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Molloy trounces Lourdes for state crown

GLENS FALLS, N.Y. — Keri Anne Jetter thought it would be tougher.

She did not expect to be on the bench watching the reserves on the Molloy girls’ basketball team close out a surprising 63-45 blowout of perennial powerhouse Our Lady of Lourdes in the state Federation Class A title game Saturday afternoon.

“I expected them to come out looking for revenge, considering what happened last time,” Jetter said, referring to the Stanners’ come-from-behind 69-61 overtime win over the Warriors Jan. 30. “This was our best game all season. We all hustled. We all played our game.”

For Molloy, the team’s second straight Federation title is part of the natural progression of a program growing into a state powerhouse.

The Stanners have moved up in classification in each of the last three years, winning the Class C (now called the Class B) title last year.

And if juniors Jessica McEntee and Rosalyn Gold-Onwude have any say, they’ll move up to the ‘AA’ next year to compete against the likes of Christ the King and St. Peter’s.

“I’d rather go and play (Christ the King) in ‘AA’ than just win the ‘A’ next year,” McEntee said. “Our goal has always been to beat King and be on their level.”

Added Molloy coach Marty Towey: “Molloy is a school that on the boys’ side has always been on the top level, and I think our athletic director (Mike McCleary) wants us to go in that direction.”

Playing a more inspired game defensively than it did in the first meeting this year, Molloy (23-6) raced out to a 28-8 halftime lead, holding Our Lady of Lourdes (25-2) to just two second-quarter points.

Lourdes standout Julianne Viani, who scored 31 points, including the 1,000th of her career when the two teams met at the Briarwood school, was held in check this time by Gold-Onwude. The Rhode Island-bound guard scored all eight of her points in the final 16 minutes.

“When that happens, you take it personally. I was upset for days,” said Gold-Onwude, who also defended Viani in January. “I got into foul trouble and I wasn’t playing good defense at all.”

Gold-Onwude scored a game-high 25 points, including 4-of-6 from three-point range, and was named the game’s MVP. McEntee added 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Jetter had eight points and 11 rebounds as the Stanners held a 42-25 rebounding edge.

“We said it was the defense and the rebounding that was going to win this game and going for loose balls,” Molloy coach Towey said. “We didn’t want to lose any of those battles. Those are the three things that put us over the top.”

Meredith Paggi led Lourdes with 15 points, while Sacred Heart-bound Jocelyn Kelly, a 6-foot-2 center, added 11 points and seven rebounds for Lourdes, which won four straight Federation titles from 1999-2002.

“That played a big role,” Lourdes first-year coach Sarah Mesuch said of Molloy’s tight defense on Viani. “We were trying to do a lot on our own and it just wasn’t working.”

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

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