Without its McDonald's All-American and main scoring threat, Sylven Landesberg, the Knights were a last second lay-up away from upsetting the deep and talent-laden Gauchos.
However, an acrobatic scoop lay up from Molloy's Russ Smith gave the Gauchos Black an 84-83 victory on Thursday evening at the iS8/Nike Spring High School Classic.
The opening quarter was a chippie one for both squads, as a total of four technical fouls were handed out for trash talking between the two teams. Holy Cross senior Blaise Ffrench provided much of the scoring punch for the Knights. However the Gauchos backcourt attack gave them a first quarter lead, as the junior guard Smith drained a deep three pointer with six seconds left in the first quarter to give the Gauchos a 19-16 lead.
Along with Smith, Bishop Loughlin sophomore Doron Lamb attacked the Knights off the dribble as well as from the perimeter. The highly touted guard tallied 15 points in the opening half, as both teams went into the second half with the score tied 38-38. Smith, whom scored 8 points in the first 16 minutes of play, complimented Lamb's 15 points. The Knights were led by the Holy Cross duo of Ffrench with 8 points and Ernest Freeman with 6 points.
Christ the King senior wing Anthony Martin opened the second half by connecting on two long range jump shots for the Knights, while 6'8" Campus Magnet forward Kyle O'Quinn controlled the paint defensively for the Knights. Bishop Loughlin forward Trevon Hamlet would step his gave up and become a workhorse underneath for the Gauchos. The Knights were able to hang around throughout the third quarter, as a dunk from the forward Freeman with four seconds left in the third session cut the Gaucho lead to 64-62.
Both teams would remain neck and neck on the scoreboard inside the Queens gym throughout the fourth quarter. The Knights would take a brief lead after senior guard Kayvon Roberts knocked down a jump shot to give his team a 72-70 advantage.
With 45 seconds left, the guard Smith connected on a three pointer to give the Gauchos and 82-81 lead. However, the UTEP-bound Ffrench would answer right back with a lay-up with 20 seconds left to give the Knights an 83-82 lead. The Gauchos would hold the ball for a final shot, and off of a miss, Molloy's smith gathered the ball about four feet from the basket and scooped the ball under-handed which dropped through the net as the buzzer sounded to give the Bronx-based team the victory.
The forward Hamlet led the Gauchos with 21 points, while Loughlin teammate Doron Lamb added 20 points for the Gauchos. Kayvon Robert's led the Knights with 21 points in their regular season loss.