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CK easily handles Molloy second time around

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The first time the upstart Archbishop Molloy girls’ basketball team tackled the nationally ranked Christ the King Royals this season, the Briarwood school — in only its second year of varsity ball with no senior on the roster — managed a respectable 17-point defeat.

But that was then.

The Royals, behind returning point guard Amanda LoCascio, had little trouble the second time around, cruising to a 79-50 win Saturday.

“We didn’t handle the press very well,” said Molloy head coach Marty Towey. “We had prepared for it, but a couple of our kids buckled under the pressure.”

LoCascio scored 15 points for a Royals team still smarting from its first loss of the season to Marlboro (N.J.), a defeat which knocked the Royals out of the top spot in USAToday’s national rankings. LoCascio, who strained her anterior cruciate ligament earlier in the month, was out of action for the Royals’ lone loss. But with her in the line-up Saturday, Christ the King was its old dominating self.

“It just makes a huge difference,” said Christ the King head coach Bob Mackey of LoCascio’s return. “It moves everybody out of one spot. Amanda runs the show. It was wonderful to see her back playing.”

After falling behind early in the first quarter, the Royals quickly took control of the game en route to a 41-20 halftime lead.

“We didn’t have a problem breaking [the CK press in] the first game, but the second game we did,” Towey said. “That was pretty much the difference.”

Molloy was never able to claw their way back into the game, trailing 65-32 after three, despite double-digit games by three starters. Jessica McEntee led the Stanners with 14 points, while Annamarie Ciorciari and Keri-Anne Jetter added 11 apiece.

In addition to LoCascio’s 15 points, Christ the King got solid outing from Lesley Dickinson, who chipped in 13 points, Tracy Holness, Careem Gay and Corinne Turner, each of whom scored 10 apiece.

“We pulled the heavy press off in the first half,” Mackey said.

The Stanners, who fell to 14-5 overall and 6-3 in league play, are still hoping to qualify for the Class C state Federation championships but will need some key wins down the stretch of the season to secure a spot. After a date with Bishop Loughlin Wednesday, Molloy will travel to take on Mary Louis Friday and St. Francis Prep Monday.

“I don’t think a lot of people thought we would have this type of record at this point in the season,” Towey said. “We have to regroup and play the kind of basketball we had been playing. We have to win the games down the road that we’re supposed to win.”

Christ the King, which plays at Bishop Kearney at 6 p.m. and Saturday at home against Archbishop Carroll at 6 p.m., improved to 14-1 overall and 8-0 in league play.

St. John the Baptist 43, Mary Louis 42. A three by MVP Rachel Burriesci in the waning moments of regulation pulled the Hilltoppers within one, but the team still lost its game at the Clyde Frazier Jr. Slam Jam Memorial at Holy Cross Saturday. Both Burriesci and Liz Strein scored 10 apiece in this non-league game.

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

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