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Molloy girls wins state Federation ‘C’ crown

GLENS FALLS — It was the biggest game of her high school career and Keri Ann Jetter was searching the Glens Falls Civic Center for answers Saturday. The junior on the Archbishop Molloy girls’ basketball team didn’t know why she couldn’t make a basket.

En route to the locker room at halftime of the state Federation Class C championship game, Jetter got some much needed encouragement from her longtime CYO coach Kenny Ruane.

“He yelled out to keep your head in the game and keep playing strong defense,” Jetter said. “He said, ‘don’t take yourself out of the game until the end.’”

Despite missing her first seven shots from three-point range, Jetter snapped out of her slump in a big way, burying a three from the right wing and following with a putback that gave the Stanners a 43-42 lead with 4:18 left in the fourth quarter, as Molloy rallied to capture its first ever state Federation Class C title, beating South Seneca, 51-47.

“I was very frustrated, I wanted to come in and do good and I wasn’t helping my team win,” Jetter said. “I was extremely mad and frustrated.”

Jetter, who scored five of her six points after South Seneca (24-3) went on a 16-2 run to take a five-point lead in the fourth quarter, breathed new life in a Molloy team with only two years of varsity experience and nary a senior on the roster.

“I just took my anger out on defense,” Jetter said. “If I didn’t make that three though, I think I would have shot myself.”

Fellow junior Annamarie Ciorciari, who had also struggled with her perimeter shot, slashed through traffic for a scoop layup that gave Molloy (21-8) a 49-47 lead with 34 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

“[Rosalyn Gold-Onwude] passed me the ball at half court and I turned and looked towards the basket,” said Ciorciari. “I threw up a prayer and it was answered.”

Added Molloy coach Marty Towey, a retired FBI agent and former assistant coach at Nassau Community College: “We had the ball and we wanted to use more time off the clock and we knew if we got the ball to the top of the key we’d have numbers. She had space and made a Curly-Q and it went in.”

While Jetter may have struggled, sophomore Jessica McEntee was hot throughout. The 6-foot forward led the Stanners with 20 points and 12 rebounds as Molloy dominated the boards, 36-28 , 23-6 on the offensive glass.

Led by McEntee, the Stanners looked like they’d put the game away early, jumping out to a 17-6 lead on McEntee’s layup.

“We wanted this game more than any other,” said McEntee, who earned game MVP honors. “Especially on the offensive boards, we boxed out and got third and fourth chances. It’s how we got the lead in the beginning.”

But South Seneca roared back. Led by sophomore Erin Farney, who scored 23 points on 8-for-10 shooting from the field and grabbed 12 rebounds, the Lady Falcons shot 51.5 percent and seemed to be unstoppable in the third quarter.

South Seneca rallied from a 28-19 halftime deficit to take a 35-34 lead into the fourth quarter and extended its advantage to 39-34 35 seconds into the final stanza.

But then Jetter, Ciorciari and McEntee made big shots down the stretch to clinch the first, and what the Stanners believe, won’t be their last Federation crown.

“Watch us next year vs. Christ the King,” said Towey, whose team will compete in Class B next year. “They lose seven seniors and we have everyone back. We’re not here to be second place in Queens. We have to aspire to win.

“We can play with these teams, we have some very experienced kids,” added Towey, whose team defeated St. Francis Prep for the first time this season. “It’s been a baptism by fire. I wanted them to get stung by experience last year and now they’re coming up.”

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

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