By Robert Paradiso ’16
Throughout the regular season, Chaminade’s Varsity Basketball Team soared, experiencing only mild gusts of turbulence and ending the regular season with a 10-2 league record and a 19-4 overall record. The Flyers, sharing the co-championship title of the regular season with Marianist rivals Kellenberg and top seeded by coin-toss, earned a quarterfinal bye. They looked to climb back to high altitude on Sunday, February 28, in the semifinal bout against fourth-seed rival St. Anthony’s at LIU Post.
At the commencement of the game, the Friars won the tip-off and top scorer Josh Nicholas drove to the basket for a quick layup but missed. After snagging the rebound, the Flyers completed a drive of their own, and junior forward Kyle Murphy scored a basket, putting the Flyers up at 2-0. The quarter thereafter displayed much basket-trading and ended with a 15-15 scoreline.
Unfortunately for the Flyers, their quality of play dropped after the first quarter, ultimately leading to their downfall. Despite defeating St. Anthony’s handily in two regular season matches, Chaminade could not expose weaknesses in St. Anthony’s play in this third match, while the Friars arrived extremely prepared for whatever the Flyers presented them.
The second quarter provided a preview of the tone of the remainder of the game. Failing to find its footing from range, the Flyers only scored one three-pointer with Ryan Dean ’16 opening Chaminade’s scoring for the second quarter and responding to a three-pointer by St. Anthony’s James Walsh. In the next possession, Walsh hit another three, to which Nolan Prendergast ’16 answered back with a floater for two points. The second quarter seemed to follow the point-for-point, back-and-forth pace of the first, but the Flyers noticeably struggled, scoring only nine points and heading into halftime with a four-point deficit.
Looking to repeat the miraculous semi-final 17-point comeback achieved against St. Mary’s last season, the Flyers advanced full-throttle early in the third quarter, but were halted by St. Anthony’s airtight defense. While Chaminade struggled to convert, the Friars dismantled the Flyers’ defense, a crucial element that helped the Flyers earn them the regular season championship. As the dust settled after the third, the light of Chaminade’s hope of surviving dimmed further, as the Flyers again only scored nine while the Friars put up sixteen, extending the Crimson and Gold’s deficit to eleven.
Although Chaminade tried its hardest to break through St. Anthony’s defense in the fourth, the Friars doubled down. As the minutes winded down and St. Anthony’s lead grew, the Flyers faced the difficult and upsetting reality that their amazing season was coming to a close, albeit too quickly. With a final score of 73-54, the Flyers headed to the locker room to reflect on the season.
Senior guard and high scorer for the season, Ryan Dean, commented on the loss saying, “It just wasn’t our day. We could not get into our typical rhythm, and no shots were falling for us. Sometimes you just cannot do anything about it, and, although we could not pull out a victory, I am just happy I could spend my last season with the best group of guys and coaches around.”
Coach Robert Paul ’92 also commented on the game and added some parting thanks to the senior players, saying, “We were defeated by a better team that day. Regardless, the parting group of seniors will always have a special place in this program because they started when I did, and they have built this program into one of Chaminade’s top athletic teams that students from around the island now want to play for.”
We wish the senior players and managers good fortune in their future endeavors, and we thank them for representing the Chaminade family well throughout the season.