By Stephen Zitolo
Holy Cross nearly let a victory get away after a dominant first half against Molloy.
The Stanners got as close as seven with a minute to play by Holy Cross held on for and 81-73 road in CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens boy’s basketball on Friday night.
“We came out and did exactly what coach said,” senior guard Jermaine Bishop said. “We came out as a team, we played unselfish and got everyone involved.”
Holy Cross came out of the gate on fire Friday night versus Molloy. They played an overpowering first half as they led 54-33 and seemingly put the game out of reach.
“We started off fast in the first half because we were making shots because we were taking smart shots,” Holy Cross coach Terry Tarpey said. “We spread the floor, we weren’t over dribbling, and we had our legs today.”
Molloy felt it did poor job defensively before the break. It allowed Holy Cross to get better looks at shot than it had hoped, but the Stanners corrected it after halftime.
We didn’t jump screens in the first half,” Molloy Coach Mike McCleary. “Hence the reason we gave up 54 points in the first half.”
The Holy Cross offense was slowed down in the second half when Molloy was able to figure out how to defend the Knights. Molloy (7-7, 2-6) outscored Holy Cross 40-23 in the second half. It put together a fourth quarter run to make it a seven-point game with 53 seconds left. But the first half deficit was too much to overcome.
“In the second half we got complacent,” Tarpey said. “We weren’t aggressive enough and played flat footed on defense.”
Holy Cross (9-8, 5-5), which lost to second place Xaverian on Sunday, was in control of the game thank to the continued stellar play by senior point guard Jermaine Bishop. He scored 23 points and tallied 11 assists as he showed yet again why he is the Knights’ go-to guy.
“He leads by his actions,” Tarpey said. “Today he played very well yet again and I’m happy that he’s healthy. He’s put in a great season so far and as he goes so does this team. We ask him to do a lot for us and he does.”
Bishop’s play this year is starting to get him attention from college coaches, after he missed most of last summer’s travel season with an injury. St. Peter’s and St. Louis are both showing interest.
Christian Wilson scored 18 points and Chaz Platt added 13 for Holy Cross. Junior forward Issac Grant led Molloy with 23 points and junior D’Ante Warren chipped on 20.
Holy Cross also got a big lift from reserve junior center Kenneth Nunez. He score six points and was strong on the boards. Nunez filled in admirably when fellow forwards sophomore Gerald Buncum and junior Yannic Williams got into early foul trouble.