Last season, the Varsity Basketball team’s season ended with a closely contested loss to Holy Trinity in the CHSAA Championship game. This year’s Flyers sought to redeem their loss, and kicked off the 2019-2020 season with a schedule full of top-notch opponents, including Center Moriches, Campus Magnet, Brentwood, Elmont, Commack, and nationally-ranked Long Island Lutheran.
The team arguably played its best game all season against Long Island Lutheran, who is currently ranked #11 in the nation according to MaxPreps.com. Heavy underdogs to an elite squad with three Division I signees, the Flyers found themselves trailing by only six behind a raucous home crowd at Chaminade’s Activity -Athletic Center. A huge game from seniors Matt Coletti ‘20 and Kieran Dorney ‘20, who each scored 17 points, gave the Flyers a solid chance at pulling out the win. Although they couldn’t prevail, the team showed an enormous amount of grit and toughness. That night, everyone in the gym knew the Flyers were disciplined, determined, and unrelenting in not letting LuHi run away with the game. Strong wins against Elmont, Commack, and Farmingdale gave the Flyers a major boost heading into conference play. For the season, the Flyers had an overall non-conference record of 5-5, but the team knew as the season progressed and on-court chemistry developed, the conference schedule would be nothing they couldn’t navigate.
Entering conference play, the team collected wins against St. Mary’s, St. Dominic, and Kellenberg in quick fashion, setting up a showdown with Holy Trinity on a Friday night at home. Knowing a win would catapult them into first place in the conference, the Flyers looked determined to get revenge on last year’s shortcoming. The game played out as many expected: tightly contested, intense, and down to the wire. The Flyers couldn’t close out the Titans in regulation, so the game was sent to overtime, where huge games from Kieran Dorney ‘20, Cooper Francis ‘21 and Joseph Guterding ‘20, who as a trio combined for 69 points, kept the Flyers in the game. Intense defensive effort then propelled the Flyers to a second overtime. Ultimately the Titan offense proved too much for Chaminade, as Trinity took the contest by a final score of 86-80, finishing in dramatic fashion in double overtime. Dorney and Francis finished the game with 31 and 21 points, respectively. Though it was a difficult loss to process, the Flyers knew their season was far from over. In fact, it was really just getting started.
Senior Matt Coletti, who had especially impactful performances for the Flyers in their contests against Long Island Lutheran and reigning champion Holy Trinity, said this of the season as the Flyers entered conference play: “We had some close losses to start the season, but we feel like we’re beginning to hit stride during league play and starting to mesh very well as a group on the court”.
The team continued to navigate its tough conference schedule and completed the season sweeps of Kellenberg and St. Mary’s with convincing victories. After finishing the regular season with a record of 13-9, the Flyers entered the playoffs as the #3 seed, behind St. Anthony’s and Holy Trinity, which meant they would face Kellenberg in the quarterfinals. As a team, the Flyers scored easily against the Firebirds and cruised to a 75-50 victory. Dorney scored18 points, Brandon Pizzingrillo ‘20 scored 15, Guterding scored 11, Coletti scored 10. The outstanding win against the sixth-seeded Firebirds set up another game against the Titans of Holy Trinity.
The Crimson and Gold traveled to LIU Post this past Sunday to end the Titan’s streak. Once again, the game was close, with Chaminade holding a one-point lead at halftime. The first half was slow, defensive, and gritty as the Flyers and Titans both were forced to claw for baskets. Coming out of halftime, the Flyers, although determined, couldn’t match up offensively with Trinity, and entered the fourth quarter down nine. Despite huge showings again from Kieran Dorney and Joe Guterding, the Flyers fell 66-59 in the conference semifinals, fueling the fire for next year’s season and for the coach, Mr. Robert Paul ‘92.
The Flyers, although defeated on the court, spiritually and mentally prevailed as they grew closer throughout the season. Regardless of the final score or standings, this group of young men shared in an inseparable bond that will last for a lifetime.