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Michael Fields gave a glimpse into a possibly bright future for St. Francis Prep Sunday afternoon.
The sophomore guard poured in 26 points to lead the Terriers to a 74-66 win over Monsignor Farrell in a CHSAA Class AA intersectional outbracket game at Holy Cross in Flushing. The 5-foot-9 Fields eclipsed his career high of 23 points against Bishop Loughlin and ensured St. Francis would live to play another day. SFP (9-17) moved to play Cardinal Hayes in the second round at Christ the King.
“[Fields] killed us,” Farrell Coach Mike Dunn said. “He’s gonna be tough.”
The Terriers could be for the next few years, too, with him running the show. Longtime Coach Tim Leary said St. Francis Prep, which has strong teams on the freshmen and JV levels, could be better than it has been in quite some time.
“I think for the next two years, we’ll probably be better than the last five years,” Fields said.
A pair of seniors helped Fields extend SFP’s season this year. Andrew Winter and Darren Cordero each scored 16 points. With Farrell (10-16) mounting a comeback in the fourth quarter, Cordero had nine points down the stretch. His layup with 20 seconds left on a fast break from Fields sealed the game after the Lions had drawn within 70-66.
“I knew we were gonna win,” Fields said. “It was just a feeling.”
Devin Dunn, the coach’s son, had 20 points for Farrell, including six straight capped by a three-pointer with 26.2 seconds left to make it a two-possession game. Connor Nicholson had 10 of his 11 points in the fourth quarter and Jason Murphy added eight for the Lions.
“He’s put up with me for four years,” Mike Dunn said of his son. “He wanted it at the end. He was there at the end. I’m proud of him.”
Now, St. Francis Prep will take on the challenge of Cardinal Hayes, coached by SFP graduate Joe Lods. Lods has repeatedly stated that Leary is one of his mentors and Leary said the two speak on the phone all the time. Normally, the two teams play non-league games or scrimmages, but they didn’t this year.
“It’s fun to see one of our guys succeed,” Leary said. “He does a good job.”
The decorated head man said his team doesn’t have much to lose against Hayes. He just wants his players to go out, play loose and have fun.
In the next couple of years, though, St. Francis Prep could have a vastly different philosophy this time of year. That will all start with Fields.
“He’s very athletic,” Leary said. “He has some confidence in himself. He’s an athlete.”
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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