On the strength of precocious sophomore Ricky Torres' 18 points and seven rebounds, and 16 points and six rebounds from always steady senior, Syracuse-bound Louie McCroskey (right), St. Raymond's held off Archbishop Molloy 72-65 in a CHSAA road game for the Ravens.
Coach Oliver Antigua's team was without Richmond pledge Daon Merritt, who broke his foot on Monday. Merritt is likely out for the rest of the season.
Ray's dominance on the boards ultimately made the difference, however, as the Ravens out-rebounded Molloy 35-21. Molloy junior guard Sundiatta Gaines, who torched Ray's for 29 points when the teams met at the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at St. John's University earlier this year, was held in check with 14 points and 6 rebounds. Molloy point guard Marlon Smith struggled from the field, managing only 10 points on a 4-15 shooting night.
The Ravens swarming defense, presses, and traps allowed for few open looks for Molloy, who struggled to generate offense throughout. One bright spot for the Stanners was 6'6'' 205 pound senior Ivan Marnika, who helped keep his club close with 15 first half points. Marnika finished with 18 points and seven rebounds, including four three-pointers. He gave St. Raymond's junior Gavin Grant plenty of problems in the first half before Antigua put junior Brian Laing on Marnika in the second half, who put on the clamps.
The explosive Laing tallied 11 points and five rebounds, as well as four dunks. Laing slammed home a McCroskey miss late to help gap the Stanners. A furious fourth quarter push keyed by Gaines brought Molloy to within three, 68-65, with :32 seconds to play, but senior Corey Simmons hit two free throws and senior Tariq Atkins (Iona) hit one of two from the line to extinguish the rally.