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Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021: 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- Cardinal Hayes (6-0)- The Cardinals have proven themselves to be the clear #1 team in New York State so far this season with wins already over both Archbishop Stepinac and Long Island Lutheran. They have size inside with the likes of Tobe Awaka and Ian Jackson, along with great guard play from senior leader D.J. Victory. There doesn't seem to be much that can stop the Cardinal Hayes train down, though another tough game against Mount St. Michael at one on Tuesday should be a solid test before Christmas.

2- St. Francis Prep (5-0)- It's been quite the turnaround over the past couple of seasons for the Terriers as they have risen to become one of the best teams not just in the CHSAA, but in New York overall. They are getting solid play from veterans likes Latiek Briscoe and Chance Morrish, but are also seeing fantastic freshman Vere Anthony make big noise as he was named MVP at the Tom Konchalski Classic, while SFP also has wins over Bishop Loughlin, Xaverian, and Mater Dei of California. The Terriers are currently in Florida playing in the Kreul Classic and will up their stay there with matchups against Florida powers Westminster Academy and Blanche Ely on Monday and Tuesday.

3- Christ the King (4-1)- Back near the top of the rankings where they like to belong are the Royals who have begun their season with a trip to California where they defeated West Coast power Fairfax before coming home and racking up more wins behind the likes of Devere Palmer and Brandon Williams, both of whom are showing themselves to be elite prospects moving forward. Their lone loss was a 1 point defeat on the road to Stepinac showing that they can compete with anyone and everyone put in front of them. It's going to be a slow week ahead here for Christ the King as they are off now until after Christmas when they will host #1 Cardinal Hayes on the 29th.

4- South Shore (7-2)- Running through PSAL Brooklyn AA competition so far have been the Vikings who added Max Ragusa from Poly Prep to lead the show on the court, while legendary coach Dwayne "Tiny" Morton has taken a seat on the bench helping South Shore to become once again the Public School favorites. They hold wins over Brooklyn Collegiate and Eagle Academy II, and while they lost to both Stepinac and Roselle Catholic (NJ), the Vikings were competitive in both. No games are ahead this week for South Shore who will rest and prepare for the gauntlet ahead.

5- Mount St. Michael (4-0)- It's been a very impressive showing to start the year for a team always considered one of the best coached in New York. Tom Fraher has his Mountaineers team with big wins over Holy Trinity, considered one of Long Island's best this year, Bishop Loughlin, and Xaverian on the road. Noah Best has stepped up to become one of the best all around talents in the CHSAA, while Jaelyn Lyn is proving to be a great second option for The Mount as well. They will have another tremendous test on Tuesday when MSM goes to Cardinal Hayes in a Bronx rivalry matchup before a Thursday contest at home against Msgr. Scanlan finishes out the pre-Christmas schedule.

6- Brooklyn Collegiate (4-2)- In the rough and tough world of the PSAL Brooklyn AA nothing is ever easy whenever you step foot onto the court which is why a 4-1 league play start with wins on the road over both Thomas Jefferson and Canarsie shows that while maybe inexperienced compared to recent Lions teams, this group from Brooklyn Collegiate could be just as talented as any with Zaquan Jones putting up major numbers inside so far this season. There are no games on the docket this week for the Lions, but a lot of interesting and intriguing matchups are definitely still to come.

7- Susan Wagner (11-0)- Far and away the surprise team of the season has to be Susan Wagner out of Staten Island. They hold non-league wins over WHEELS and Transit Tech, but it's the 75-63 road victory over Curtis this past Friday that stands out over the rest. Xavier Barrow has averaged over 20 points per game so far this year, and he scored 18 in the win over Curtis as well. Adrian Kopec has been a solid presence in the backcourt as well for a Falcons team poised for a massive season ahead. On Thursday it will be another big task for Wagner when they will Eagle Academy in the big Barclays Center building.

8- Forest Hills (7-0)- At 7-0 and with wins on the year over John Bowne and Thurgood Marshall Academy it's been a dream of a start for the Rangers who behind head coach Ben Chobhaphand have returned to the AA and showed they can more than compete with the big boys. Boluwasefe John is averaging a double-double so far through 7 games and has been a solid presence down low, while Brandon Sun has given Forest Hills great guard play. This week ahead though should tell us a lot more about where the Rangers are as on Tuesday they will host Francis Lewis, before hosting Benjamin Cardozo on Thursday to end their 2021 run.

9- St. Raymond (2-2)- As a young team that starts two freshman you can expect some up and down play which is exactly what has happened with the Ravens. The duo of Brandon Stores Jr. and Tai Turnage have looked great in their win over Msgr. Scanlan and in a tight loss to Cardinal Hayes. As a whole the team struggled in a defeat to Christ the King last Wednesday but make no mistake about it, this St. Ray's team has the talent to compete for a CHSAA City Championship this year. There are no games on the schedule for this coming week, but a trip to the Junior Orange Bowl Classic in Miami, FL awaits this young and potent Ravens group.

10- Curtis (7-1)- Having won their Staten Island games by an average of 41.1 points, and gotten strong non-league wins over both Francis Lewis and John Bowne, the expectation was that the Warriors would blow through most of their competition this year, especially that on Staten Island. On Friday though the Warriors fell to Susan Wagner at home 75-63 in a game that did see Qadir Martin score 24 points and grab 9 rebounds. He has had a very solid start to the 2021-2022 season as Curtis still looks powered for a big run ahead as they close out their pre-Christmas run with Tottenville on Monday and MSIT on Thursday.

11- Archbishop Molloy (3-1)- It was as good of a start to the season as the Stanners could've hoped for as they defeated a strong St. John the Baptist team, then took down #1 Class A team Msgr. Farrell in a tight one, before then knocking off Xaverian on Friday. Sunday though gave Molloy their first loss of the year as they fell 46-44 to Fordham Prep in game where the Stanners proved their solid defensive capabilities, but couldn't capitalize offensively down the stretch. Kuba Cwalina has been the catalyst so far this season for Molloy who are now off until after Christmas when they will head to Elmira to play in the Josh Palmer Classic.

12- Xaverian (2-3)- Having won their first two of the season over Holy Cross and St. Anthony's, it looked as if the Clippers were well on their way to being a p 5 team in NYC to start the year. They would fall by 10 to St. Francis Prep though, then it was a 5 point loss to Molloy, before a 53-52 loss to Mount St. Michael at home on Sunday. Nico Pena looks like a star in the making for Xaverian who are still waiting to get back to full strength with some injuries hampering them from where they could be now. They have no games this coming week as they will look to get healthy for the 2022 stretch.

13- John Bowne (7-3)- Raesean Greer and Christopher Judge each had 15 points to open the season with an impressive victory over Francis Lewis. The Wildcats also have a big non-league win over Wings Academy in a game that's Greer again show his playmaking abilities to lead the way. They fell in league play a couple times though to both Benjamin Cardozo and Forest Hills as Bowne are still looking to put all the pieces together to what might be a big year ahead. There is just one more game left for the Wildcats before the Christmas break as on Tuesday they will go on the road to take on Queens H.S. of Teaching.

14- Francis Lewis (4-2)- Even with a close 6 point loss to Curtis, and n OT defeat to John Bowne, it definitely seems as if this Patriots team has the capability to make some major noise in the PSAL this season based off of their 62-58 win over Benjamin Cardozo last week. Francis Lewis trailed by 5 at the half but rallied back behind a 15 point and 14 rebound effort from Nicholas Zuvich to grab the win and really make a statement in the Queens AA. Tuesday will see the Patriots go to Forest Hills in a big league contest, and then it will be a home date with QHST to end 2021.


15- Benjamin Cardozo (7-2)- Injuries hampered the Judges a bit as Ryan Hudson was out for the first few games of the year, but now back at full strength it looks as if Cardozo should go back to being a major force to be reckoned with. After the loss to Lewis last Tuesday, the Judges got 27 points from Hudson in a 73-60 win over H.S. for Construction, and then they knocked off Brooklyn AA school Boys & Girls in non-league play on Saturday. It's a one game week here ahead for Cardozo when on Thursday they go to Forest Hills for a big Queens AA pre-Christmas showdown.

16- Wings Academy (6-2)- Even with losses so far to John Bowne and WHEELS, both of which came on the road, it's easy to see why Wings is once again the cream of the crop in the PSAL Bronx AA. Mohamed Kante is averaging 25 points and 10 rebounds a game, showing himself to be one of the more impressive forces in the PSAL as a whole. Wings has taken down a couple Brooklyn AA schools in Eagle Academy II and Erasmus Hall so when they hit the court again on Thursday against Harry Truman you know the Wings will be battle tested.

Bishop Loughlin (3-4)
Eagle Academy II (4-2)
Eagle Academy III (4-2)
Msgr. Scanlan (2-1)
Thomas Jefferson (3-3)


1- Msgr. Farrell (5-1)- Among the best in Class A overall this season are the Lions who again are showing to be among the best defensive teams specifically in New York. With wins over St. Peter's and St. Joseph by the Sea, Farrell are the clear top team in Staten Island in the CHSAA this year, while a tough 46-41 loss against Archbishop Molloy, a top AA contender in the CHSAA shows that the Lions are capable of beating and competing against anyone. Matthew Hanley lead a balanced Msgr. Farrell offensive attack so far this season as the Lions are now off until a trip down to Orlando, Florida after Christmas.

2- Transit Tech (8-1)- Getting major contributions from nearly everyone on the roster has been a huge key to the success for the Express who have seen 5 different leading scorers in their 9 games so far. Xavier Sanchez had 26 points in a win over Bedford Academy, while it was 21 from Troy Graham Jr. on Friday as Transit knocked off Brooklyn Law and Tech. The lone Express loss was to Susan Wagner by 8 on the road as Transit continues to look to prove the are among the A's best when this week they go to Banneker on Tuesday before hosting A-Tech on Thursday.

3- Murry Bergtraum (7-1)- After a November non-league loss the Blazers have looked untouchable since averaging 92.2 points per game in Manhattan A1 league play as Bergtraum have dominated the likes of Seward Park, Norman Thomas, and Hunter College. Both Donnell Campbell and Kalifa Quattara are averaging double-doubles for the Blazers who also have knocked off Brooklyn Law and Tech in non-league action. A tough league matchup with Bayard Rustin on the road awaits on Tuesday for Bergtraum who with then on Thursday go to East Harlem Pride.

4- Fordham Prep (4-2)- The talent was never a question for the Rams who with the likes of Nathan Boateng and Omari Ward have the ability to knock of anyone. They did that in league play a couple weeks back with a nice win over St. Joseph by the Sea, but then slipped up against Salesian. Fordham Prep was looking for a real big marquee win when they took on AA power Archbishop Molloy on Sunday, and marquee win they would get as behind Ward's 14 points the Rams knocked off the Stanners 46-44 in Queens. Tuesday will see Fordham Prep look to keep it going when they face All Hallows in a rivalry league showdown.

5- Paul Robeson (8-0)- Checking off all the boxes of a team that can make a deep playoff run this season, the Eagles are unbeaten with wins over a AA team in August Martin, one of the best in the B in BCAM, along with quality league wins over James Madison and Tilden. Anthony Williams is Robeson's leading scorer, but he is far from the only threat that the Eagles have as both Jamel Johnson and Kentrell Evans have the ability to go off and burn defenses any time out. Depth and talent will help carry Jermaine Campbell's team as this week they go to Tilden on Monday before hosting John Dewey on Wednesday.

6- LaSalle Academy (4-0)- A school with a tremendous basketball history, LaSalle seem to very much be among NYC's top teams in Class A this season again as they have impressive road wins already on the season against the likes of All Hallows and Msgr. McClancy, while also pulling in a strong non-league win on Sunday when the Cardinals defeated St. John's College Prep of Washington D.C. 61-50 at the Lions Den Classic in Brooklyn. Carlos Lorenzo and Tyler Perlmutter are both averaging over 16 points per game so far in this young season, and with a home game on Tuesday against Cardinal Spellman to come, it gives them both another pre-Christmas opportunity to show what they can do.

7- KIPP NYC College Prep (6-0)- A team who is just building its basketball name are the Bulldogs who have started this season undefeated, steamrolling their Bronx A2 competition. KIPP have gone on the road and gotten quality wins over Bronx Science and Walton, while dominating the competition at home winning their 3 home games by an average of 29 points. Zahir Caldwell has been the engine that makes the Bulldogs go so far this season, and KIPP will hope that continues into 2022 when the schedule picks back up for them.

8- William Grady (6-1)- A longtime Coney Island area power, Grady looks to have turned a corner as they are among the very best in Class A this year behind the play of Mosi Clayton and Tyee Clayton. Both Clayton's have played both inside and outside in this season so far which has allowed them to defeat John Dewey and Fort Hamilton in impressive fashion. Their lone defeat as a 12 point setback at top Class AA school Susan Wagner, a game that was a single digit contest until very late. Grady will hope to keep up the solid play this week as before Christmas here they will take on Dewey and Uncommon Charter on Monday and Wednesday respectively.

9- Nazareth (2-0)- It's only been two games so far for the Kingsmen but those two games have said a lot about what Nazareth could be this season. They have gone on the road in both and taken down both St. Edmund Prep and Msgr. McClancy, handily in both by double digits each time. Gary Ervin, one of NYC's all-time greats, is the head coach these days at Nazareth, and with a lot of young and improving talent now on the court for him you can expect great things ahead. A big test comes on Thursday when Nazareth hosts Chaminade from Long Island in an intriguing showdown.

10- DeWitt Clinton (7-0)- Having taken care of business at home with 6 of their first 7 at home, a tough one awaited Clinton in their first road test when they went to Lehman this past Wednesday. That test was passed with flying colors though as DeWitt Clinton looked their best in that one as 5 Governors were in double figures led by the 19 points of Jason Coachman as Clinton took a 68-53 victory. Monday should see another tricky matchup when the Governors host Roosevelt Educational, but a Wednesday road date with Columbus finishes their pre-Christmas schedule.

11- Louis Brandeis (8-0)- There are already a number of really nice wins on the resume of the Bulldogs as they took down Randolph 76-68 in game that saw Dylan Crooke have a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Brandeis has also knocked off FDA and George Washington in games that are considered quality wins for the Bulldogs. The toughest week of the season to date comes up now for Brandeis as they go to Graphics Campus on Monday before coming home on Wednesday to host LaGuardia.

12- Bayard Rustin Educational Complex (6-0)- An up and coming team in Manhattan A1, the Titans look to be the main challengers to Bergtraum's reign atop the PSAL in Manhattan. Road wins over Stuyvesant, Norman Thomas, and Elenor Roosevelt have proven Bayard Rustin to be a formidable foe in the PSAL as Eugene Benn has been a major playmaker and go o force for the Titans. The game of the Manhattan A1 season may take place this Tuesday when Rustin hosts Murry Bergtraum in what could be considered the Class A game of the week. That will be followed by a Thursday road game at Seward Park.

13- Beacon (8-2)- We have to admit we had Beacon at 7-1 and ranked them 13th in Class A in NYC before finding out about their loss to Baruch College Campus on Saturday. They did rebound with a win over Bronx Science on Sunday, and do hold a win over our #1 Class B team in Community Health Academy of the Heights so the talent and potential is most certainly still there for the Blue Demons. Graham Allen has been the go to guy for Beacon so far this season with a 14.5 points per game average as he will try to lead the Blue Demons to a win on the road on Monday against a tough George Washington team.

14- Lehman (4-1)- After starting out the 2021-2022 season with 3 wins, the Lions slipped up in a 68-53 loss to DeWitt Clinton. The question was how would Lehman respond 48 hours later against a tough Evander Childs team. That question was answered in exactly the way they had hoped as Jalen Elfe had 19 points and 9 assists in a 55-51 win over Childs. It was a great response from a Lehman team with big hopes this year. To close out their 2021 portion of the schedule the Lions will go to Columbus on Monday before hosting Roosevelt Educational on Wednesday.

15- Benjamin Banneker (5-2)- Another team who we put into our rankings before getting a Sunday result, Banneker fell hard on Sunday at the Lions Den Classic against Long Island Class AA power Brentwood, but still the Warriors continue to show that against Class A competition they are truly among the best. Getting wins in Brooklyn A5 league play against the likes of Dr. Susan McKinney, Brooklyn Tech, and at Harry Van Arsdale shows that led by Jamier Nowell, the Warriors can compete with anyone. Banneker will host our NYC #2 ranked Class A team in Transit Tech on Tuesday in what is another marquee pre-Christmas contest.

16- Evander Childs (4-1)- Coming out of the gate strong with 4 straight wins, including a 1 point win over Walton in a game where Ricardo Dixon had 25 points, it looked as if the Tigers were well on their way to big things. They slipped up with a 55-51 defeat to Lehman on Friday though, sending Child into the loss column for the first time this season. One more home game will close out the Tigers 2021 calendar when they host Alfred E. Smith on Monday afternoon in the Bronx.

A. Philip Randolph (6-1)
Brooklyn H.S. for Law and Technology (7-3)
Fort Hamilton (7-1)
Graphics Campus (7-1)
St. Joseph by the Sea (2-3)


1- Community Health Academy of the Heights (10-1)- For a number of years Community Health were amongst he standard bearers and the best of the best in Class B in the PSAL. A couple of years where they fell off just a little bit came more recently but here the Phoenix have risen again and are #1 in our first set of Class B rankings for NYC. CHAH have scored over 100 points three times already, and over 90 two more times on top of that. The lowest they have scored against a league opponent is 83 while also holding key non-league wins over Maspeth, South Bronx Prep, and Stuyvesant. Their lone loss was a 2 point road defeat at Beacon of the A Division which is why John Harrington and the rest of the Phoenix are so highly thought of. Wednesday will see CHAH host Gregorio Luperon in a Manhattan B2 matchup.

2- Poly Prep (4-0)- The last time a NYSAIS Class B title game was played it was Poly Prep lifting the hardware. A lot has changed since then as head coach Ben Kettering is gone, as is their star from that team in Max Ragusa. Edgar De La Rosa is the man in charge now, and with a young and hungry team they have come out of the gate strong with convincing Packer and Horace Mann in league play. This week will see the Blue Devils go into non-league action when on Tuesday they take on Franklin D. Roosevelt in their final tilt prior to the Christmas break.

3- BCAM (5-1)- When you only loss is to one of the best in Class A in Paul Robeson, and you have quality wins over the likes of Fannie Lou Hamer and Summit Academy, you know you have a contender for the Class B crown in the PSAL, and that's exactly the resume right now that the Lions from BCAM have. Earl Morgan has been a scoring machine for BCAM as he has 3 games over 30 points so far for the Lions on the season, including 35 in their win over Brooklyn Collaborative. A couple PSAL Brooklyn B3 games await this week for the Lions as on Tuesday they will host Clara Barton, before closing 2021 out on Thursday on the road at a very good Brooklyn College Academy.

4- Berkeley Carroll (3-0)- While it may be a bit of a shock to some to the Lions ranked this highly, their body of work as a team so far this season speaks for itself as they are showing to be a true contender for a NYSAIS title. Berkeley Carroll knocked off Riverdale and Packer in solid wins to open the season, but it was last Monday's 60-57 victory over Dwight School that really had to open the eyes of many as to how good this years Lions team is, and can be. Taro Zimmerman is a quality guard in the backcourt for the Lions as he has helped propel them to what is one of the schools best starts to the season in years. Berkeley Carroll is now off until 2022 when they will hope to continue playing great basketball.

5- Maspeth (5-1)- It's beginning to look like another year where Maspeth just rolls though any sort of Queens B competition put in front of them as the Argonauts have rolled past Academy of American Studies and Energy Tech so far this season with Alex Weremiuk leading the way in both games scoring for Maspeth as the sophomore is averaging over 17 points a game this season to date. Maspeth did fall on Friday on the road to Community Health Academy in a big Class B PSAL non-league matchup but they will look to right the ship again before Christmas here when they take on Renaissance on Tuesday and then Newcomers on Thursday.

6- Fannie Lou Hamer (7-2)- The class of Class B for many years now in the PSAL under head coach Marc Skelton, the Panthers are again looking like a true contender as they have rolled past Bronx B3 competition with ease, dominating the likes of Hyde Leadership and Archimedes/Maleska. They did have a slip up in the non-league against another Class B PSAL title contender in BCAM along with a AA PSAL School in Gompers, but under Skelton's leadership, and the play of talented guard Khalil Lloyd, make no mistake about it, Fannie Lou will be a team to watch, and a team to reckon with the rest of the way. This week here will see the Panthers square off on Wednesday against their big rivals from South Bronx Prep, before getting Bronx Early College Academy on Thursday.

7- Dwight School (4-1)- Having one of the top players in Class B, and quite possibly all of New York State on your team will always make things. Bit easier for Dwight who have the intimidating presence of 6'8" big man Richard Nweke inside. He has helped lead the Lions to a 4-1 start with a nice win coming over Collegiate School to start the year off. They did fall to Berkeley Carroll last Monday for their first loss of the year, but with Nweke and a very talented supporting cast as well, it will be easy to see Dwight School standing tall at the end of the season. This week will see the Lions playing in the Hackley Tournament starting on Monday where they will face off with Brunswick School of Connecticut before getting either Hackley or Masters on Tuesday.

8- Achievement First (3-0)- It's been just three games but winning by scores of 106-27, 85-32, and 99-46 shows that this Achievement team means business. Ryan Belardo is averaging 21 points a game to lead Achievement but they have five players averaging 12 or more a game showing that the overall scoring prowess for them to contend and compete with anyone in the B Division is absolutely there. Monday will have Achievement First play what looks to be there toughest game of the season to date when they go to EBC/Bushwick Leaders, and that will be followed up on Wednesday with a home date against Teachers Prep.

9- The Scholars Academy (8-0)- Among the more impressive resumes so far in the B Division, Scholars has a pair of quality wins against AA competition as they have knocked off Beach Channel and McKee/Staten Island Tech so far in non-league action. They also have a win over A power Brooklyn Law and Tech meaning their placement here at #9 could be considered a bit low. If they keep up this type of play though it will be easy to see head coach Brett Tawil and his Seawolves move up the rankings fast. Next up for Scholars Academy will be a Monday home date with Queens School of Inquiry, and then on Wednesday to finish out 2021 it will be a road contest at Robert F. Kennedy.

10- Trinity School (6-0)- The Tigers have been easily among the best in NYC in Class B so far this season earning themselves a spot in our Top 10. They have quality wins over Collegiate, Fieldston, and Xavier, a quality CHSAA Class A Division team that Trinity beat by 21 points. Drew Morris has been the man so far early in this season for the Tigers as he has been a strong inside/outside presence, but depth has been key as well for a well rounded Trinity team. They are off now for the rest of 2021 but when the Tigers hit the court again to start 2022 the expectation is surely more big things to come.

Albert Tuitt Educational Campus (5-0)
Bard H.S. Early College (7-0)
Baruch College Campus (7-0)
Lab Museum United (4-0)
Townsend Harris (9-1)

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