When Archbishop Molloy's boys basketball team heads back to Queens, N.Y., after this weekend's Gonzaga/D.C. Classic, chances are Washington Catholic Athletic Conference foes will not be disappointed. Last night at Bender Arena, senior forward James Hauser scored a game-high 18 points, and 6-foot-7, 240-pound junior center Wendell Gibson grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked four shots to lead Molloy to a 54-36 semifinal victory over No. 18 Gonzaga.
Molloy will play nationally ranked Roman Catholic of Philadelphia in today's championship game at 7:15 p.m. Roman Catholic defeated Loughlin of Brooklyn, 69-65, earlier in double overtime. Gonzaga will play Bishop Loughlin in the third-place game at 5:30.
"We wanted to come down here and show we've got the best team," Hauser said. "Everyone played hard and that was it."
Molloy (6-1) broke open the game with a 15-0 run over nearly six minutes to take a commanding 29-11 advantage with 7 minutes 3 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Gonzaga (6-3) went 5:44 without a point.
"We had some excellent looks and the ball wasn't going in," Gonzaga Coach Dick Myers said. "We were very tentative at the beginning and we paid the price. Eleven points in a half is extremely difficult to come back from. Especially against a team like that."
Earlier in the afternoon, McNamara senior center Maurice Young scored 28 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked 3 shots, and freshman Abdi Lidonde missed a potential game-tying three-pointer with two seconds remaining to give the Mustangs a 63-62 victory over St. Andrew's of Barrington, R.I., in the losers' bracket.
McNamara (6-2) will play Westbury Christian (12-2) of Houston today at 3:45 in the fifth-place game. St. Andrew's (6-4) will play Spalding (4-3) of Anne Arundel at 2 p.m in the seventh-place game.
McNamara led, 63-60, with six seconds remaining when St. Andrew's senior guard Eric Mack changed his mind in mid-air and passed despite being open from behind the three-point arc. Junior guard Neil Watson stole the ball under the basket and was immediately fouled.
"I was just making sure I boxed out and I guess I made the stop," Watson said. "I couldn't believe it. I thought he was going to put that in for sure."
After Watson missed both free throws on the other end, Lidonde had a chance to tie, but his desperation attempt from 30-feet banged off the backboard. Junior center Demetrius DeJesus laid in the rebound as time expired for the final margin.
Notes: Eddie Griffin, a 6-9 forward, who unofficially committed to play at Seton Hall, made 5 of 6 free throws in the final 30 seconds of the second overtime and scored a game-high 30 points to lead Roman Catholic, which overcame a 13-point second half deficit.