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Buzzer Beater Reader

1. Fordham Prep hands Kennedy Catholic its only regular season loss.

Kennedy Catholic went into its last regular season game against Fordham Prep with an unblemished record of 23-0. That perfection was suddenly in jeopardy as Kennedy Catholic trailed Fordham Prep 42-33 at halftime. However, just as it had done all season, Kennedy Catholic battled back to cut the deficit to 38-34 at the end of the third quarter and suddenly found itself tied with Fordham Prep with 2.4 seconds left in the game. And then this: On a savvy out-of-bounds play, Michael Bronzo of Fordham Prep fed Cameron Pinn for a buzzer-beating layup to give Fordham Prep the 48-46 win and spoil Kennedy Catholic's perfection in the literal last second of the regular season.

 

2. Fordham Prep tops Cardinal Spellman on a controversial near half-court buzzer beater.

Trailing Cardinal Spellman 38-33 at the end of the third quarter in the CHSAA A Division Quarterfinals, Fordham Prep came back and found itself with possession in the closing seconds of a tied game. And then this: After evading a steal with a spin dribble, Fordham Prep's Patrick Murray sank a near half-court shot at the buzzer to give Fordham Prep a 60-57 win and a berth into the CHSAA A Division Semifinals.

Controversy ensued as to whether the shot actually beat the buzzer, but the ruling on the court was upheld and Fordham Prep had itself another buzzer-beating win.

3. Monsignor Scanlan tops Fordham Prep after sending the game into OT on a 3-point buzzer beater.

A few days later, Fordham Prep faced Monsignor Scanlan in the CHSAA A Division Semifinals. Fordham Prep led throughout the game (23-16 at the end of the first quarter; 38-28 at the half; 47-44 at the end of the third quarter) and held a 63-60 lead with only seconds remaining in the game. And then this: George Pena of Monsignor Scanlan dribbles through traffic and makes a contested 30-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game at 63 and send it into overtime.

Behind Pena's 34 points, Monsignor Scanlan would go on to defeat Fordham Prep 74-72 in OT, advancing to the CHSAA A Division Championship game. Who would Monsignor Scanlan face in that game? Kennedy Catholic (go back to number 1 for the irony).

4. Epilogue.

Kennedy Catholic would go on to defeat Monsignor Scanlan in the CHSAA A Division Final, winning the A Division City Championship. There was no buzzer-beating drama in that game, but it brings the story full circle. After losing to Canisius of Buffalo in the CHSAA A Division New York State Championship game, Kennedy Catholic would end the season with an amazing 26-2 record (its only other loss coming on the Fordham Prep buzzer beater in the last game of the regular season).

For Fordham Prep, after winning two games on thrilling buzzer beaters, its season would end after Monsignor Scanlan returned the favor by sending their CHSAA A Division Semifinal game into OT on a 3-point buzzer beater, eventually edging Fordham Prep and denyng them an opportunity to play for the CHSAA A title at Fordham University.

All three buzzer beaters came in the final weeks of the season, two coming in playoff games that ended a team's season (first Cardinal Spellman, then Fordham Prep).

Boys basketball in the CHSAA A Division during the 2014-15 season was about as exciting as it gets. Thanks to the teams, coaches and players for competing at such a high level and giving us such thrilling finishes.

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