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Finnigan’s knocks off Holy Cross Seniors in championship game

| Monday, April 27, 2015

Finnigan’s defeated the three-time defending champion, Holy Cross Seniors, 21-17 last night in the two-hour, marathon championship game of the Bookstore Basketball tournament.

The game went back-and-forth throughout, especially in the first half, as the teams matched each other point-for-point throughout the contest. In fact, the largest lead of the game did not come until its conclusion.

A Finnigan’s player passes the ball during their 21-17 victory over the defending champion, Holy Cross Seniors, on Sunday night.Emma Farnan | The Observer
A Finnigan’s player passes the ball during their 21-17 victory over the defending champion, Holy Cross Seniors, on Sunday night.

In the first half, junior Patrick Mazza led Finnigan’s in scoring with four points, including three from from foul shots. The Seniors were led by senior Darrell McIntyre, who scored five points in the first half and finished with a game-high eight points. Finnigan’s entered halftime leading the Seniors 11-10.

The first half set the tone of the game, as several hard fouls led to players from both teams becoming chippy throughout the rest of the game. At one point, as both teams fought for possession of the ball, senior Alajuwon Edwards was brought to the ground, forcing the referees to break up the two teams.

In the second half, Seniors senior Tommy Waytula scored the first basket of the half to immediately tie the game at 11-11. Mazza then answered for Finnigan’s, scoring two straight baskets for his team, to give Finnigan’s the lead once more.

After each team traded several baskets, Finnigan’s was able to pull away and take a 19-17 lead. As the end of the game neared, both teams increased their defensive efforts and scoring momentarily stalled during the game. During this time, the teams missed a combined five free throws and committed several turnovers.

However, Finnigan’s was able to finish the game strongly, as junior Brian Spahn scored the game’s final basket — one of his six points — to bring his team to a 21-17 victory.

Seniors senior captain Zoe Bauer said it was that stretch in the second half that swung the momentum of the game into Finnigan’s favor.

“In the second half, they went on a little run and went up two,” Bauer said. “That got the crowd into it [for them], and they just kept their foot on the gas pedal. [I give] a lot of credit to them. They moved the ball around very well, their defense was very good, and they wanted it pretty bad tonight.”

Spahn said he believed it was the defense his team played throughout the game that ultimately made their late-game run possible.

“We just kept the defense up the whole game and never stopped defending them,” Spahn said. “They got two guards that are tough to stop. But we strapped in and locked them down, and that was the difference.”

The Seniors were unable to end their careers undefeated in Bookstore Basketball, which disappointed the team, Bauer said.

“This is our fourth year in a row being here,” Bauer said. “It’s a lot of fun and a good atmosphere, but we’ve played close to 50 games in our four years and this is the first one we’ve lost. It kind of stinks graduating as a loser.”

For Finnigan’s, however, Spahn said that this was their best chance to come away with a championship and the team was happy to be able to come out on top.

“It’s incredible,” Spahn said. “This was the year for us because we were the [No. 2 seed]. Can’t wait to tell the grandkids.”

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About Benjamin Padanilam

Ben is a senior and The Observer’s former Editor-in-Chief, now serving as its interim Sports Editor. He is in the Program of Liberal Studies (PLS) and also pursuing minors in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) and Business Economics. He hails from Toledo, Ohio, and has enjoyed the few highs and many lows of being a Cleveland sports fan.

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