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END OF THE ROAD: Molloy’s fateful season comes to close, future looks bright

Sure they wanted to win, wanted to continue their season in Glens Falls, site of the state Federation tournament in two weeks. But the glow of ending rival Christ the King's 23-year reign atop the Brooklyn/Queens division a week earlier was still there Saturday. "We've accomplished so much already and no one will be able to take that away from us," Molloy forward Kelly Guerriero said. "We'll always be known as the team that beat King, we'll always be known as the team that made it this far."Led by high-Division I prospect Christine Huber, St. John the Baptist beat Molloy, 42-28, to repeat as CHSAA Class AA champs. The Cougars will face either Rush-Henrietta or Murry Bergtraum in the state Federation title game March 30 in Glens Falls.The Stanners weren't supposed to be playing for the Class AA title. That's what Christ the King did, and won, for 17 straight years until being upended by St. John the Baptist last year. But Molloy's furious late-season rally saw it go from fifth place in its own division to beating The Mary Louis Academy and Christ the King twice, before finally falling to the Cougars. Molloy actually held an early lead, but trailed 22-17 at halftime and then went cold in the third quarter for the third time in the last four games. The Stanners went scoreless for nearly six minutes and with Huber, a 6-foot-4 junior who had 19 points and 20 rebounds, dominating the paint, Baptist capitalized by going on an 11-0 run to take a 35-22 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Molloy's fourth-quarter rally was fueled by a pair of sophomores - Guerriero, who scored a team-high 14 points - and Nicolette Marciniak, who had a breakout second half in the low post. "I think Nicole really showed some passion in the way she wants to play the game and that's going to help us next year," said interim Molloy coach Dom Cecala. Although the Stanners lose Manhattan-bound Kerri White and forward Molly Dreyer, who will play at Molloy College, there are six talented sophomores returning, as well as junior Shannon LaVelle to go along with Elizabeth Lynch and the rest of the talented junior varsity team that won the city title. "They have a lot of talent," said White, who was held to just two fourth-quarter free throws. "They're great and they work hard, all of them. They're going to get better every year."Reach Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

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