Last year the Chaminade varsity basketball ruined Lawrence’s perfect record with a 74-72 win on the Golden Tornadoes’ home court. Friday’s game at the Chaminade AAC was a little less dramatic, an 80-56 blowout in front of a much more subdued crowd.
It also helps when you know your competition like Flyers head coach Bob Paul does on Dwayne Daniel, a junior who has already committed to Iona College, Paul’s old stomping grounds.
“I’ve known him for a long time,” Paul said. “He’s a ridiculously gifted offensive kind of player. I’m glad for us he didn’t turn it on in the first quarter and score 80 on us because he’s got that kind of ability, he really does.”
It was the Flyers who would be the ones who ended up scoring those four-score points, neutralizing Daniel’s nailed shots from behind the arc to early on in the game and keeping him from sinking another trey until only five minutes remained in the game.
“When you’re down 25, the ball goes in a lot easier because there’s no pressure,” Paul said. “It’s not a 2-point game and early on it was.”
Chaminade appears to have nipped its second-quarter woes in the bud, as it kept pace with Lawrence and was up by five at the half after being down four at the end of the first before unleashing a spectacular 20-2 run in the third until sending Daniel to the line with 20 seconds left in the frame.
“We preach that at halftime, we really preached wanting to defend,” Paul said, “and you know, we were scoring and I’m not concerned about the scoring because the scoring will come but the defense is where we need to be committed because they’re just an excellent offensive team. The adjustments that we made at halftime, they listened and they executed and when that does, you look good, when it doesn’t, you don’t look good.”
One of those who looked better than good was Thomas Ahern, who has been playing the entire season with a severe injury to his left knee, but managed to give the Flyers their first lead of the game with a second quarter jumper and followed it up in the third nailing back-to-back treys as part of the run, finishing the day with 19 points.
“He has a gift,” Paul said of his 6-ft. guard. “He really has a gift, he can really shoot the basketball. He can’t injure himself anymore, but he’s kind of gutting it out because it’s his senior year and he wants to play. He practices every day, never says a word about anything and I was glad to see all his hard work kinda pay off.”
Since the loss to Bishop Ford, the Flyers have split a road trip with a loss to Molloy and a win against South Side, though Paul was less than ecstatic about the latter.
“Offensively we were ok, defensively we just had no zero commitment,” he said of his major sticking point this year. “That defensive intensity, it’s contagious. That’s kinda how we really, really, really got into it.”
The match against Molloy was probably the worst game of Chaminade guard Thomas O’Connell’s basketball career. While a sophomore on a varsity squad is “very rare” and rarer still to have nine turnovers in a game.
“I told him that, I said ‘you were terrible and you have to make this the worst game you ever played’,” Paul said, “and he turned around and made tonight a fantastic game.”
Twenty points worth of fantastic to be precise.
Chaminade also took advantage of Lawrence foul trouble that sent forward Mike Walsh to the line three times in the first half with the 6’6” senior nailing 50 percent.
“I said ‘Mike, you have to play the type of game, you’re not going to jump over anybody you just have to get in there and be smart and get these guys in foul trouble and when you do that, you can pick all these guys apart’ cause he’s got such a great basketball IQ,” said Paul.1 2 3 4 F Lawrence 18 14 5 19 56 Chaminade 14 23 20 13 80
Chaminade Scoring Statistics Player Position FGs 3PTs FTs Points Thomas O’Connell Guard 9 0 2 20 Thomas Ahern Guard 3 4 1 19 Mike Walsh Forward 5 0 3 13 Jack Carrigan Forward 6 0 0 12 Brian Ehrhardt Guard 2 1 1 8 Daniel Gonyon Guard 1 0 0 2