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St. Francis Prep shows grit in two tough league losses

The St. Francis Prep varsity boys’ basketball team lost two tough league games this week, a tough 82-75 decision Friday night against Queens rivals Archbishop Molloy and an even tougher 54-49 decision to CHSAA powerhouse St. Raymond’s Sunday.

The two losses dropped St. Francis to 12-6 on the season overall and 3-5 in league play. But that Prep was in both games says as much about the gritty Terriers as it does about the parity in the league.

“Obviously we’re playing well, but I wish we can finish the game the way we start them,” said St. Francis Prep head coach Tim Leary. “We’re a little fragile. We don’t handle the ball well under pressure. That’s hurt us late in games.”

Leary’s troops gave Molloy a scare Friday until Stanners’ point guard Marlon Smith slammed the door shut in the fourth quarter by nailing three from long distance en route to a 26-point effort. Backcourt mate Sundiata Gaines added 19 points as Molloy improved to 11-6 overall and 4-3 in CHSAA play.

“They’re a decent team,” Molloy coach Jack Curran said of St. Francis Prep. “They play well together. When they were trying to make a run at us, they did pretty good. We played OK. I think we can play better.”

Prep was led by Bryan Geffen, a 5-foot-9 point guard out of Bayside who dropped a team-high 21 points. Geffen, who is being recruited by a bevy of Division I schools, was aided by Andrew Cashin, who scored 18.

“He’s got the feel for the game,” Leary said of Geffen. “He’s a terrific passer, a good shooter. He’s obviously at this point a mid-major player.”

Geffen was again the scoring leader for St. Francis in the team’s five-point loss to St. Raymond’s Sunday. Geffen scored 12 points, with 9 each from Cashin and Brian Fink, but the Terriers again fell just short of pulling the upset.

Prep actually led the game by one at the half, but it trailed by one going into the fourth quarter and could not keep pace with the bigger, more athletic Ravens, who were led by Gavin Grant’s 17 points.

“Almost is not good enough,” Leary said.

Holy Cross 78, Monsignor McClancy 69. The Knights were powered by Gordon McKenzie’s 17 points, helping to raise the team’s win to 10-7 overall and 2-4 in league play with this win over the Crusaders Friday. Ramose Modesto added 15 points, Nick Rollins chipped in 13 and Anthony Clarke had 12 for Cross, which will host All Hallows Saturday at 6 p.m. and play at Christ the King Sunday at 2 p.m.

Rice 68, Christ the King 65. South Jamaica native Stephen Dyer sank three free throws in the final 45 seconds to help the Rice Raiders topple Christ the King Friday night. Russell Robinson led Rice with 18, Dyer added 11 and Carl Gervais and Arturo Dubois scored 10 each. CK was led by Japhet McNeil’s 19 points and 13 from Mitchell Beauford and Brian Williams. CK dropped to 13-3 and 5-1 with the loss.

Rice 67, Holy Cross 56. The Knights battled Rice on even terms for most of the game on Jan. 21, before a five-point run by the Raiders broke a 52-52 tie with 2:15 remaining in the game. Rice, which was 19-for 22 from the line for the game, hit its foul shots down the stretch to seal the win. Clarke had 11 to lead the Knights, while Rollins added 10.

Reach Sports Editor Anthony Bosco by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 1-718-229-0300, Ext. 130.

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