Jack Alesi’s mind couldn’t let the third quarter go.
The coach’s No. 4-seeded Xaverian team led No. 1 Archbishop Molloy by seven points at halftime of the diocesan semifinals, but let the game — and a return trip to the final — slipped away. The Stanners dominated the final frame and handed Xaverian a 63–47 loss in the Brooklyn-Queens boys’ basketball semifinals at St. Francis Prep on Feb. 24.
Freshman Stanners guard Cole Anthony shot his team back in it with 11 points in the first three minutes of the third quarter — including a hail of three treys.
The spree came after what Alesi called “a mix-up” between two players — something he wished he had called a time out to correct. Molloy ended up taking a one-point lead in the fourth and never looked back.
“You could see all the air come out of us,” Alesi said.
The Clippers (14–11) were out-scored 23–8 in the fourth.
“I just think we ran out of gas,” Alesi said.
Khalil Rhodes and Nyontay Wisseh led Xaverian with 13 points each, and Jordan Guzman chipped in nine points. Anthony scored 19 of his 23 points in the second half, and Isaac Grant tallied eight of his 16 for Molloy (21–4) in the fourth. Undersized Xaverian wasn’t able to sustain its level of play from the first half, when it benefited from Grant and Stanners center Moses Brown being in foul trouble.
The Clippers will face Mount St. Michael in the second round of the intersectional playoffs on March 2.
“I just think if we didn’t make that mistake, and if we took a lead into the fourth quarter of six, seven, eight, I really think we were going to win the game,” Alesi said.