Despite the overwhelming Flyer fan presence in a packed Friday night, the Kellenberg (4-2) varsity basketball squad started out strong after winning the opening tip and hitting an immediate three-pointer.
Chaminade’s situation seemed to worsen in the opening frame when center Rich Zoller picked up a foul, senior forward Christopher Kustera was called for traveling and both senior guards Matthew Gonyon and Kevin Sheehy missed outside jumpers.
However, the tide turned with roughly 4:46 to go in the quarter as Sheehy made up for his missed jumper with a 3 point play from the baseline. Kellenberg attempted to return the favor but Kustera shut them down with a defensive board while Gonyon netted a three of his own at the 4:20 mark, barely giving the score board a chance to catch up.
Back-to-back Firebird fouls gave Chaminade the chance to slow things down in an oterwise fast-paced match but Kellenberg defense gave them little to work with on the inside, pressuring the 6’8” Zoller and others into missing crucial put-backs.
Kellenberg also performed well on offensive boards but could not find their rhythm outside the arch.
Flyer senior forward James McCaffrey, who had picked up a free throw earlier on, proceeded to earn 2 points on a drive through heavy traffic at the 1:27 mark, putting his team up 9-7 at the end of the first.
Sheehy and McCaffrey each picked up fouls at the :45 and :39 marks repsectiely in the first with McCaffrey missing a big trey at the buzzer, but Kellenberg was not able to regroup before the start of the second quarter.
Gonyon sparked the drive with a fast break followed by a three pointer by forward Patrick Farrell. Sheehy followed by drawing a foul on the inside, Kellenberg’s fourth, and sank both free shots.
The Firebirds, meanwhile, had finally found their comfort zone and began burying shot after shot, tying the game with 3:46 to go in the second.
Zoller gave his team the edge with a short fade-a-way at the 3:15 mark and both teams frantically clawed for position. After a defensive board by Farrell, both he and McCaffrey missed three’s and Kustera’s foul brought Chaminade’s tally to five.
McCaffrey broke the 16-16 tie by getting his own rebound and putting it back for two, adding a Sportscenter-worthy 3 pointer at the buzzer and followed it up with a steal to start the third but missed a fast-break dunk, prompting audible jeers from the Kellenberg fans.
The Flyers built their lead to 11 with another McCaffrey deuce, a 1-2 foul from Kustera and Sheehy’s 3 pointer at the five minute mark. The Firebirds answered back, but Gonyon re-raised with a three at 4:30, bringing the score to 35-23.
Kellenberg was able to draw a foul but a 3 point play by Zoller followed by two separate fouls in which he went 1-2 each time pulled the Flyers further ahead. With one minute left in the third, Sheehy drained back-to-back treys and Zoler hammered down a two inside, bringing the score to 48-31 in Chaminade’s favor.
As the time clicked away in the fourth it seemed that the Firebirds had an answer for every Flyer basket, both sides fighting until the final ticks of the clock. Sheehy drew a foul on a finger roll and ended up missing the foul shot while Kellenberg had a similar opportunity and also missed. The Firebirds’ big jumpers that were hit or miss in the second and became accurate in the fourth but failed to contain Sheehy outside the arch or McCaffrey, Kustera and Zoler under the basket.
Chaminade will host Long Island .1 2 3 4 F Kellenberg 7 9 15 20 51 Chaminade 9 14 25 21 69 Chaminade Scoring Statistics Position Player Points Scored Guard Kevin Sheehy 19 pts. Forward James McCaffrey 13 pts. Center Richard Zoller 13 pts. Guard Matthew Gonyon 12 pts. Forward Christopher Kustera 4 pts. Forward Patrick Farrell 3 pts. Guard Brendan Ahern 2 pts. Guard Matthew Graham 2 pts. Forward Bryan Beaubrun 1 pt.