Stanners led by Gallagher

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Nothing could stop Archbishop Molloy’s Carolyn Gallagher — not even a foot injury.

Despite missing nearly an entire quarter, the junior still led the Stanners with 19 points in their 50-40 victory over Spotswood (Va.) at the third annual Under Armour Girls High School Basketball Classic Saturday morning at St. John the Baptist in West Islip, L.I.

“I think we all played really well,” said Gallagher. “We were playing a really good team and I’m just proud we played our hardest. We came out in the beginning and played our best.”

Gallagher took the event to showcase her leadership skills. Seconds after scoring on a jump shot, Gallagher went up for a rebound and lost her balance, rolling her left ankle midway through the third quarter.

“I went up for a rebound and I landed badly on my left foot,” Gallagher said. “It’s not that bad, but it just hurts a little bit.”

The injury didn’t keep her sidelined for too long as she returned with a little over two minutes left in the fourth. Gallagher didn’t miss a step as she put up five points in that span.

Molloy took the lead early. With 4:25 remaining in the first quarter, Kamille Ejerta’s three-pointer gave the Stanners a 9-8 edge. Molloy would never trail again.

Ejerta’s presence was felt throughout the game as she hit three three-pointers and scored 13 points.

Molloy (2-0) dominated the second quarter, only allowing four points from Spotswood and taking a 31-16 halftime lead.

“I feel good about the win,” Molloy first-year Coach Scott Lagas said. “I feel better about where we are with our energy and our enthusiasm. Being a new coach with a new system has been a little bit of an adjustment for everyone, but we’re starting to build and get it.”

Spotswood went on a 6-0 and later a 7-0 run in the third quarter, but Molloy was able to respond without giving up the lead. The Stanners would then fend off Spotswood in the fourth to pull away with the victory.

“From the very first day that I’ve been here we’ve pushed hard and talked about mental toughness,” Lagas said. “I contribute a lot of today’s success to their mental toughness. They work hard at practice every day and even when [Spotswood] made their run we were able to stop them. I’ve been blessed to get this job and have a player like Carolyn. She stepped up as a leader.”

Even though it wasn’t a league game, Molloy, which won the New York Federation Class A title last year, knows it beat a team that has gone to the state final the previous two years and also posted a 48-8 record while doing so.

“It’s a really big confidence booster for us,” Gallagher said. “We just set the bar for our team going forward and that’s how we’re going to need to play every single game, especially in league games.”

Updated 1:10 am, December 8, 2011
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