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Tuesday, March 3, 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

AA 1) St. Raymond (21-5)- Even after a tough defeat in the CHSAA Archdiocese of New York title game to Archbishop Stepinac the Ravens stay as the #1 team in New York City based off of their track record over the course of the season, and their status as still among the favorites along with the Crusaders to bring home the CHSAA City Championship that begins this week. The Ravens get a bye into Sunday's quarterfinal round where they will take on the winner of the game between Archbishop Molloy and St. Peter's.

2) South Shore (20-8)- The Vikings cruised into the PSAL quarterfinals after a blowout 74-49 victory on Friday over an outmatched Harry Truman team. The winners of the Brooklyn Borough Championship are the #1 seed and look to be the favorites moving forward. Coming up on Sunday it will be South Shore taking on Eagle Academy out of the Bronx for the right to move into the semifinals with the game to take place at St. John's University in Queens.

3) John Bowne (24-4)- Another PSAL team with high expectations now are the Wildcats who may not have a fully healthy team yet but they will found a way late to get by a scrappy and tough Curtis team in the Round of 16 in the PSAL City Playoffs, 65-59. That win now moves Bowne into this coming Sunday's quarterfinals where Thomas Jefferson awaits them in what should be an interesting battle between a pair of teams who are looking for one more win to move into the semifinals.

4) Cardinal Hayes (17-9)- While the result may not have been what the Cardinals wanted, Hayes did show that from start to finish they could hang with the very best in the CHSAA as in the Archdiocese of New York semifinals they would fall in a tough one 68-63 to the eventual champions in Archbishop Stepinac. The loss moves Cardinal Hayes into a Wednesday CHSAA City Playoff second round game with Mount St. Michael with the winner going into Sunday's quarterfinals to take on Xaverian.

5) St. Francis Prep (18-8)- For the first time since 1997 the Terriers were crowned CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan champions as on Friday they went toe to toe with Xaverian and were able to hold off three good looks inside late to take a 57-56 thrilling victory. Expectations are now continuing to grow for what is still a very young St. Francis Prep team as they will go into the CHSAA City Playoff quarterfinal round on Sunday and will go up against either Msgr. Scanlan or Christ the King.


6) WHEELS (19-9)- Proving to be one of the more fast paced teams in the PSAL this season, the Wolves were able to outscore Susan Wagner on Friday evening at home and take a 98-87 victory over the Eagles to advance themselves into the PSAL quarterfinals. It wasn't an easy win as WHEELS were challenging throughout by the Staten Island school but were able to get enough offense to hold off a late charge. Next in the quarterfinals on Sunday it's going to be Boys & Girls for the Wolves in a very intriguing Manhattan vs. Brooklyn battle.

7) Boys & Girls (19-7)- One of the more lopsided PSAL Round of 16 games this past week proved to be the Kangaroos victory over Manhattan Center as Boys got out quickly in the early going and never allowed their opponents to gain any sort of confidence in what would be a 63-44 victory for Boys & Girls. Advancing now to Sunday's PSAL quarterfinals it will be the Kangaroos hoping to hop along and advance even further when they take on WHEELS at St. John's University in Queens.

8) Eagle Academy (19-9)- Taking on the champions from Staten Island during the regular season in McKee/Staten Island Tech during the PSAL Round of 16, it was Eagle that put together a strong enough second quarter to go up by 5 at the break. They never pulled away from their opponents but Eagle Academy never truly seemed as if they were in trouble either in a 62-52 win. Now it will be a quarterfinal date on Sunday with #1 seed South Shore with a semifinal appearance on the line.

9) Xaverian (18-8)- In the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens championship game on Friday it was the Clippers who held an 11 point lead late in the third quarter with Xaverian getting good looks from the outside and draining them on a regular basis. That all came to a halt though in the fourth and St. Francis Prep was able to take a late lead and hold on to knock off Xaverian in a heartbreaker 57-56. Even with the loss the Clippers get a bye into the CHSAA City Playoff quarterfinals on Sunday where they will take on either Cardinal Hayes or Mount St. Michael.

10) Brooklyn Collegiate (17-10)- After a spot late in the regular season where in looked like everything was falling apart for the Lions, here they are now in the PSAL quarterfinals after taking care of Wings Academy on the road in the Round of 16, 75-64. They are back at full strength now and that is looking like it will make a huge difference in their run through the rest of the postseason as next up in the quarterfinals they will face off against Brooklyn rivals Canarsie with a semifinal spot at stake.

11) Thomas Jefferson (13-13)- We are getting into a run of teams now who may not have the best record but you really need to watch out for them the rest of the way. Jefferson was given the #12 seed in the PSAL City Playoffs but to them that was no problem as they went to Manhattan and knocked off #5 seed Thurgood Marshall Academy on Friday 75-72 to head to the quarterfinals next Sunday where they will go up against John Bowne, the champions of Queens for a trip to the semifinals.

12) Christ the King (14-10)- Losing 76-70 in the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan quarterfinals to a 5-19 Bishop Loughlin team wasn't exactly what the Royals wanted but make no mistake about it, they are an extremely dangerous team still entering the. CHSAA City Playoffs with a number of perimeter threats that can hurt anyone. Christ the King will next take on Msgr. Scanlan on Wednesday in the second round with a win there putting them against St. Francis Prep in the CHSAA quarterfinals.

13) Msgr. Scanlan (14-12)- For most of the Crusaders CHSAA Archdiocese of New York semifinal against St. Raymond it was Scanlan who were leading. That lead was chipped away late and the Ravens would pull ahead in the closing minute and take a 69-67 victory over Msgr. Scanlan. Continuing to show they can play and hang with anyone, the Crusaders will next face off with Christ the King in the CHSAA City Playoff second round with Scanlan hoping to win there and get St. Francis Prep in the quarterfinals on Sunday.

14) Canarsie (13-13)- Much like Jefferson, Canarsie entered the PSAL City Playoffs with an under .500 record, but when you play in the Brooklyn AA sometimes you have to look past their record as the Chiefs were the #15 seed take on the #2 seed and a 24-1 Benjamin Cardozo team on Friday in the Round of 16. Canarsie though dominated the second half and were able to shock most in attendance with a 65-63 win over the Judges. Now it's Brooklyn Collegiate on Sunday in the PSAL quarterfinals with a semifinal berth going to the winner.

15) Wings Academy (17-8)- The season has come to an end for Wings Academy as they lost their Round of 16 contest against Brooklyn Collegiate 75-64 on Thursday evening in the Bronx. It wasn't the way that Wings wanted things to end as they were the Bronx Borough Champions and given the #7 seed, but they do have young pieces coming back which should help keep the Bronx power among the teams to watch moving forward as they are always in the conversation among NYC's best.

Class A

1) Benjamin Banneker (26-2)- Starting their PSAL playoff run in style were the Warriors on Friday evening when they hosted Port Richmond out of Staten Island as the pace was pushed to 10 from the very start as Banneker scored 48 points in the first half to set the tempo, and they kept running and running in the second half as well in a dominating 95-65 victory. The win now moves the Warriors as the #1 seed into the Round of 16 in the PSAL City Playoffs with a matchup next on Wednesday at home against perennial power Brooklyn Law & Tech, with a win there moving them into Saturday's quarterfinals.

2) Murry Bergtraum (22-5)- Bergtraum were another top seed who drew a Staten Island opponent in their first playoff game as on Thursday it was the Blazers playing host as the #2 seed to a dangerous Tottenville squad. For most of the game as well it was the Pirates hanging closer than Bergtraum

would've liked but eventually the Blazers pulled away to take a 65-54 win. Bergtraum will hope for an easier Round of 16 matchup on Tuesday when they take on Harry Van Arsdale with the quarterfinals of the PSAL Playoffs to come after that on Saturday.

3) Beacon (25-2)- Making 11 three's in Thursday's PSAL Round of 32 playoff game against Dr. Susan McKinney allowed the Blue Demons to push their way into the Round of 16 with a 77-63 win. It was a good start for a team that always seems to have fantastic regular seasons but usually bows out earlier than they would like in the playoffs. Next up on Tuesday will be a high scoring Transit Tech team for Beacon with the winner there going onto Saturday's quarterfinals.

4) Bedford Academy (22-4)- Opening up their playoff charge on Friday evening were the Panthers who jumped out to a 27-10 lead after one and a 46-20 lead at the half to eventually run away from DeWitt Clinton with ease 75-49 in the PSAL City Playoff Round of 32. That was a good way to get things started for Bedford Academy but the matchup's will only get more difficult from here as in the Round of 16 on Tuesday it will be a home date with a solid Erasmus Hall team, with the quarterfinals to get going with a win there on Saturday.

5) St. Edmund Prep (20-5)- It was a dominating effort in the CHSAA quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon for the Eagles as they jumped out quickly against Cardinal Spellman on the Bronx and took a 37-13 lead at the break. From there it was St. Edmund's cruising home to a 72-46 victory that puts them into the semifinals which will take place at Christ the King on Tuesday against LaSalle, with the winner there moving into the championship game to take place Saturday.

6) Graphics Campus (22-3)- For three quarters it was the 49ers cruising to what seemed as if it would be an easy and convincing PSAL Round of 32 playoff victory over Washington Irving. In the fourth quarter though everything changed as a once 16 point lead going to the final stanza was cut all the way down to 2 before Graphics hit a couple big buckets late to hold on for an 81-77 win. Graphics Campus will stay at home on Tuesday when they play Norman Thomas in the Round of 16, with a win there putting them into the Saturday's big quarterfinal day.

7) Far Rockaway (18-4)- Much like Graphics had some issues in their PSAL Round of 32 game, the Sea Horses from Far Rockaway also found themselves in a bit of a mess in the early going as they trailed Percy E. Sutton going into halftime by 2 before a strong third quarter, and second half in general, pushing them to a 61-54 win. The win now puts them back at home for the Round of 16 where they will take on a solid Lehman team on Wednesday with the winner going into the quarterfinals, with those games to be played on Saturday.

8) Msgr. Farrell (21-4)- By the looks of it if anyone is going to knock off St. Edmund Prep at this point in the CHSAA in Class A it's going to be the Lions who make easy work on Saturday of All Hallows 70-45 in the quarterfinal round. It was 20-7 after one quarter of play as it wasn't just the offensive output that did in the Gaels, but the strong defensive intensity that Farrell brought also proved to just be too much. Tuesday will see Msgr. Farrell take on Fordham Prep in the semifinals with a Saturday title game appearance on the line for the winner.

9) KIPP NYC College Prep (23-5)- A good amount of these PSAL teams found themselves in difficulty in the Round of 32 and KIPP was no exception as they were tied at the half on Friday with last season's Class A winners in Frederick Douglass Academy. It was a back and forth second half as well but in the end it was Bulldogs doing a great job around the basket late to take a 58-56 victory. It's now Round of 16 time for KIPP who will host Tilden on Wednesday with the Bulldogs hoping to be playing in the quarterfinals come Saturday afternoon.

10) Adlai Stevenson (21-7)- We welcome back Stevenson into the Top Ten in Class A this week as they have some very suspect losses earlier in the season against the likes of Seward Park and Watervliet from Section 2, but now when it matters most it seems as if the 5th seeded Ambassadors are playing their best basketball. They held off a scrappy Midwood team in the Round of 32 61-54 and will look to keep things going on Wednesday when they play host to John Adams out of Queens with the winner there moving into the quarterfinals on Saturday to be played at Uncommon Charter in Brooklyn.

Class B

1) Uncommon Charter (23-3)- The top seed in the PSAL playoffs in Class B opened up their title run with an 80-57 victory over Democracy Prep on Thursday as Uncommon jumped out to a quick 24-8 lead after one quarter and never really were challenged the rest of the way. The victory gets the Sabers off to a solid start as they will look to keep it going in the Round of 16 on Wednesday when Uncommon Charter hosts H.S for Math, Science, and Engineering before a probable quarterfinal appearance on Saturday.

2) Poly Prep (21-4)- The winners of the NYSAIS title after defeating Portledge on Sunday 69-55, the Blue Devils are going to have a layoff of just about a month now until they play in the NYS Federation Tournament of Champions where they will look to show they are among the best in New York State and prove that with one of the deeper and better backcourt in the classification that they are the cream of the crop.

3) Summit Academy (20-4)- From start to finish it was all Summit in Friday's PSAL playoff opener as they faced off with the Institute for Collaborative Studies. The Eagles went up by 10 after the first quarter and would push the lead to 51-31 at the half before coasting in the rest of the way for the win. A Round of 16 battle is up next on Wednesday when Summit Academy hosts Pace with a win there putting the Eagles into Saturday's quarterfinals.

4) Townsend Harris (22-0)- On paper it looked as if the Hawks might have one of the tougher Round of 32 PSAL playoff contests on Friday when they hosted Jane Addams. It was pretty close most of the way but the size inside for Townsend Harris would take over late and lead them to a 65-57 victory over their opponents from the Bronx. The Hawks with the win will host Adams Street Academy in another tricky matchup on the Round of 16 on Wednesday with a quarterfinal berth on the line.

5) Achievement First (19-5)- After leading by 12 at the half in their PSAL Round of 32 matchup against NEST+M on Friday, Achievement First let the lead get away and found themselves in OT with the Eagles. When Achievement needed big buckets though in the extra session they got them as they limited NEST to just one made basket in the final four minutes to take a 66-62 overtime win. Achievement will now host Scholars Academy in the Round of 16 on Wednesday with the quarterfinals on tap for Saturday after that.

6) Brooklyn College Academy (19-6)- Holding just a 2 point lead after one quarter of play, Brooklyn College Academy would outscore Julia Richman 30-8 in the second period to go up by 24 entering halftime which is all they needed to cruise in the rest of the way as the Bobcats advanced to the Round of 16 with a 78-55 win on Friday. In the next round BCA will get a home contest with Maspeth out of Queens, with the winner there moving into the quarterfinals to be played on Saturday.

7) Academy of American Studies (19-2)- Facing off in the PSAL playoffs in the Round of 32 against Lab Museum United out of Manhattan had the Eagles lead by just 3 heading to the fourth quarter, but using the home crowd to their advantage it was American Studies who pulled away late to come away with a 64-53 win and move into the Round of 16 where on Tuesday it will be the Eagles hosting Bathgate in a battle of ranked teams to move into Saturday's quarterfinals.

8) Bathgate Educational Complex (17-5)- Speaking of Bathgate, the Bulldogs took on School of the Future in the Round of 32 on Friday and also found themselves in a tight battle for much of the game until a late surge allowed them to take an 83-66 victory. For one of the best in the Bronx B this season to advance to Saturday's quarterfinals they will need to hit the road and go to Academy of American Studies and get the win in what is without a doubt the best Round of 16 matchup on paper.

9) Dwight School (18-9)- The Lions had a number of quality wins this season over the likes of Friends Seminary and Class A power Murry Bergtraum, and they knocked off Riverdale in the NYSAIS quarterfinals as well to put them in a strong position moving forward. In the semifinals though Dwight would fall to the eventual champions in Poly Prep by just 5 in a game they were in until the very end proving that the Lions have staying power and will be a team to focus on come next season.

10) Collegiate School (20-7)- Finally, the Dutchmen made it to the NYSAIS semifinals after knocking off the defending champions in Lawrence Woodmere Academy in the quarterfinals, but going on the road to Long Island to take on Portledge proved to be too much as it was the end of Collegiate's road there falling 57-54 in a game they led at the half. Collegiate does bring back three starters for next season so they will once again be a team who could make a deep postseason run.

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