MIKE BURKE

Allegany Communications Sports

After two years of waiting, it’s finally time to get ready for the 60th Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament. After two years of COVID cancellations, the great tournament returns Thursday, March 10 at Frostburg State University and brings with it some of the finest high school basketball in two nations and the very best hospitality anywhere.

Cumberland’s Bishop Walsh School once more will be the tournament host school and looks to make a big splash after its first season in the demanding National Interscholastic Basketball Conference; and for the first time in 45 years, New York will be represented in the ACIT as Long Island Lutheran (18-5) of Brookville, N.Y. makes its first tournament appearance.

LIL will be the first New York team to appear in the ACIT since Staten Island’s Monsignor Farrell in 1977.

Four teams from the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, the best high school conference in the country, return to the ACIT, led by regular-season co-champions Paul VI (23-4), Chantilly, Va., and Bishop McNamara (19-3) of Forestville, along with DeMatha (17-5), the 25-time ACIT champion of Hyattsville, and Washington’s five-time champion Gonzaga (16-7).

The top two teams from the Baltimore Catholic League round out this year’s field, regular-season champion St. Frances (31-5) and Mount St. Joseph (25-5), who will make their 13th and 17th ACIT appearances respectively.

The Stags, who are playing this season under interim head coach Pete Strickland, won the championship of the last ACIT played, having defeated Paul VI, 60-51, in the 2019 final. Strickland, a former DeMatha player and assistant coach, returned to Madison Street after former head coach Mike Jones accepted the job as the Virginia Tech associate head coach.

More ACIT coverage coming.

Mike Burke writes about sports and other stuff for Allegany Communications. He began covering sports for the Prince George’s Sentinel in 1981 and joined the Cumberland Times-News sports staff in 1984, serving as sports editor for over 30 years. Contact him at [email protected] and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @MikeBurkeMDT