Cole Anthony led a 16-6 run by Archbishop Molloy to close the first half, as the Stanners took control and topped Bishop Loughlin 80-67 in the CHSAA Brooklyn-Queens Final in Middle Village on Friday night. Anthony scored 11 of Molloy's 16 points during the pivotal run, and he finished with a game-high 31 points in a superb offensive performance for the Stanners.
Loughlin, coming off a double overtime win against Christ the King on Wednesday night, had enough offensive punch to stay in the game in the second half, but they struggled to get stops against a razor sharp Molloy offense, which kept the Lions from posing a serious threat to the Stanners' lead.
It was a seesaw battle early, as Loughlin tied the score twice on baskets by Justin Champangie and Markquis Nowell, and the Lions took a 10-6 lead on Tyrese Gaffney's 4-point play with 4:24 left in the opening quarter. Molloy regained the lead at 11-10 after a dunk by Moses Brown and a deep 3-pointer by Anthony, and Loughlin called for time after the Stanners stretched it to 13-10 on another dunk by Brown, this one off a feed from John Herring. Nowell's 3-pointer brought the Lions within a point at 14-13, but a pair of freebies by Anthony and a putback by Khalid Moore gave Molloy an 18-13 lead at the end of the first.
Jade Tse's 3-pointer gave Molloy a 21-15 advantage, and a bucket by Brown off an Anthony assist made it 23-17 with 6:18 left in the second quarter. Loughlin answered with six straight, trimming it to 23-22 on a Nowell 3-pointer and tying the score at 23 on a free throw by Gaffney at the 4:51 mark. Molloy had a setback when Brown took a seat after picking up his second foul early in the quarter, but the Stanners still managed an 8-0 run that started with a 3-pointer by Jackson Vertucci and ended with Anthony's 3-point play on a drive down the middle of the lane, giving Molloy a 31-23 lead with 3:44 left in the half. Champangie scored the last six points of the half for Loughlin, but Anthony continued to step up for the Stanners, scoring six of Molloy's last eight in the second frame, making it 39-29 at the break.
Loughlin narrowed the margin to 42-36 early in the third, but a dunk by Brown and a 3-pointer by Anthony made it 47-36 Molloy, and Loughlin called another timeout after Herring's basket made it 49-36 with 4:28 remaining in the third. Loughlin answered with a 3-point play by Champangie, but the Lions were unable to cut the margin to single digits. A follow-up slam by Keith Williams made it 51-41, but Anthony awed the crowd with a soaring one-handed dunk on the ensuing possession to put Molloy back ahead by 12 at 53-41. A double clutch by Williams made it a ten point game again at 53-43, but the Lions continued to trade baskets. Moore's baseline dunk put Molloy in front 58-45, and Loughlin countered with a 3-pointer by Adrien Nunez, bringing the lead back to ten at 58-48 to close the third.
The Stanners pushed the margin to 66-50 after Brown's spin in the lane and a left-handed finish by Anthony, but Loughlin cut it to 66-54 after a drive by Nowell and a bucket by Williams. Molloy continued to click on offense, and Moore's 3-pointer gave the Stanners a 73-56 advantage with just 3:35 to play. Molloy's lead swelled to 78-59 after Brown's bucket with 1:33 left, and late baskets by Loughlin made it an 80-67 final.
Brown (17 points) and Moore (15 points) complimented Anthony's command performance for Molloy, while Williams finished with 18 points, Nowell 17 and Champangie 15 for Loughlin.
Both teams will have a week to rest before the CHSAA Intersectional Quarterfinals at Fordham next Sunday.