Frostburg -- Towson Catholic's motivation for winning the 47th Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament at Frostburg State University may have ended in the previous game when the team it wanted to play in the final - DeMatha - lost.
Towson Catholic appeared flat in the first half.
Both Towson Catholic (32-5) and DeMatha lost and the possibility of a second straight year with the No. 1 team from Baltimore playing the No. 1 team from Washington ended when the Owls lost to Neumann-Goretti, 80-69.
"We definitely came out flat and there was a little rivalry between the Syracuse guys," said Owls coach Josh Pratt, referring to his own Donte Greene and Neumann-Goretti's Rick Jackson and Scoop Jardine. "We came out and didn't execute and didn't play any defense at all. Our defense was not good at all.
"The scary thing is we were only down by six at the half [actually 32-27]. It just wasn't our night."
Both Malcolm Delaney and Greene got into foul trouble. Each had four fouls after the third quarter. Delaney finished with 28 points, and Greene finished with 18.
"I thought the refereeing in the beginning was a little suspect. Especially in the semifinals, I thought they would let us play a little more," Pratt said. "That is no excuse."
As a result, it will be an all-Philadelphia final with Neumann-Goretti (26-5) playing Roman Catholic in what will be the last time Philadelphia plays in the Alhambra.
Jackson, 6 feet 9, had a team-high 26 points for Neumann-Goretti.
Brian Wanamaker's layup with 12 seconds remaining gave Roman Catholic of Philadelphia a 63-62 upset of defending champion and 19-time Alhambra winner DeMatha.
The Stags (26-6) missed two shots at the other end as the clock ran out. The Cahillites (27-3), this season's Philadelphia Catholic League champions, last won the tournament in 1995.
Towson Catholic will play DeMatha in the consolation game for third place at 6:30 tonight.
DeMatha defeated No. 1 Mount St. Joseph, 70-55, in last year's final. It was the Gaels' first loss after a Maryland single-season record of 38 consecutive wins.
Philadelphia had three teams in this year's Alhambra, but this is the final year for it. All public and private high schools in Pennsylvania will hereafter be members of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Asso- ciation and participate in the state tournaments.
NEUMANN-GORETTI (PA.)-Wilson 24, Hepburn 4, Jardine 9, Hatty 5, Chenneult 8, Jackson 26, Savage 4. Totals 27 22-37 80. TOWSON CATHOLIC-D. Greene 18, Delaney 28, Bastfield 12, B. Greene 2, Edwards 7, Fitzgerald 2. Totals 24 9-15 69. Half: NG, 32-27.