NYCHoops - CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Semis
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CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Semis

FRESH MEADOWS, NY- The CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan semifinals took place on Wednesday evening in Queens as one all All-Brooklyn matchup and one All-Queens battle were on tap to set up Friday's title game.

Each game had their exciting moments though the top two held serve in the end setting up a #1 vs. #2 contest for the championship in two days’ time. We at were court side for both matchup's and here are how things played out on Wednesday from St. Francis Prep.

St. Francis Prep Wallops Archbishop Molloy, 66 - 44

Latiek Briscoe & Todd Rochelle
Latiek Briscoe & Todd Rochelle (M. Libert)

A close game early turned into a dominating St. Francis Prep performance as the Terriers hit 11 three's in the game as the ball movement and the ability to get open shots all over the floor allowed them to pull away after a tough first quarter for the 66-44 win.

Things didn't start off great for the Terriers as Christian Bliss '23 scored 8 in the opening quarter for Molloy as the freshman was carrying the load in the early going for the Stanners who contained St. Francis Prep's looks from the outside and took an 11-10 lead after one.

While not the perfect start for his team, Terriers head coach Jimmy Lynch had a feeling his team may get off to a slower start than normal coming in understanding the playoff environment is new to his young group, but he at the same time was confident things would turn around for his group.

"We didn't make shots early but I also felt we needed to get acclimated to the playoffs a bit," Lynch admitted. "We told our kids that there probably would be a feeling out period for both teams, and even though they played better than us in the first quarter I thought we would step up and make some shots."

That's exactly what happened as the game started to slow down for the Terriers with Chance Morrish '22 and Jaden Daughtry '22 each draining three's in the second quarter, and with the defensive intensity for St. Francis Prep stepping up they would limit the Stanners to just 3 points in the second and take a 27-14 lead going into halftime.

Lynch was happy with his team's play as the first half wore on, but it was the third quarter where he really felt as if his team came into their own.

In the first 2:27 of the third St. Francis Prep would get two three's from Key'Sean Maynard '22 and two more from Todd Rochelle '21 as the Terriers opened the half on fire to see the lead grow to over 20.

The reason Lynch felt things came together so well in the third for his team was because of their trust of each other. It's all about trust and belief and coming out of the locker room he said he saw a lot more trust which in turn led to easy looks from the outside.

"We got to get a paint touch and then trust our guys to make the kick out, make the right pass and we were doing that," Lynch explained. "We were cooking in that third quarter and that's because we were trusting each other."

Molloy did close the third on a 7-0 as Mick Browne '20 scored the last seven himself to get the Stanners with 48-34, but the Terriers wouldn't let them get any closer as Latiek Briscoe '22 threw down a massive one handed dunk in transition that got the crowd on their feet and seal the game for good as Rochelle had a game high 18 points to lead the way and move St. Francis Prep into Friday's CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens title game with a 66-44 victory over Archbishop Molloy.

Maynard would add 12 for St. Francis Prep with both Morrish and Briscoe adding 10 for the Terriers while Browne led the Stanners with 15 points in the defeat.

St. Francis Prep are not title game bound, and while Lynch knows it won't be easy he says he and his team are excited for the opportunity and ready for the challenge.

"We are going to have our hands full on Friday but we are looking forward to it," Lynch said.

Xaverian Beats Back Bishop Loughlin, 67 - 57

Nick Folk & Shawn Fulcher
Nick Folk & Shawn Fulcher (M. Libert)

After knocking off Christ the King on Monday in the quarterfinals, Bishop Loughlin were looking to make it two surprises in a row when they took the court against Xaverian in the other CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens semifinal on Wednesday.

The Lions nearly did that as well as they hung tough nearly the entire way, but a couple big plays late from Shawn Fulcher '21 would enable Xaverian to hold off a tough and scrappy Bishop Loughlin team to move them into Friday's title game against St. Francis Prep with a 67-57 win.

For Xaverian it was as strong of a start as they could've hoped for as Billy Reyes '20 drained three early three balls with Ian Byrne '20 hitting another as the outside game for the Clippers was on fire to start as they jumped out to a quick double digit lead.

In total Xaverian hit 7 first half three's going 7-13 through the first two quarters from deep and could've had a much bigger lead if not for their struggles around the rim, and the play of Loughlin guard Maurice Doby '20.

Doby may be diminutive at 5'8" but he was quick in getting to the rim and was time and time again able to beat the Clippers defenders going to the basket as he had 18 points in the opening half to keep the Lions close as the Xaverian lead at the break was just 32-26.

A onetime 15 point lead in the opening half for Xaverian was completely evaporated with 4:36 left in the third quarter after a pull-up Taj Chiles '20 jumper put Bishop Loughlin in front for the first time at 37-36.

It was frustrating for Xaverian head coach Clyde Chapman to see his team give away the lead in the fashion they did, but at the same time he admitted it goes back to settling too much for the outside shot when it's not always a necessity.

"I think we got stagnant and started to settle for the three pointers because they went in early," Chapman admitted. "We have had conversations that it's either live by the three or die by the three and when they are hitting it’s hard to tell them not to be confident, but when they aren't starting to go we have to understand the value of a good shot."

Chapman felt his team wasn't understanding that when the shots aren't falling from the outside as they weren't in the third that those aren't good shots, wanting his team to attack more and get to the basket which they weren't doing.

While it took longer than Chapman may have wanted Folk was doing a good job of finding driving lanes late in the third that allowed Xaverian to retake the lead heading to the final quarter.

With Doby leading the charge as he and Christian Joe '22 were finding ways to score in the paint the Lions wouldn't go away, staying within 2 with under two minutes to go. That though is when Fulcher decided to take over. He was able to slash and finish with his left hand on one possession, and then back on the next had a reverse finish that he said was motivated from a possession a few minutes before.

"I just got to the rim and he had blocked my shot the first time I tried that and I'm honestly not used to getting my shot blocked so I went back out and created and was able to finish that time," Fulcher said of his layup to put Xaverian up 62-57.

Over the final 3:24 of the game Bishop Loughlin would only score 1 point as Xaverian did a much better job of containing the driving threats, and would finish up strong from the FT line as well to make the final score a bit wider than the game actually was as behind the 20 points of Reyes and the 14 points of Fulcher, all of which came in the second half, it was the Clippers moving onto the title game by knocking off a game Lions team, 67-57.

Nick Folk '21 would also add 13 points for Xaverian, while it was Doby doing all he could for Bishop Loughlin with a game high 31 points for the Lions.

The victory for Xaverian now sends them on to take St. Francis Prep for the Brooklyn/Queens title on Friday, and while it will be a true road game for the Clippers who will have to play on the Terriers home court Fulcher isn't concerned believing that his team is a team of destiny and will leave Queens on Friday with trophy.

"I'm speaking it into existence, we are going to win that championship," Fulcher said with a smile.

The CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Championship between the #1 St. Francis Prep Terriers and the #2 Xaverian Clippers takes place on Friday 2/28 at 7:30pm at St. Francis Prep HS.