened their season on a high note with a convincing 74-53 win over No. 2 Mount Saint Joseph with electric play from senior guard Montez Mathis and a solid first effort from newcomer Yavuz Gultekin, a transfer from Turkey. Kentucky-bound star guard Immanuel Quickley, who has been sidelined with mononucleosis, resumed practicing in full on Friday and hopes to play. The Lakers counter with three-year varsity players Ronald Lucas, Steven Parker and Benjamin Carter to go with an influx of talent from last year’s undefeated JV team.
Skins vs. Shirts Classic
When: Dec. 8 and 9
Where: Coppin State
Three boys games are expected to take place from 5 to 8:15 p.m. on Friday and seven games — including two area girls games — from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. No area teams are playing in Friday’s slate. For the complete schedule and more information, please go to shirtsvsskins.org
Here are the Dec. 9 area games at Skins vs. Shirts:
Mount Carmel vs. Poly, 12:45 p.m.
John Carroll vs. Western, 2:15 p.m.
Bishop Laughlin Memorial (NY) vs. No. 5 John Carroll School, 5:30 p.m.
No. 6 Mount Carmel vs No. 13 Dulaney, 7 p.m.
St. Benedicts Prep (NJ) vs No. 7 St. Frances, 8:30 p.m.
Baltimore vs. D.C. Challenge
When: Dec. 9
Where: Lake Clifton
No. 3 Poly vs. Wilson, noon
Edmondson vs. Dunbar (D.C.), 2 p.m.
No. 10 Lake Clifton vs. Woodson, 4 p.m.
No. 4 Patterson vs. Eleanor Roosevelt, 6 p.m.
Headline game: The opener – Poly vs. Wilson – has some fine matchups which promises to make for a quality up-tempo game. Last season, the Engineers played a tough out-of-conference schedule and it paid off in winning the Class 3A state crown. They are at it again with the Tigers ranked No. 3 by The Washington Post. All-Metro senior guard Demetrius Mims leads Poly, which also features sophomore guard Rahim Ali, sophomore forward Justin Lewis and a deep group of returnees. For Wilson, reigning D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association champions, guards Ayinde Hikim and Carlos Dunn lead the way with center Josiah Marable anchoring the frontcourt.