By Brandon Mauk
Archbishop Molloy has the talent to compete with the best teams in the CHSAA, but the team is still working on getting all of its pieces to come together.
The Stanners boys’ basketball team believes that it is ready to take a big step toward being a serious contender for the Class AA Intersectional title, after making consecutive appearances in the quarterfinals. That confidence comes because of some key additions to an already deep and veteran roster.
Molloy coach Mike McCleary has stressed the need for his team to find the right chemistry in the early going in order to reach these goals.
“We spoke a lot about running our stuff that we run in practice, sharing the basketball and not playing as individuals,” McCleary said.
His club’s talent, as well as the work that lies ahead, were evident in an 81-42 victory against St. Mary’s (LI) in Molloy’s home opener on Dec. 11. While the score may not indicate it, the Stanners (2-0) started off slow before playing better as a unit as the game went on.
“This team is talented, we have to put it together, make it work,” senior forward Isaac Grant said.
Grant, one of Molloy’s more experienced players, had 12 points and was one of the team’s constant factors in each quarter.
The Stanners struggled to find their rhythm offensively in the early going, as neither team scored until about three minutes in. They were up 36-22 at halftime, but it could have been more.
“I thought first half, we didn’t share the basketball nearly enough, and that was why the game was closer than it should have been,” McCleary said.
Molloy went back to its game plan after the break and outscored St. Mary’s 25-8 in the third quarter to put the game well out of reach. The Stanners’ ball movement improved, and more players got involved in the attack.
“We’ve got to share the basketball,” Grant said.
The Stanners also received contributions from their new players. Freshman Cole Anthony, son of former UNLV and Knicks guard Greg Anthony, scored 13 points in the second quarter. “I just got on a roll,” Anthony said. “It just shows that certain guys can get hot at any time.”
Anthony is one of Molloy’s more important additions, as he brings a lot of skills to the table, even as a freshman. Highly recruited center Moses Brown, up from the junior varsity, chipped in 10 points. They are two of the many reasons why Molloy is confident in it chances to go far this year.
“This year, honestly, I think we can take states,” Anthony said. “We’re just going to work to get better, go over our plays and everything.”
The talent and confidence is definitely there for Molloy, it just needs to find the right chemistry to make it all work.
“We’re looking to work with one another,” McCleary said. “We seem to do it pretty well in practice, now we’ve got to translate that into games.”