Archbishop Molloy beats Xaverian Clippers

Photo by Ken Maldonado
By Patrick McCormack

The defensive adjustment and its result were familiar to Archbishop Molloy.

The Stanners struggled in the first half the last time it met Xaverian. Coach Mike McCleary switched his defense from man to man to a zone and it again led to a Stanners victory. He saw his team get off to a slow start again versus the Clippers and made the same adjustment Tuesday night and it yielded the same result.

Molloy overcame an 11-point first half deficit to defeat visiting Xaverian 52-44 in CHSAA Class AA boys’ basketball.

“The last time we played Xaverian, [the zone] was successful,” McCleary said. “We used the zone the previous time we played them as the option. We were struggling at halftime the last time we played Xaverian, we made the same adjustment and it seemed to be effective this time as well.”

The Stanners shut down the Clippers in the third quarter, holding them to just four points. This allowed them to outscore their opponent 18-4 and take a 36-33 edge after three quarters of play. Michael Buckley (nine points) connected on a three-pointer that gave Molloy the lead for good at 33-31 late in the frame. Columbia-bound guard C.J. Davis, who scored 11 points, saw the effectiveness of the zone in the second half. Robert Rossiter paced Xaverian with 11 points.

“We were containing them,” he said. “We kept them on the primer, which made it difficult for them to make plays in the zone.”

Molloy (12-4, 8-3) had trouble making shots in the second quarter. Xaverian (8-10, 4-9) outscored them 20-5 in the frame and took a 29-18 lead into half-time. Jason Cethoute, who led all scorers with 13 points, said McCleary wanted to see more of a team effort in the second half.

“Coach came in and told us that we need to dig in and start playing team basketball because we came in the half with 18 points and weren’t putting the ball in the basket,” Cethoute said.

This was the Stanners’ second consecutive victory after they fell to Queens rival Holy Cross 72-67 Jan. 24. Lack of team basketball was also a problem in that contest. McCleary sees his team playing more intense and better together during the brief winning streak.

“We shared the basketball tonight as well Sunday against All Hallows,” McCleary said. “Against Holy Cross we were a little flat and lacked energy, so I think our energy has been well the last two games.”

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