Nazareth's defensive pressure sparked a third quarter rally, as the Kingsmen outscored Fordham Prep 15-5 in the frame and pulled away from the Rams in the fourth to capture the CHSAA A Division crown at Fordham University on Friday night.
After holding a 25-20 halftime lead, Will Lofredo's jumper to open the third quarter gave Fordham Prep a 27-20 cushion, but Nazareth responded with a 15-3 run that started with a 3-point play by Bryan Medy, as the Kingsmen's defensive pressure forced Fordham Prep into turnovers and hurried shots, creating easy opportunities in transition.
The Rams went from leading by seven (27-20) at the beginning of the third to trailing by five (35-30) heading into the fourth.
Nazareth went ahead 41-32 early in the fourth, but George Schilling's back-down bucket in the paint trimmed it to 41-34, and the Rams called for time with 6:39 left.
Nazareth was all over the offensive glass in the fourth, with Malachi Kirk's putback giving Nazareth a double digit lead at 47-37. Fordham Prep's struggles on the backboards made it difficult for them to get stops down the stretch, and the Kingsmen took their biggest lead of the game at 55-39 on a basket by Medy with 3:20 remaining.
Nazareth had a total of 18 offensive rebounds in the game, with Kirk (7) and Michael Young (5) combining for 12. Fordham Prep had just 6.
Bryan Medy had a game-high 19 points and Dre Turnipseed scored 10 for Nazareth. Niall McStay had 13 points for Fordham Prep.
Nazareth will face the winner of St. Anthony's (LI) and Park School (Buf) in the CHSAA A Division State final on March 10th.