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Kennedy leads St. Francis past stubborn Molloy, 61-59

Caitlin Kennedy connected on two free throws with 27.9 seconds remaining in regulation to give St. Francis Prep a one-point lead over league rival Archbishop Molloy Monday en route to a dramatic 61-59 victory.

Molloy had several chances to catch the Terriers in the game’s final moments, but some missed free throws and a desperation three at the buzzer failed to do the trick. The win locked up second place in the Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan for St. Francis, while the Stanners solidified their spot in third with the loss.

“As much as you don’t like to admit it, Christ the King is the upper echelon,” said St. Francis Prep head coach Tom Finn after the win. “Everybody else in this league fights for being the second-best team. Being the second-best team to the No. 1 team in the country is pretty good.”

The loss spoiled a fantastic outing by Molloy sophomore Roslyn Gold-Onwude, who had 17 first-half points and 27 for the game to lead all scorers. Whenever the Stanners needed quick points, head coach Marty Towey got them from Gold-Onwude, who attacked the basket fearlessly and often.

“She had a super game,” Finn said of Gold-Onwude. “You can never control her; you can try to contain her. She’s going to be a great player. I’m going to have to see her for two more years.”

“Roslyn took charge,” Towey said. “She’s a prime-time player. It’s tough to stop her.”

But just as effective proved to be Prep’s team game, which played both inside and out. Kennedy did the inside job, throwing down 24 points, most of them right under the basket, and grabbing 12 rebounds.

“Caitlin’s been doing it for us for three years,” Finn said. “She’s a big kid and she had a big heart, too.”

St. Francis (12-8 overall, 8-1 CHSAA) also got solid contributions from Meghan Sullivan, who had 14 points and 6 assists, and Christina Gordon, who had 9 points on three threes.

Molloy (15-7 overall, 7-5 CHSAA) got on the board first and held the advantage through much of the first half, including a seven-point second-quarter lead that was cut to five at the half, 32-27.

But Prep came out on fire in the third behind Gordon’s long-range shooting, scoring the first 12 points of the period, while the Terriers defense kept Molloy off the board in the second half until Gold-Onwude scored at the 3:00 mark of the third.

And once St. Francis got the advantage, Molloy was hard-pressed to get it back. The Stanners did take a one-point lead with 1:05 remaining after a wild sequence resulted with E.J. Dreyer getting fouled and Molloy down by one.

Dreyer hit both free throws to make the score 59-58 in favor of the Stanners, but Kennedy returned the favor with 27.9 remaining.

“It was tough to lose,” Towey said. I was proud of their effort. We have to hit our foul shots towards the end. That’s one of the things our kids have to learn as part of the maturity process.”

Christ the King 80, Bishop Ford 26. All members of the Christ the King roster scored, led by Nakejia Kelly with 14 points, as the Royals raised their record to 17-1 overall and 10-0 in league play.

Bishop Kearney 47, The Mary Louis Academy 42. Caitlin Boyle, Maryann Welsh and Caitlin Mirch combined to score 40 of Bishop Kearney's 47 points in a league win at Mary Louis Monday. Kearney improves to 7-12, 3-6. Erin Breen scored a game-high 16 points, including 10-for-12 from the foul line, and Rachele Burriesci added 10 points for Mary Louis (4-15, 3-7).

St. John’s Prep 58, Nazareth 19. The Red Storm got 17 points from Meghan Foley and 12 from Jennifer Arias to even their season record at 7-7 overall and 5-5 in CHSAA II action.

Christ the King 70, Archbishop Carroll (Pa.) 40. Behind a solid team effort, the Royals cruised to an easy win over the No. 4-ranked team in the East, according to USAToday. Amanda LoCascio led with 13, Candice Lindsay added 11 and Careem Gay scored 10. But it was the defense that did the trick, as CK held the visitors to just 5 third-quarter points. The Royals improved to 16-1 overall.

The Mary Louis Academy 57, Archbishop Molloy 51. The Hilltoppers avenged an early season blowout Friday led by Rachele Burriesci and Meghan Cumiskey, who both scored 12 points and Sue Basile, who scored 10 points, including a clutch jumper from the left wing late in the fourth quarter for the Hilltoppers.

Christ the King 87, Bishop Kearney 60. The Royals had little trouble with Kearney, at one point taking a 77-30 lead before the Brooklyn team made it respectable late. Corrine Turner scored 16 first-quarter points to lead CK, followed by Shay Doron with 14, Lindsay with 13 and Leslie Dickinson and Gay with 10 apiece. The Royals stayed perfect in league play with the win, improving to 9-0.

Archbishop Molloy 53, Bishop Loughlin 52. Gold-Onwude scored 11 points, including a three-pointer with less than two minutes remaining, grabbed 10 rebounds and registered 5 steals to help the Stanners to a tough come-from-behind win last week. Keri-Ann Jetter led Molloy with 17 points and Jessica McEntee added 9 points and 13 rebounds.

St. Francis Prep 62, The Mary Louis Academy 47. The Terriers were led by Kennedy, who scored 23 points and hauled in 13 rebounds in this league win last week. Sue Basile paced the Hilltoppers with 11 points.

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

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