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Saturday, March 25, 2000

BISHOP HANNAN LOSES TO KENNEDY CHRISTIAN IN OVERTIME, SETTLES FOR SILVER AGAIN

BY TIMOTHY MCNAMARA

HERSHEY, PA-With two minutes and thirty-three seconds to play, the Bishop Hannan faithful could feel it. Their Lancers had taken the lead and seemed to finally be in command of the game. The reality of a state championship was less than three minutes away.

But then it all fell apart.

The Lancers missed six crucial free throws down the stretch, missing a chance to put the game away and allowing Kennedy Christian to tie the game and send it into overtime. Once in overtime, the Eagles showed the talent that has allowed them to win three state Class A state championships. John Reimold again led the charge for Kennedy Christian, just as he did last year when they defeated the Lancers 78-51 in the state title game. The senior finished with 24 points and 14 boards, including 8 points in overtime as Kennedy Christian became just the fourth team in Pennsylvania high school basketball history to win three consecutive state championships.

Things looked grim for Bishop Hannan early. After starting out the game with a 4-2 lead, the Lancers quickly found themselves trailing, thanks in large part to the sharp shooting of Kennedy Christian's Keenan Christiansen, who finished with 19 points, 12 of them coming on three-pointers. The Eagles' lead reached as high as 10, at 25-15 with 5:15 left in the second quarter. But after some defensive adjustments made by Hannan coach John Bucci, the Lancers battled back. Still trailing 30-22 with just over a minute left in the half, Gerry McNamara showed why he is one of the best players in the state. The sophomore guard buried two straight three-pointers, the second coming on a pull-up, double-clutch shot with a defender in his face, cutting KC's lead to just 2 points at 30-28, and swinging the momentum in Bishop Hannan's favor going into the locker room at half-time.

In the third quarter, just when Kennedy Christian appeared to be regaining momentum, the Lancers battled back with a 6-0 run, highlighted by Tim Moskwa's rebound and put back that tied the game at 38-38 heading into the fourth quarter.

The Lancers came out firing in the fourth as Sean Hayes sank a three from the corner that gave Hannan a 41-38 lead, their first since the 4-2 lead in the first period. Leading 48-46 and at the foul line to shoot two, Hannan had a chance to ice the game. But neither of those shots would fall and, after a game-tying layup by Reimold, the two teams headed into overtime.

In overtime the Eagles took the early advantage. But Hannan once again refused to quit and cut the Kennedy Christian lead to 54-52. After Joe Tighe was whistled for a controversial blocking foul on Reimold, the Eagles' best player was sent to the line to shoot a one and one. Fortunately for Hannan, he missed the shot. Unfortunately however, the ball was kept alive by Gary Satterwhite and, after his brother Nolan's shot was off the mark, John Reimold tapped the ball in and gave KC a 56-52 lead.

The deficit proved insurmountable for the Lancers.

Desperation attempts at three-pointers fell short, while Kennedy Christian was able to do what Bishop Hannan couldn't, sink free throws down the stretch.

McNamara finished the game with 19 points, but was slowed in the second half by a shoulder injury suffered midway through the third quarter. Brad Feleccia matched McNamara with 19 points and also pulled down 11 rebounds. Moskwa added 7 points, while Hayes and Bryan Murtaugh chipped in with 5 points apiece.

Satterwhite was dominating in the paint for the Eagles, scoring 12 points and adding 14 rebounds. Nolan Reimold tallied 9 points.

Despite the loss, the Hannan players have nothing to hang their heads about. They had a tremendously successful year that included an undefeated regular season, the district 2 championship, the Eastern championship, and a trip to Hershey for the state championship game. They put Bishop Hannan on the basketball map, impressing people with their play in the Slam Dunk to the Beach National Tournament, the Lehigh Valley Hoops Festival, and a match-up with nationally renowned St. Anthony's High School of New Jersey. Fans will always remember this team and their memorable ride. For the seniors, Sean Hayes, Dave Jones, Bryan Murtaugh, Tim Moskwa, Joey Tighe, Mike Kelly, Dugan Gallagher, and P.J. Armbruster, they will leave as the most successful team in school history, winning two league titles, two district titles, and two Eastern championships, as well as contributing to a team that made it to the final 8 in the class AA state playoffs in 1998. They finished their careers by winning 55 of their last 62 games. For the underclassmen, they can look forward to next year, as they return their two leading scorers in sophomore Gerry McNamara and junior Brad Feleccia, as well as increased playing time for several members of a highly-talented junior varsity team. The team has already set their sites on a return trip to Hershey next year, as the Lancers make the jump from class A to class AA. For head coach John Bucci, as well as assistants Al Munley, Paul Johnson, Greg Butler, and Tom Bell, congratulations on a job well done, and I think I speak for all Hannan fans when I say that we are looking forward to next year.

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