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White Plains Times;_ Stepinac Basketball

Posted Saturday, February 03, 2007 by White Plains Times

Hayesmen Defeat Stepinac Taylor and Bolding Can't Save CrusadersBy: Albert CoqueranPublished: February 01, 2007
The temperature outside Archbishop Stepinac High School was six degrees on Friday evening, Jan. 262the coldest day of the year in White Plains. Coincidently, the Stepinac basketball team's performance inside the gym could be likened to the frigid artic blast. The Crusaders had an extremely cold shooting first quarter, which determined their fate against Cardinal Hayes High School. The Crusaders lost to the Cardinals, 54-47, in a Catholic High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) game.

At 1:35 in the first quarter, Cardinal Hayes was leading 19-7, and running the Crusaders out of their own gym. The Crusaders recovered slightly and escaped the first period with a 19-11 deficit. Nonetheless, the slow start doomed Stepinac, who lost their second home game this season. "We came out flat. I thought we gave a good effort on defense but we just did not shoot the ball well," stated Head Coach Tim Philp.

Crusaders' prolific point guard junior Tony Taylor has about six colleges seeking his services after he graduates.

Photo credit: Albert CoqueranThe Cardinals were led by junior guard Jeff Paulino who scored 23 points, and center Andy Garcia contributed 13 points. Regardless of Garcia's double-digit scoring, it was his play on defense that was most essential. The Cardinals' center held Stepinac's scoring machine Melquan Bolding to 11 points.

In addition, Bolding's troubles mounted on defense, as he had the tough assignment to defend Garcia. Bolding whistled for three fouls before halftime. "Garcia played pretty good. We could have won, but we shot badly," commented Bolding.
Guard Tony Taylor led Stepinacs's scoring with 14 points and Rick Schmidt added seven points in the lost.

Taylor and Francis Revive Stepinac
When Stepinac hosted St. John's Prep, Sunday, Jan. 28, both the weather and the Crusaders were better than during the Cardinal Hayes game. Taylor scored 29 points and junior forward Corey Francis stepped-up for 23 points, as Stepinac beat St. John's Prep, 86-78. The Crusaders' win over St. John's keeps them in third place in the CHSAA A-North.

Crusaders' "Dynamic Duo"
Since opening in 1948, Archbishop Stepinac High School has been privileged with many outstanding athletes. However, the 2006-07 Crusaders varsity basketball team has two of the best athletes ever to attend the Catholic high school. Juniors Melquan Bolding and Tony Taylor are the "dynamic duo" of Crusaders basketball.

Stepinac's gym is nicknamed "The Jungle."
Bolding, a native of Mt. Vernon, N.Y., is considered one of the best basketball players in Westchester County. His number, 23, on his Crusaders jersey is not merely to recognize him on the court; it is a simile of how well he can play the game. Bolding not only formulates his game like NBA legend Michael Jordan, he runs the floor with the same floating style and posseses that instinctive "Jordan-ian" competitive look in his eyes, projecting that he is on the prowl for competition at all times.

Bolding committed to play college basketball for Louisville University, during a visit to the college in November. "I like the school, I like the program. I love the way they play and I love the idea of playing for [Head Coach] Rick Pitino," said Bolding.

Taylor, from Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., has no less then six colleges, including Hofstra, Yale, Rutgers, Brown and Fordham universities, recruiting him. "I want to get a full Division One scholarship for basketball and then see where that takes me," said Taylor.

Melquan Bolding encountered early foul trouble which sent him to the bench.
Taylor's style of play replicates NBA great Allan Iverson. Taylor is a prolific ball-handler. At only five feet nine inches tall, he ducks his shoulder and drives to the basket with such quickness, he leaves taller forwards and centers on opposing teams standing still watching him score.

Taylor's older brother, Tyrone Carver is the head basketball coach at Mamaroneck High School. His team recently secured a playoff berth in the Section One Class-A Tournament. "Tony is doing phenomenal this year. He did a lot work in the off season to improve his game," said Tyrone.

Stepinac's "dynamic duo" dominates the statistics in the CHSAA A-North. Taylor and Bolding are first and second respectively in scoring in the league, with only tenths of a point separating the two players, at 22 points per game. They also lead the league in points scored (Taylor 352 points), rebounds (Bolding 139), assists (Taylor 90), steals (Bolding 43) and block shots (Bolding nine). "These two guys make our team better and they give Stepinac a lot more recognition," stated Coach Philp. "Bolding is a super athletic. He is very good around the rim. Taylor is a very good young man who has an unbelievable work ethic."

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