By Joseph Staszewski
Cole Anthony began to see his young team’s spirits fading once Xaverian’s Khalil Rhodes buried a three to tie the score with a little more than a minute to play in the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens boys’ basketball game. After six straight Clippers’ points it was time to take things into his owns hands.
“After the kid hit the three I saw a couple of the kids’ faces were in shock,” Anthony said. “I knew I needed to do something,”
What the freshman point guard did was score six of the Stanners’ final 10 points, including answering Xaverian with a nothing-but-net three-pointer from the left side to put his team up for good with 41 ticks remaining.
“I honestly knew it felt good when it left my hands,” Anthony said.
The bucket allowed Molloy to hold off Xaverian 56-50 in the game Jan. 27 in Bay Ridge. Anthony scored nine of his 13 points in the fourth quarter, grabbed six rebounds and dished out four assists. The second-place Stanners are finding ways to win.
“It’s big, but as you can see we always recover,” Grant said. “That’s what we do. We fight back strong.”
The victory gets a huge week off to a good start. Molloy (13-2, 9-1) plays three more road games in the six days that will decide the outcome of its regular season. It faces St. Francis Prep Friday, Christ the King Sunday and first-place Bishop Loughlin next Tuesday.
The Stanners may have been feeling different going into the stretch without some strong play from its front court. Moses Brown scored nine of his 13 points in the first half and Isaac Grant tallied 12 points and 11 rebounds. They helped Molloy build a 32-23 lead in the third quarter and intimidated the Xaverian drivers, who were a lot more tentative driving to the basket because of the threat of getting their shot blocked. Even Anthony blocked three shots.
“Me and [Brown] we are hard to stop,” Grant said.
Xaverian (10-4, 6-4) answered with an 11-3 run to end the frame to trim the Molloy advantage to just 33-31 going into the fourth. Nyontay Wisseh paced the Brooklyn school with 21 points and Rhodes chipped nine.
The Stanners led by as many six in the final frame before the Clippers rallied to tie. They caught a break when Justin Cole pulled in a long rebound after a free throw miss and made two shots of his own from the charity strip to put Molloy up 52-48 with 19.9 seconds remaining in the game.
Anthony put the finishing touches on a fine fourth quarter and the game by making three of four free throws late to secure the win.
“Sometimes my team will go on droughts where we won’t score and that’s when I step in and get involved,” Anthony said. “Usually I am trying to get everyone on the team involved and know that I need them to win. I just feel I have to come in to do what I can do to get that ‘W’.“