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Tuesday, Jan. 28, 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 (21-0)- In what was one of the Judges toughest game of the season on Saturday, Cardozo got 17 points and 13 rebounds from Errol White '20 inside as they were able to hold on late to defeat New Rochelle out of Section 1 61-56 at the Battle by the Bay on Long Island. The last real regular season challenge awaits the Judges this week when on Tuesday they play host to John Bowne in a big PSAL Queens AA showdown, before finishing up the week on the road on Thursday against Springfield Gardens.

2) St. Raymond (13-3)- Friday saw the Ravens make the trip to Brooklyn to face off wth Bishop Loughlin in league play, and with Malachi Smith '21 getting off to a blazing start with 14 points in the opening quarter to see St. Ray's take an early 35-12 lead it was no contest from nearly the get go as the Ravens easily dispatched of the Lions 87-61. The week ahead will see a big rivalry game on Friday when St. Raymond goes on the road to take on Cardinal Hayes, and then it will a trip to Queens for the Apparel Challenge on Saturday with the Ravens taking on one of Long Island's best there in Chaminade.

3) Xaverian (15-3)- Going into Sunday's contest with Stepinac the question was which Xaverian team would show up. They had been a bit inconsistent as of late, not on this day as Nick Folk '21 had a season high 31 points connecting on 7 three pointers to help propel the Clippers to their most impressive win of the season, a 74-63 victory over the Crusaders. Xaverian will now look to bring that momentum into their only game of this week, a Friday road contest in the Bronx where they will square off with Mount St. Michael.

4) South Shore (14-6)- It was due to be just a one game week for the Vikings, but that one game week turned into a no game week when Monday's contest at their MLK Showcase became a forfeit when South Shore's opponent, Lynn English from Massachusetts never made the trip down. Disappointing for South Shore and their star guard Marcus Burnett '20 to say the least, the Vikings will be getting back to action on Tuesday in a home contest against Brooklyn Collegiate before then going on the road on Thursday to take on Abraham Lincoln. Saturday will then see South Shore go to Queens to play in the Apparel Challenge against the hosts from Christ the King.

5) Boys & Girls (14-6)- Another team that had off this past week, Khalil Brantley '21 has been the driving force this season for the re-emergence of Kangaroos basketball. There have been some subpar years as of late but behind his 36 points per game, and the youth really coming together for Boys & Girls as well, there is no reason why this group cannot make a very deep postseason run coming playoff time. Tuesday will next see the Kangaroos hit the court when they host Thomas Jefferson before they go on the road on Thursday to finish out the week at Eagle Academy II.

6) John Bowne (16-2)- Hosting Springfield Gardens on Friday saw the Wildcats put together one of their best performances of the season to date as Tyshawn Trail '21 had 27 points to lead all scorers in a dominant 74-38 victory for Bowne. That's the kind of complete effort the Wildcats will need on Tuesday when they hit the road to take on our #1 Benjamin Cardozo team, with the week to be closed out after that on Thursday with a home league game against Francis Lewis to finish things out.

7) WHEELS (13-7)- One of the surprise teams in the PSAL had the week off as they gear up for what will be a busy and important close to the regular season. Randy Crosby '21 has proven himself to be one of the best players in the PSAL Manhattan AA this season as he is averaging over 22 points per game in helping the Wolves to being one of the teams to watch moving forward as we near the postseason. Tuesday will see WHEELS go out of league to take on All Hallows on the road in the Bronx, and then on Thursday its a home date with Truman before finishing out the week on the road in the Bronx once again at James Monroe.

8) St. Francis Prep (11-6)- Solidifying themselves as a Top Ten team in New York City this season are the Terriers who took Round 1 of the Battle of the Boulevard when they knocked off Holy Cross on Friday 57-51 behind the 17 point second half effort from sophomore Latiek Briscoe '22. Briscoe would continue that great play into Saturday when St. Francis Prep went to Long Island to take on Holy Trinity as he had 25 points in that one to lead the Terriers to another big win. 80-75. Tuesday will see SFP play host to Christ the King in an important CHSAA league matchup, before another big one comes on Friday with the Terriers going on the road to square off with Molloy.


9) Thurgood Marshall Academy (12-5)- The Panthers had a golden opportunity on Sunday evening to get a big win and room their way up the rankings some more, but it wasn't meant to be as Thurgood Marshall fell to Baldwin 61-57 in OT at the Gotham Hoops Classic in Queens. Kevin Dinkins '20 did all he could to will TMA back after a fourth quarter deficit, helping the Panthers get the game into the extra session but it was there that they ran out of gas in the 4 point overtime loss. Next up for Thurgood Marshall will be a home date with Wadleigh on Tuesday before hitting the road and going to the Bronx on Thursday for a date with Eagle Academy.

10) Cardinal Hayes (9-7)- Continuing to be up and down this season are the Cardinals who put together a very strong outing on Monday in a 64-46 win over Msgr. Scanlan that saw Shemani Fuller '20 go off for 27 points, but then on Friday in a trip to Stepinac the defensive intensity that was there on Monday seemed to go away as they never were able to lead after a solid opening quarter in losing to the Crusaders 77-67. Hoping to be more consistent this week, Hayes will go to Queens on Tuesday for an afternoon league battle with Holy Cross, then it will be a rivalry game at home on Friday with St. Raymond, before going to play in the Apparel Challenge on Saturday where another inconsistent team awaits in Brooklyn Collegiate.

11) Holy Cross (8-8)- Starting off the week with a solid non-league win on Monday over Adlai Stevenson from the PSAL Bronx A Division, the Knights went into Friday's matchup with their rivals from St. Francis Prep confident that they could go on the road and get the job done. Holy Cross though got off to a slow start and never really recovered, clawing their way within one possession a couple times early in the fourth but never getting over the hump as even with Tyler Chapman '20 going off for 22 points it wasn't enough in a 57-51 loss for the Knights. Tuesday this week will see Holy Cross host Cardinal Hayes before a Friday visit from Bishop Loughlin and then a Saturday matinee at home against Msgr. Scanlan in a busy three game week.

12) Christ the King (7-7)- It's been since early December that the Royals have been apart of the big Top 15 in New York City but playing much better basketball as of late has the winners of 4 straight in Christ the King making their reappearance. Ryan Myers '20 scored his 1,000th career high school point in Friday's 58-56 victory over Archbishop Molloy, and then it was just a true great overall team effort on Sunday as Myers and Sterling Jones '21 paced the way in a 73-51 win over Bishop Loughlin. Things will continue to get tougher here for the Royals who on Tuesday go to St. Francis Prep before taking on South Shore in the CTK's Apparel Challenge on Saturday night.

13) Eagle Academy (14-6)- Just when it looked as if Eagle were starting to really turn a corner they put together a really tough loss last Monday when they fell to Eagle Academy II from Brooklyn in a heartbreaker 57-55 at the NY Lightning Invitational just over a week ago now. It was a strong effort once again for DaMarco Watson '20 who tried to carry the load late but it fell just short in a tough defeat. That was the only game of the week for Eagle Academy who now will look to get back to the winning ways when they go to their rivals from Wings Academy on Tuesday before closing up the two game week at home on Thursday against Thurgood Marshall Academy.

14) Brooklyn Collegiate (13-6)- Playing without their leader and floor general in Majesty Johnson '20 has been extremely rough on the Lions who are now losers of 5 straight, losers of two more over the weekend in New Jersey against Gil St. Bernard's by 22, and then in a tight loss down in Pennsylvania on Sunday to Archbishop Wood in a game that saw Brooklyn Collegiate leading by 7 at the half before letting the lead get away from them down the stretch. Hoping to recover on Tuesday and pick up their first win in three weeks will be tough as they go to South Shore then before going to George Westinghouse on Thursday, and then making the trip to Queens out of league to face off with Cardinal Hayes in the Apparel Challenge on Saturday.

15) Archbishop Molloy (11-7)- After falling in 4 straight it was the Stanners getting back on track on Sunday afternoon as Christian Bliss '23 had 18 points to lead a young Molloy team to a 69-56 win over Iona Prep at home. That win takes some pressure off the Stanners a bit as they looked to be pressing, especially in their Friday night 2 point loss to Christ the King. Getting the victory should put Archbishop Molloy in a good frame of mind on Tuesday when they go to White Plains to take on Archbishop Stepinac in a tough league contest, and then on Friday it will be back home for the Stanners when they host St. Francis Prep to end a two game week.

Class A

1) Benjamin Banneker (20-1)- Rolling through PSAL competition still are the Warriors who got double-doubles in both games from post man Tyler Gordon '20 as Banneker cruised to two wins over Midwood and Erasmus Hall this past week as they hit the 20 win plateau and continue to cement themselves as the favorites in the PSAL A Division. That isn't to say they won't be tested at all as this week will see a tricky home are on Wednesday with a talented and improving Harry Van Arsdale team, and then it's a road trip on Friday to Brooklyn Tech in what should be a pair of nice tests for one of the PSAL's best.

2) Murry Bergtraum (17-2)- Even when he isn't playing his best Dior Davis '21 still manages to make an impact as he

was the consummate playmaker in the opening half on Saturday in Bergtraum's game against Mott Haven out of league in the Msgr. Scanlan Invitational, and with his shot coming on late Davis would finish with 28 points in an 81-65 win for the Blazers over Mott Haven, yet another AA win this season for the Manhattan A power. It's just a one game week coming up here for Bergtraum as Tuesday they will play host to Hunter College High School in what should be another easy league matchup for a potent Blazers team.

3) Msgr. Farrell (14-3)- For the second time this season Farrell fell to their major Staten Island rivals in St. Peter's this past Friday as the Lions went on the road and fell 59-51 as Justin Zieris '20 again proved why he is one of NYC's more underrated talented as he had 24 points in the loss. 2 of the 3 losses this season for Farrell came to the Eagles, and with a big game on Monday with McKee/Staten Island Tech, and an easier one on Friday at Moore Catholic, it's two more chances for Zieris and the Lions to show why they are among the Empire State's elite.

4) Beacon (21-1)- As we near the end of the season it's been another magical ride for the Blue Demons who are on the cusp of being a top seed in the PSAL A Division playoffs once again as Sam Pohlman '21 has been one of the better shooters this season, and Theo Ghartey '20 gives Beacon a tough and long defender around the rim to really give them a difference dimension. Wednesday is when Beacon will take to the court again in their final home game of the regular season when the Blue Demons play host to West 50th Street Campus.

5) Xavier (12-3)- On Monday it was Xavier making the trip out to Staten Island to take on Msgr. Farrell in a game that the Knights lost 64-58 but it was a game that showed even on a long road trip and playing in hostile territory they could more than compete. Xavier led in the third quarter behind the play of Blair Thompson '21 who is continually showing himself to be one of the best in the CHSAA this season, but a rough fourth quarter saw Xavier fall on the road by 6. It will be a busy week ahead here for Xavier who host Msgr. McClancy and Nazareth on Wednesday and Friday, before hitting the road on Saturday for another Staten Island trip, this time at St. Joseph by the Sea.

6) Bedford Academy (18-3)- Going up against their big rivals from Brooklyn Law & Tech on Saturday afternoon meant a chance for the Panthers to make a statement and solidify themselves as the team to beat in the Brooklyn A Division. Statement made for Bedford as Ethan Edwards '20 went off for 28 points as they took a 12 point lead after one and never looked back en route to an impressive 77-43 victory over the Jets, a win that definitely puts the Panthers in a major position to damage come postseason time. Friday will next see Bedford take the court as they will host Grady before a Saturday matinee with Bushwick Campus finishes out the week.

7) St. Edmund Prep (12-4)- Getting two impressive wins this past week were the Eagles who squeaked by Fordham Prep on the road on Tuesday 60-59 in a game that saw Shemar Latty '20 scored 11 points in the fourth quarter to lead Edmund's back from a 6 point deficit entering the final stanza to the victory. The week closed out with a solid 60-47 home win over Msgr. McClancy that makes St. Edmund winners of 5 straight now as they enter this week that see them go on the road on Friday night, going into Manhattan to take on a tough LaSalle squad.

8) Graphics Campus (18-2)- There were no games because of regents exams this past week for the 49ers, but they will get back to work this week with two games. One coming in league play on Tuesday against Martin Luther King Jr. at home, and the other a road non-league date as Graphics Campus will go to Westchester County to face off with Blind Brook in a game that will show exactly what kind of team Joselito Rosario '22 and the rest of the 49ers are against out of area competition for the last time this season.

9) Transit Tech (17-3)- Another team that didn't hit the court last week because of exams, Jeremy Moranta '20 has been one of the more dynamic and dangerous offensive threats in the PSAL overall this season as he averages close to 35 points per game, scoring over 50 twice this season for an Express team that has one of the more fast paced tempos that you will see. A trip to John Jay will open this week up for Transit Tech, with the two game week closing up on Friday with a home date against Automotive that should allow the Express to keep the strong play going.

10) Far Rockaway (12-3)- A new team enters into the Top Ten for the first time this season as the Sea Horses make their charge into the rankings. The leaders in the Queens A East Division, Far Rockaway are coming of a 52-50 road win at Forest Hills as Alpha Sacko '20 had 15 points and 17 rebounds down low to be a major force and lead the way for the Sea Horses who are now winners of 10 in a row. This week will begin with a Tuesday non-league contest on the road at John Dewey before two league home games close it out on Wednesday and Friday against August Martin and Flushing respectively.

Class B

1) Uncommon Charter (17-2)- Tuesday saw the Sabers take the floor for the only time this past week when they hosted Spring Creek Campus, and while it proved to be far from easy Uncommon got 13 points from Ahzariah Douglas '20 as he helped push his Sabers team to a 57-54 victory. It was far from Uncommon's best performance of the year but they still managed to get the job done and remain perfect against PSAL competition on the season. Two fairly easy games on paper await this week as Uncommon will play host to School for Classics on Tuesday, and then have EBC/Bushwick Leaders coming to them to finish the week on Thursday.

2) Summit Academy (16-4)- It was a week off this past week for the Eagles but they are now in prime position to put their stamp down as one of the favorites entering PSAL playoff time. We aren't quite there yet but when you have players like Donte Howard '20 and Jeremiah Hewitt '20 leading the way you have potent offensive weapons who look primed for big things ahead for a talented Summit team. The final two league games of the season are this week for the Eagles as on Wednesday they will go to a tough Adams Street Academt team before playing host to Cobble Hill School on Friday to wrap up regular season league play.

3) Poly Prep (11-3)- In terms of Ivy League play for a while now it's looked as if it's Poly Prep and Riverdale at the top, which is why Saturday's matchup between the two was looked at as a good test to see which of the pair would be thought of as the best heading into playoff time. It ended up being all Blue Devils as Nasir Muhammed '23 had 18 points to lead a great Poly Prep effort in what ultimately was a dominating 68-47 win. Two home games are up next now for the Blue Devils with Collegiate coming to them on Wednesday before a matchup with Hackley on Saturday.

4) Academy of American Studies (14-1)- They haven't been a longtime power but the Eagles have quickly become a team to reckon with in Class B as Amit Singh '20 continues to dominate as he had 21 points this past Thursday in a 50-32 victory over Pathways in a non-league contest that again showed that American Studies aren't just a strong and solid offensive team, but a very skilled defensive unit as well. Tuesday will see the Eagles next hit the floor when they take on Frank Sinatra School of the Arts before a road game with Newcomers on Thursday, though it won't be a long trip as American Studies and them share a home court.

5) Achievement First (14-4)- Winners of 6 in a row in league play and 12 of their last 13 overall, Achievement First has one of the better front court forces in the B Division in big 6'7" Emmanuel Smith '20 as he is not just a long defensive weapon around the rim, but someone who can stretch out and be a dangerous offensive force as well with a strong midrange attack. Having been off for the past week Achievement First will get back on the floor again for the first time in ten days on Tuesday when they host a talented Spring Creek Campus, and then on Thursday to wrap up the week it will be another home game, this time with All City Leadership.

6) Townsend Harris (18-0)- Because of the level of competition that Hawks have played in their Queens B West Division we have been reluctant to put Townsend Harris in the Top Ten but it's just becoming too much to deny as the Hawks are game after game taking it to opponents, also while holding a pair of wins over Class A opposition as well. Their last time out Townsend Harris breezed past Queens School of Inquiry 74-45 as Jahdon Jerome '21 had 32 points to lead all scorers in the victory. Looking to stay perfect on the year, the Hawks will go to East-West School on Wednesday before hosting second place RFK on Friday.

7) Riverdale (13-3)- With two of their three losses now coming to Poly Prep after Saturday's 68-47 loss at home to the Blue Devils the question now goes to what does Riverdale have to do to get over the top of their Ivy League rivals. Sam Klores '20 had 19 points in their setback on Saturday, and the Falcons will look to try and move past that loss quickly as on Wednesday Riverdale will play their only game of the week when they step out of league to play fellow NYSAIS does in Rye Country Day at home in a nice out of conference test before the postseason gets underway.

8) Bathgate Educational Complex (14-3)- We had the Bulldogs ranked for a good portion of the season a few weeks back, and after falling out for a couple weeks Bathgate now re-enters after winning 5 straight behind the play of guard Jeffrey Agyeman '20 who is averaging 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists a game this season, including pouring in 23 in Bathgate's last game, an 88-55 victory over Bronx Studio School. The week ahead will now see the Bulldogs play host to a tough Frederick Douglass Academy III team on Thursday in Bathgate's only game of the week.

9) Brooklyn College Academy (15-4)- Even with a strong effort from Deon McLaughlin '20 as the senior wing scored a game high 22 points it was not enough as Brooklyn College Academy fell in their non-league game this past Thursday against CHSAA A Division school Nazareth, 57-45. It was a strong performance for nearly three quarters for the Bobcats, but they couldn't close the deal late in losing to the Catholic League school. It's back to league play for BCA starting on Wednesday when they host Brooklyn Studio Secondary School, and then to finish out league play it will be a road game at Leon Goldstein on Friday.

10) South Bronx Prep (14-5)- Saturday provided the Cougars with a chance to really shoot themselves up the Top Ten with a game at the Gotham Hoops Classic against one of the best in Class B in New York State in Center Moriches from Long Island. Steven Turner '21 had a solid effort for South Bronx Prep but the defense never was able to contain all the Center Moriches weapons in what ended up as a 94-67 loss in Queens to the Long Island power. Hoping to recover and get back on track this week, South Bronx Prep will go to rivals South Bronx on Wednesday before stepping out of league to play Class A school Lehman on Friday, and Class AA school James Monroe on Saturday in what will be a pair of tough tests for sure.

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