Stepinac eliminates Farrell from CHSAA A playoffs, 68-53
Monsignor Farrell's Anthony Keane had 11 points and eight rebounds in Tuesday night's 68-53 loss to Archbishop Stepinac in the CHSAA Intersectional Class A playoffs. - (Staten Island Advance file photo)
Monsignor Farrell looked flat during Tuesday night's 68-53 loss to Archbishop Stepinac in a CHSSA Intersectional Class A playoff game at Cardinal Spellman HS in the Bronx.
And they felt flat, accoding to senior forward Anthony Keane.
"You could tell when we stepped on the court ... I was worried,'' said Keane. "It was weird. We came out lazy and we came out soft.''
Whether it was the tough afternoon drive through the rain, or a letdown after Farrell's inspiring 49-43 playoff win over Nazareth, the Lions struggled mightily while falling behind 37-15 at halftime and 55-26 heading into the fourth period.
"We played a terrible first half, both offensively and defensively,'' said MF coach Jeff Franzreb, whose squad finished with a 8-17 overall record. "The physicality of their defense really took us out of our offensive sets and that was the turning point of the game.
"We were losing the ball on the perimeter.''
The Lions fell behind 14-9 after one quarter before turning the ball over a staggering 12 times in the second period. They were outrebounded 12-3 in that stanza while being outscored 23-6.
"We kind of lost our heads a little bit,'' said Keane. "We let their pressure get to us.''
Stepinac guard Rich Whitten led all scorers with 19 points, getting to the basket and sinking 8 of 13 shots. Junior forward Conroy Baltimore, a 6-foot-5 college prospect, finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds and the Crusaders enjoyed a 35-22 rebounding advantage.
Farrell rallied late, scoring 27 points in the fourth quarter. The Lions twice cut the 29-point deficit to 15 -- on a pair of Steven Diaz three-pointers -- but Stepinac went back to its first team to close the game.
Senior guard Chris Cassano led the Lions with 13 points and Keane wound up with 11 points and eight rebounds, but it wasn't nearly enough to match the more athletic Crusaders.
"They played better than us and they played stronger of us,'' said Franzreb of Stepinac. "They pushed us around. The refs let them play and I don't think we adjusted. I told our juniors after the game we need to get stronger in the offseason.''
NOTES: Farrell had 27 turnovers, including 16 in the first half ... Stepinac made only 12 of 27 free throws ... The Crusaders improved to 15-10 overall.