John Petrucelli helping Molloy basketball come together

Molloy's John Petrucelli drives to the basket for

Molloy's John Petrucelli drives to the basket for a layup. (Jan. 29, 2014) (Credit: Cody Snapp)

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When John Petrucelli is dominating a basketball game -- and the Molloy College star has done plenty of dominating this season -- his teammates rarely notice.

And that's a good thing.

"We always say after games when he finishes with 25 or 30 points, 'Oh my gosh. I wouldn't think he had that much,' " said junior Matt McLeod, who graduated from Harborfields. "He's just so controlled. It's not like he's putting up 100 shots."

Petrucelli, a senior who became Molloy's all-time career scoring leader earlier this month (he now has 1,773 points), is averaging 25.2 points, third among Division II players. No other player in the East Coast Conference is averaging more than 20 points. And, as McLeod alluded to, Petrucelli is shooting 48.9 percent from the field.

The Hicksville alum is also averaging 3.76 steals, tops in the nation. He leads the team in rebounding, averaging 6.9.

"It's been a long journey," said Petrucelli, a 6-4 forward. "From the minute I came to Molloy, it's been constant work in trying to get better."

One of the results of Petrucelli's relentless pursuit -- he's known for analyzing film of games to an extreme -- to become the best he possibly can be has been his team's success.

Before losing to Queens College, 51-47, Tuesday night, Molloy (7-3, 10-8) was the winner of eight straight.

With consistent contributions from McLeod, a junior who is averaging 14 points and 5.8 rebounds, and sophomore Brandon Williams, a Baldwin alum providing 6.4 points off the bench, Molloy is in third place with 10 games left.

The Lions have two games this week against opponents that beat them earlier this season. Molloy hosts Bridgeport (6-4, 8-8) at 7:30 and visits Dowling (9-2, 15-4) at 3 p.m. Saturday.

"We'll be fine against those two teams this time around," Petrucelli said. "We're coming together at the right time and we're just going to play our game."

 

Good start, finish?

Sade Jackson believed this would be the year for the Adelphi women's basketball team.

Jessica Kitrys simply thought, "Why not?"

After experiencing a winning season in 2012-13 for the first time in their collegiate careers, both seniors had reason to be optimistic heading into this season.

"We came in with a certain mentality at the beginning of the season," Kitrys said. "It was time to prove the hard work we put in and now it is showing."

Indeed, things have changed. With Jackson and Kitrys leading the way, Adelphi (14-4, 8-4) is off to its best start since 2001. Heading into Wednesday night's game at Franklin Pierce, Kitrys was averaging 18.9 points and 6.6 rebounds and Jackson was averaging 14.1 points and 5.9 rebounds.

With the wins comes a catch, however.

"I feel like we have a target on our back now and we can't afford to take games or plays off," said Jackson, who surpassed 1,000 career points last Saturday.

But that's more than fine as far as Jackson is concerned.

"It makes me happy, knowing that teams want to beat you and it makes you want to play harder," Jackson said. "This is the best we've done so far in the four years I've been here. It ranks at the top, but we're not done yet."

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