FRESH MEADOWS, NY - The one good thing about playoffs is that the games get better as the rounds progress. Wednesday's second round CHSAA Intersectional games eliminated two of the lower seeded teams.
Archbishop Molloy splats Fordham Prep, 70-51
The writing was on the wall in this game from the tip-off as the Stanners wasted no time in pulling ahead of Fordham Prep and staying there spending the majority of their energy increasing the point spread. Chaz Watler and C.J. Davis were aggressive on offense while 6'5" senior Marko Kozul owned the paint.
Molloy extended their lead to 20 points with 2:20 left in the half until 6'3" junior Jarrod Moorerended the drought. The Rams made a slight run but Molloy quickly squelched it as Davis drained back-to-back jumpers. 5'8" senior PG John Crowe attempted to incite another Fordham Prep movement but the Stanners were having none of it and led 56-33 at the half.
The Stanners quickly increased their advantage to 25 points midway in the third. Fordham Prep did get production from 6'4" senior Karo Adjekughele but when their sharpshooter Connor Murphy, who remained scoreless, fouled out in the fourth, whatever percentage was left of an improbable comeback dissipated.
Watler led Molloy with a game high 21 points with Davis and Kozul adding 14 points and 12 points respectively. Moorer and Adjekughele were high men for the Rams with 10 point each with Crowe chipping in 6 points.
Archbishop Stepinac knocks out Holy Cross, 73-64
Josh James would start the fire for the Stepinac Crusaders but it would be 6'0" junior Walter King and 5'10" junior Naim Thomas who would add the lighter fluid en route to an impressive win against Holy Cross.
Talented sophomore Jermaine Bishop would keep the Knights in the contest early on but Stepinac had Demarcus Miller, also a talented soph. The Crusaders led throughout most of the opening quarter but towards the end of the first quarter, due to a strong finish by Josh Wallace and 6'3" senior Ryan Wilson, the score was tied at 15.
Stepinac would regain its lead partly due to Knight's missed opportunities at the free-throw line but also due to buckets by Thomas. The Crusaders lead grew to 11 points midway through the second quarter but when the Knights slapped a 2-3 zone on them, they were able to climb back into the ring. King would eventually become Stepinac's zone buster from the perimeter but Wallace, a 6'1" junior and 5'11" senior Akil Spruill countered, closing the Knights deficit to 34-30 at the intermission.
6'3" senior Andrew Murray would expand Stepinac's lead early in the third quarter and when the Crusader's transition game caught fire, the Knights found themselves down by twelve at the start of the fourth quarter. As the end of their season was rapidly becoming light at the end of their tunnel, Holy Cross exacerbated their situation with turnovers and rushed shots.
As a result, Stepinac's lead ballooned to 67-48 with 4:32 still left in the game. The final score doesn't reflect the margin of victory as Coach Tim Philp released the pressure valve and subbed out his starters as did Holy Cross shortly thereafter.
Thomas dropped a game high 21 points with King and James adding 15 and 12 points each. Bishop, Wallace and Wilson paced Holy Cross with 16 points, 15 points and 14 points respectively.
Brooklyn/Queens #3 seed, Molloy heads into the CHSAA Intersectional quarterfinal round where they will face New York's #2 seed Cardinal Hayes while New York's #4 seed Stepinac will go up against #1 seeded St. Raymond. The games take place on Sunday March 3rd at Fordham University
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