Molloy girls capture 1st CHSAA state championship

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His team was 60 seconds away from making history and the most excited person on the bench for the Molloy girls’ basketball team was Marty Towey.

In fact, in the closing seconds of its 52-35 victory over Notre Dame in the state CHSAA Class C championship game Sunday at St. John’s University, the Stanners coach had to tell his players to get up and cheer for their first title in only their second year of varsity basketball.

“I’m elated, but I don’t think the kids realize what they’ve done. To have it done so early is great,” Towey said. “I’m tickled pink.”

Molloy (21-8) advances to the state Federation ‘C’ championship game to face South Seneca (Section V) Saturday at 11:45 a.m. at the Glens Falls Civic Center. South Seneca (26-2) defeated East Rockaway, 66-31, in the state public school championship in Troy, N.Y.

“It always hits me later, but this was big,” said Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, who led Molloy with 10 points, 6 assists, 6 rebounds and 5 steals. “We were pretty excited [in the locker room]. We were just trying to be cool [on the court].”

Gold-Onwude’s maturation on the court is a major reason the Stanners are heading for Glens Falls. Earlier in the year the talented 5-foot-10 sophomore would drive through the lane with reckless abandon, often getting called for offensive fouls.

Against Notre Dame (18-11), Gold-Onwude got into the lane, but when the Gators collapsed to defend her, she alertly kicked the ball out to the wings where Annamarie Ciorciari (12 points) and Jessica McEntee (6 points) knocked down long-range jumpers or found Jennifer Kelleher (9 points, 9 rebounds) in the paint.

“We tried to pick up charges, but she was splitting and dishing,” said Notre Dame coach Maureen Hannafin. “Roz is going to get her points, but we couldn’t let the role players hurt us.”

Molloy led 13-9 at the end of the first quarter and 27-15 at halftime and extended its lead in the opening five minutes of the third quarter to 35-20 on a Kelleher putback.

“The first five minutes of the third quarter were the most important, we didn't want to let them back in the game,” Towey said. “Jen Kelleher and E.J. Dwyer’s putbacks were huge, we wouldn’t let them get back in the game.”

Notre Dame cut the Stanners’ lead to 10 on a putback by Christine Trezza (12 points), but the Stanners responded with a 10-0 run, capped by a pair of free throws by Kerri-Ann Jetter to go up by 20, 47-27 with 3:03 left in the game.

“We usually pick up our game in the third quarter,” Ciorciari said. “We feel more confident after halftime and everyone plays as a team because everyone talks.”

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

Updated 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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