Brendan McGuire scored five of his team-high 13 points from the line in the fourth quarter to lift the Chaminade Flyers to a 59-56 win over Canisius on Saturday in the New York State Catholic High School Athletic Association Class A Semifinals at Villa Maria College.
The Flyers (21-5) led by as many as 13 points in the second half but then had to hold on to survive a furious rally from the Crusaders and advance to Saturday’s state championship against Monsignor Farrell at Fordham University.
“There’s a reason they’re in this game,” Chaminade coach Robert Paul said. “They’re well coached and they have a lot of tradition, but we were able to hang in there at the end and execute. I’m so proud of my guys – they really grew up today.”
After claiming their third straight Monsignor Martin title, the Crusaders (18-10) fell short in their bid for a third consecutive state crown.
“Chaminade made more plays down the stretch,” Canisius coach Kyle Husband said. “We put ourselves in a position to win the game but they executed better in the end.”
The Flyers took advantage of some ice-cold shooting from the Crusaders in the second quarter, both from the field and from the line. Kellen Paradine scored half of his dozen points in the frame to stake Chaminade to a 33-22 lead at the break.
The Crusaders came to life after intermission as Jayce Johnson scored eight of his game-high 20 points to cut the Canisius deficit to 44-37 after three.
“We didn’t really do anything different in the second half – we were just much more focused,” Husband said. “We rose to the challenge and we didn’t do that in the first half. They’re a good team and we let them get a little too far ahead of us.”
The Crusaders opened the fourth quarter on a 12-3 run and took a 49-47 lead when Colby Moultrie drained a three-pointer with 4:01 left to play.
But Regan Quinn tied the score a minute later, and Paradine put the Flyers ahead for good with just under two minutes remaining.
Canisius stayed within a handful of points but Chaminade stayed ahead at the free throw line.
“I was just focused on making the shots, and then getting back to play defense. But it was really a team effort,” said McGuire, who was 4 for 4 at the line in the final 25 seconds. “It was a great game, very exciting.”
Robert Connors added 10 points for the Flyers and Kyle Murphy had nine.
Moultrie finished with 12 points for Canisius, and Nick MacDonald added 11.
“They’re a great team and they made a big run,” Paul said. “We turned the ball over and we were sloppy, but it was as much about what they were doing as what we didn’t.”