Chaminade Pulls Away In Third Quarter

After an average first half by the Chaminade High boys’ basketball team, things came together in the third quarter, and despite a late rally by home-standing St. Francis, the Eagles held on for a 58-53 Mission League triumph last Wednesday night.
Entering the third quarter, Chaminade fell behind by four points after shooting 43.4 percent (10 of 23) from the field in the opening half.
The third quarter saw the Eagles convert seven of 16 from the floor, and take a 39-32 lead into the final quarter.
Covering this same time frame, St. Francis connected on one of eight, with guard Tommy Jordan, who led the team with 17 points, knocking down a three-pointer.
“We stepped it up [our defense],’’ said Chaminade Head Coach Todd Wolfson. “We switched on our screens. Our offense didn’t matter. We were going to concentrate on our defense.”
The Golden Knights (8-12 and 1-7 in league) played furiously in the fourth quarter, shooting considerably better (six of 21), and making six of 10 from the free-throw line.
Forward Jamal McClerkin had 18 points for the Eagles (15-7 and 5-4 in league), while guard Anthony Daniels dropped in 14.
St. Francis began by making its first three shots, but then missed three straight. When guard Malik Speed (15 points) scored with 2:41 left, the Golden Knights forged a 13-7 cushion, and took a 15-9 lead into the second quarter.
“We didn’t finish,” said junior forward Dietrich Riley, a gifted running back and linebacker. “It was kind of tough. We came back at the end, but it wasn’t good enough.”
Riley, who tallied six points and grabbed seven rebounds, is being recruited in football by every Pacific 10 school, along with Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama, Florida, and Notre Dame, said he likes basketball, but it’s a different animal compared to football.
“It’s fast-paced and exciting,” he said, “but of course it’s not as physical. In football, you’re getting hit all the time. But I’m glad that I went out for basketball.”
After shooting 30.8 percent from the floor (four of 13) in the first quarter, Chaminade made six of 10, including three from three-point range in the next frame, which narrowed the deficit to 28-24 at halftime.
Jules Montgomery, Chaminade’s 6-10 centers, finished with nine points, 11 rebounds, three blocks, and will play at Long Beach State.
Montgomery had five points in the fourth quarter, while McClerkin added six and Daniels poured in four. Chaminade made six of seven shots from the field, and six of 20 free throws.
St. Francis, which had a three rebound edge, pulled down 17 rebounds in the final quarter, and sank six of 21 attempts from the field and six of 10 from the charity line.
“I was a little concerned when they came back,” said Wolfson. “They don’t give up. St. Francis is a good team. We’re more of a second half team.”

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