Bishop Loughlin’s late-season struggles continue.
Second-seeded Loughlin again played behind and was unable to recover. It dropped its third-straight game in a 52–38 defeat at the hands of No. 3 Archbishop Molloy in the Brooklyn-Queens Division I girls’ basketball semifinals at St. Francis Prep on Feb. 26.
Loughlin ended the regular season with lopsided losses to Long Island Lutheran and Christ the King.
“We played like we are,” said Lions coach Chez Williams. “We are young.”
Things need to improve quickly, because Loughlin’s next defeat would be its last with the Catholic Class AA state playoffs starting on March 10.
“It’s been really tough,” said senior guard Kiana Clark. “We stopped playing together and I don’t know why. That’s what’s hurting us right now.”
Loughlin, which saw star Milicia Reid battle foul trouble, found itself down 11–0 to start the contest. Post Zaria Dorsey, Reid, and Clark got Loughlin within 19–12 midway through the third quarter, but watched Molloy execute well offensively.
Stanners forward Emily Peckham scored 11 of her 13 points in the second quarter to help Molloy (20–6) go up 30–16 at the break.
Coach Williams believes his young team is learning the hard way the need to take its game to another level in the post season. Clark scored 13 points and Reid added nine.
Loughlin’s intensity and camaraderie need to improve. He doesn’t feel the early expectations for his players were too high, but said they need to learn to handle themselves better in big situations.
“I think everything was realistic,” he said. “The bottom line is, this is different. We thought it was going to be the way it way before, but the playoffs are different.”
Loughlin (19–6) got as close 42–34 with 3:01 left to go in the game on a layup by Dorsey. Its pressure defense was finally forcing Molloy mistakes, but Skydajah Patterson was called for a technical foul after a shove. Molloy’s Aryn McClure, who had 13 points, made two free throws to put her team back up 10, and the Stanners never looked back.
Williams still has faith that his team can turn things around and make a run in the Catholic state tournament. He called the loss a minor setback for a major comeback — and his players agree.
“I’m confident,” Clarke said. “I think this is what we needed to motivate us more.”