The moment Danny O’Fallon collapsed on the court by himself when the final buzzer sounded and Roybal had won the City Section Division III boys’ basketball championship this February told the story of a remarkable journey for himself and his team.
Soon he was being comforted by a single player. Then all the other players surrounded him in a group hug.
“Absolutely joy,” he said. “Nothing but joy. My guys worked so hard for this, and I couldn’t have asked for a better ending.”
It was in November that O’Fallon learned he had Stage 4 intestinal cancer. He immediately informed the players and insisted nothing would stop him from coaching. The players believed him. He received energy from them.
Together they won all 19 of their games during the regular season and section playoffs and were the only unbeaten team in Southern California until losing to Burbank Providence in the state regional playoffs.
O’Fallon has been selected The Times’ boys’ coach of the year.
He had spent his career as an assistant coach until taking the Roybal job two years ago. Now the school has its first City title in 12 years of existence.
Both he and his players learned so much during their season together. They drew strength from one another and conquered adversity with focus and relentless effort.