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Tuesday, Feb. 25, 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) St. Raymond (20-4)- The CHSAA Archdiocese of New York playoffs are underway and the Ravens didn't have to play in the quarterfinals as they earned the #1 seed and advanced with a bye into Tuesday's semifinal round. There they will face off with Msgr. Scanlan, a team they defeated comfortably last week to finish out the regular season but a team that roughly three weeks ago they lost to as well. A win on Tuesday though would put St. Ray's into the Archdiocese title game to be played on Saturday.

2) South Shore (19-8)- Finally this week the Vikings will get back into action as after winning the PSAL Brooklyn Borough Championship it will be two weeks off before South Shore, the #1 seed in the PSAL City Playoffs takes to the floor again. That time will come on Friday though when the Vikings take on either Harry Truman or Queens H.S. of Teaching in the Round of 16 as they look to advance and secure themselves a berth into the quarterfinals.

3) Cardinal Hayes (17-8)- As the season has progressed the youth of the Cardinals have started to come of age, and with the veterans shining bright as well it is no shock to see them having risen to among the best of the best in New York. Hayes easily ran past St. Peter's 58-41 in the CHSAA Archdiocese of New York quarterfinals on Sunday and will look to keep that momentum going on Tuesday with a semifinal matchup against Archbishop Stepinac before a possible Saturday title game date.

4) John Bowne (23-4)- Having been limited by injuries the Wildcats went into this past weekend's LuHi Invitational shorthanded, but they did hang close for three quarters against Albany Academy before falling in their opener 78-60. Bowne did rally in the consolation game by defeating Lehman 54-52 in game that saw three Wildcat players unable to play. They will hope to get heathy quickly this week as a PSAL City Playoff matchup against either Curtis or Abraham Lincoln awaits on Friday for the #4 seed.

5) Wings Academy (17-7)- The champions of the PSAL Bronx Borough Championships, Wings are the #7 seed in the PSAL City Playoffs, a seed lower than many would've thought or anticipated but still you have to look at their positioning and be confident in a solid playoff run if things break there way. They have been playing much better basketball over the past month and Wings will look to keep that going on Thursday when they take on Brooklyn Collegiate in an intriguing PSAL Round of 16 battle with Wings looking for another quarterfinal appearance.

6) St. Francis Prep (16-8)- For the first time in what could possibly be decades the Terriers are the #1 seed in the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan playoffs. They fell in their final regular season game on the road this past Tuesday to Cardinal Hayes in a close one 72-65 but have proven nearly all season long they are team with young talent and a good amount of depth to make a deep postseason run. Wednesday will get their playoff stretch going as they will meet in the diocese semifinals against either Holy Cross or Archbishop Molloy before a possible title game contest on Friday.

7) Benjamin Cardozo (24-1)- Undefeated for 24 straight to start the season the Judges took a bad loss in the PSAL Queens Borough Playoffs losing at home in the quarterfinals to H.S. for Construction by 16. They still earned the #2 seed in the PSAL City Playoffs but to many Cardozo are the most vulnerable among the top seeds entering the win or go home postseason stretch. They will open things up on Friday by playing host to either Canarsie of James Monroe in the Round of 16 in a game that the Judges hope will get them back on the right track.


8) WHEELS (18-9)- As the #3 seed in the PSAL City Playoffs and coming off of a Manhattan Borough Championship the expectations are now extremely high for the Wolves who are as good on the perimeter and from the outside as maybe any team entering the postseason. They have confidence on their side as well which should bode well for the Washington Heights school as they begin their trek on Friday will a home game in the Round of 16 against either Susan Wagner or H.S. for Construction.

9) Christ the King (14-9)- Earlier in the season the Royals were looked at as a team on the decline as they lost their first two league games of the season with things not really improving until later on in January. Things have now started to click for Christ the King though as even though they enter the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan Playoffs as the #3 seed they are as dangerous as anyone and a team no one will want to face. Monday will see them take on Bishop Loughlin in the diocese quarterfinals before possible dates on Wednesday and Friday in their run to another Diocesan title.

10) Msgr. Scanlan (14-11)- Since the Crusaders have gotten healthy it's been as if they are a new team now full of confidence and playing at a much higher level than at any other part in the season. That has allowed them to win 6 of their last 7 and take down Iona Prep on Sunday in the CHSAA Archdiocese of New York quarterfinals as Scanlan broke open a tight game late to knock off the Gaels 70-62. That will Msgr. Scanlan into Tuesday's semifinals against #1 St. Raymond, and with an upset there it would be a Saturday title game date for the upstart Crusaders.

11) Boys & Girls (18-7)- One of the more fun and exciting teams to watch in the PSAL in a game in game out basis, the Kangaroos are a team that likes to play fast and push the pace making them one of the more tougher teams to go up against as demonstrated by winning the PSAL Brooklyn AA regular season title. They lost in the Brooklyn Borough semifinals though and would get the #6 seed in the PSAL City Playoffs as they will get going on Friday with a Round of 16 matchup against either Manhattan Center or Springfield Gardens.

12) Eagle Academy (18-9)- Starting out the PSAL Bronx Borough Championship's as the #1 seed, Eagle looked poised to lift that title once again this season but would be stymied by their rivals from Wings Academy in what would be a 49-40 loss which would hurt their chances of a top PSAL City Playoffs seed, with the Eagles ultimately landing in the #8 spot. That will mean Eagle Academy will play at home in the Round of 16 against Staten Island power McKee/Staten Island Tech with a win giving them possibly the #1 overall seed South Shore in the quarterfinals.

13) Thurgood Marshall Academy (17-8)- Much like Eagle Academy had the chance to be among the top 3-4 seeds in the PSAL City Playoffs with a Borough Championship, Thurgood Marshall had a very similar situation as they only had WHEELS in their way. The Panthers defeated WHEELS during the regular season two times but faltered in the Manhattan Championship Game which would push them down to the #5 seed in the City Playoffs with a likely Round of 16 matchup against Brooklyn AA power Thomas Jefferson to come on Friday evening in Harlem.

14) Brooklyn Collegiate (16-10)- If you can just judge Brooklyn Collegiate by the times they had their full lineup together then the Lions lost just 2 games all year against New York City competition. They are among the elite of the five boroughs for sure, but they fell just too much with one or two key pieces out of the lineup which hurt them with their PSAL City Playoffs seed as well as Brooklyn Collegiate are the #10 seed and will have to go on the road on Thursday to Wings Academy in the Round of 16 in one of the more eagerly anticipated contests of the week.

15) Xaverian (17-7)- After looking as if they were the clear best team in the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens side for much of the year, a late season slide sent the Clippers out of the top spot as they are the #2 seed entering the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan Playoffs. Even though Xaverian didn't earn the #1 seed they still as the #2 will get an opening round bye straight into Wednesday's quarterfinals where they will more than likely see Christ the King, with the winner of that going to play for the championship come Friday night.

Class A

1) Benjamin Banneker (25-2)- The overwhelming favorite in the PSAL City Playoffs in Class A coming off of their run to the Brooklyn Borough Championship game where they knocked off both Thomas Jefferson and Boys & Girls during their run, the Warriors will have the target on their backs from here on out as they are the #1 seed and will get their quest toward a title going this Friday when Banneker plays host to either Bronx United or Port Richmond in the Round of 32.

2) Murry Bergtraum (21-5)- Much like Banneker, another team with a ton of expectations as the PSAL City Playoffs get rolling this week are the Blazers as they are one of the higher scoring teams in the league going over 100 points 7 times this season. They made it to the Manhattan Borough Semifinals where they led most of the way against eventual

champion WHEELS before losing a heartbreaker by 3 and now looked prepped for a big run as the #2 seed where they will open up in the Round of 32 against either Brooklyn Tech or Tottenville on Thursday.

3) Beacon (24-2)- Over the past three seasons you can say that it's been Beacon who have been the most consistent team in the PSAL A Division as this is now three straight years the Blue Demons have gotten a top five seed. This year after an unbeaten record in league play it is the #4 seed in the PSAL City Playoffs for Beacon as they look to make a deeper postseason run this time around as they will begin things on Thursday by hosting a Round of 32 contest against either Dr. Susan McKinney or Evander Childs.

4) Bedford Academy (21-4)- Entering the PSAL City Playoffs as the #3 seed the Panthers are built for what should be a long and deep postseason trip as they ran through the tough Brooklyn A6 Division this season, and were solid out of league as well against a tough slate of Class A and AA competition. Long Island City or DeWitt Clinton will be first up for Bedford Academy on Friday as their Round of 32 matchup will get their playoff season going.

5) St. Edmund Prep (19-5)- It's been a season to remember so far for the Eagles who led by a veteran group of seniors were able to finish in first place and win the CHSAA Class A regular season title. That's just accomplishment number one this St. Edmund team hopes to win though as they will be among the favorites to win the CHSAA Class A City Championship as their playoff season will get underway later on this week as the Eagles will get a bye straight into Saturday's quarterfinals.

6) Graphics Campus (21-3)- Having only lost a pair of games during the regular season to Beacon by a combined 8 points and a Manhattan Borough quarterfinal thriller Murry Bergtraum you would've thought Graphics would've been higher than the #10 seed in the PSAL City Playoffs but regardless of their seed you can expect the 49ers to be a very tough out moving forward the rest of the way as they are battle tested and ready for anything in their way. Thursday will get their playoff journey underway with a Round of 32 matchup against either Washington Irving or Jamaica to get them going.

7) Far Rockaway (17-4)- Even after losing two of their top scorers from a season ago the Sea Horses have found a way to remain among the best of the best in the PSAL as they were atop the Queens A East I standings again this year which has earned Far Rockaway the #8 seed in the PSAL City Playoffs. Their playoff run will get going on Friday when they host the winner of Tuesday's game between Percy E. Sutton and John Dewey as they look to advance to the Round of 16.

8) Msgr. Farrell (19-4)- After falling in the SIHSL Semifinals to New Dorp in surprising fashion the Lions were out for revenge on Friday in their final CHSAA league contest of the year at home against All Hallows. If getting out some of their anger was what Farrell were looking for that's exactly what they got as the Lions jumped out to an 18 point lead after one and ran away with this one in an easy 92-47 victory. It was a great way to end the regular season as Msgr. Farrell's CHSAA Class A City Playoff run will begin on Saturday in the quarterfinals against an opponent to be determined.

9) KIPP NYC College Prep (22-5)- Getting to the Bronx Borough Semifinals was a solid accomplishment in itself for the Bulldogs who off of their borough run and their solid regular season in the Bronx A Central were able to get the #6 seed in the upcoming PSAL City Playoffs. It's a good spot and good position for KIPP though in their Round of 32 contest to be played on Wednesday they will get either perennial power Frederick Douglass Academy of Telecommunication in what could be a game to watch for sure.

10) Hillcrest (22-2)- Holding a win this season over Queens AA school Queens H.S. of Teaching on the road and winning the PSAL Queens A East II regular season title helped enable the Hawks to earn the #7 seed in the PSAL City Playoffs that will get underway here this week. Hillcrest has an opening round bye and will take on either Bronx H.S. of Science or Norman Thomas in the Round of 32 this coming Friday, with a win there putting them on path for a collision in the Round of 16 with Graphics Campus next week.

Class B

1) Uncommon Charter (22-3)- The #1 in the PSAL Class B City Playoffs, Uncommon has done just about everything anyone could've asked of them this season so far including a win in the Brooklyn Borough Playoffs opening round over longtime Class AA power Abraham Lincoln. That win alone has to give the Sabers a ton of confidence going into the City Playoffs as their run will begin on Thursday when Uncommon Charter plays host to either Robert F. Kennedy or Democracy Prep in the Round of 32.

2) Poly Prep (21-4)- Mission one this season for the Blue Devils was to win the Ivy League Prep regular season title. That goal was accomplished and mission two was to win the NYSAIS title for the first time since 2004. On Sunday afternoon that feat was accomplished as well as a balanced attack from Poly Prep allowed them to knock off #1 seed Portledge 69-55 to now advance them to the New York State Federation Tournament of Champions where they will compete for that title after a long break come the end of March.

3) Summit Academy (19-4)- Another team who have strong hopes of playing for the City Championship this season are the Eagles who cruised through Brooklyn B West play this season and earned themselves the #3 seed in the PSAL City Playoffs. It's the highest seed that Summit has ever gotten on the boys side and they will look to back up expectations when they open up their postseason run in the Round of 32 starting on Friday with a date against the winner of Tuesday's contest between Gregorio Luperon or Collaborative Education.

4) Townsend Harris (21-0)- Going into the PSAL City Playoffs with a perfect record has the Hawks flying high and taking a ton of confidence into the postseason where they will look to show that they aren't just among the better teams in Queens, but one of the team's everyone needs to watch for in New York City as a whole. Townsend Harris with their sparkling record earned the #4 seed and will play host on Friday to the winner of Tuesday's game between Jane Addams or Juan Morel Campos in the Round of 32.

5) Achievement First (18-5)- If Achievement didn't have to go up against Uncommon Charter twice during the regular season with each of them not just sharing a building, but a division of play as well it would've likely meant two more wins and two less losses on the docket for them. Even still Achievement First all season long have proven to be among the best in Class B and will look to prove that even more in the PSAL City Playoffs as they are the #7 seed and will take on either NEST+M or EBC/Bushwick Leaders in a Round of 32 matchup on Friday.

6) Brooklyn College Academy (18-6)- You have to give credit to the Bobcats for going on the road just before the playoffs to really challenge themselves. Brooklyn College Academy went to Pennsylvania two weeks ago and while they lost to both Andrews Academy and Obama Academy out of the Keystone State they got a ton of valuable experience that will help them as the Bobcats will get back to the court this week as the #5 seed in the PSAL City Playoffs where they will open up on Friday against the winner of a game between Julia Richman and Comprehensive Model School.

7) Academy of American Studies (18-2)- Holding a pair of wins over Maspeth should've made the Eagles a much higher seed than being #8. They deserved better from the PSAL committee as American Studies were probably the most mis-seeded team in any of the brackets this season. Nonetheless expect to see a motivated Hawks team looking to prove they deserved better as they hope to make a deep run in the PSAL City Playoffs, getting starting with things on Thursday as they host either Lab Museum United or South Bronx in a Round of 32 duel.

8) Bathgate Educational Complex (16-5)- The final PSAL team in our Class B Top Ten this week, the Bulldogs go into the PSAL City Playoffs as the #9 seed and a team that was easily one of the best in the Bronx this season, if not the best in that borough in Class B. Bathgate should be a team no one wants to face as they will begin their postseason play with a Round of 32 game on Friday at home when the Bulldogs take on the winner of Wednesday's contest between School of the Future and Bronx Early Learning.

9) Dwight School (18-9)- It was nearly entire season without seeing the Lions in the Class B Top Ten but here is Dwight coming in at the #9 spot based off of a strong finish to the season. They would take the ACIS Championship by defeating Friends Seminary handily 74-49 before moving into the NYSAIS Class B Playoffs where they opened up on the road and took down previously ranked Riverdale 58-55. A trip to Poly Prep was next in the semifinals, and while the Lions hung tight throughout it was a 61-56 defeat that would put an end to a very solid season.

10) Collegiate School (20-7)- Starting their NYSAIS Class B playoff run on Wednesday with a home game against an always talented Lawrence Woodmere Academy team, the Dutchmen were able to control the tempo from start to finish in an impressive 52-40 quarterfinal victory. That win sent Collegiate to Portledge for a semifinal matchup in which the Dutchmen led going into halftime, but a rough final quarter would put an end to a strong comeback season for Collegiate School as they fell 57-54 but they once again put themselves on the map as a Class B basketball power.

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