Molisani reaches career milestone; Cal-Mum cruises past Keshequa

Vin Molisani had 23 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals in Tuesday’s win over Keshequa. (PHOTO: JOHN LIKANJE)

By JOHN LIKANJE

CALEDONIA, N.Y. – Vin Molisani has been with the Caledonia-Mumford (Cal-Mum) basketball program for nine years. He became a team manager in third grade and immediately made the varsity roster as an eighth grader. Dan Dickens was impressed by Molisani’s skill set at such a young age and believed it could translate to the highest level.

“I knew he could play against bigger, older kids because he always did at my camp and handled himself well,” the Cal-Mum head coach said after an 86-43 win over Keshequa, Tuesday night.

Dickens was right on the money and Molisani’s hard work was recognized Tuesday night: the senior guard became the program’s all-time leading scorer, passing Tim Keeley, who held the record since 1997.

Entering Tuesday’s contest, Molisani was four points away from the milestone. Despite everyone in the gym being aware of this, the Red Raiders played their usual game, swinging the ball around for the best shot while forcing turnovers and missed shots with a full-court press.

Molisani made his first basket a minute into the game on a fastbreak layup off a turnover. The senior guard was fouled driving to the basket and connected on 1-of-2 foul shots to tie the record.

Then, Molisani received the ball and bulldozed to the hoop again, but was short on his layup attempt. Despite the senior guard getting three more cracks on the same possession, the ball refused to roll through the net. The crowd reacted with each shot, bursting with anticipation.

Finally, off a missed field goal, Noah Carnes pushed the ball down the court and kicked it out to Kyle Wade in the left corner. Wade immediately fired an entry pass to Molisani, who laid the ball up and in for his 1,281st career point.

“It makes me proud,” Molisani said about his career milestone. “I really wanted to leave a stamp on Cal-Mum basketball.”

“I’ve been here 19 years now as the varsity coach,” Dickens said. “Vinny’s spent as much time as this gym as anyone. He knows how to play the game. Good things have happened to him but great things have happened for our team.”

However, Molisani wasn’t done yet. The senior guard scored 18 more points for 23 on the night and 1,299 in his career. Molisani made nine of his 10 field goals from inside the arc, including seven layups. The 5-foot-11 guard grabbed eight boards, handed out two assists and swiped a pair of steals as well.

“I’m trying to win sectionals again,” Molisani said when explaining his goals before graduating Cal-Mum. “That’s the main goal. We’re going to come and practice every day, work our tails off and just keep it going. Get the job done.”

“It’s just been great to lean on him,” Dickens said about Molisani. “You know what you’re getting. Playing point guard and handling the ball is not an easy thing in high school sports. If you don’t put time and effort into it, a team’s going to exploit you pretty easily. Teams know they can’t pick him up too often. For the most part, he gets us where we need to be every single possession.”

Wade netted 14 of his 22 points in the first half as the Red Raiders raced out to a 15-0 start and led, 49-21, at the break. The sophomore forward collected six rebounds, two assists and a steal as well. Joe Laursen scored all 10 of his points in the first and third quarters combined along with eight boards.

Adam O’Donoghue (8), Carnes (6), Nathan Howard (4), Troy Kolb (4), Andy Bickford (3), Kevin Flint (3), Mason Nusbickel (2) and Adam Estes (1) rounded out the scoring for the Red Raiders.

For Keshequa, Hunter Stephens netted 12 of his team-high 16 points in the first half. The senior guard knocked down a pair of three-pointers and 6-of-6 free throws along with two rebounds, an assist and a steal.

Jacob Gibson (6), Caleb Buchinger (5), Brent Bird (4), Wyatt Burnett (4), Jacob Cobin (4), Garrett Szulewski (2) and Brendan White (2) rounded out the scoring for the Indians.

Cal-Mum (10-2) travels to Mount Morris Thursday night for a 7 p.m. tip off. Keshequa (2-9) hosts Pavilion Friday at 7:30 p.m.

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