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Molloy girls basketball team making its mark in first year

No one expected them to be heading into the playoffs with a 20-1 record. The 12 girls who joined the Archbishop Molloy junior varsity basketball team did so because the sport was something they enjoyed. The coach took the position because he wanted the chance to have a hand in a “unique opportunity.” What came of it, however, far exceeded expectations.

Molloy has been known for holding its own in the Queens Catholic high school athletic scene, but this year the school, which recently made the decision to go coed, can thank the newcomers for keeping the school’s athletic tradition alive.

The latest Stanners have made quite an entrance. Playing in Division II of the Catholic High School Athletic Association Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan, the Lady Stanners have been blowing the competition away with the ease and talent of a veteran team. This upcoming week they’re taking on the bottom two teams in Division I, St. Francis Prep and Christ the King, and the top teams in Division II in a fight for the championship, a battle the team feels optimistic about.

“Without being over confident, I’d say we have a good shot at winning,” said head coach Marty Towey.

“I think it’s surprising.” said guard Maureen Hartigan. “Who expected us to be doing so well? I knew we had some good players, but now we have a chance at the championship.”

The key to their success, Towey said, is the simple combination of hard work, dedication and skilled athletes. Having coached three years at Nassau Community College and being picked by Molloy from a pool of applicants to start the girls’ program, Towey realizes what it takes to win.

“We do a fair amount of practice,” the coach said. “We’re active six days a week between practices, games and scrimmages. You always stick with something that’s good. I have a simple approach where I stress fundamentals and conditioning. If you have the athletes they’ll respond.”

A team must have players that want to make commitment for whole season and Towey has just those players. A major part of the team’s victories can be attributed to starting guards Hartigan, Kerri-Anne Jetter and AnnaMarie Ciorciari, the coach said.

Now that the Lady Stanners have established themselves, several people question not only their acceptance by the boys teams, but also whether fans are responding. To date, there seems to be no lack of fan livelihood. They’ve been getting good crowds at the games and, according to Towey, as they get better, the support will increase even more.

“For the boys, the fans come out in full,” Towey said. “Our first game, though, was a packed house. I couldn’t hear myself think it was so loud.”

As for the rivalry between the sexes, none seems to exist. In fact, the men have received the women pleasantly.

“I don’t see it as a competition between the men and women,” Towey said. “Double and triple-headers together would make it even better. We could have fans there for both.”

“I don’t think there’s a big rivalry,” Ciorciari said, “The guys are just getting used to us, but they have taken us in with open arms.”

Looking ahead, the team is currently inclined on stepping up to Division I when the team turns varsity next year, a move that would certainly offer more challenges, if not more losses.

“I try to approach the job one day at a time and one game at a time and not look to far ahead,” Towey said. “In a few years, hopefully we’ll be adding to the league. But the scrimmage against Christ the King recently says a lot. It was six quarters long and the fact that we had a good showing kind of lets everyone know that we’re here to stay.”

Reach Contributing Writer Christine Patino by email at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 130.

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