By Mike Smollins
Holy Cross is no stranger to spreading its points around and Friday night was no different.
The Knights had four players reach double digits in their 68-55 victory against rival Molloy, which they beat for the second time this season, in CHSAA Class AA boys’ basketball in Flushing.
Holy Cross was led by the strong play of senior guard Anthony Libroia, who scored a team-high 17 points. The Knights broke out the scoring early, going on a 14-0 run midway through the first quarter, a run that saw Libroia convert six of his points.
“We don’t have to rely on one person,” Libroia said. “Everybody can score from different positions and drive to the basket. I wasn’t thinking about scoring that much, but I had to make big shots.”
Libroia had plenty of help as Terrell Williams scored 13 points and Edward Roscigno and Mairega Clarke both contributed 12 points. The team’s star, Marquise Moore, remains out with a toe injury.
“We always make the extra pass,” Williams said. “There’s always gonna be someone open and there’s always an extra pass and we just make it. We’ve played well in the league and good coaching contributes to it.”
Holy Cross (16-3, 7-1 ‘AA’) took a 24-11 lead into the second quarter when Molloy (10-10, 1-6) began to cut into the advantage. The Stanners outscored the Knights 12-10 in that frame, but still entered the half trailing 34-23. The second half would give Holy Cross’ defense a chance to prove itself to head Coach Paul Gilvary, and they took full advantage of it, never relinquishing the lead.
“I was happy with the defensive effort tonight,” Gilvary said. “That’s usually the key for us because offensively we are usually pretty consistent, so when we defend and rebound I think we can be pretty good and … we did that.”
Molloy began to turn it on in the third quarter pulling within five when forward Justin Brown’s layup put the score at 45-40. That was the closest the Stanners would get to a comeback as Libroia quickly hit a 3 and Clarke added two more points to give the Knights a 50-40 lead heading into the fourth.
“They were going on a little run and then I hit that big 3,” Libroia said. “I wasn’t thinking too much about scoring.”
Holy Cross (16-3, 7-1) went on another impressive run in the fourth quarter. Clinging to a six-point lead, the Knights went on a 10-0 run to put a stranglehold on the game as Molloy (9-10, 2-6) couldn’t break through Holy Cross’ defense.
“I think they played much better than we did,” Molloy Coach Jack Curran said. “Our defense was shaky. We got the game close in one stretch but then they hit an easy 3 and that was the game. For about a month now we haven’t played as well as we should.”
The Knights have found much success spreading the ball around and having multiple players contribute, something that Gilvary hopes to continue doing this season.
“Spreading the scoring is normal for us,” Gilvary said. “We have guys who are very willing to give up a shot for themselves for a shot for a teammate. We have a lot of guys who can score and a lot of unselfish players. We’re off to a good start, but there are a lot of games left to play. We are getting a little better each day and hopefully by the end of the season we’ll be playing our best basketball.”