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Stanners make statement in victory over Loughlin

Molloy Coach Jack Curran (c.) talks to his team. Photo by Ken Maldonado
TimesLedger Newspapers

Archbishop Molloy’s strategy to beat Bishop Loughlin was to outdo the Lions at what they do best. It wanted to outrun and out-defend them from the start.

“I told them we had to take the game right at them,” legendary Stanners basketball Coach Jack Curran said. “They like to play that way. Teams that play like that, if you come at them harder, you get more respect from them.”

His Stanners earned more than that by doing so. Host Molloy put Loughlin on its heels early and never lost control during an impressive 95-78 win in CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens boys’ basketball Sunday night. The victory snaps the Lions’ 11-game winning streak and sends a message from the Stanners’ eyes to the rest of the league about what they are capable of.

“I think we showed them that we’re on the map,” senior forward Marko Kozul said. “We can beat anybody in the league.”

Kozul scored 28 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. He has regained his form that last five games after being slowed by the flu. Junior Jason Cethoute came off the bench to drop in 16 of his 27 points in the second quarter and grab nine boards. He shot 7-of-8 from the field, 11-of-13 from the foul line.

“I was hot,” Cethoute said. “I just kept shooting and everything kept going in, so I was like why not.”

The two were instrumental in the Stanners’ 13-3 run to close out the first half. Molloy, which hit eight three-pointers in the game, led 48-29 at the break. It did so with Loughlin star Khadeen Carrington missing most of the first half with early foul trouble.

Mike Williams led the Lions with 30 points and Carrington had 14. Loughlin (11-2, 4-2) got as close as 85-74 with 2:41 left in the game. Molloy (11-4, 3-3) responded with an 8-0 run, capped by a Kozul put back, to clinch the win. Williams admitted his team overlooked Molloy.

“We came in a little bit too cocky,” Williams said. “In the layup line we were just like playing around, not taking things seriously.”

Curran and his players believe the team can continue to earn respect and wins playing up-tempo basketball. It accentuates their speed, depth on unselfishness.

“They like to play that way,” Curran said. “We might as well play that way. If you can play that way against Loughlin, you can do it against most teams.”

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