By Ben Leibowitz
The Archbishop Molloy boys’ basketball team certainly knows the right way to start the season.
The Stanners opened up the year in impressive fashion Dec. 2, cruising to a 100-55 victory over St. John the Baptist in a non-conference tilt. It was all Molloy from the get-go as the squad showcased its roster, including the explosive talents of big men Moses Brown and John Herring.
“Frankly, we haven’t practiced well this week, so I thought it was highly important for us to get out in front early,” said Molloy coach Mike McCleary. “The lead we got early in the game helped us stay aggressive throughout the game.”
Molloy jumped out to a 13-point lead after the first quarter and never took its foot off the gas, sparked by a 10-point run in the final two minutes of the frame.
The team continued its aggressive style of play and by the end of the first half the Stanners took a commanding 54-29 lead.
It was Molloy’s effort on defense, however, that prevented any sort of momentum from St. John the Baptist. The Stanners regularly forced quick shots and mistakes, racking up 21 steals and pushing the ball out in transition to pad their cushion.
St. John the Baptist also struggled to find an answer for either Brown or Herring. The seven-foot Brown finished with 28 points—going 14 of 16 from the field—while Herring chipped in 12 points, missing just one field goal.
“Both of them catch the ball every time it gets thrown to them, and both of them are tremendous finishers,” McCleary said. “Our guards are more than happy to give the ball off to them, they are the keys to our success.”
Molloy outscored the Cougars 26-13 in both the second and third quarter and while most of the starters were off the floor for the fourth, the Stanners stars were still proud of their early-game effort.
“Coach emphasized patience to us before the game so I tried to stay patient out there and tried to be in the right place at the right time tonight,” said Brown. “Everybody wants to see each other succeed, and I think the guards just want to see everyone get chances, and get better.”
This was only game one—and Molloy certainly isn’t willing to rest on its laurels after just one game—but the Stanners’ dominant performance from every angle is enough to give the team a bit of confidence heading into the rest of its schedule.
Molloy is determined to make a run at a city championship this winter and this victory could be the first step towards that title.
“Today was the first of many building blocks for us,” McCleary said. “The best part of the game was the selfless play from our team. Our team showed that we are willing to share the basketball.”