Gallagher redeems self in tie-break comeback victory

Archbishop Molloy's Carolyn Gallagher scored nine of her 13 points in the fourth quarter in a win over CK. Photo by Denis Gostev
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Following Carolyn Gallagher’s last outing against Christ the King two weeks ago, the junior star had her effort questioned by Molloy Coach Scott Lagas.

“Coach got on me and yelled at me,” she said. “I needed to be yelled at. I just kept thinking, ‘This is our game.’”

For nearly 3 1/2 quarters, it appeared the Stanners were headed for a second-straight loss to the Royals and Gallagher, who was in foul trouble and was in danger of another game held below double digits.

The junior forward changed all of that quickly in an eventual 48-45 win over Christ the King in a CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Division I girls’ basketball third-place tiebreaker last Thursday at Bishop Ford.

“When she goes on a streak it’s very hard to stop her,” Lagas said.

Gallagher scored nine of her 13 points in the fourth quarter, including seven straight following a Kamille Ejerta three-pointer. Molloy (16-8, 8-5) trailed 43-32 after a Rayne Connell layup with 4:23 left in the game. The Stanners proceeded to end the game on a 16-2 run. Sharpshooting sophomore guard Nyasha Irizarry dropped in 13 points, including the go-ahead jumper from the left side with 33.4 seconds remaining.

“They left me open so I was just ready to shoot,” she said. “I was happy it went in.”

Lauren Nuss, CK’s Adelphi-bound guard, came up short on a layup on the ensuing possession. Gallagher calmly made two free throws and Sierra Calhoun (24 points) missed a good look at a three-pointer from the left side in the closing seconds.

Amani Tatum, who was also in foul trouble, scored 12 points for Molloy, which lost 65-55 in Middle Village two weeks ago. CK’s Amanni Fernandez and Kollyns Scarbrough each added five points. Lagas credited reserve guard Sarah Duryea with helping stem the tide into the half with Gallagher and Tatum in foul trouble.

“We knew [shots] had to fall eventually,” Gallagher said. “Thank God they did eventually in the fourth quarter.”

The win gives the Stanners the third seed in the Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan tournament. Molloy can now avoid top-seeded Nazareth until the finals.

“It’s a nice perk,” Lagas said.

Familiar problems arose for the Royals after a dominant third quarter. CK held Molloy to just two points and no field goals in the frame and grabbed a 39-29 lead into the fourth.

There, unforced turnovers were again an issue and for the second straight game there wasn’t a second scorer behind Calhoun. She had a career-high 30 points in a loss to Nazareth Feb. 21 and 22 through three quarters against Molloy.

CK Coach Bob Mackey felt his team stopped playing defense the way it did for three quarters.

“Somebody’s got to step up,” he said. “Someone said it in the locker room, ‘Michael Jordan didn’t win with the Bulls by himself.’ I think Sierra is the best player in the city, but I can’t get anybody to step up and play. I’m annoyed. I feel like I could have done it.”

Gallagher, like she has so many times before, got it done for the Stanners when they needed it most. She turned a game that appeared to be slipping away into an important win.

“I didn’t think the game was not ours,” Irizarry said. “I always thought that we would win the game.”

Posted 5:47 pm, February 29, 2012
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