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Stanners seniors eye big finish to cement legacy

Seniors at Archbishop Molloy gather at center court before the start of the game. Photo by Yinghao Luo
TimesLedger Newspapers

Amani Tatum, Carolyn Gallagher and their Archbishop Molloy classmates wrote the perfect script for their Senior Night. And the Stanners hope it was the first of many happy endings to close their careers.

Tatum, the James Madison-bound point guard, capped the night with a behind-the-back feed to Gallagher, a Columbia-bound forward, with just over a minute left in a 76-58 win over Mary Louis Friday. They combined to score 53 of the Stanners’ points to finish the regular season tied for first place in CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Division I basketball.

The pass is something Tatum has been waiting to do since second-year Coach Scott Lagas took over. He told her not to in the past, but was just fine with it this time.

“They went out the way they were supposed to go out, especially with Amani with her little behind-the-back pass to Carolyn,” Lagas said.

The final month of their careers is now about doing things they’ve never done before.

“We just want to keep moving forward,” Gallagher said.

The senior group led by Tatum, Gallagher, Alexa “Weazel” Dietrich, Patti Dorgler and reserves Jessie Jamin, Daniela Arias, Utshana Durham and Jamie Romano has already been one of the most successful in program history. Now they can leave as the best.

Tatum and Gallagher are both in the top five all-time in scoring at Molloy. They led the Stanners to the state Federation Class A title as sophomores under then-Coach Tom Catalanotto and reached the CHSAA state semifinals last season. This year their eyes are set on the diocesan and AA state crowns that have eluded them.

“To end our careers with a win would be incredible,” said Dietrich, who is headed to Pace. “It’s what we have been waiting for.”

What’s made this group so successful and so special is the togetherness they have. They are inseparable. Tatum joked their nickname in school is the WNBA. The majority of them spent summers together playing travel ball with the NYC Bulldogs.

“We’re a family,” Tatum said. “We’re sisters. We’re best friends. We are all in one. There is nothing that will ever separate us …. We just love each other.”

It’s led to a camaraderie that’s made Molloy one of the toughest teams to beat in a close game or to finish off early. They never quit.

“Sometimes I think they want to win for each other more than they want to win for themselves,” Lagas said.

Senior Night reminded them that their time to win together is drawing to a close with plenty still to accomplish. The seniors want to finish like the winners they have been as people and players throughout their entire careers.

“Just doing what we do will get us to the places we want to,” Tatum said. “It will take us far.”

It already has.

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