Mike Lynn is hoping history will repeat itself.
In 1971, Ronald Reagan was governor of California, Bruce Springsteen was another singer from New Jersey and Lynn was an eighth-grade student at Chaminade, the Southern Section 1-A Division basketball champion that year.
"They were the third-place team that made the playoffs on a last-second shot. No one gave them a shot in hell," Lynn said. "It's still one of the most vivid memories I have, sitting there at the Sports Arena, watching them beat Brethren in double overtime."
Now the coach at his alma mater, Lynn is trying to use that 1971 team as inspiration for this year's team. The Eagles lost three of their last five regular-season games but beat Harvard, 68-53, Saturday in a Santa Fe League tiebreaker to determine the league's third-place team and advance to the playoffs.
"I just sent an assistant coach to make a copy of the the old film we have of that game," Lynn said. "I point up at the banner in the gym and tell the team that miracles are possible."
Chaminade (15-9) used a newly modified version of its full-court press to force 22 turnovers and keep Harvard out of its normal offense.
The Saracens, who have lost four of their past five games, shot just 35.7% (20 of 56) from the field, while Chaminade converted 23 of 45 field-goal attempts (51%), and 24 of 29 free throws (82.8%).
"We made some adjustments on our full-court zone," Lynn said. "It held them and caused a lot of turnovers."
Chaminade's press left Harvard Coach Greg Hilliard perplexed.
"The press hurt us, especially in the first half," Hilliard said. "Usually we look forward to playing against a press, because of the easy layups at the other end. I don't know what happened.
"I don't know why we haven't played the last four games. I'm at a loss."
Harvard (11-10) took a brief 4-2 lead but Chaminade moved ahead for good and led at halftime, 30-22, after Harvard made just 13 of 40 (30.7%) shots from the field.
Chaminade took control of the game in the fourth quarter, scoring seven unanswered points to take a 57-41 lead with 4:30 to play.
Chaminade's Andy Connolly, who missed Friday's game against LaSalle because of the flu, came off the bench to score a game-high 18 points. Teammate John Carolan added 14 points.
Rick Osterloh led Harvard with 12 points and Charles Patton contributed 11.
Southern Section coaches have scheduled a meeting today to determine playoff pairings.