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Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019: Weekly New York City boys basketball update

   The weekly look at the New York City metro area's PSAL, CHSAA and AIS schools for the New York State Sportswriters Association is compiled by Mike Libert:

Class AA

1) Brooklyn Collegiate (6-0)- So far this season all the Lions have done is gone out and beaten a pair of teams in our NYC Top Ten in Thomas Jefferson and South Shore, and beaten them in impressive fashion by going to Jefferson and getting a victory, and then dominating the Vikings at home this past Thursday to the tune of a 92-66 victory with five Brooklyn Collegiate players going off for double figures including senior guard Kareem Butler '20 who had a game high 26 points. It will be a busy week ahead for the Lions as on Tuesday they will host George Westinghouse, then on Thursday its a tough trip to Boys & Girls, before a pair of weekend non-league dates against Poly Prep and Wings Academy on Saturday and Sunday.

2) St. Raymond (4-1)- It looked as if the Ravens would pull off the shocker on Sunday evening when they took on Archbishop Stepinac in a massive early season CHSAA showdown. St. Ray's led from nearly start to finish, going up by 5 with a minute to play before faltering late and losing the game in OT to the Crusaders 100-93. Luis Kortright '20 had a sensational game with 33 points, a new career high after scoring 31 just last week against St. Peter's in a win on Staten Island. St. Raymond holds a 20 point win over Cardinal Hayes already this season and will look to keep the good times going when they play in the City Legendz Invitational on Sunday against Lincoln of Pennsylvania in the Ravens only game of the week.

3) John Bowne (8-0)- One of the best in NYC this year are the Wildcats who returned their entire roster from a year ago and are playing as if they are on a mission with something to prove. Unbeaten on the year to date, Bowne has gotten big time production as of late from guard Tyshawn Trail '21 who had 34 points in a win over Springfield Gardens, and then went off for 27 in the Wildcats victory over Francis Lewis this past Thursday. One of the bigger games on the calendar comes this week for John Bowne when on Tuesday they host Benjamin Cardozo in a big Queens AA duel before finishing the week on Thursday with a home date with H.S. for Construction.

4) South Shore (4-4)- When you look at the Vikings record it isn't all that impressive. Being at .500 at this point in the season isn't what South Shore wanted, but two of their losses came to national competition in November at the Holiday Hoopsgiving Classic in Georgia, with the other two coming to Brooklyn Collegiate and Boys & Girls. They do have two very big marquee wins so far as the Vikings knocked off Jefferson 93-69 in a game that saw Marcus Burnett '20 go off for 30 points against his former team, and then against a nationally ranked Mayfair team from California on Saturday it was Burnett scoring 31 in a 72-64 victory. It won't get easier for South Shore either as on Tuesday they host Abraham Lincoln before hosting Canarsie on Thursday.

5) Thomas Jefferson (4-3)- Another team that doesn't have the record that they like or expect to have, the Orange Wave have lost to both Brooklyn Collegiate and South Shore to date on the season but they did take a 97-92 victory over Boys & Girls last Tuesday as the duo of Kevin Tabb '20 and Jaquan Carlos '21 went off for a combined 53 points en route to the win. Jefferson's other loss came to one of New York's best overall in Long Island Lutheran as its nothing but the best competition for the Orange Wave again this year as this week it will be more of the same as they will travel to Las Vegas, Nevada to take part in the prestigious Tarkanian Classic beginning on Tuesday afternoon in the desert.

6) Boys & Girls (6-1)- Yet another Brooklyn AA team out of the PSAL, it's four of the top six from what many consider to be one of the best leagues in the country though seeing the Kangaroos so high after a number of down years shows that Boys High is truly back. They are back in large part because of Khalil Brantley '21, a transfer from Nazareth, he is averaging 32 points per game this season including a 41 point game to start the season off with a bang in the Kangaroos win over South Shore. The strong and impressive play has only continued with their lone slip up coming on the road at Jefferson. Things will stay tough though for Boys & Girls as they host Eagle Academy II on Tuesday before going to Brooklyn Collegiate in the Game of the Week on Thursday, and then closing it out in the non-league on Sunday against Thurgood Marshall.

7) Xaverian (5-1)- After losing for the first time this season on Friday when the Clippers lost an early lead and fell to a solid Iona Prep team 57-55, it was Xaverian getting back in the win column on Sunday downing their Brooklyn rivals from Bishop Loughlin 63-59. Billy Reyes '20 had 23 points to lead the Clippers who again jumped out to a big early lead before this time holding off the late charge and coming away with the win. Xaverian also went to Maryland and won the Good Counsel Holiday Classic as the Clippers cement themselves as a CHSAA title contender. Coming up it will be Xaverian going out to Colorado for the Windsor Holiday Showcase with that taking place from Thursday through Saturday of this week.

8) Mount St. Michael (2-1)- The addition of Tyler Hawkins '22 this season who came to Mount for his sophomore year from Abraham Lincoln in Brooklyn has really strengthened the Mountaineers who started out the season extremely well with wins over St. Francis Prep and James Monroe. Hawkins and Ibrahim Wattara '20 led the way before Mount fell in a great up and down duel with St. Raymond this past Friday, 82-74. If nothing else the loss showed that Mount St. Michael can compete with the very best the CHSAA has to offer this season. Games this week on Tuesday at home against Holy Cross, and then in the non-league on Thursday and Saturday against KIPP NYC College Prep and Scarsdale should again be solid tests for this young and up and coming team.

9) Cardinal Hayes (3-2)- Youth is on the agenda with the Cardinals as well as Hayes starts three sophomores in their starting lineup led by Toby Awaka '22 who looks to be one of the more promising young talents their is as at 6'7" and with a strong frame he is already dominating the competition on the inside to the tune of scoring 17 points per game. Julien Soumaoro '20 is the veteran in the backcourt who can shoot it from anywhere as Hayes held a double digit lead against Stepinac, and were competitive with St. Raymond before falling in the second half. They have a couple solid wins against Chaminade and Scanlan so far and will look to build off of that when on Tuesday they go to Iona Prep, and then on Friday and Sunday it's tough games with Christ the King and St. Peter's to again show what this young Hayes group is made of.

10) Benjamin Cardozo (6-0)- Unbeaten but untested are the Judges who have rolled through weak Queens AA so far this season winning by an average of 24 points in their first five league contests. Andrew Laing '21 and Aaron Miller '20 are both averaging over 15 points per game so far for Cardozo who will finally be tested this coming Tuesday when they hit the road to take on John Bowne in a game that will show a lot about what to expect from the Judges this season. Thursday will see Cardozo come home to take on another talented league foe in Francis Lewis before going out of league to take on WHEELS on Sunday at The Post in the Brooklyn Bridge Holiday Classic.

11) Msgr. Scanlan (2-3)- When you see teams in the rankings with records like Scanlan has you know they have played some top flight competition. The Crusaders are certainly no different as they opened the year by going down to Dallas, Texas for two games, taking down one Texas state champion from a year ago while falling to another. In league play at home Scanlan has fallen to Stepinac and Hayes, with the Hayes loss being an 8 point defeat in OT in a game that Dayton commit Kobe Brea '20 went off for 27 points in the heartbreaking loss. A home game on Tuesday against Archbishop Molloy will be next on the agenda for Scanlan before going to Connecticut on Thursday and Saturday to take part in a Holiday Tournament at Trinity Catholic H.S.

12) Abraham Lincoln (4-3)- The season didn't start all that great for the Railsplitters who went to the Capital Region to get going, but up there they struggled in a two point win over Shenendehowa before falling by double digits to Mekeel Christian Academy. Those tough games though only made Lincoln a stronger team as in their first Brooklyn AA league game of the season they went to OT with our #1 Brooklyn Collegiate team before falling on a buzzer beater 66-64. Deontay Sprattley '20 has a strong year to date averaging over 20 points per game and his play will be huge on Tuesday when the Railsplitters go to South Shore, before ending the week on Thursday with just a home date against George Westinghouse.

13) Bishop Loughlin (2-3)- Three losses against three teams ranked ahead of them in the rankings here in Thomas Jefferson and Boys & Girls in non-league games, and a league contest on Sunday against Xaverian have the Lions under .500 but not without showing a ton of promise. They were competitive and in all three games in the second half, losing to the Kangaroos and the Clippers each by single digits. Taj Child's '20 and Maurice Doby '20 combine to make one of the quicker backcourt in NYC and with a trip to Florida this coming week to play in a tournament down in Orlando it means a time for Loughlin to bond and hopefully bring a title back to the Empire State.

14) Thurgood Marshall Academy (5-1)- Opening the season with an 80-40 loss to John Bowne was not what the Panthers had in mind for how they wanted to start things in this new year. Since that point though things have gotten better as Kevin Dinkins '20 has become a pure scorer putting in over 21 points per game in helping Thurgood Marshall Academy to league wins over the likes of Wadleigh and more importantly WHEELS as the Panthers held off a late charge behind 25 points from John Easley '20 to take a 78-77 victory. There is just one league game on the slate this week for TMA when they host James Monroe on Thursday before a Sunday date against Boys & Girls in the City Legendz Invitational at the legendary Gauchos Gym.

15) WHEELS (5-3)- Losing to Thurgood Marshall in a game that saw the Wolves come back and nearly get the road win certainly stung but they didn't let it get them down as on Thursday it was WHEELS playing host to what many felt coming into the season to be a top PSAL contender in Eagle Academy, with the Wolves surprising some with a 69-63 win as Jeremiah Davis '20 had 26 points, a career high, to lead WHEELS to the win. That win should give them confidence now going forward as another challenging week awaits with Mott Haven at home on Tuesday to be followed by a tricky Thursday game at Wings Academy before two games at the Brooklyn Bridge Holiday Classic against Robeson on Saturday, and a good matchup with Cardozo on Sunday.


Class A

1) Murry Bergtraum (8-0)- When you think about Murry Bergtraum for many years you have thought about girls basketball. That's not the case anymore though as Dior Davis '21 has put together a start to the season to remember as he is averaging 28 points, 19 rebounds, and 15 assists per game as the Blazers as a team are averaging over 100 points a game. They had dominated the Manhattan A1 league they are in, and played at the Leman Holiday Classic this past weekend and won that by defeating a very talented Knox School from Long Island 83-75 for the championship. More games where Bergtraum can prove themselves on a high level are coming as well as after a Tuesday league game at Hunter College High School it's a trip to Brooklyn on Sunday for the Brooklyn Bridge Holiday Classic where Archbishop Molloy will be their foe.

2) Msgr. Farrell (4-0)- Usually when you think of the Lions on offense it's more of a slow the game down type of system that they run which doesn't normally utilize big time scoring threats. That's changing this season though as this season it's Justin Zieris '20 who is putting up great numbers scoring at a high level averaging 24 points per game as Farrell is pushing the tempo this season unlike in the past, scoring 106 points against Moore Catholic and 88 against

CSI/McCown. The competition level will get much tougher this week though as on Friday night it will be one of the games circled on the Lions calendar every year when they host St. Peter's in a Staten Island rivalry game, before hitting the road on Sunday for a league gate with Cardinal Spellman.

3) Benjamin Banneker (8-0)- Unblemished on the season to date are the Warriors who have scored over 100 points in four of their seven league contests so far as the offensive firepower that Banneker has is deep with both Takai Simpkins '21 and Tajuan Simpkins '21 averaging over 17 points per game, while Tyler Gordon '20 controls the paint as he has a double-double in all eight games that the Warriors have played in this season. James Madison is the lone league game on the slate this week for Banneker with that game coming up on Wednesday, and then it will be a Brooklyn Bridge Holiday Classic game for the Warriors with Upper Room from Long Island waiting on the horizon in Williamsburg.

4) Bedford Academy (8-1)- A perfect 7-0 in league play is Bedford as their lone loss came this past Saturday out of league to a strong squad from Maryland in Oxon Hill. The Panthers have made especially quick work of everyone in PSAL play so far as they are winning by an average of over 25 points a game with Ethan Edwards '20 being the one who is doing most of the work by averaging 23 points per game himself on a team that is veteran and ready to make a big run toward a PSAL title this season. Road games this week at Bushwick Campus on Monday and Sunset Park on Friday are upcoming for a very solid Bedford Academy team.

5) KIPP NYC College Prep (7-0)- Coming off a subpar season for KIPP standards, the Bulldogs are right back near the top of the PSAL this season as they are dominating with ease in the Bronx A Central Division with a 20 point victory over Morris being their closest game they have played in seven league games. It's a fairly balanced offensive attack as well for KIPP as Damir Brooks '20 leads four players who average double figures for the Bulldogs so far on the year. This week will see KIPP go on the road on Monday to take on a fellow unbeaten team in league play in Bronx United before going to DeWitt Clinton on Wednesday. A difficult non-league test against Mount St Michael of the CHSAA AA will finish out the week on Thursday.

6) Fordham Prep (3-1)- Losing their season opener on the road to a CHSAA AA title contender in Iona Prep, the Rams have rallied back since and won their first three league contests by downing St. Edmund's, McClancy, and Nazareth at home this week with Ryan McPartlan '21 putting together a strong opening to his first varsity season as he averaging 23 points in Fordham Prep's three wins to have them in a strong spot as we get going this year. Fordham on Tuesday will again be at home for a date with LaSalle before playing their last league game of the 2019 year on the road when they go to Manhattan to take on their rivals from Xavier.

7) Beacon (11-0)- We believe that the Blue Demons are the first team in New York State this season to hit the double digit win plateau, and doing it before the middle on December is quite an achieve for a team that made an impressive statement on Wednesday when they dominated Frederick Douglass Academy from start to finish in a 66-39 victory that had Sam Pohlman '21 lead the way for Beacon with 21 points as once again this year it's the Blue Demons putting themselves as among the best in Class A. Two road contest are next up for Beacon as an easier one at George Washington is first on Monday before a much tougher matchup at Louis Brandeis comes after that on Wednesday.

8) St. Edmund Prep (3-1)- Yes St. Edmund fell to Fordham Prep on the road 58-53 but it was a game that the Eagles were in nearly the entire way, leading the contest for a good chunk early on in the fourth quarter as well. Shemar Latty '20, one of the best players in the CHSAA Class A Division, had 21 points and 6 assists in the loss, though in Edmund's three wins they have been able to control the game throughout and get strong and balanced scoring from all over the floor. Nazareth is next for St. Edmund's Prep at home on Tuesday before a Sunday afternoon game at LaSalle will finish out the week for the Eagles.

9) Louis Brandeis (8-0)- We already mentioned Brandeis just a bit ago and here they are making an appearance in the Class A NYC Rankings. They play Beacon in a matchup for first place in the Manhattan A Northwest 1 league as each are perfect in league play this season to date, with both holding an impressive win over Frederick Douglass Academy as the Bulldogs went on the road and got a 56-45 win with Justin Rey '22 going for 14 in the victory, a career high for the young sophomore in his biggest high school game to date. A bigger one though will come against Beacon on Wednesday in a battle of unbeatens, though first up on Monday will be Graphics Campus in a game that Brandeis cannot overlook.

10) Graphics Campus (9-1)- They cannot overlook them because the 49ers are quite talented themselves having earned their spot in the Top Ten this week. Their one loss was to Beacon though it was a competitive game through that saw Chalif Oxley '20 and Damani Claxton '20 each score 20 in a 75-67 loss. Claxton for the season is averaging 26 points per game as he and the rest of the Graphics Campus team will looks to give Louis Brandeis their first loss of the year when they meet on Monday afternoon, and then the 49ers will finish the week on Wednesday with a trip to Philip Randolph.

Class B

1) Fannie Lou Hamer (8-0)- If it seems like Fannie Lou is always near the top of the Class B rankings year after year then you would be right. They always have a powerhouse team for the competition they go up against as Anthony Rose '20 was a top player a year ago in the PSAL and her returns, and with the addition of Jamal Kanu '21 it just means that 91-35, 108-27, 89-26 are typical scores that you will see this season for the Panthers. A road game at Bathgate will be first up this coming week for Fannie Lou Hamer on Monday, then it's another road game on Tuesday at Frederick Douglass Academy III before the Panthers finish out the league part of their slate this week on Thursday against Comprehensive Model School. The games won't stop though because Fannie Lou will be at the Brooklyn Bridge Holiday Classic on Saturday where they will face off with a CHSAA Class A contender in LaSalle Academy.

2) Uncommon Charter (8-0)- Led by Ahzariah Douglas '20 the Sabers are a team that will be competing for a Class B title this season as the do it all guard is averaging 22 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists on the year with Uncommon dominating a strong Brooklyn B East league, while also showing what they can do against top quality competition as they hold wins over Upper Room from Long Island, and a solid Addict Academy team out of California. League games this week against William Maxwell on Tuesday and Juan Morel Campos on Thursday shouldn't prove to be too much of a challenge, though a Saturday date against you BCAM in a non-league battle should be an interesting one to watch.

3) Riverdale (2-0)- We head to the privates now as Riverdale are the first of three teams from the Private League that will make the Class B Top Ten. Sam Klores '20 is headed to Brown next season so you know that having a Division 1 player on this level should make you special, and with a pair of 25+ point blowout victories so far this season it means big things should be ahead for a team that is also a lot more than just Klores as well. This week will see the Falcons host Horace Mann in an Ivy League match on Monday afternoon, and then on Wednesday its another home game but this one could prove to be a bit tougher as Riverdale will host a solid Dalton team.

4) Poly Prep (3-0)- Another Private School team in our Class B rankings are the Blue Devils who on Thursday made very easy work of Dalton defeating the Tigers 75-56 as Max Ragusa '22 is back leading the charge this season for Poly who look to be in fine form early this season with the sophomore lead guard already averaging 24 points and 6 assists per game so far through three games. There are no league games this week for the Blue Devils as it will just be a pair of games in the Brooklyn Bridge Holiday Classic on Saturday and Sunday with big challenges coming as its the #1 team in AA in NYC on Saturday in Brooklyn Collegiate, and then a solid Class A team in Frederick Douglass Academy to come on Sunday.

5) East New York Family Academy (6-0)- Normally it's the Brooklyn B North Division that gets a lot of the attention but this season it's the Eagles from ENY Family Academy that are giving the South a good amount of attention as they are putting up very strong offensive numbers as a team led by Elijah Walker '21 who is putting up 16 points and 13 rebounds a game. The Eagles have yet to win a game by less than 11 points and have all the looks to be a major contender moving forward the rest of the way. Upcoming over the next week it will be a tough game against Adams Street Academy at home on Monday that should tell just how real ENY Family is, with another tough one on Wednesday to come as well against BCAM, this one though on the road.

6) South Bronx Prep (8-1)- The champions from a season ago in the PSAL B Division, the Cougars impressed when they went upstate and nearly knocked off Glens Falls in front of a sold out Glens Falls Civic Center in the NYS Federation Tournament of Champions, with South Bronx Prep looking to get back to the Feds with another PSAL title this year. Steven Turner '21 averaged a triple-double a year ago and the 6'3" guard in on pace to do that yet again this season, while Eric Davis '20 his backcourt mate already has a 46 point game this season when South Bronx downed Health Opportunies. Monday will see the Cougars hit the floor to take on Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy at home, then it will be Marie Curie School on Wednesday, before ending the week on the road on Friday at Albert Tuitt.

7) Martin Luther (5-1)- Our final Private School team in the Top Ten for Class B is a member of the PSAA in the Cougars as they have a couple of impressive wins in the early season having beating Scholars Academy to win their Holiday Classic that they host, while also holding an win over a solid Staten Island Academy team. Offense isn't the problem for Martin Luther as it's on the defensive side where they will need to tighten up a bit more. Darren Joyner '20 who came over as a transfer from John Bowne lead the way for the Cougars as he is the one making the team go. A challenging week ahead is upcoming as a very talented Evangel Christian team is next on the docket for Martin Luther on Monday, with Leman Prep then next up on Wednesday with both games to be played at home for the Cougars in Maspeth.

8) Brooklyn College Academy (9-1)- Paced by the explosive Deon McLaughlin '20 who has a 40 point game in a win over Brooklyn Collaborative Studies team and is averaging 27 points and 12 rebounds on the season, BCA only has one loss on the season which was a defeat to East New York Family Academy back in November just before Thanksgiving. A long time has now passed since then and the Bobcats have two wins over Class A teams and will look to keep looking like well oiled machine this week when on Monday they host a solid BCAM team, before hitting the road on Wednesday to close out a two game week when they go to take on Cobble Hill School of American Studies.

9) The Scholars Academy (8-3)- It's not often that you find a team from Queens in the Top Ten in Class B as Queens has historically not been a hot bed for talent in the lower classifications but the Seawolves are looking to change that this season as all three losses have come out of league, two of which were to teams ranked higher than them in our rankings in Uncommon Charter which they lost by 7, and Martin Luther in a game Scholars lost by 9. There is a good amount of talent to watch on the Seawolves this season as Deiondre Salcedo '21 is just a junior but he is running the point and averaging 18 points and 7 assists a game to date with Scholars looking to keep their strong start going this week when they go to Townsend Harris on Monday, and then host Robert F. Kennedy in a game to watch on Wednesday evening.

10) Spring Creek Campus (7-1)- With a strong win early on this season over a good Achievement First team, Spring Creek has to be a team that people pay attention to with Ayomide Alao '20 being a dangerous offensive threat who can shoot it from deep while showing to be unafraid to attack the rim either. The Ravens only loss came in a non-league contes to Scholars Academy by 6 in a game that Spring Creek led at the half. That game was on November 13th though so it's been over a month since Spring Creek lost a game, a trend they are hoping continues this week when on Tuesday the Ravens go to Teachers Prep, and then host Science Skills Center to close out their pair of games this week on Thursday.

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