Stanners seeking solid season

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If sharing is caring, then Archbishop Molloy is one considerate group of Stanners.

Gone is that go-to scorer Molloy has had the last three years. Last season it was Ernest Rouse, who averaged 21.9 points per game. Before that was Russ Smith, who never met a shot he didn’t like.

But that changes this year.

“I love how we share the ball and everyone loves playing with each other,” said Chris Garcia, a co-captain and one of four seniors. “We all make the extra pass to make sure we get a higher percentage shot than the previous one.”

Garcia, a 6-foot-3 swingman, is one of two returning starters, joining fellow basketball captain Chris Dorgler, a 6-foot-3 swingman who will likely play inside because of the Stanners’ lack of height.

“Last year, Ernest was kind of the guy, but this year both me and Chris have to take charge of the team,” said Dorgler, who has verbally committed to the College of Saint Rose. “At the start, it seemed we might not have the chemistry we had last year, but the first couple of scrimmages we’re really looking like a team.”

That comes from playing a team concept of basketball.

“We distribute it better,” legendary Molloy coach Jack Curran said. “A couple of guys can score.”

One of those players is junior guard Mark Parisi. He’s joined in the backcourt by senior Tourron Whitfield and junior George Davis, who will be the team’s starting point guard and defensive catalyst.

“We’re stressing defense and playing hard,” Curran said. “If George keeps pressure on the ball, we’re pretty good.”

Among the key newcomers is Chris Giles, who will be Davis’ backup at the point, and forward Marko Kozul, one of three sophomores who should see playing time this year.

“He’s aggressive, a rebounder, he’s not afraid to shoot it and he runs the floor,” Curran said of Kozul. “He’s much better than we thought he’d be at this stage.”

Joining Kozul in the frontcourt is 6-foot-5 Steven Kelly, who needs to be more aggressive on the boards, according to Curran. The rebounding, much like the scoring, will be shared this year.

“Rebounding is a concern,” he said. “Marko will rebound some, Steven Kelly doesn’t rebound enough. We have to have collective rebounding.”

One player who is not on varsity — at least not right away — is C.J. Davis. The highly touted freshman guard started the preseason with the varsity squad, but it was decided Davis was better off cutting his basketball teeth on the lower level.

Coming off an 11-16 season, which ended with a loss to eventual champion Christ the King in the CHSAA Class AA intersectional quarterfinals, the Stanners are once again underdogs. That’s fine with Dorgler and Garcia. If Molloy proved anything last year in wins over Christ the King and St. Raymond’s, it’s that the Stanners can’t be overlooked.

“I love going into the season as an underdog,” Garcia said. “Everyone counts us out, but I don’t see any reason why we can’t compete with anyone and beat anyone in our league.”

Added Dorgler: “On any given night, we can beat any team. Last year we showed it and now everyone believes it.”

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