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Tuesday, Feb. 4, 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 (23-0)- By the narrowest of margins the Judges stayed perfect on the season as they got a strong fourth quarter effort from Chamarri Baskerville '20 who drained 3 three's in the final 8 minutes to help Cardozo to a 45-44 victory over John Bowne. That was followed up by an easy win on the road over Springfield Gardens to move one game of a perfect regular season. That final regular season game will be Tuesday at Francis Lewis as the Judges go for a perfect 24-0 mark before heading into the playoffs.

2) St. Raymond (15-3)- It was a nip and tuck battle throughout on the road against their rivals from Cardinal Hayes, but with Gary Grant '20 scoring his 1,000th career high school point while going for 17 points and 11 rebounds in the game, the Ravens were able to slip by the Cardinals 60-59 on Friday afternoon. Saturday then had St. Raymond have a bit easier time of things in a 78-56 win at the Apparel Challenge over Chaminade. It will be a pretty busy week here for St. Ray's as on Tuesday they will host Mount St. Michael, then on Friday it will be Iona Prep coming to the Bronx before a Sunday afternoon road game for the Ravens at Msgr. Scanlan.

3) Xaverian (16-3)- Just a one game week a week ago now for the Clippers but it proved to be another challenging one for Xaverian as they made the trip to the Bronx to face off with Mount St. Michael. The Clippers did lead for most of the way but never were truly able to put the game away in what was a 76-72 win for Xaverian who got 19 points from Nick Folk '21 in the victory. A road game will start this week off for the Clippers as they go to Archbishop Molloy on Tuesday before playing host to Christ the King on Sunday in an important game to stay atop the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens standings.

4) St. Francis Prep (13-6)- When you think about where the Terriers have been in recent years it really makes you appreciate even more the season that St. Francis Prep are putting together. Tuesday saw them lead from start to finish in a 69-65 victory over Christ the King, with the Terriers beating the Royals twice in a season for the first time in nearly 30 years, and then it was a solid OT win on the road over Archbishop Molloy 59-57 in a game that had Latiek Briscoe '22 keeping up his strong play with 18 points in the victory. Just one game coming up this week for SFP as they will hit the road on Friday to take on their archrivals from Holy Cross in the second installment of this season's Battle of the Boulevard.

5) South Shore (15-8)- Everything started out great this week for the Vikings as they easily disposed of Brooklyn Collegiate 63-53, and then went on the road and got 22 points from Dontae Prescott '20 in a 71-67 road win at Abraham Lincoln which is still a very tough place to play. Saturday's game for South Shore against Christ the King at the Apparel Challenge didn't go so well though as the Vikings could never get over the top in a 71-61 loss on the road to the longtime CHSAA power. To finish out PSAL Brooklyn AA play this week South Shore will go to Canarsie in hopes of claiming a share of the regular season title.

6) John Bowne (18-3)- Bowne had their chances on Tuesday when they took on our #1 Cardozo team with Amadou Diallo '21 putting together a fine effort in scoring 20 points. As the game wore on though the Wildcats struggled to make the big stops when they needed as the Judges had John Bowne's number again in what was a 45-44 loss for the Wildcats. Bowne did respond well two days later though in a 55-49 win over Francis Lewis to get back on track. With just one regular season game left the Wildcats will finish things out on Tuesday when they hit the road to take on H.S. for Construction.

7) Cardinal Hayes (11-8)- The question was when would this season's young Cardinals group begin to put it all together because when/if they did that the expectation was for Hayes to be a very dangerous team. That time looks as if it's now because even in a 60-59 defeat on Friday to St. Raymond it was Shemani Fuller '20 proving to be a major force inside in helping give the Ravens one of their toughest matchup's in weeks. Saturday at the Apparel Challenge then saw the Cardinals easily dispatch of Brooklyn Collegiate 66-53 with Julien Soumaoro '20 coming alive from the outside. Wednesday will next have Hayes on the hardwood when they host Murry Bergtraum in a non-league game before hosting Bishop Loughlin in league play on Friday.

8) Boys & Girls (16-6)- Tuesday saw a tough loss for the Kangaroos as they fell to Thomas Jefferson 93-91 in a game that saw Khalil Brantley '21 have to sit for nearly two full quarter because of foul issues yet the dynamic guard still managed to score 32 points in the loss. Boys rebounded on Thursday with a road win at Eagle Academy II 68-62 to keep them in the mix for being among the best in the Brooklyn AA this season. The Kangaroos will go to Brooklyn Collegiate to close out the regular season on Tuesday with the winner of that one claiming at least a share of the regular season crown.


9) Christ the King (8-8)- Even though the Royals are just a .500 team at the moment they might be one of the more dangerous teams in New York City. They went on the road and fell to a very talented St. Francis Prep team 69-65 on Tuesday, but then made a major statement on Saturday with a 71-61 win over one of the PSAL's best in South Shore at the Apparel Challenge with Sterling Jones '21 having a season high 25 points to pace Christ the King to the huge victory. The schedule doesn't get easier from here though as the Royals have 4 games on the docket this week starting with Msgr. Scanlan at home on Tuesday, then it's Stepinac coming to Queens on Thursday, a road game with Molloy on Friday, and then a very tough challenge in Brooklyn against Xaverian to finish out the week on Sunday.

10) Wings Academy (13-7)- Many have slept on Wings for most of this season but you have to commend the coaching staff and the players for the Bronx power for staying near the top of the PSAL even in a year many thought would be a down one for them. Jose Cuello '20 had 19 points as Wings won a big game on Tuesday when they took down their Bronx rivals from Eagle Academy 56-47 in a game that showed the kind of defensive team Wings can be. To close out the regular season it will be Wings hitting the road on Wednesday when they make the trip to JFK.

11) WHEELS (15-8)- After wins to open the week over All Hallows in the non-league and Harry Truman back in league play it was a big Friday road game for WHEELS going to the Bronx to take on James Monroe. Randy Crosby '21 had a big 22 point outing for the Wolves but the rest of the WHEELS team struggled to get any offensive rhythm going as the Wolves tried to rally late but came up short 43-41 to Monroe. That loss pushes them down the rankings a bit as the Wolves will look to close the regular season strong on Tuesday when they play host to Thurgood Marshall Academy.

12) Eagle Academy (15-7)- The week started out as bad as it could've as Eagle went to Wings Academy on Tuesday and were on the short end of a 56-47 contest as DaMarco Watson '20 was held to one of his lowest scoring outputs of the season with just 14 points in the loss. Two days later though Eagle Academy were back playing the way many know they can as Watson had 31 on this day with the Eagles dethroning Thurgood Marshall on Thursday 76-66. It was a strong response for Eagle who will hope to close out PSAL regular season play on a good note on Tuesday when they host James Monroe, and then on Saturday it will be a non-league matchup with White Plains before the playoffs get underway on Tuesday.

13) Thurgood Marshall Academy (14-7)- Tuesday was the definition of a gimme as the Panthers took control early and never looked back in an 89-55 win over Wadleigh. Things got tougher on Thursday though when Thurgood Marshall went to the Bronx to face off with Eagle Academy. The Panthers fell behind after a rough second quarter and never were able to find a groove after that as Kevin Dinkins '20 had 18 points in what would be a 76-66 loss for TMA against their rivals from the Bronx. Hoping to close out the regular season in a good way, the Panthers will go to WHEELS having already clinched the Manhattan AA regular season title.

14) Thomas Jefferson (10-12)- Looking at just the Orange Wave's record you would think there is no way they could deserve to be in the Top 15 in Class AA but when you look at how well they have been playing as of late it's clear to see Jefferson are turning a corner. This past week showed what the Orange Wave can do as they knocked off Boys & Girls on the road on Tuesday 93-91 in a game that saw Jaquan Carlos '21 score 24 for Jefferson, and then on Thursday it was total domination as the Orange Wave took down Canarsie 104-75 with Carlos going for a triple-double to the tune of 33 points, 16 assists, and 11 rebounds. A pair of games with Eagle Academy II on Tuesday and Thursday will end the regular season for a now hot Jefferson team.

15) Brooklyn Collegiate (14-8)- It's remarkable what has happened to the Lions who at one point in early January were ranked as our NYC #1 team. They were 13-1 over their first 14 games and now in their last 8 games are just 1-7. They did get that one this week in a squeaker on the road over George Westinghouse 69-66, but then fell handily 66-53 to Cardinal Hayes on Saturday at the Apparel Challenge in a game that had Amahrie Simpkins '20 score 19 as he was a big bright spot for Brooklyn Collegiate in the defeat. Tuesday will see the Lions host Boys & Girls in a game that if they can win will find them as at least co-regular season champions in the PSAL Brooklyn AA which would flip the season back around for a still very talented Lions group.

Class A

1) Benjamin Banneker (22-1)- Wednesday on paper looked as if it could have been a tough game for the Warriors when they took on Harry Van Arsdale who are the second place team in their Brooklyn A1 league. It was no contest though as Takai Simpkins '21 nearly had a triple-double for Banneker, with his brother Tajuan Simpkins '21 leading all scorers with 23 points in a 100-50 win. Friday then saw a road trip to Brooklyn Tech with Banneker taking an early lead and fending off a late challenge for a 62-52 victory. Just one regular season game is left for the Warriors when on Wednesday they play host to another ranked team in a solid matchup against Transit Tech.

2) Murry Bergtraum (18-2)- In the Blazers one game this past week it was an easy one from the start as Dior Davis '21 had another spectacular effort with 31 points, 12 assists, and 12 rebounds as his triple-double helped push Bergtraum

past Hunter College High School at home 82-53. The end of PSAL regular season play will come on the road on Tuesday for the Blazers when they to go Norman Thomas, and then before the playoffs begin the will be a very big test for Bergtraum as they go to the Bronx to take on Cardinal Hayes in a CHSAA vs. PSAL battle.

3) Msgr. Farrell (16-3)- When you talk about who are the contenders for Class A Player of the Year in the CHSAA the list has to start and stop with Justin Zieris '20 as the senior guard has been the leader of all the Lions have done this season. He had 22 in a huge road win at McKee/Staten Island Tech who are considered to be the best the PSAL has to offer on Staten Island this year, and then it was a blowout of Moore Catholic on Friday 82-52 in a game that saw 11 Msgr. Farrell players get in the scorebook. There are no games this week for the Lions who await the start of the SIHSL playoffs where they will be one of the favorites to take home that title.

4) Beacon (22-1)- It was just a one game week for the Blue Demons as they got 13 points and 9 rebounds from Fauzi Cizmesjia-Ulmer '20 in a 61-50 win for Beacon over West 50th Street Campus. It was a tie game at halftime as Beacon struggled early on but a big third quarter helped them pull away for good to nab their 22nd win of the season. The Blue Demons will look for win #23 in their final game of the regular season on Wednesday when they hit the road to take on Martin Luther King Jr. in a game that could be big in terms of playoff seeding going into the borough playoffs.

5) Xavier (15-3)- Easy wins at home over both Msgr. McClancy and Nazareth to open the week allowed Xavier to have a boatload of confidence for their Saturday trip out to Staten Island to go up against St. Joseph by the Sea. It proved to be anything but easy as Xavier trailed for a good portion of the game, but with Blair Thompson '21 scoring 14 of his 19 points in the second half, including a pair of critical FT's late it was the Knights rallying from a deficit to come back for a 54-53 win over the Vikings. Two home games await Xavier this week as on Tuesday they will have a ranked battle with St. Edmund Prep before finishing the week off on Friday with Cardinal Spellman.

6) Bedford Academy (21-3)- The Panthers closed out the regular season on Saturday with one of their more dominating performances of the season as Ethan Edwards '20 had 26 points to lead 7 scorers in double figures as Bedford rolled past Bushwick Campus 100-38. That result came 24 hours after another blowout win over Grady 77-51 to solidify the Panthers as a team to watch come Brooklyn Borough Playoff time next week. That is it though for the regular season for Bedford Academy who will wait to hear their fate for the borough playoffs which get underway on Monday the 10th.

7) Graphics Campus (20-2)- Heading north to step out of league on Friday the 49ers went to take on Blind Brook out of Section 1. It's never easy for a team to leave the confines of New York City and get a positive result but that's exactly what Graphics got as they led from start to finish to bring back a really strong win to Manhattan as they knocked off Blind Brook, 73-61. The win gives the 49ers a ton of confidence as they round into the final week of the regular season with just one game remaining for them on Wednesday when they hit the road to face Fiorello LaGuardia.

8) Transit Tech (19-3)- Normally a lot of the accolades for the Express go to their star scoring threat in Jeremy Moranta '20 but on Wednesday it was a true team effort as while he had 25 to lead all scorers, Jabez Griffith '20 had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds as well as Transit snuck out of John Jay with a 72-68 OT victory. Friday was a bit of an easier result as the Express rolled past Automotive 107-75 with Moranta going for 34 and 16 rebounds. Monday will see Transit Tech host Prospect Heights before a big Wednesday showdown to end the regular season with our #1 Banneker team.

9) Far Rockaway (15-3)- Continuing to thrive for the Sea Horses as the season moves along is big man Alpha Sacko '20 as he was a major lift for Far Rockaway on Wednesday when they defeated August Martin 64-49 as he had 18 points and 16 rebounds in the win that kept them in line for a league title. That win coupled with a Friday victory over Flushing has Far Rockaway in good shape as they enter the final week of the regular season with a home game on Monday to come against John Adams before finishing things on Wednesday by going on the road in another winnable game against Newtown.

10) Hillcrest (20-1)- For the first time this season we welcome in the Hawks to the Class A NYC Top Ten as they have been dominating PSAL Queens A East II competition for most of the season. This past week was no exception as Jordan Coard '20 had 19 points and 13 rebounds in an easy home win over Thomas Edison on Wednesday, and then 24 hours later on Thursday it was Deontae Adams '21 scoring 22 points in a 54-32 victory over Long Island City. Looking to keep the good play going, Hillcrest will look to finish the regular season strong when on Thursday they host Eagle Academy III in a battle for first place in the division.

Class B

1) Uncommon Charter (20-2)- When Ahzariah Douglas '20 gets going there is little many can do to contain him as he shows himself to be one of the top performers in the B Division of the PSAL this season. Averaging 31 points over Uncommon's three games this past week, Douglas led the Sabers to wins over School for Classics, Bushwick Leaders, and Bathgate at the PSAL B Division Showcase to solidify the it lock on the #1 spot in the New York City rankings. A big showdown awaits to close out the regular season as Uncommon Charter will take on Achievement First in a bi Brooklyn B East contest for building bragging rights.

2) Summit Academy (19-4)- Going up against The Scholars Academy in Queens on Sunday at the PSAL B Division Showcase was supposed to be a matchup that could challenge the Eagles, but a big second quarter run gave Summit a double digit lead that they would not relinquish as Soumana Sylla '20 had 22 points and 11 rebound to help the Eagles to a dominating 64-43 win over Scholars. Add that on top of their other wins this past week over Adams Street Academy and Cobble Hill School and it's easy to see why Summit is among the PSAL's best. The regular season is now over for the Eagles who await now their playoff fate.

3) Poly Prep (13-3)- Playing alongside of Max Ragusa '22 in the backcourt for the Blue Devils is another bright young star in Nasir Muhammed '23 as just a freshman he has been Poly's leading scorer the past few weeks putting together a couple more great efforts against both Collegiate and Hackley to have them roll to a pair of wins, keeping them atop of the Ivy Prep League as we roll down the stretch of the regular season. Upcoming this week will see the Blue Devils traveling to Hackley on Monday, then it will be a home game with Berkeley Carroll on Wednesday, before finishing the week off on the road again on Friday at Trinity.

4) Achievement First (17-4)- Sunday saw a battle of two of Class B's best at the PSAL B Division Showcase when Achievement took on Academy of American Studies out of Queens. It was a tight game early on but a strong third quarter led by Rayquan Royer '20 who had 10 of his 18 points in the stanza helped Achievement First ultimately pull away for a 69-56 win over the Queens B power to help push them into the top four this week. It was a momentum boosting win for sure as Achievement will now finish the season out with a home game versus their building mates in Uncommon Charter in a huge bragging rights game.

5) Townsend Harris (20-0)- You would've hoped to have seen the Hawks at the PSAL B Division Showcase but unfortunately they turned down the opportunity meaning they were not on hand for the high profile event. Townsend Harris did take care of business in their two league games this past week though dominating East-West School of International Studies 91-37, and then getting challenged early by RFK before pulling away for an 83-65 win that saw Matthew Cantor '23 show the kind of player he can be moving forward to the tune of 19 points and 17 rebounds. Hoping to finish the season unbeaten, the Hawks will host Cambria Heights Academy on Monday and then get Queens H.S. Complex on Thursday in their quest for perfection.

6) Riverdale (14-3)- Getting fouled on a three as time expired in regulation, Sam Klores '20 knocked down all three FT's to send the game into OT against Rye Country Day this past Wednesday. He came up as clutch as possible when his team needed him most, leading all scorers with 18 points to help the Falcons eventually take down Rye 84-82 in 2 OT's. It was an enormous come from behind victory that will only help Riverdale moving forward the rest of the way. The week ahead here will now see the Falcons host Dalton on Wednesday before going to Hackley for another tough one on Friday evening.

7) Brooklyn College Academy (18-4)- Another team who made the trek to Brooklyn on Super Bowl Sunday to take part in the PSAL B Division Showcase, the Bobcats were without a doubt tested as they fell behind in the early going but it was another big Deon McLaughlin '20 to carry the day as he would score 31 points and grab 13 rebounds to help push Brooklyn College Academy past Baruch College Campus out of Manhattan 63-56. It was a quality effort against a quality opponent for BCA who are now done with PSAL play but will close out their regular season in Pennsylvania this coming Saturday and Sunday when they square off with Andrews Academy and Obama Academy over their two days in the Keystone State.

8) Martin Luther (14-5)- We had the Cougars ranked earlier in the season and we now welcome them back after winning 7 in a row in PSAA play. Darren Joyner '20 had a pair of really strong outings this past week as he had 21 in a road victory out at Stony Brook on Monday, and then it was a 25 point performance as he sent in 5 made three's to help Martin Luther to a convincing win over Our Savior New American 74-47. There is only one game left in the regular season for the Cougars who will look to close things out on a very good note as they play host to Lawrence Woodmere Academy in a big contest on Wednesday evening.

9) Academy of American Studies (16-2)- Sneaking by on Thursday were the Eagles as Amit Singh had 19 points and 14 rebounds in a 55-51 win over Newcomers. That may have been an omen as to what was to come as on Sunday American Studies went to play in the PSAL B Division Showcase, and while Singh was strong around the rim the guard play struggled in the second half as the Eagles fell for just the second time this season, losing to Achievement First 69-56. It was a disappointing loss but another big opportunity is to come on Tuesday when American Studies hosts Maspeth, with the final game of the regular season to come after that on Thursday when the Eagles host Newcomers.

10) Bathgate Educational Complex (15-4)- After taking down Frederick Douglass Academy III with relative ease on Thursday, 87-63 in a game that saw 6 Bathgate players get into double figures it was a much tougher time of things on Sunday at the PSAL B Division Showcase as the Bulldogs took on our #1 Uncommon Charter team. Bathgate struggled out of the gate and never were able to really get back in the game as Michael Boafo '20 had 18 points but it came in a 66-50 loss. Tuesday will end Bathgate's regular season when they look to get back on the winning track at home against a perennial strong Bronx B school in Bronx School for Law, Government, & Justice.

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