Where do you go from here?
Years ago Bob Paul came from here – here being Chaminade High School – leaving to find his way up to Iona College, getting invited to The Dance a couple of Marches and eventually coming back.
Jim Quinn was here two years ago – here being this basketball court at the David S. Mack Center at Hofstra University, for the NSCHSAA championship game against St. Mary’s – his last trip as Flyers head coach before one more year then heading off to Florida and retirement, leaving a bit of remnants behind for Paul to pick up in 2012-13.
“The transition was harder at the beginning of the season but we quickly picked it up,” senior forward Jon Patterson said of Quinn’s departure. “Coach Quinn was a great coach last year for us but we did change our offense a little bit, pushed the ball up the court and really score in transition and then play tough man-to-man defense at the other end.”
That transition has led them here to the mountaintop where Chaminade now stands, having trekked up through past reigning basketball championship winners St. John the Baptist and St. Mary’s to face Holy Trinity, toppling the titans from Olympus to claim the NSCHSAA crown 85-64, their first since 2008 and completing a trifecta this year where all three levels – freshman, JV and varsity – won championships, the first time in school history.
Here stands Paul, beaming, smiling, a remarkable achievement for a freshman coach at Chaminade with the inevitable question being asked, what might he and the team do for an encore?
“I’m going to take some advice from my wife and just enjoy tonight,” he said. “I know from coaching at different levels that this doesn’t happen very often so you have to soak it in.”
Here is what Paul and about 1,000 spectators saw as the Flyers only briefly trailed for a period of about two minutes in the first against Holy Trinity, capitalizing off of numerous rebounds, steals and missed jumpers by Titans players.
Sunday against St. Mary’s in the semi-finals, Chaminade had a 22-5 record on offensive rebounds and while that number fell precipitously to 6, defensively it totaled 20.
“You get stops, you don’t have to face their press; that’s the key,” Paul said, noting the effectiveness of the Chaminade defense at neutralizing senior pointguard Damon Coleman. “Try to limit his touches, try to not allow him to get really any open space where he can get by a shoulder and get into the paint. The first time we played them when they beat us, it wasn’t his scoring that hurt us, it was finding other guys that killed us; he just got middle and he was able to find other guys.”
Senior guard Liam Murphy got the Flyers off to a fast start, sinking a pair of threes on his way to scoring 14 of his 16 total points in the first half.
“I actually saw it yesterday in practice because he had such a good practice yesterday and then he just left,” Paul said. “You know, guys hang around… and he was just out and I could tell he was ready for today. He just couldn’t wait for today to happen.”
What also happened during the second was a 19-2 run which would help spark Patterson to a remarkable 27 points and 6 rebounds in the game.
“He’s a warrior and he wanted to win in such a hard way,” Paul said. “He’s quirky, he’s different, he’s a great player and now he made himself part of a special tradition of Chaminade big guys.”
Big enough to earn MVP honors for the game.
“It was just the passing, the Bayville native would later say. “We got stops and that led to easy baskets at the other end.”
Standing 6’6”, Patterson certainly is among the upper echelons of towering Flyer players, his contemporary (and height) equal being classmate Mike Walsh.
“We know that they like to double the post, me and John, we like to think that we’re buddies on and off the court so we like to find each other,” Walsh said of Patterson. “Today Jonny was hitting shots, just kept feeding him.”
Added Paul: “They feed off each other and they know where to be opposite each other on the court that I have complete confidence in them and what they want to do so they make a tremendous amount of suggestions to me and I just listen to them. They’ve been together longer than I’ve been with them so I might as well listen to them.”
Paul will listen for at least another week, a benefit of sending Holy Trinity from here back to Hicksville; enough time to spend a 6-hour bus ride to Buffalo for the state semi-finals on Saturday.
Enough to go from here to there.1 2 3 4 F Chaminade 18 28 18 21 85 Holy Trinity 16 15 16 17 64
Chaminade Scoring Statistics Player Position FGs 3PTs FTs Points Reb Assts Jon Patterson Forward 11 0 5 27 6 4 Liam Murphy Guard 5 2 0 16 4 1 Mike Walsh Forward 5 0 6 14 5 5 Thomas O’Connell Guard 4 0 4 12 5 3 Brian Ehrhardt Forward 3 0 2 8 3 5 Thomas Ahern Guard 1 2 0 8 0 1 Jack Carrigan Forward 0 0 0 0 3 0
Holy Trinity Scoring Statistics Player Position FGs 3PTs FTs Points Damon Coleman Guard 6 2 4 22 Isiah Rowe-Ukey Forward 4 1 8 19 William Sixsmith Guard 0 2 1 7 Richard McEachern Forward 3 0 0 6 Brandon Thomson Guard 1 0 2 4 Peter Alkins Guard 0 1 0 3 James Golaszewski Guard 1 0 0 2 Michael Farella Guard 0 0 1 1