Mastellone, Molloy hold off Kangaroos’ rally

By Joseph Staszewski

Archbishop Molloy played at a pace and with a poise that made for a beautifully efficient and unselfish first 21/2 quarters. But that all changed when Boys & Girls sped things up by pressing, and the Stanners had to scramble to hold on over the final 12:00 to record its third-straight win.

The Molloy girls’ basketball team made enough big plays down the stretch, including a late trey from Jenna Mastellone and a put-back from Emily Johnson to get a 67-61 win over the Kangaroos at the Rose Classics Super Jam at Nazareth Monday afternoon.

“We knew if we didn’t pick up the pace, we could easily lose the game,” Mastellone said “We started playing with more momentum, which helped us scoring-wise. We got open looks and our shots started falling.”

Mastellone scored 12 of her game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter, including the first seven points of the frame. She thanked her teammates for getting her the ball in better position to shoot, knowing Molloy needed to get something going offensively.

“She has a short memory,” Stanners coach Scott Lagas said. “She misses three or four, she is not going to hesitate to shoot five or six, which is what we want from her.”

The Kangaroos, who trailed by as many as 15 points in the third quarter, pulled as close as five twice in the final 1:15 of the game, only to be fended off. A put-back while falling away from the hoop for Johnson put Molloy back up 65-58 with 58.3 ticks left on the clock. Kathryn Gibson added 18 points for Molloy. Kalima Daniels dropped in 19 points to lead four Boys & Girls players in double-figures.

The Stanners have righted their ship after league losses to Christ the King and Bishop Loughlin by beating Mary Louis, New Mission (Mass.) and Boys & Girls. Lagas said he had a long team meeting with the group after falling to Loughlin to talk about the need for more patience on offense, playing more as a team and curbing any fears they had.

“After our little pow-wow, we had a few really good practices and started moving the ball,” Lagas said. “The ball movement, I think, is what has made us so successful.”

That is what allowed the Stanners to get off to such a fast start in the first half and take a 37-28 lead into the break. The team’s unselfishness was epitomized by what led to a transition jumper from Gibson early in the third quarter. The play saw her and Mastellone pass the ball between each other twice on the way up the floor.

Despite the frantic finish, Molloy picked up another win by spreading the ball and playing together.

“After the [Loughlin] game we came to a realization that we were playing as individuals,” Mastellone said. “In order for us to be more successful we needed to come together and play as a team.”

Mary Louis bounces back with a pair of wins: The Hilltoppers avoided a further letdown after dropping a league contest to Molloy by winning both of its games at the Rose Classic Super Jam. TMLA topped Grand Street Sunday behind 28 points from Danielle Patterson and 17 points by Jasmine Brunson. The pair also combined for 27 points to helped Mary Louis beat Tampa Catholic 48-37 Monday.