By Five Boro Sports
It appeared that Archbishop Molloy’s early-season nightmare would continue. After being thrashed by North Babylon Saturday, the Stanners again looked overwhelmed Sunday during the first quarter against nationally ranked H.D. Woodson (Washington, D.C.).
All of that changed as the second quarter began, like someone flipped the light on in the Stanners’ room. No, Molloy didn’t pull off a miraculous victory, but played with the energy and execution it had been searching for the past two days.
“If we would have played this way yesterday, we would have beaten North Babylon,” Molloy Coach Tom Catalanotto said. “They played with no intensity [Saturday], but today they came. I’m still not happy with the first quarter and I’m not happy losing, but they redeemed themselves. I think they gained a lot of peoples’ respect.”
Molloy outscored visiting H.D. Woodson, ranked eighth in the country by USA Today, by one point over the final three quarters and cut its lead down to just five in the fourth, but fell 59-44 in Briarwood.
“After last night, Mr. C was a little mad and our confidence was down,” Kelly Guerriero said. “This is a great team, they are nationally ranked. We can definitely take those teams. Our confidence has definitely gone up a lot.”
Molloy (0-2) trailed 23-7 after a first quarter filled with turnovers and missed shots. In the second, point guard Marielle Duryea, who had nine points, and her teammates better handled Woodson’s intense full-court, man-to-man pressure.
“It’s like this feeling that you get,” Duryea said. “You get sick of it. Three girls are attacking you and you just want to go. That’s what I did.”
Turning the pressure into points and Guerriero’s hot hand got the Stanners back into the game. The junior, who scored 17 points, connected on a three-pointer to cap a 7-0 second quarter run and hit another with 20 seconds left to pull Molloy within 29-18 at the half. She hit five 3-pointers in the game. Molloy began to shut off the lane from the Woodson (3-0) guards and didn’t allow many second-chance baskets.
The Stanners then established Nicole Marciniak and Kyra Aloizos in the paint in the second half. Aloizos scored on a pass from Guerriero and Marciniak, who had eight points and six rebounds, put in a layup. Shannon LaVelle then connected on a three-pointer to bring Molloy within 42-37 with 5:20 left.
“If you get the ball inside to them, we saw that we could have the advantage and it also opens things up for the guards,” Catalanotto said. “Once they bought into that, I thought we were fine. We just dug ourselves a hole.”
One too large to climb out of.
Carleeda Green dropped in 18 points and Bernisha Pinkett and Ranika Ransford both added 14 for Woodson, which made plays in the lane and its free throws down the stretch. All three are being recruited by Division I schools.
“They are so athletic,” Guerriero said. “They could jump through the roof. We were falling behind, but I felt like we definitely kept up.”