BY ALBERT ROMAN
Archbishop Molloy’s varsity basketball team edged out Christ the King 68-66 on Senior Night.
Junior Khalid Moore led the Stanners to victory with a team-leading 20 points. Senior John Herring added 17 points, while Royals senior Jose Alvarado led all scorers with 27 points.
The matchup between the two heavy weight Catholic High School Athletic Association teams featured star-studded names. Molloy junior Moses Brown and former NBA player Greg Anthony’s son, sophomore Cole Anthony, are ranked in ESPN’s Top 100 recruiting database. Brown is ranked number six in the class of 2018, while Anthony ranks at 17 in the class of 2019. Christ the King featured 2016’s New York City Catholic High School Player of the Year— Alvarado.
Throughout the game, there were 11 lead changes and seven ties. Christ the King did a solid job guarding seven-foot-one-inch center Brown and Anthony as both came into the game averaging 20 points per game and were limited to a combined 24 points.
Moore opened the game with a three-point jump shot. The Stanners put up points in a hurry, building a 17-5 lead. Consecutive layups by Alvarado and sophomore Jaylen Davis began to trim the deficit. The Royals closed out the first quarter on a 6-0 run and trailed, 17-12.
Christ the King continued to climb back as Alvarado hit a three pointer to open the second period. Sophomore Kofi Cockburn’s dunk with 6:06 remaining in the quarter sent the crowd into a roar as he drew a foul. He went on to make the free throw putting the Royals behind by one. Moore quickly responded with a layup and also drew a foul.
Alvarado sank two consecutive three pointers to give the Royals their first lead of the game, 25-24, causing Molloy to call a timeout. A pair of free throws and consecutive layups by Herring put Molloy back in front. As the quarter wound down, the Royals fouled Moore on a three-point attempt, earning him three free throws. He went on to make all three. Sophomore Jaylen Davis proceeded to hit a three at the buzzer to cut the Royals’ deficit to one. They trailed 35-34 at halftime.
Molloy opened the third frame with a layup by Brown. Alvarado’s assist to sophomore Jared Harrison-Hunte and a Cockburn dunk again gave the Royals a one-point advantage. Consecutive free throws by Anthony gave the lead back to Molloy, a lead they would secure through the third with the help of a block by Moore to end the quarter.
In the fourth, the game was tied three times before Herring put Molloy in front with a pair of free throws, 59-57. The teams continued to trade layups and free throws. The Royals trailed by three when Alvarado drove to the lane and spun around defenders, scoring a layup off the glass with 54.1 seconds. Molloy called a timeout.
As time wound down, Moore missed a three pointer and Anthony collected an offensive rebound and passed it out to junior Jade Tse, who proceeded to draw an intentional foul.
He made the first free throw and missed the second. Anthony grabbed his second consecutive offensive rebound, forcing the Royals to foul again.
Moore followed his teammate and only made one of two free throws, giving the Stanners a 66-63 advantage with 20.7 seconds remaining on the clock. Sophomore Phillps Joseph then nailed a wide-open three with 12.5 seconds to tie the game at 66.
After a Molloy timeout, Anthony drove to the basket and drew a foul on junior Tyson Walker with .9 seconds remaining in the game.
He sunk both free throws to give Molloy the lead, 68-66. As Christ the King attempted to inbound the ball for a full court shot, the ball hit the celling causing a Royals’ turnover. In the fourth, the Stanners scored 10 of their 18 from the free throw line.
Prior to the game, the Royals honored senior players and their families in the final regular season home game of their careers.
The Stanners conclude their season with a 17-7 record, while the Royals posted a 16-8 record. Both teams finished in the Top 10 of Class AA and await their playoff matchups.