By Joseph Staszewski
One more win and two more points might have meant the return of legendary Coach Jack Curran to the Archbishop Molloy bench.
He will have to wait until next year after the Stanners dropped a heartbreaking 67-66 defeat to Cardinal Hayes in the CHSAA Class AA intersectional boys’ basketball quarterfinals at Fordham University Sunday.
“I wanted it badly,” said junior guard C.J. Davis, who scored 23 points. “If we had won this game, he would have been able to coach next game. He would have been back.”
Curran hasn’t been with the team since he slipped, fell and fractured his kneecap in late February. Molloy athletic director and acting head Coach Mike McCleary said Curran, who is using a walker, thought about coming back for the quarterfinals.
“I think he is going to be real soon,” McCleary said. “Unfortunately, it will be for the baseball season.”
Chaz Watler, who had 17 points, pulled Molloy with 67-66 with 57 seconds left in the game. The Stanners had one final chance to score with 4.8 seconds remaining after a Hayes turnover and Molloy time-out when Watler was trapped along the sideline.
Marko Kozul (12 points) caught a side inbounds pass at the free throw line and looked for cutters Davis and Walter. With them covered he had to pass to Isacha Tucker, who missed a contested three-pointer from the top of the key.
“C.J. looked pretty open to me, but Marko didn’t see him,” McCleary said. “You can’t fault him for that. He was guarded pretty well.”
Davis did all he could to bring the Stanners (19-6) a win. The junior guard scored 14 of his 23 points in the third quarter, including a three-point play off his own free throw miss.
“Once I hit my first shot, it was like, ‘All right, I have the touch now,’” Davis said.
He picked up his fourth foul with 7:19 left in the final quarter. McCleary said it halted some of his momentum when he returned with 5:45 remaining.
Hayes star guard Shavar Newkirk never let down. He scored 28 points, including a banked-in three-quarter-court shot, to tie the score at 52-52 after three for the Cardinals (21-7). He tormented the Stanners with fearless drives to the hoop.
“We couldn’t stay in front of him,” McCleary said. “If he looks fast around our guys, he’s fast.”
Christ the King 82, St. Peter’s 66: Jon Severe scored 14 points and Rawle Alkins dropped in 13 for Christ the King (23-3).
Isaiah Colbert had 11 points and Jordan Fuchs added 10.
The Royals advance to face Cardinal Hayes in the semifinals.
Glenn Sanabria paced St. Peter’s (17-12) with 23 points and Reilly Walsh and Jack Shanahan added 10.