Hudson Valley Sports Report


Wanna Know Who Pushes James Anozie Into The Player He Is? His Teammate

By Rich Thomaselli
HVSR Staff

PLEASANTVILLE – On every winning team there is an unsung hero.

Our Lady of Lourdes High School boys basketball is no different.

So why is that a picture of a football player up there?

Because one player’s football mentality has helped the Warriors on the court. So don’t look for Corey Mullaly’s contributions on the stat sheet after the Warriors beat Poughkeepsie, 61-46, on Saturday to advance to the New York State Class A Final Four.

Rather, look behind the scenes.

Mullaly makes center James Anozie – the reigning Hudson Valley Sports Report Dream Team Player of the Year – even better. Even stronger. Even more dangerous.

By beating the crap out of him in practice.

“It’s unbelievable what Corey does with James in practice,” Lourdes coach Jim Santoro said.

Mullaly is the only player on the Warriors – and probably one of the only players in the Hudson Valley who can push Anozie around. A veteran football player who helped OLL to the state championship game last season and was an HVSR Dream Team football player himself in 2016, Mullaly has the strength to body up to Anozie and give the big man a better sense of what he will face in games, particularly with double teams.

“James is obviously the focal point of our offense, but when I first came onto the team my main purpose was to prep James for what he was going to face in the coming weeks,” Mullaly told HVSR. “With my football backround I can push James around a lot better than someone else could, and with the lack of calls James usually sees it’s necessary for me to help him in practice to work through contact.”

But it’s blossomed into way more than that.

“Not only has he helped James but he’s helped himself earn time on the floor,” Santoro said. “Corey has done more than I ever could have imagined when I decided to keep him. His contributions to this team, I thought, were going to be the mental part as a leader. As it turns out he’s helped us immensely on the practice floor and now it’s bleeding onto the court for him.”

Mullaly said as the season progressed, he’s grown into his basketball role.

“I’ve always been an emotional leader for the team but unlike the beginning of the year I’m starting to get more and more minutes on the court,” he said. “And I think that’s because of the effort I give every day in practice to help James get better.”


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