CATHOLIC NY STATE A CHAMPIONSHIP
MNSGR.FARRELL 55 – CHAMINADE 47
Walking into the Rose Hill Gym on the Bronx campus of Fordham University, I was dismayed by the highest price I’ve ever paid for a high school basketball game. Including tolls, parking and admission : $41.
Well, it’s a State Final for the Catholic A Title so, I’m sure Monsignor Farrell from Staten Island is very good. The showcase event trip ( Throgs Neck Bridge tolls ? ) and venue fee will be certainly worth it !
And then, the Lions from SI walked onto the college court.
I watched their entire 30 minute pregame warmup. They looked small and slow.
I studied their shooting beyond the makeshift jagged temporarily-taped high school arc.
Texting friends, I alerted all to the 30 point Chaminade blowout victory and coronation that I was about to witness.
Remember, I had seen the Flyers five times this year. They dismantled a pretty darned good Holy Trinity at Hofstra, nine days ago, 85-65 with terrific ball movement and 8 well-conditioned athletes.
Farrell’s Steven DeCarlo began the game with two nice post move buckets against the taller Flyer defenders. In a first period of warming up and testing each other, the Staten Island team led 14-12.
If you’ve enjoyed the first person accounts of live games from this blog throughout our inaugural season, you may recall my theory on Chaminade’s 2016-17 success.
They blew an 8 point first half lead at Elmont in December. It was a matter of talented guys trying too hard to make things happen on their own.
Things really began to click for the Flyers when freshman point guard, Michael O’Connell returned from injury. I don’t think he actually ever started a game this year. Typically, he goes in 4 minutes into the game.
O’Connell was terrific ( 17 points ) in Chaminade’s Championship win on LI, but missed their state semifinal win in Buffalo last week with a sprained ankle.
His jumper in transition, followed by a no-look assist gave the Flyers the separation they expected, 31-23, just before the half.
Basketball fans are inclined to think that size, speed and strength are the dominant factors in determining game outcomes.
Chaminade’s starters are :
Regan Quinn 6’2
Bobby Connors 6’3
Kellen Paradine 6’5
Kyle Murphy 6’5
Brendan McGuire 6’5
And Michael O’Connell is 6’1
The Farrell Lions had Thomas Granello at 6’3 but the slender senior wing man hardly looked big.
Farrell’s half court offense was intelligent and patient, using multiple screens away from the ball.
By halftime, I could not discern who their “star” or “go to guy” was. They were 5 cogs in a machine. No “bad shots” were taken .
About 3 minutes into the second half, this game changed.
Remember, I referenced the “makeshift ” 3 point line ?? The NCAA arc is 12 inches deeper than the high school arc , hence the white tape today at Fordham.
Trailing 40-37 with about 5 minutes to go in the third, Farrell’s shooters got hot!
Consecutive threes from distance!, steps beyond the college stripe, by Eric Klayman, Jake Dunn, and Thomas Granello gave the lions a 46-42 lead.
Chaminade never recovered.
Farrell won the 2016-17 Catholic A State Championship 55 – 47 !!
But HOW ?
Is there any explanation for what seemed to be a mismatch in Chaminade’s favor ?
Could the answer be found in the experience level of the players ?
4 seniors played most of the game minutes for Farrell, while Chaminade’s 3 seniors shared time with 5 underclassmen.
In years gone by, former Flyers coach, Jim Quinn, was a master of the half court set offense. For 35 years, he was most often dictating every pass while standing 3 steps onto the court.
Today’s Chaminade team is also very good in the half court ……
And yet, today, the experience , patience, and shot selection of the Monsignor Farrell squad seemed to be the difference.
Congratulations to The Championship Lions from Staten Island !!!!