Fordham Prep hands Gaels first loss on Pinn’s buzzer beater

Fordham Prep handed league leader Kennedy Catholic its first loss in Hollywood style.

The Rams’ fans were watching intently with the score tied and 2.4 seconds left in the game. The ball was inbounded to Fordham Prep’s senior guard Michael Bronzo. He scanned the floor as defenders converged on him. Bronzo reacted by firing a pass into the paint to Cameron Pinn. The fellow senior caught it under the basket for a wide-open layup that beat the buzzer. The Fordham fans rushed the court in celebration.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Pinn said. “Most people doubted that we could win this game.”

His last second heroics gave the Rams’ eight seniors an upset 48-46 victory over Kennedy Catholic in their final home game on Feb 18. It also made a statement to the rest of their CHSAA Class A division heading into the post season. The Gaels won the first meeting 70-53 in early January, but Fordham has been on a roll of late with wins over Class AA teams Stepinac and Iona Prep.

“The best thing about this win is the confidence it gives us,” Fordham Prep coach Brian Downey said. “It shows that we can beat anyone in this league. To take down an undefeated team was on our minds. But the number two-seed going into the playoffs was the biggest thing for us.”

The game was more than an exciting finish. Fordham Prep (17-5, 12-4) came out strong in the first half and caught Kennedy Catholic by surprise. The Gaels (23-1, 15-1) weren’t ready for the speed and intensity that Fordham played with. The Rams attacked the basket and were able to be successful at the rim, scoring and even grabbing rebounds over a much bigger Kennedy team.

“We knew we could play with them, it was just a matter if we came out and did it,” Bronzo said. “We couldn’t be scared of their size. We knew we had to go right to the basket.”

Fordham Prep led 31-22 at halftime due in large part to 15 points from Bronzo and 11 points of the 18 points from senior guard Patrick Murray. Kennedy Catholic made the necessary adjustments in the second half to claw its way back into the game and fight for their undefeated season.

By the end of the third quarter it had cut the Rams lead to 38-34 and by the fourth Kennedy Catholic tied the score at 38-38 with just over six minutes left. The Gals went up 43-42 with just 1:26 remaining in the game. Elijah Hughes led Kennedy with 16 points.

The game appeared ready to slip through Fordham Preps fingertips. The last minute and change was back and forth. The Rams got the break they needed with 2.4 seconds left, the game when Kennedy Catholic was unable to inbound the ball and called for a five second violation. The Rams capitalized on the mistake when Pinn’s layup fell through the hoop at he buzzer.

“We just got to build on this win and we will keep moving up towards our goals,” Pinn said.

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