Matt Asenjo started a rally that got Half Hollow Hills West within two early in the fourth quarter. But Archbishop Molloy quashed a comeback attempt with nine straight points to seal a 70-56 win Sunday in the 3rd Annual Shooting Stars Showcase at Long Island Lutheran High School.
Hills West (4-2) made a habit of fighting back from deficits, notably with an 11-0 run in the second quarter led by Asenjo. He scored 11 of his 14 points in the quarter, but Molloy (6-1) powered to the rim often and stayed there with superior rebounding.
Issac Grant led Molloy with 24 points. The team excelled in the low post and also capitalized from the free throw line, going 5-for-6 to make it 62-56 in the final three minutes of the game.
“Obviously I’m disappointed we lost, but we played our hearts out,” Asenjo said. “I think we shot the ball pretty well today, we just kind of let up at the end a little bit. They did a good job of feeding their big guys. I think they dominated us inside, but we did a good job battling back.”
Molloy went on a 15-0 run in the final four minutes of the first quarter behind nimble play down low from 6-11 sophomore center Moses Brown. Cole Anthony, son of former Knicks point guard Greg Anthony, facilitated much of the offense early on and finished with 14 points.
Both teams traded momentum for most of the third quarter, tying the score at 40 and again at 46, but Grant and John Herring drove for two buckets each to make it 53-47 heading into the fourth.
“They made a nice run at the end of the third quarter to go up six and we were never able to get over that hump,” Hills West coach Bill Mitaritonna said. “They’re more rounded as far as their bench, they were able to outlast us.”
And that’s despite the best efforts of Richard Altenord (11 points) and Cameron Jordan (12 points), who was also aggressive on rebounds and blocked shots.
“These games that we played over the break are going to help us for the league season and the Suffolk County playoffs — that’s why we play them,” Mitaritonna said. “You get better from this because you learn from it. A lesson to take is we’ve got to finish. We played a great game and in the fourth quarter we didn’t finish.”