By Joseph Staszewski
DISTRICT HEIGHTS, Md. — The NYC Bulldogs’ quest for a second straight basketball title in Washington, D.C., ended two wins shy.
Archbishop Molloy’s Carolyn Gallagher’s game-tying three-point attempt went long and Stanner teammate Amani Tatum had hers blocked as the Bulldogs fell 62-59 to a longer and bigger Rochester Revolution team in the semifinals of the USJN/Nike Nationals Championships at the Capital Sports Complex July 25.
“A couple of breaks at the end and it would have been a different game,” Coach Tom Catalanotto said. “We didn’t get the breaks. It’s an exhausting trip.”
They reached the final four by beating the PA-Yellow Jackets July 24 and the PSPA Rams Select in the quarterfinals the morning of July 25. The Bulldogs, which beat the Revolution at the GymRat Challenge, were the lone local team to reach a semifinal after Long Island Lightning-Slater and NYC Warriors-Deluca lost in the Platinum and Gold quarterfinals, respectively.
“We had to work very hard this game for our shots,” Catalanotto said.
Holy Trinity’s Kelly Carey led the way with 19 points and three three-pointers and Gallagher had 15. Tatum chipped in eight. Diona Johnson paced the Revolution with 16 points and Cierra Dillard had 12. Alexa “Weazel” Dietrich dropped in 12 points in the Bulldogs quarterfinal win. Carey impressed throughout, consistently making shots.
“She was playing in Katie Poppe’s shadow [last] year at Trinity,” Catalanotto, who was an assistant with the Titans last season, said of Carey. “Kelly was a go-to person when we needed her.”
The Bulldogs went on two separate 6-0 runs in the second half to take leads of 43-36 and then 50-46 with 6:30 left in regulation. Tatum pulled her team within 61-59 with 1:13 remaining, but the Bulldogs never got closer.
It was nevertheless a successful tournament. They went 7-1 over the three-day event and head to the Quaker City Challenge in King of Prussia, Pa., this weekend.
“If you look at the sideline, how many [college] coaches have been watching our games?” Catalanotto asked. “That’s all you really want. Half of these coaches, who didn’t know anything about us [before], know something about us now.”