As Bobby Connors rose for a three-pointer from the right corner Saturday, Chaminade’s bench rose with him.
The Flyers’ eight-point lead over Monsignor Farrell had dwindled to two, and Chaminade needed to stop the bleeding. As the ball spun towards the hoop, Farrell’s Jake Dunn pushed Connors into Chaminade’s bench. A whistle blew as the shot went in, and Connors earned a chance for a four-point play.
Had Chaminade won its first CHSAA Class A state title, this sequence had the potential to be credited as the spurring moment.
“I think that really hyped us up,” Connors said.
Instead, it will be remembered as the last encouraging moment in a 55-47 loss at Fordham’s Rose Hill Gymnasium.
After Connors (14 points) missed the free throw with 1:46 left in the third quarter, Chaminade led 40-35. But the Flyers (21-7) scored just two points over the next 6:43. The Lions, who repeated as state champions, scored 11 points in that stretch and never relinquished their lead.
Chaminade shot 3 of 24 from the field in the second half, including 1 of 13 in the fourth. The second half was in stark contrast to the first, when the Flyers converted 12 of their 25 attempts and took a 31-25 lead into the break.
“The basket got a little small for us as we started missing shots,” Chaminade coach Bob Paul said. “We weren’t able to overcome — sometimes the ball just doesn’t go in. We shot very poorly in the second half. Sometimes that’s what it is.”
For the Flyers, it did not help that Farrell (21-6) settled into a comfortable offensive rhythm. The Lions gained traction with hot three-point shooting, which forced an uptempo Chaminade team to slow the pace.
“Now we’re not rebounding the ball and outletting and playing with the tempo we want to play with,” Paul said. “We’re taking the ball out of the net, and now we’re playing against a set defense of five guys.”
The Flyers were also uncharacteristically sloppy with the ball. They committed 15 turnovers, which led to 17 Farrell points. Chaminade also scored just six second-chance points despite grabbing 14 offensive rebounds.
“If you give the other team more possessions and they score on those possessions,” Paul said, “you’re probably going to lose.”
But win or lose, this will still go down as a memorable year in program history.
“We had a helluva season,” Connors said. “We played really well. We just didn’t have a great game.”