By Robert Cole
Last week’s intersectional basketball game between Archbishop Molloy and All Hallows was a rematch of last year’s playoff classic, won by Molloy. The Gaels, with clutch free throw shots and tough defensive play, held off Molloy to earn a 69-62 victory, at the Gauchos Gym in the Bronx.
Returning from play at the City of Palms Tournament, in Fort Myers, Fla., Molloy did not appear to bring their “A” game against All Hallows, who had been looking forward to the Dec. 27 rematch.
“I don’t think we played particularly well,” Molloy coach Mike McCleary said. “I think that our team has to realize that we are going to get everybody’s best game.”
Molloy scored the game’s first points, jumping out to a 4-0 lead on baskets by Orrin Barfield and Khalid Moore. The teams exchanged the lead throughout the opening quarter, but with the score tied at 13-13, All Hallows used the remaining 2:08 to go on a 7-2 run, taking a 20-15 lead into the second period.
Molloy started the second quarter with a 6-0 run, which included a two-handed jam by Moses Brown, to reclaim the lead at 21-20. Brown continued his stellar play throughout the second, with two more strong moves to the basket and a blocked shot to give the Stanners a 33-32 advantage. After surrendering the lead, Cole Anthony drained a mid-range jumper to give Molloy a 35-34 halftime lead.
The second half began with All Hallows going on a 7-0 run to take the 41-35 lead early in the third. The Stanners once again fought back, and a three-pointer from Cole Anthony with 3:25 remaining pulled Molloy within one. With the score tied at 48, an offensive foul against Molloy allowed the Gaels’ Tyler Mitchell to score and put his team up 50-48 at the end of three.
With the crowd really starting to get into the game, their support spurred on All Hallows to a 19-14 advantage in the final quarter. Molloy ran into foul trouble in the fourth, which allowed the Gaels to score eight of their 19 points from the free-throw line.
Molloy managed to pull within three with 36.7 seconds left to play after a three-pointer from Cole Anthony, but the All Hallows defense did not allow the Stanners to get any closer, as the Gaels’ defense clamped down to seal the victory.
“Right now we have an unfocused group that has to practice better, so that they can play better,” McCleary said after the game.
The loss dropped Molloy’s record to 3-3 on the season.