McDonogh's girls basketball team put the finishing touch on its No. 1 season by winning the Bishop Walsh Girls Invitational Tournament in Cumberland last weekend.
The Eagles, the IAAM A Conference champions who finished 29-2, defeated Good Counsel, 39-37, in Saturday's title game to become only the third IAAM team to win the title.
Eagles junior guard Dajah Logan was named the Tournament Most Valuable Player and junior point guard Danielle Edwards made the All-Tournament.
Founded 20 years ago as a girls answer to the boys Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament in Western Maryland, the Bishop Walsh Tournament has included the top Catholic and private school teams from Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia, West Virginia and southern Pennsylvania. although this year's tournament included only Maryland and Washington D.C. teams.
St. Frances was the last IAAM team to win the tournament in 2010. Seton Keough won in 2009.
"It's a very competitive tournament," said McDonogh coach Brad Rees, who has taken the Eagles the past three years. " First of all, they take three teams from the WCAC [Washington Catholic Athletic Conference] every year, so it's just brutal competition. It's three weeks after our championship game, so we only had three practices while the WCAC teams are still playing. Their conference tournament is the week after ours and they go on to play in the DC city championship or the Maryland private schools championship."
The IAAM teams often draw each in other in the tournament which also can be difficult after playing two or three times during the season, but the Eagles avoided No. 5 St. Vincent Pallotti and No. 7 St. Frances in this year, because both lost in the first round.
In the title game, the Eagles ran up a 31-15 lead and held on for the victory over Good Counsel despite scoring just eight second-half points. Logan had 13 points, five rebounds and two assists while Edwards had 11 points, seven rebounds and five steals.
"We were in control and playing well," Rees said, "and then we could not make a basket to save our life. They tightened up the defense a little bit, but we just went on a cold spell that was horrendous and ended up holding on."
In the semifinals, the Eagles defeated another WCAC team, Elizabeth Seton, ranked No. 4 in The Washington Post. Logan had 15 points as the Eagles won 51-39. Sophomore forward Andrea Robinson added eight points while Edwards had seven assists and six steals.
In the tournament opener, Lilli Robb hit four 3-pointers to help the Eagles to a 69-30 win over St. Maria Goretti from Hagerstown.
Pallotti and St. Frances, however, could not avoid the local collision. Pallotti lost to Good Counsel in the first round and defeated Bishop Walsh in the second round to earn another meeting with St. Frances, which lost to Elizabeth Seton then beat Goretti.
After splitting their regular-season meetings, Pallotti won the showdown, 58-53, as Beverly Ogunrinde had 21 points and 15 rebounds. Ty Smith led St. Frances with 22 points
Ogunrinde helped Pallotti set a record for most team rebounds in the three-game tournament with 133.