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Sophomore guard takes Molloy lead

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Gabe Kilpatrick didn’t play a ton of minutes during the regular season. Legendary Archbishop Molloy Coach Jack Curran has always had a penchant for playing his seniors and upperclassmen, the ones who have been there before, over young players.

Kilpatrick, a sophomore, was a victim of the numbers game then. But not Sunday.

The 6-foot-2 guard had a season-high 18 points to help lead Molloy to a 73-47 win over Fordham Prep in a CHSAA Class AA intersectional outbracket game Sunday at Holy Cross HS in Flushing. He stretched the defense with a pair of three-pointers and was effective putting the ball in the basket — something the Stanners (15-11) have struggled with this season.

Curran vowed that Kilpatrick’s time riding the pine is over as long as Molloy remains alive in these playoffs.

“We need him,” Curran said. “We need him to score.”

Kilpatrick was modest when asked if he felt his presence and scoring ability could give the team a lift in the postseason. He said the key is just the whole team playing well and together. Fellow sophomore guard C.J. Davis, one of the top players in the city in his class, wasn’t bashful about how important his teammate is.

“He’s not deferring to anybody anymore,” Davis said. “He’s actually shooting it.”

Davis ended up with 21 points and five assists against Fordham Prep (6-19). Marko Kozul had 12 points and Morrell Gaskins was big down low with 12 rebounds and five blocks. Brian Kruger, a dead-eye shooter who Curran also lauded for his importance, added nine points on three three-pointers.

Davis and Kilpatrick might be sophomores, but they’ve played the whole season. They can no longer be viewed as rookies to varsity; perhaps they’re starting to click at the right time now.

“I think we’ve learned a lot through the whole season,” Kilpatrick said. “I think we’re a little more mature, a little more experienced.”

Curran, in his 54th season on the bench, admitted Kilpatrick didn’t get as much playing time as he might have needed, because Molloy went with the upperclassmen on the floor first. He’ll be a fixture, the coach said, from here on out.

Fordham, which has some young players of its own, was led by sophomore Jarred Moorer (13 points) and senior Jack Becker (8 points). Coach Kevin Pigott said he’s excited moving forward with players like Moorer, an athletic big man who also plays football, and wouldn’t mind giving the ‘AA’ another try next year with a more experienced team.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Pigott said. “I think the kids are looking forward to it.”

Molloy, though, has the present to look forward to. The Stanners are alive in this ‘AA’ draw.

“We would like to get them to at least the quarterfinals and than anything can happen,” Curran said.

The players are hoping for such an opportunity. Davis said Molloy’s doubters have gotten him and his teammates motivated. The good news for the Stanners is they avoid powerhouse teams like Cardinal Hayes, Christ the King and St. Raymond until the semifinals. The bad news is that St. Peter’s has been tough on every team it has played this year.

“I think we can go far in these playoffs,” Kilpatrick said.

Updated 5:47 pm, February 29, 2012
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