For Chaminade’s Kyle Murphy, the best line of the night was the free-throw line.
The 6-5 forward made all 14 of his foul shots and scored 23 points to lead Chaminade to a 71-56 victory over host St. Anthony’s Friday night in a key CHSAA boys basketball game.
“I’m not usually this good, but I’m getting better,” Murphy said with a polite smile. “I know I’ve got to keep practicing my free throws. I’ve been working on it.”
In Murphy’s case, it wasn’t practice but rather the game that made perfect. He came up especially big in the second half, nailing all 10 of his free throws as the Flyers improved to 5-0 in league and 10-4 overall. The Friars lost their first league game and are 5-1, 12-3. John Harewood scored 24 points for St. Anthony’s, 17 in the second half.
Murphy was in the middle of a game-opening 11-0 burst, hitting two spinning layups and an open three from the wing before many of the fans were even seated. “He’s our most experienced and our most aggressive player,” Chaminade coach Bob Paul said of the senior. “We look for him to come out super aggressive.”
The Flyers remained in control for the entire first half, building its largest lead at 38-18 with 1:10 left before the break. “We knew their personnel and that helped us start fast,” Murphy said. “We got everyone involved and that added a little comfort.”
It took until the fourth quarter for St. Anthony’s to make things a little uncomfortable for their arch-rival. The Friars went on an 11-1 run to start the final period, with 6-foot guard Harewood leading the way. He scored seven points during the surge, including a blow-by layup followed by a steal in the backcourt and another layup. Mike Pavinelli’s running bank shot and a free throw by Harewood made it 60-54 with 4:55 left.
During the scrum for rebounding position on the free throw, St. Anthony’s was called for a technical foul. Murphy sank both. On the ensuing possession, he drew a foul after a strong drive and drained two more. Mike O’Connell (nine points), a rare freshman on the Chaminade varsity, converted on a drive for a 66-54 lead that put the game out of reach.
Murphy’s game is geared to his getting to the basket and, hopefully, to the foul line. “I’m an attacking, slashing player,” he said.
Which usually means drawing a lot of fouls. “He’s probably up to about 70 percent after a slow start,” Paul said. “I tell him, ‘Murph, you’re going to take a lot of free throws.’ He just has to have a short memory and get over missing one.”
Not Friday night.