If you happen to see Chaminade High Coach Mike Lynn taking an occasional glance skyward today, it's not because he is interested in the weather.
He's looking to the heavens in hopes of a miracle.
That's what Lynn claims his basketball team will need to qualify for the Southern Section playoffs after dropping a 57-56 decision to Bell-Jeff in Burbank Thursday night.
"Making the playoffs is improbable," Lynn said, "But we'll wait and see. Catholic schools always wait for miracles."
Bell-Jeff doesn't need a miracle to clinch a playoff spot, just two more victories. The Guards improved to 5-3 in the Santa Fe League with four games remaining. They are 12-6 overall.
"We can control our own destiny," Bell-Jeff Coach Joe Dunn said. "The kids thought it was a world championship tonight. It's a game we had to have and we stepped up and accepted the challenge."
Chaminade fell to 4-4 in league and 11-7 overall. The Eagles also have four games left, two against league front-runners Murphy and St. Genevieve. Chaminade has not missed the playoffs in four previous seasons under Lynn.
The Eagles nearly pulled out a win against Bell-Jeff. They trailed, 43-39, entering the fourth period but guard Joey Chandler scored seven straight points to put Chaminade up, 46-45, just 1:18 into the quarter.
Center Terry Siciliano put in two of his game-leading 23 points to up the Eagles' lead to three, but two free throws and a basket by forward Jeff Miljanich put the Guards back in front.
The teams traded baskets, then Siciliano was fouled and sank two free throws to put the Eagles ahead once more, 52-51, with 4:13 to play. Bel-Jeff re-took the lead on a jumper by Ed Romero, and center Tony Antonelli converted a three-point play with 40 seconds left to put the Guards ahead by four.
But Chaminade came back, cutting the margin to two on a layup by Scott Stuber. Eagle guard Brian Gehl fouled Tetar Vucurevic with 19 seconds left and the Bell-Jeff forward made one of two free throws for a 57-54 lead.
Siciliano, who hit 10 of 11 field goal attempts, muscled inside for a bucket with six seconds left, but the Eagles were unable to get the ball back before time expired.
"When we started this season," quipped the silver-haired Dunn, "My hair was jet black. And it wasn't because of Grecian Formula."