Division 4 boys basketball: Jesse Molin hits 1,000-point milestone as Granby beats Smith Vocational, 97-40
GAZETTE FILE PHOTO Jesse Molin, of Granby, scored the 1,000th point of his career against Smith Vocational Tuesday. Purchase photo reprints »
GRANBY — Two quarters after Granby junior Jesse Molin checked off one of his basketball bucket list items, the path to another became clearer.
Molin scored 35 points to surpass the 1,000th career point milestone and lead the No. 3 Rams onwards in the Western Massachusetts Division 4 Tournament with a 97-40 win over No. 14 Smith Vocational on Tuesday. The Rams (17-4) will host No. 6 Hopkins (13-8) in the quarterfinals on Friday.
“When you’re really little, you don’t really think about winning Western Mass. You kind of think about scoring and getting on the 1,000-point banner, but now my goal has changed,” Molin said. “I just want to win Western Mass., and now that I’m a junior it’s really sinking in that I only have this year, and without Corey (Baker) next year, it’s only going to be tougher.”
Baker added 24 points as the two combined for 59 points, enough for the win alone.
The Rams were knocked out of last year’s playoffs in their first game after earning a bye to the quarterfinals as the No. 2 seed. Coach Tim Sheehan didn’t want to see the same thing happen, nor have Molin’s accomplishment and a 57-point blowout get in his players’ heads, fogging the road ahead.
“I think this is win No. 34 over the last two years and almost 50 over the last three, we just haven’t accomplished anything,” Rams coach Tim Sheehan said. “Winning games means nothing in the regular season. Your inevitable goal is to get a shot playing at the (Curry Hicks) Cage. If we don’t win on Friday, it’s another missed opportunity.”
Molin entered the night needing 29 points for the milestone. He scored at least 30 points three times during the regular season and once he got rolling, he accomplished the deed just before halftime.
“Anytime anyone can score a 1,000 points, I don’t care what year you’re at, that’s a lot of points and that means your playing a lot, so you’re doing something right,” Sheehan said. “If that’s the way he wants to shoot the ball in the first half, 12 of 18 in the field in the first half, I’ll take that any time.”
Molin missed his first three attempts before nailing a 3-pointer to put Granby up 15-6 with 3:47 left in the first. From there he rolled, contributing eight points on a 12-8 run to close the quarter and give the Rams a 27-15 lead.
“It was definitely nerves and I was getting a little frustrated too,” Molin said.
Molin opened the second quarter with seven points — two at the stripe, a layup and a 3 — to push the lead out to 34-19 with 6:16 left on the clock. Baker followed a Damon Soto layup with six straight points in less than 30 seconds for the Rams, forcing Smith Vocational to call a timeout with 5:26 to play.
The stop didn’t slow Molin, as he hit another 3-pointer 22 seconds later to put him eight away from the milestone and put the Rams ahead 43-17.
Molin hit a second 3 to go up 50-17 with 3:56 left in the half. He missed a third trey before sinking a floater to move within one possession of 1,000 points.
With 1:58 on the clock, Molin couldn’t get beyond the arc to hit the mark, opting for a field goal two steps in and a 58-17 lead.
After an Anthony Karch jumper, Molin settled into the deep right corner, waited for the ball and put up his fourth 3-pointer of the quarter to grab career points 1,000, 1,001 and 1,002 and a 61-20 lead with 1:05 on the clock.
“Once I made a couple 3s, it was like throwing a peanut in the ocean, it was awesome,” Molin said. “Especially with the crowd going crazy, one of the best moments of my life.”
The Vikings (10-10) followed with hit two shots from the line to trail 61-22 at halftime.
Sheehan left his starters in to open the second half. Molin hit a free throw and a final 3 before leaving for good with 4:29 left in the third, leading 71-24.
With the bench in the game, the Rams look an 80-29 lead into the fourth, where the Vikings played a closer quarter, putting up 11 points, with seven from Karch.
“I was trying to be respectful, but we’ve still got to play,” Sheehan said. “It’s a tournament game, so you never want to let up because you never know what can happen.”
Soto had 15 points, while Karch added 11 for Smith Voke. It was the final game for seniors Karch, Robert O’Brien, Shawn Wackerbarth, Kenny Casagrande and Peter Morales.