Molloy Advances to Semi-Finals
By Nick Crispino
In a tightly contested East Coast Conference playoff game, the third-seeded Molloy Lions ended the sixth-seeded Queens College season in a 69-58 win on March 5, at the Quealy Gymnasium in Rockville Centre N.Y. Sophomore guard Brandon Williams career-high and game-high 19 points helped advance the Lions to the semi-finals of the tournament and they will be competing against University of Bridgeport on March 7 in Bridgeport Connecticut. "We worked hard tonight, it was a great team effort against a really good Queens team," said head coach Charles Marquardt after the game.
Williams started a fire as soon as the game started, scoring 7 of the Lions first 12 points and finishing the half with 12 points on 4-7 shooting. "It was a big game, I'm proud of my team for sticking through it," said Williams after the game. "Queens can be a real rowdy team and they tried to get in our heads but we wouldn't let them." Both teams provided enough energy that neither squad took a commanding lead in the first 20-minutes of the game. The Lions made a strong push with a minute to go after being tied at 26-26.
A steal by senior forward John Petrucelli and a block by junior forward Richard Zoller lead to a 5-points off turnovers at the end of the first half. That momentum carried over into the second half of the contest, as the Lions never lost the lead. Queens did threaten the Lions on several runs but great transition play and proficient shooting by Molloy took any momentum out of their rivals. Talking about the transition offense, coach Marquardt said, "I thought we needed that tempo, If we played slower it would have worked into their [Queens] favor."
The Lions shot 41.2% from the field while successfully hitting 9-three pointers and staying hot at the foul line. Molloy went a marvelous 18-for-19 from the foul line and 8-for-8 in the final few possessions of the game. What makes the win even more impressive is the fact that East Coast Player of the Year, Petrucelli, had an off night scoring the ball. Collecting 14 points on 4-of-15 shooting, Petrucelli still had a strong presence in the game. The senior finished with 14 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and a block. Freshman guard Jaylen Morris also scored in double digits, finishing with 13 points and 3-for-5 from the three-point line.
"It was great to have a home game for the fans here, and a great send off to both our senior's, John [Petrucelli] and Tyler [Hammett]," said Director of Athletics, Susan Cassidy-Lyke. The successful conquest of Queens marked the ninth win in a row at home for the mighty Lions. If the Lions continue their successful play, they can potentially end up hosting the ECC Championship on Sunday, March 9, at Quealy Gymnasium.