Cumberland Times-News

Mike Burke - Sports

March 9, 2013

They come as guests, and leave as family

They’ve come from as far west as Utah, as far north as Canada and as far south as Texas. Yet for every third week of March and forevermore, the players, coaches and teams that experience the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament are from here.

From all the greats, to all of the not so greats who have given us unforgettable performances on the basketball court for over half a century — from Carmelo Anthony to Dereck Whittenburg, from Austin Carr, Adrian Dantley and Rodney Monroe to Peter Giftopoulos, Jimmy Soto and the forever darling of this tournament, Sam Puckett — they belong to us, from generation to generation. Oh, yes, we claim them. They are ours.

That’s what’s in store for yet another impressive field of players, coaches and fans who will start filing into the Cumberland Holiday Inn on Wednesday afternoon. It all changes for them then, as, from that point forth, they will always be linked to us and we will always be linked to them — for the rest of their lives, whether they know it or not, whether they like it or not. Oh, but with the hospitality they’re about to receive? They’ll like it. They’ll like it so much they’ll do everything in their power to keep coming back again and again.

The host school Bishop Walsh (21-7) and defending champion DeMatha (13-14), who is experiencing an inconceivable losing season, they’ve always known it. The Gonzaga Eagles (25-4) and Bishop O’Connell Knights (31-5), both with Washington Catholic Athletic Conference titles this year, they’ve been privy to it for quite some time now. So, too, have Richmond’s Virginia state champion Benedictine Cadets (31-4) and the St. Frances Panthers (31-5) and Mount St. Joseph Gaels (30-3), both of whom have claims to Baltimore Catholic League championships this year.

The team you would think is in for a surprise, but apparently won’t be, would be the La Lumiere School of LaPorte, Ind. That’s right, real honest to goodness Hoosiers are going to be here to do what they love doing more than anything in Indiana — play some hoops.

These Hoosiers — actually, they’re Lakers — have played in tournaments everywhere this year, from Mitchell, South Dakota and Honolulu to Montverde, Fla., Kettering, Ohio and Saltsburg, Pa. But, by their own admission, it will be a trip to Cumberland and Frostburg, Md., that will complete them.

“They want to come,” said ACIT general chairman Joe Carter. “A college coach said to (La Lumiere head coach Alan Sluss), ‘You’re a Catholic school and you’ve never been to the Alhambra? You need to do something about that.’

“So, the coach called and said they wanted to come, which was great by us. He wants to make the nine-and-a-half hour drive to be here, and we couldn’t be happier.”

What you will see in the Lakers is the No. 11-ranked team in the country according to the USA Today Super 25, and what you will see in the Lakers is a whole lot of Lakers.

“They’re huge,” Carter said. “Go down that roster — 6-11; 6-10, 240; 6-10, 240; 6-8, 230; 6-7, 235 ... Geesh. Their guards are big, too.”

The Lakers have six players who will go Division I, led by 6-foot-3 guard Detrick Mostella, who has committed to Oklahoma State.

“Detrick might be the best scoring guard in the country,” said Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford “He’s a big-time scorer.

“He’s extremely athletic and has a knack for how to score, from the three-point line, pull-up jumpers, and (he) understands angles. He might lead the country in scoring when it’s all said and done this year in the prep school ranks, and that's with five or six Division I players on his team.”

Two of La Lumiere’s three losses have come to, get this, the two top-ranked teams in the country — 51-43 to No. 1 Findlay Prep in the Iolani Classic in Honolulu, and 57-38 to No. 2 Montverde Academy in Montverde, Fla.

Joining the Lakers in this field will be the likes of Melo Trimble, the junior guard from Bishop O’Connell who committed to Maryland, DeMatha center BeeJay Ana, who is headed to N.C. State, La Lumiere’s Torren Jones, Missouri, Gonzaga’s Kris Jenkins, who will be a Villanova Wildcat, and Mount St. Joe guard Kameron Williams, who has signed with Ohio State. Not to mention Williams’ teammate, junior guard Phil Booth, and St. Frances junior forward Dwayne Morgan, who are entertaining offers from ... well, everybody. Name somebody ... Phil and Dwayne have heard from them.

“La Lumiere is ranked nationally,” said Carter. “At one time or another, Gonzaga, DeMatha, St. Frances and O’Connell were ranked in the top 25, so it’s a good field.

“There are some great young players, and it’s a good older field. There are going to be plenty of players to come watch.”

And there are going to be plenty of players who will never be the same after this weekend.

Mike Burke is sports editor of the  Cumberland Times-News. Write to him at

Text Only
Mike Burke - Sports
  • Terps need to move and move quickly

    The good news is Maryland will never have to play another basketball game in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Goodbye, good riddance, sayonara, smell ya, no more of you, stay classy, we won’t let the door hit us on the way out.
    Until we see you in court.

    April 13, 2014

  • Then again, he’s manager of the Yankees, and I’m not

    I went to bed confused Wednesday night, which in itself is nothing new. But having
    watched most of the Orioles-Yankees game, including the final three innings, earlier
    in the evening, then watching the late Baseball Tonight before I turned in, I was under the impression that the Yankees had won the game when I was pretty sure before watching the show that the Orioles had won.

    April 11, 2014

  • At times we all should allow for a little flex

    Other than when I was a student in the Allegany County Public Schools System, I’ve always believed the most thankless job there is — or at least one of the most thankless jobs there is — belongs to the person who ultimately hits the switch on whether or not to call off school because of the weather. You’re slammed if you do, you’re slammed if you don’t. No matter what you decide it’s no win, but, like managing a baseball team or running a bar, everybody knows they could do it.

    January 11, 2014

  • A treasured member of the family of baseball

    When a former professional football player from our past dies, he is most often remembered as being one tough son of a gun, or a wonderful runner or pass catcher, or as a brilliant quarterback.

    January 10, 2014

  • Bob Giffin believed in the goodness of us all

    The first time the Giffin family exploded onto my radar was at a Fort Hill basketball game years ago in the old Fort Hill gym. Believe it was a City game, which meant the place was packed, the walls were sweating and the smell of popcorn permeated the atmosphere. And through it all marched the family Giffin in perfect formation, tallest in the front, shortest in the back, led by father Lew, mother Donna, oldest son Bob, second son Tom, third son Donnie and fourth son Johnnie.

    December 28, 2013

  • Redskins do that voodoo that they do so well

    This time last year the Washington Redskins were in the midst of a seven-game winning streak on their way to the NFC East title. Mike Shanahan was being hailed as the perfect football presence the franchise had sorely needed for so long. Quarterback Robert Griffin III in the sprint option was being hailed as the single greatest invention since the wheel, and beleaguered Daniel Snyder, the little owner who couldn’t, was being hailed for not even trying as he allowed his two-time Super Bowl winning coach and lord of all things football to pull the strings on all things football.

    December 13, 2013

  • Fort Hill’s approach is all-inclusive

    After Fort Hill opened everybody’s eyes last season in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year (*1), it was a pretty sure bet that the Sentinels, given all of their returning resources, would be making a run for the state championship this year (*2).

    December 6, 2013

  • What resource will the O’s allocate next?

    In November 1993, Dan Duquette, then the general manager of the Montreal Expos, traded second baseman Delino DeShields to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a young pitcher by the name of Pedro Martinez. According to a story in last Sunday’s New York Times, upon completing the deal, Duquette, now general manager of the Baltimore Orioles, told Neal Huntington, then a member of the Expos front office and now the general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, “This trade is going to be hated in Montreal.”

    December 4, 2013

  • No month of Sundays this Friday

    With Fort Hill comfortably in control Friday night in its eventual 46-7 1A West Region semifinal victory over Manchester Valley, and with score updates from the other semifinal pouring in from nearby Washington County, Greenway Avenue Stadium was abuzz, for the unthinkable was about to take place — Fort Hill was going to play Hancock.

    November 16, 2013

  • Mike Burke Ty Johnson works hard, and makes it look easy

    Any summer day you might go to Greenway Avenue Stadium to get a little exercise you are likely to see any number of high school athletes there working out — football players, soccer players, basketball players, any kind of player you might want to think of.

    November 9, 2013 1 Photo