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Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020: 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) Benjamin Cardozo (16-0)- The new #1 in New York City got a tough time of things against Baldwin at the Gary Charles Tip of the Hat Hoop Classic this past Sunday but getting a strong shooting performance from Chamarri Baskerville '20 helped lead the way for the Judges as they remained perfect on the year with a 50-42 win over the Bruins in a tough non-league contest. Coming up this week will see a pair of league contests on Tuesday and Thursday respectively against Martin Van Buren and Campus Magnet before the Judges playing in the South Shore MLK Showcase on Saturday against James Monroe of the PSAL Bronx AA.

2) St. Raymond (10-3)- It was an excellent week for the Ravens who got the statement making win they were looking for as they got a complete and dominating effort on Friday on the road when they defeated Archbishop Stepinac 93-68 in a game controlled in the backcourt by both Malachi Smith '21 and Luis Kortright '20. St. Ray's also went on the road and knocked off St. Francis Prep on Sunday 64-50 to get their 10th win of the season. This week will see two more league games for the Ravens when on Friday they go to Iona Prep before coming home on Saturday to take on Msgr. Scanlan.

3) Brooklyn Collegiate (13-1)- Playing in The Post Invitational in Brooklyn on Sunday it was the Lions putting up major offensive numbers as Majesty Johnson '20 and Tahron Allen '21 were catalysts in helping Brooklyn Collegiate knock off one of the top Class A teams in New York in The Park School 92-84. That win gives the Lions a good amount of momentum going into a three game week that will see two Brooklyn AA league games on Tuesday and Thursday against Eagle Academy II and Canarsie before taking on Eagle Academy of the Bronx on Sunday in the South Shore MLK Showcase.

4) South Shore (11-6)- Taking on the three bottom teams in the Brooklyn AA this past week meant a chance for South Shore to make it an undefeated week. That's exactly how it played out as well as Marcus Burnett '20 averaged over 20 points per game this week to help the Vikings take down Eagle Academy II, Canarsie, and George Westinghouse and go 3-0 on the week. Things will get a bit tougher in the week ahead though for South Shore as on Tuesday they will go visit Boys & Girls in a tough matchup, and then it will be Thomas Jefferson coming to them on Thursday to end the week.

5) Xaverian (13-2)- Sometimes during a season a team will put together a headscratcher where you ask how did they lose that game. That's exactly what happened to the Clippers on Friday when they went to Queens and lost to Holy Cross 54-53 in OT. Xaverian struggled to get anything going from the perimeter in the loss but rebounded nicely on Sunday with a win over Rome Free Academy out of Section 3 60-47 at The Post Invitational. This Friday will see an intriguing game between Xaverian and Cardinal Hayes in Brooklyn before the week closes with the Clippers going to St. Francis Prep on Sunday.

6) Boys & Girls (12-5)- With someone of the talent of Khalil Brantley '21 on their side it seems as if any time the game is close he will make a play to lead the Kangaroos to a victory. In tight games with both Abraham Lincoln and Canarsie this past week it was Brantley who was able to lead the way in the fourth quarter and push his team to the win, and while he would add 39 points on Saturday against The Park School of Buffalo at The Post Invitational that was the first time in a while his play wasn't enough in a 72-66 loss. Tuesday will see a major Brooklyn AA battle when Boys hosts South Shore in a major matchup before a road game at Westinghouse on Thursday, and a non-league at home with Forest Hills on Saturday close a busy seven days.


7) WHEELS (11-6)- The Wolves have consistently become one of the tougher teams to figure out this season as coming off of a huge win over previously undefeated Brooklyn Collegiate it was WHEELS losing to Manhattan Center in league play 69-68 last Tuesday. After that the Wolves would solidify another huge win on Saturday at the Cardozo Classic when they downed John Bowne 66-62. It seems the tougher the opposition the better WHEELS plays. That's good for them because this week will see the Wolves take on Wadleigh and JFK on Tuesday and Thursday before playing George Westinghouse at the South Shore MLK Showcase on Saturday.

8) Cardinal Hayes (8-5)- Because of the schedule that the Cardinals are playing this season you are going to see them lose games in large part because of their youth. They took on Albany Academy on Sunday at the Empire Invitational in the Bronx and were able to hang with one of the better Class A teams in the state for much of the game as Toby Awaka '22 had 18 to lead Cardinal Hayes in a 61-51 defeat to the Cadets. It's a one game week ahead here for the Cardinals as on Friday they will go on the road to take on Xaverian in what is sure to be another tough test.

9) John Bowne (13-2)- No one has any doubt that the Wildcats are among the most complete teams in New York City right now it's just a matter of finding the consistency to play at the highest level game in and game out for them. They breezed through a pair of league game this past week led by league guard Amadou Diallo '21, but when it came time for a tricky non-league contest with WHEELS the offense didn't bring their top game and faltered late in the fourth to a 66-62 defeat to the Manhattan AA school. Bowne will look to rebound now this week against Queens H.S. of Teaching on Tuesday in league play, and then again on Sunday at the South Shore MLK Showcase when the Wildcats take on James Monroe.

10) Mount St. Michael (8-3)- Playing in another close game this past Tuesday against Cardinal Hayes it was the defense this time that let the Mountaineers down in an 80-70 loss in a game that saw Mount down by just 2 heading into the fourth quarter. For the first time this season Mount St. Michael did put together a very strong four quarter effort on Saturday when they went to Msgr. Scanlan. Ibrahim Wattara '20 had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Mountaineers to give Mount an important 81-74 confidence building road victory. Three more road games are on the schedule this week for Mount as on Tuesday they go to Archbishop Molloy before a Thursday game at Bishop Loughlin, and then closing the week out on Saturday at St. Peter's.

11) Manhattan Center (9-3)- When you think of some of the top teams in the PSAL the Rams don't automatically come to mind but they have put together a very strong campaign so far this season as they are winners of 6 of their last 7 including a 69-68 last Tuesday over WHEELS in a game that saw Hamlet Cepeda '20 score 31 points and grab 13 rebounds to lead Manhattan Center to the victory. They also defeated James Monroe 57-36 last week and will look to continue their strong team play this week when they host Thurgood Marshall Academy on Tuesday and Harry Truman on Thursday.

12) Archbishop Molloy (9-4)- Even though the Stanners didn't necessarily get the results they were looking for this week they showed that they can compete with some of the best the CHSAA has to offer when they lost to Xaverian on the road by just a 59-56 score, and then when they led Cardinal Hayes for most of the way in a 66-62 defeat. Led by Speedy Carcamo '20 Molloy did take a 76-69 victory over Bishop Loughlin to finish out the week, and with that momentum they will look to get some important wins over these next seven days when they host Mount St. Michael on Tuesday before hosting Holy Cross on Friday in what is a two game slate.

13) St. Francis Prep (7-5)- Starting the week off on a good note were the Terriers who got 19 points from Todd Rochelle '20 as they were able to go on the road and defeat Bishop Loughlin last Tuesday 63-56. Getting one of the best in the CHSAA on Sunday in St. Raymond was a much tougher task but again St. Francis Prep showed they were extremely game in hanging close throughout before ultimately falling to the Ravens 64-50 in a game that was more competitive than the final score indicates. A pretty challenging week is ahead here for SFP as on Tuesday they will host Archbishop Stepinac before getting a non-league contest at home against Section 1's Poughkeepsie on Friday. The week will close with another home date on Sunday with another one of NYC's best in Xaverian.

14) Eagle Academy (11-5)- Have yourself a day DaMarco Watson '20 as the Eagles senior guard went off and scored 50 points in a new Eagle Academy school record performance on Tuesday as they would blow past Gompers 106-57. The week didn't close as well for Eagle who lost to Rochester East out of Section 5 77-66 in The Post Invitational on Saturday in a game that Watson again led the way with 25. Still atop the Bronx AA in the PSAL, Eagle will look to get back on the winning track when the make two league trips to JFK and Wadleigh on Tuesday and Thursday before a big non-league game with Brooklyn Collegiate at the South Shore MLK Showcase on Sunday.

15) Thurgood Marshall Academy (11-5)- After starting out the week with a tough 57-55 loss on the road at Mott Haven in league play, the Panthers responded nicely as they defeated JFK 62-59 on the road behind John Easley '20 and his 20 points, and then got what could be considered one of their bigger wins of the season in a 67-66 victory over Wings Academy in a game that saw TMA hold off a late Wings charge to hold on for the win. It will be just a one game week here coming up as the Panthers will hit the road to take on Manhattan Center in a big PSAL Manhattan AA battle.

Class A

1) Benjamin Banneker (16-1)- Rolling through PSAL Brooklyn A competition with relative ease this week, Banneker defeated Grant Street Campus, Robeson, and Tilden before a headlining PSAL Class A Showcase matchup with KIPP NYC College Prep on Saturday. It was a highly anticipated matchup between two of the best in Class A but in the end it was all Banneker as Gabriel Holley '21 had 26 points and 7 assists to lead the Warriors to a 73-56 win. It's a three league game week ahead for Banneker as Susan McKinney, Automotive, and Midwood are on the school for the Warriors over the next seven days.

2) Msgr. Farrell (12-2)- Proving themselves again as the class of the CHSAA in Class A this season it was the Lions downing McClancy, Nazareth, and Fordham Prep behind the play of Justin Zieris '20 who averaged over 22 points per game during this three game stretch to move them to being winners of 9 of their last 10. It's not going to be as tough or grueling a week this week for Farrell who have just one game on Friday, a home Staten Island matchup against one of their borough rivals from St. Joseph by the Sea.

3) Xavier (9-2)- Blair Thompson '21 was the man for the Knights this past week as he was able to help carry Xavier to two league road victories. The first came on Tuesday in a big battle of top CHSAA teams with the Knights holding on to defeat St. Edmund Prep 52-48 as Thompson scored 21, and then it was a come from behind victory on Friday over LaSalle in a game that saw Xavier trail by double digits early only to see them dominate the second half and run away for the win. Tuesday will see Xavier hit the court again in a home contest

this time against All Hallows before a Friday game to close the week against Cardinal Spellman on the road in the Bronx.

4) Murry Bergtraum (13-2)- Any time a team steps out of league to play a team they may not be all that familiar with you have to wonder what kind of performance are you going to get? Bergtraum would have a game like that at The Post Invitational on Saturday against Rome Free Academy out of Section 3, and even after a sluggish and slow start it was Dior Davis '21 who turned things on in the second half to the tune of 26 points as the Blazers pulled away late for a strong 84-64 victory. A busy week is ahead for Bergtraum as on Tuesday they will face one of their main Manhattan A rivals in Seward Park before two games on Thursday and Friday to end the week against Eleanor Roosevelt and Stuyvesant.

5) Beacon (18-1)- Getting three more league wins during this past week, it was another big non-league test for the Blue Demons on Saturday when they took on a ranked Class B team in Achievement First at The Post Invitational. From start to finish though it was all Beacon as the duo of Samuel Pohlman '21 and Fauzi Cismesija-Ulmer '20 combined to drain 10 three's as the Blue Demons couldn't be stopped from the outside in a 77-64 victory. The coming week will have a couple more challenges as well as Beacon will face off with Graphics Campus on Monday in a first place battle in their Manhattan A conference, and then on Wednesday it will be another league game with Environmental Studies before stepping out of league again on Saturday to go on the road and take on Lehman.

6) Graphics Campus (16-1)- Defeating Environmental Studies 70-52 was a nice way to open the week for the 49ers, but their big test was a matchup on Saturday against Midwood at the PSAL Class A Showcase. That was their real big chance to shine, and boy did they ever. Joselito Rosario '22 had 24 points as he had a breakout performance to pace Graphics Campus to an 82-62 victory. Hoping to carry over that dominating effort will be the 49ers who next draw Beacon on Monday in a big PSAL contest. That will be followed up by two more league contests to finish out the week with West 50th Street Campus and FDA on Wednesday and Friday respectively.

7) Bedford Academy (15-3)- Losing two games earlier this season by a combined 5 points, it was more heartbreak for the Panthers who were leading for most of the way in their Saturday matchup with Mekeel Christian Academy out of Section 2 in The Post Invitational, but when they needed a big bucket late the well ran dry as even though Bedford for 22 points from Ethan Edwards '20 it was a tough luck 63-60 loss for the Brooklyn A power to hand them their third loss of 3 points of less this season. Friday will be the only time this week Bedford Academy takes to the court as it will be a home date with Fort Hamilton as their lone contest of the next seven days.

8) St. Edmund Prep (8-4)- Looking like they had things in control on Tuesday were the Eagles who got 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists from guard Shemar Latty '20 but Xavier proved to be too tough in the closing two minutes as they made all the big plays needed to help push them past St. Edmund's in a 52-48 loss for the Eagles. To St. Edmund Prep's credit they took on another tough CHSAA Class A foe on Friday in Msgr. McClancy and this time did what it took to win grinding out a 62-57 to get back to their winning ways. It will be a very Staten Island week ahead for the Eagles who will go to St. Joseph by the Sea on Tuesday before coming home on Friday to face off against Moore Catholic.

9) KIPP NYC College Prep (15-3)- The week really got off to a shocking start for KIPP who were beaten on a halfcourt buzzer beater to lose to Adlai Stevenson 53-50. They would lose again to Banneker in the PSAL Class A Division Showcase on Saturday giving them two losses for the week, but Sunday saw a pretty big win for KIPP as they would lead for most of the game and handle Francis Lewis of the PSAL Queens AA 65-59 as Damir Brooks '20 went off for 25 points to give the Bulldogs a must needed win. Coming up it will be two games on the agenda this week for KIPP as they host Morris on Monday before hitting the road to take on Grace Dodge on Wednesday.

10) Lehman (11-1)- Having only lost once this season to KIPP in a game way back in the beginning of December, the Lions make their first appearance into the rankings this season on the backs of a couple 50+ point blowouts this past week over Taft and Bronx United with senior big man Bismark Nsiah '20 putting together a fantastic season to date inside averaging 17 points, 11 rebounds, and nearly 5 blocks per game. He will look to keep that pace up and lead Lehman to a strong week ahead with three road league games on tap on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday against Evander Childs, Adlai Stevenson, and Roosevelt before coming home on Saturday for a non-league test against one of the more consistent Class A teams in the PSAL in Beacon.

Class B

1) Uncommon Charter (14-1)- While winning their first 14 games of the season was thoroughly impressive, it might be there first loss that really shows how good Uncommon Charter can be. They were in foul trouble for a good portion of their game at The Post Invitational on Saturday against Green Tech, a top Class AA school out of Section 2 yet still led for a large amount of the game. Ahzariah Douglas '20 looked every bit of one of the best players of the day as he was solid from start to finish, but a late drought cause the Sabers in a 52-50 defeat. Tuesday will see Uncommon look to get back in the win column with a game at Teachers Prep, then it's another league road date on Thursday against All City Leadership, before the Sabers go to New Jersey on Friday to take on Watchung Hills in another big non-league clash.

2) Poly Prep (7-2)- Friday saw the Blue Devils get one of their toughest league challenges when Riverdale came to Brooklyn to take on Max Ragusa '22 and Poly Prep. It looked like the Blue Devils were in trouble down by 6 at the half but Ragusa would put together a huge fourth quarter and OT session as Poly Prep would rally back and ultimately take a 75-69 victory. The win keeps the Blue Devils unbeaten in Ivy League play with three more league games coming up this week as they will go to Collegiate on Monday, then host Trinity on Wednesday before going back on the road to take on Horace Mann on Friday. Saturday will see Poly go out of league for a very intriguing contes against St. Mary's of Manhasset at the loaded South Shore MLK Showcase.

3) Summit Academy (14-4)- Another week meant another big win for Summit who continue to prove themselves to be among the best of the best in Class B this season. Soumana Sylla '20 had 14 points and 14 rebounds as he put his stamp on the game with the Eagles defeating Brooklyn College Academy on the road on Wednesday 64-47. It was a statement making victory for Summit who will look to keep racking up the wins when they host Brooklyn Collaborative on Monday before traveling to BCAM to finish out this week on Wednesday.

4) South Bronx Prep (11-2)- For nearly three weeks the Cougars have been sitting idle and waiting to get back on the court and show what they could do. That time has finally come as Steven Turner '21 will look to lead his South Bronx Prep team back to the top of the B Division as the defending PSAL champions. Major tests and challenges are awaiting the Cougars though as they get back to work on Wednesday against Bronx Early College, before hitting the road on Friday to face off with Jane Addams. Two non-league games finish the week as on Saturday they will play in the James Monroe MLK Showcase against fellow Class B contender Brooklyn College Academy, and then on Sunday it will FDA waiting for the Cougars at the South Shore MLK Classic.

5) Brooklyn College Academy (13-2)- Nothing went right on Wednesday for the Bobcats as Deon McLaughlin '20 did all he could to the tune of 19 points and 16 rebounds but combining to go 4-18 from three and struggling to just put the ball in the basket overall it was a night to forget as Brooklyn College Academy fell 64-47 to Summit Academy. They did rebound nicely 48 hours later with a 78-27 victory over Clara Barton to get back on the right track and it's that type of dominating play that the Bobcats hope to get back to this coming week when they take on Medgar Evers and East New York Family Academy in road league contests on Monday and Wednesday, before then taking on South Bronx Prep in a big Class B non-league clash on Saturday at the James Monroe MLK Showcase.

6) Academy of American Studies (11-2)- Blowouts have been the order of pretty much the entire season so far for the Eagles who in a pair of games this past week made quick work of both Baccalaureate School for Global Education and Academy for Careers in Television and Film by scores of 81-21 and 84-34 respectively. Peter Charalambous '21 had a 23 point and 12 rebound effort in American Studies' win over Television and Film in a strong individual showing, with he and his team looking to keep up that type of play this week when they play two more league teams at home with it being Energy Tech coming to them on Tuesday before Renaissance makes the trip in on Thursday.

7) Riverdale (8-2)- Coming back home after winning a tournament in Florida just after the New Year, it was one of the bigger regular season games of the year for the Falcons on Friday when they went on the road to take on Poly Prep. Both Sam Klores '20 and Luke Klores '22 put together great offensive performances as they combined for 44 points for Riverdale but it proved to not quite be enough as the Blue Devils were able to squeak out a 75-69 OT victory over the Falcons. It was a heartbreaking loss for Riverdale but they showed they can be among the best and will look to keep their strong play going this week when they host Regis on Monday, then it's another home date with Hackley on Wednesday, before going on the road on Friday to finish out the week against Trinity.

8) Maspeth (11-3)- Much like how it went this past week for their Queens B West rivals in Academy of American Studies, the Argonauts had it quite easy over the last seven days as they also made easy work of Academy for Careers in Television and Film 63-30, and then downed Frank Sinatra School of the Arts 81-29 in another blowout effort. Maximillan Egner '20 had 34 and 27 points in the two games while also going over double-digits rebounds in both as well for Maspeth. Things should stay relatively easy this week coming up for the Argonauts as they go to Baccalaureate School for Global Education on Tuesday, and then have a home game with Newcomers on Thursday. Saturday will see Maspeth have an intestine Class B non-league date with Pace in a game we will definitely be watching closely.

9) Achievement First (12-4)- With ease it was Achievement First getting three league wins to open the week before a matchup at The Post Invitational on Saturday saw them slip up against one of Class A's best in Beacon in a game where they fell behind early and never were able to make a real strong rally in what would be a. 77-64 defeat. Emmanuel Smith '20 put together a very strong second half as he had 18 points and 13 rebounds in the loss while showing he is one of the more talented big men in the B Division. Two road league contests are on the schedule this coming week here for Achievement First as they will go to William Maxwell on Tuesday before closing the week on Thursday with a trip to Juan Morel Campos.

10) Fannie Lou Hamer (14-2)- A staple for years in the Class B rankings, the Panthers dropped out a couple weeks back after a 23 point loss on the road at Maspeth, but since then they have followed that up with a couple wins to get themselves right back in the PSAL Class B championship contender mix. Anthony Rose '20 recently scored his 1,000th career point as he has been a major part of the Fannie Lou team success over the past couple years and now has a now individual achievement he can celebrate. A couple road league matchups are on the slate here coming up as on Tuesday the Panthers will go to Metropolitan before a Thursday contest at Hyde Leadership. The week will then end on Saturday as Fannie Lou Hamer goes to play in the James Monroe MLK Showcase where they will take on Evander Childs out of the PSAL Bronx A Division.

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