NEW YORK, N.Y. - With their two high-profile players in Cole Anthony and Moses Brown, the Archbishop Molloy Stanners possessed the better players. But after being led by five players in double figures, the Long Island Lutheran Crusaders stunned Molloy 77-67, showing them that they were the better team in the opening match of the SNY Invitational Friday evening.
"We are trying to make strides as a program," said LuHi coach John Buck. "We had some great wins but on a stage like this against a city power like [Molloy] we wanted to show that we could come and compete with the best of them"
Despite Anthony's 15 first half points, the Crusaders took charge in the second quarter by exasperating the McDonalds' All-American Brown offense, holding him to one basket in the first half.
An 8-0 run midway through gave Lu-Hi an early six-point lead and they never looked back as went into intermission with a 32-23 lead.
LuHi guard Frankie Policelli led the way for the Crusaders, scoring 11 of his 16 points in the first half.
The Crusaders made it their mission to close out Brown and successfully did by holding him to seven points and 10 rebounds. "Coach John Buck, I salute him. He came out with a great plan to stop Moses and he did really good job," said Molloy guard Anthony. "It was hard for me to get him the ball and hard in general."
LuHi came out of the half clicking and kept giving the Queens powerhouse, Molloy, their best punch. The collective bunch of Crusaders applied pressure to the Stanners defense with scoring form all places.
"We overcame a lot of turnovers by everyone coming out and making plays," said Buck. "It's very hard to guard us because we have so many guys who could do something."
Tyson Etienne tied for a team-high in scoring with 16 points, Tykei Greene had 14 points, and Donatas Kupsas also chipped in with 12 points. Andre Curbelo also came in off the bench to pour in 16 points.
Down double digits in the fourth, Molloy's star point guard, Anthony, unleashed a barrage of three pointers in a comeback attempt that brought his team within seven. But LuHi spoiled the moment, as the Crusaders knocking down free throws to close out the win.
"I was thinking I need to do anything I can to get my team into the game," said Anthony, who had a game high 34 points and 10 rebounds. "If it means with a steal, rebound, bucket it doesn't matter, I was trying to get my team back in the game."
"One of my coaches tried to be him in practice but you can't replicate how fast and explosive he is," Buck said of Anthony. "He's a tremendous player; I'm just glad we got the win."
LuHi will face the winner of Hudson Catholic and Cardinal Hayes in the SNY Invitational championship at 4 p.m. on Saturday