After finishing up their varsity basketball tenures at Archbishop Molloy H.S., Briarwood, three seniors on the Lady Stanners team will be continuing their playing careers in college.
Forward Carolyn Gallagher and guards Amani Tatum and Alexa Dietrich have all signed National Letters of Intent to play at the next level starting this fall.
The trio has guided Molloy to a 9-2 record through the team’s first 11 games, including a 3-0 record in CHSAA Division I play, which has placed the Lady Stanners atop the conference.
“They work very well together,” said second-year Molloy Head Coach Scott Lagas, who spent seven seasons as the first women’s assistant coach at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University, Brookville, L.I. “They complement each other very well.”
Tatum joined the varsity squad as a freshman, while Gallagher and Dietrich made the team as sophomores in 2010. That season, the team won the ‘A’ Division city championship. They’ve built strong chemistry together on the court not only at Molloy but also playing together with the New York City Bulldogs summer team.
“They make winning easy,” Gallagher said of her teammates. “They’re really good players, and they’re really great friends.”
Gallagher, a 2012 Tablet Division I First Team All-Star, is one the team’s co-captains. She lives in Manhattan, where she attends the Church of the Blessed Sacrament.
“Carolyn is just an absolute scorer,” Lagas said. “She can find any way to score. She can shoot, and she can take it off the dribble.”
In September, Gallagher committed to playing basketball at Columbia University, Manhattan, which is just 40 blocks from her home. She said she’s excited for the opportunity to attend an Ivy League institution.
“Education is basically my top priority, as well as basketball obviously,” she said. “But I went to Columbia because it is such a good school, and I’m just really excited to be going to such an amazing, prestigious school and start my future.”
Tatum is also a co-captain for the Lady Stanners and was selected to The Tablet’s 2012 Division I All-Star Second Team. The Cambria Heights native played solely against boys until eighth grade, which helped develop her game.
“Amani is just an all-around great player,” Lagas said. “She’s improved her jump shot a lot, and she’s a great defender and definitely a leader.”
Tatum was recruited by a number of Division I colleges, and she ultimately decided that James Madison University (JMU), Harrisonburg, Va., was the best fit.
“It wasn’t just the coaches,” she said of choosing JMU. “It was spending time with the team, and interacting with them was one of the biggest things. Before I got on the plane back to New York, I had made my decision.”
Tatum said the whole process was arduous – and even frustrating at times – but she’s excited to continue her education and basketball career at the next level.
“I couldn’t be more proud,” she said. “I’m doing it for my mom and dad most of all. Being able to show them that I made it this far, not a lot of people have this opportunity.”
Dietrich, Tatum’s fellow guard, hails from Ridgewood, where she attends St. Matthias parish. She said she loves the adrenaline of playing basketball, especially with her two close friends.
“We push each other so hard on and off the court,” Dietrich said. “I’m just so glad that I’ve gotten to be friends and play basketball with them.”
Dietrich will be suiting up for Division II Pace University, Pleasantville, N.Y., in the fall.
“When I visited, right away the coaches gave me a great vibe,” she said. “I liked the team right away, and they need a new guard so I think I’ll be a good fit there. The team all seemed like it was a family.”
Lagas described Dietrich as a stifling defensive player who also gets her teammates involved on offense.
“Alexa is very good with the ball and probably the best defender not only our team, but I’d say she’s the best defender in the league without a doubt,” the coach said.
These three players have led the Lady Stanners mainly by their actions and have set a positive example for the team’s three juniors and two sophomores. In addition to these three, several of the team’s other seniors, including guard Daniela Arias and forwards Jessie Jamin and Patti Dorgler are receiving interest from local Division II and Division III colleges.
Even though Gallagher, Tatum and Dietrich have their sights set on their futures in college, they are still committed to bringing a ‘AA’ city championship to Molloy.
“We still have big things to do here,” Dietrich said. “We want to go out with a bang. I think we can win it this year if we keep working hard and playing the way we are.”
With this trio leading the way, Molloy will be a difficult matchup in the upcoming CHSAA playoffs.