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Molloy earns trip upstate with win over Mt. Mercy

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When Annamarie Ciorciari last played at Alumni Hall on the campus of St. John’s University, the senior guard sprained her left ankle and has not returned to the starting lineup.

So it was understandable that she was a little shaky when she returned to the same court for Sunday’s CHSAA Class A state championship game against Buffalo’s Mount Mercy.

But Ciorciari looked anything but nervous, scoring 13 points to help lead the Stanners to a 77-52 win over Mount Mercy.

“It was my first good game in a real long time so I’m really psyched about it,” Ciorciari said. “And being that it was the Catholic championship, I’m really happy about that.”

Ciorciari was one of four players in double-figure scoring for Molloy, which won the state CHSAA and state Federation Class C title last year.

Molloy (22-6) advances to the state Federation Class A championship game Saturday in Glens Falls where the Stanners will face perennial powerhouse Our Lady of Lourdes.

“Everyone was doing great. It was a really good team effort,” Ciorciari said. “If we do that in the Federation we’ll definitely win again.”

Molloy handed the Poughkeepsie school its lone defeat this year in a come-from-behind 69-61 victory Jan. 30. Tip-off is slated for 12:15 p.m. at the Glens Falls Civic Center.

“They’re an excellent team and we have to be on our game to beat them,” Molloy coach Marty Towey said of Our Lady of Lourdes, which defeated Honeoye Falls-Lima, 78-62, Saturday in the state public school championship game in upstate Troy. “They have college-level ballplayers on their team. They’re fast and they shoot the three real well.”

Led by Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, who scored a game-high 23 points despite struggling early with her shot, Jessica McEntee (16 points) and Keri-Anne Jetter (10 points), the Stanners ran at will against Mount Mercy and raced out to a 30-11 lead on a three-pointer by Ciorciari.

“We came out really strong and hit all of our shots throughout the whole game,” McEntee said. “They were behind all game and it was hard (for them) to come back.”

Molloy led 18-9 at the end of the first quarter, 44-23 at halftime and 58-40 at the end of three quarters.

“Today everybody stepped up. Everyone had a great game,” Gold-Onwude said. “Everybody was on and it really helped make it easier.”

Despite Heather Turner’s team-high 15 points, including 10 of her team’s first 16 points, the Magic could not take capitalize on its size advantage inside and struggled mightily from outside.

Led by Liz Roth (13 points) and Mary Kate Wilson (11 points), Mount Mercy (23-5) shot just 5-of-26 from three-point range.

“We just couldn’t hit the outside shot and they couldn’t miss,” said Mount Mercy coach Chris Massy. “They’re a very good shooting team and we knew that coming in, but I didn’t think they were going to make almost every single shot.”

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

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