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Tuesday, Dec. 28, 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)- Like nearly every team in the New York City rankings, the Cardinals saw a game postponed this past week when their matchup with Mount St. Michael was put on hold for another day. Hayes are now nationally ranked by nearly every media organization which says a ton about the group that the Cardinals have led by Ian Jackson ‘24. Many teams are having the same issue again keeping games on the calendar because of COVID but for now Cardinal Hayes will head to Queens on Wednesday for a marquee CHSAA league battle with Christ the King.

2- Christ the King (4-1)- It was a planned week off for the Royals who didn't lose any games last week to COVID and will look to get back into a groove this week when they take on or #1 Cardinal Hayes in an early season game of the year matchup. Christ the King doesn't have a ton of experience in the big games yet with a young core of players such as Brandon Williams and Markell Alston, but make no mistake about it, the talent is there for the Royals to be back at the top of the CHSAA this season.

3- St. Francis Prep (5-1)- The Terriers went down to Florida to participate in the Kreul Classic and came home with the championship trophy, even though St. Francis Prep did bring home their first lose of the year. It started with a nice win over Mater Dei of California, blowing out the West Coast power 80-45. The next contest saw SFP fall to one of Florida's best in Westminster Academy 73-63, but because of tiebreakers the Terriers did bring home the Kreul Classic title back to Queens. A supposed home game with Holy Trinity on Monday was postponed so it will be a week off here for one of the CHSAA's favorites.

4- South Shore (7-2)- In a competitive PSAL this season you have to at the very least consider Max Ragusa and the rest of the Vikings the slight favorites for the Class AA title. hey had a couple games postponed last week due to the ongoing COVID pandemic and are hoping to get back on the court this week when they partake in the Hoopin to the New Year Invitational being hosted by Brooklyn Collegiate. South Shore on Wednesday would open up the two day event with Curtis before getting a matchup with John Bowne on Thursday in what would be a pair of very intriguing games if they come off.

5- Mount St. Michael (4-0)- It was suppose to be a big one last Wednesday when the Mount took on Cardinal Hayes in a major CHSAA Bronx rivalry battle but COVID had other idea forcing this one to be postponed until a later date. Things would get worse for the Mountaineers as Noah Best and the rest of the Mount team will now be sidelined this week coming up here as well as the Josh Palmer Fund Elmira Holiday Inn Classic, the Mountaineers next stop, was cancelled meaning another week off for the CHSAA squad.

6- Brooklyn Collegiate (4-2)- Another team to watch in the PSAL that found it tough to get on the court last week were the Lions. They have the talent to compete against anyone with Zaquan Jones and Trey Skeete leading the way and they hope after nearly two weeks off to play again in the Hoopin to the New Year Invitational that Brooklyn Collegiate are hosting. On Wednesday the Lions are scheduled to take on Eagle Academy, and then on Thursday its a date with James Monroe as Brooklyn Collegiate looks to get past a couple of Bronx powers this week.

7- Susan Wagner (11-0)- It's been quite the breakout season for Wagner who have long been considered a middle of the pack team on Staten Island in the PSAL. They made a statement over a week ago with their double digit win on the road at Curtis behind the play of Xavier Barrow but weren't able to follow up on that as the Falcons have, like many others, had games postponed due to COVID. They are off here this coming week as well as games are few and far between it seems.

8- Forest Hills (7-0)- Another one of the bigger stories of the early season have been the Rangers who were a Class A team the past few years but have started the 2021-2022 campaign undefeated which includes a road win at John Bowne. Forest Hills did have games this past week against both Benjamin Cardozo and Francis Lewis postponed due to COVID, and the Transit Tech Christmas Classic was postponed for this week meaning another week of no games coming up here for a Rangers team raring and ready to go.

9- St. Raymond (2-2)- With the young Ravens who losses coming to our #1 and #2 teams in the NYC rankings the fact remains that St. Ray's has already played some of the very best, and that kind of experience will only help a team who rely and start two freshmen in Brandon Stores Jr. and Tai Turnage. After a week off last week St. Raymond will hopefully be heading to Miami, Florida to play in the Junior Orange Bowl Classic where on Tuesday they would open up the tournament with Southridge of Florida with the Ravens hoping to bring the trophy home to the Bronx.

10- Curtis (7-1)- One of the toughest things to do is to lose and then have to go an extended period of time without hitting the court. That's the pain that the Warriors are currently feeling as they have had three games wiped out due to COVID since losing to Susan Wagner already over a week ago. Qadir Martin and the rest of the Curtis squad are more than ready to get back on the floor which is why they are hoping the Hoopin to the New Year Invitational goes off because of Wednesday they are scheduled to take on South Shore, with another old one awaiting them on Thursday against Eagle Academy II.

11- Archbishop Molloy (3-1)- Since falling to Fordham Prep over a week ago it's been a lot of waiting and hoping to play as the Stanners are looking to get back in the win column. That chance wont come soon enough though as their trip to the Southern Tier Region to play in the Josh Palmer Fund Elmira Holiday Inn Classic is off a the tournament was called off due to COVID concerns meaning Chase Robinson and the rest of Molloy's group wont be on the court again until 2022.

12- Xaverian (2-3)- The trend continues here of teams who lost their last game before what has been a COVID outbreak forcing multiple games all over to be postponed. Led by Nico Pena it was looking like post-Christmas would mean a trip to Washington D.C. and the Governor's Challenge where the Clippers were due to take on Lake Norman of North Carolina and Msgr. Bonner from Pennsylvania. Again though COVID issues have cancelled that tournament meaning an even longer break for Xaverian.

13- John Bowne (7-3)- Already having showcased themselves to be one of the best in the PSAL in Queens this season, Raesean Greer and the rest of the Wildcats are hoping to this week show themselves to be among the best the PSAL has to offer as a whole. If the tournament goes off it will be Bowne playing in the Hoopin to the New Year Invitational where they will get a pair of Brooklyn powers with Eagle Academy II waiting on Wednesday, and then it would be South Shore on Thursday at the tournament being held at Brooklyn Collegiate this year.

14- Francis Lewis (4-2)- A team that is on the move up since knocking off Benjamin Cardozo ten days ago, the Patriots may not have a go to star player but what they do have is talent and depth, and when you put those two things together good things can happen. Francis Lewis are currently tied for first place in the PSAL Queens AA Division and will look to continue their solid play when they step out of league play to host Adlai Stevenson, a first year AA team from the Bronx, on Thursday.


15- Benjamin Cardozo (7-2)- Even with a pair of losses on the season, including one in league play, it's still an expectation moving forward throughout the season that the Judges are near the top of the PSAL. Ryan Hudson, Cardozo' go to scorer who transferred in for his senior season from Holy Cross, is now healthy after missing a couple weeks, and with an array of other scoring options across the board, it will be intriguing to see how good Ron Naclerio's team can be when they get back to play in 2022.

16- Wings Academy (6-2)- Our final team in the rankings here is the Bronx favorites in the PSAL as they have a lot of new faces this season, but with Billy Turnage at the helm there is a winning mentality built in to putting on the Wings Academy uniform. The past 10 days has seen a pair of games lost to COVID postponements but when the Wings get back onto the court come the first week of January you can expect to see dominating play against the Bronx AA, and a chance to complete against anyone overall that the PSAL has to offer.

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

Class A

1- Msgr. Farrell (5-1)- It may never be pretty the way the Lions play but boy are they the definition of successful. They nearly knocked off Archbishop Molloy on the road, losing in Queens by 5 to the Stanners in their lone loss of the year, while dominating the rest of their competition so far, including a AA win over St. Peter's. Msgr. Farrell will make a trip to Orlando, Florida this week to play in the KSA Holiday Classic taking on Tate of Florida in their opener before more challenges come after that.

2- Transit Tech (9-1)- In a prove it of sorts game, a rare game to be played this past week, the Express got 16 each from Troy Graham and David Ellington in what would be a blowout 76-48 win for Transit Tech over a previously ranked Benjamin Banneker. That win solidified the Express as a favorite for the PSAL A crown this year for sure, and while they were scheduled for three tough games in the Express Holiday Classic coming up this week, COVID had other ideas meaning this will be an off week for Transit Tech.

3- Murry Bergtraum (7-1)- Dominating the Manhattan A Division to the tune of winning games by an average of 60 points, Donnell Campbell and the Blazers look to be a team on a mission early on this season. Bergtraum did have two games postponed due to COVID last week, including the big one against Bayard Rustin, but even with the time off it just means waiting a little bit longer to see the Blazers do their thing and put the PSAL on continued notice.

4- Fordham Prep (5-2)- Paced by Omari Ward who is showcasing himself to be one of the more underrated and under-appreciated players in New York City, the Rams have become a power in the CHSAA A Division, stepping out of league play and knocking off Archbishop Molloy to really put everyone in NYC on notice of what Fordham Prep can do. This week will see the Rams participating in the Albertus Magnus Holiday Tournament where on Tuesday they will open with Pine Bush of Section 9 before possibly getting a shot against the host team on Wednesday with a win.

5- Paul Robeson (10-0)- The Eagles kept up their fine play last week with blowout victories over both John Dewey and Tilden as they are comfortably in control of the Brooklyn A1 Division in the PSAL. Anthony Williams paced the way in both games for Robeson who hope to play on Tuesday in an interesting road non-league contest on Staten Island against McKee/Staten Island Tech.

6- LaSalle Academy (4-0)- It was an off week for LaSalle but they are going to be busy coming up so the hiatus may be a good thing for a now well rested Cardinals team who are coming off an impressive win over St. John's Catholic of Washington D.C. Carlos Lorenzo will need a big week here if LaSalle want to stay perfect on the year as on Tuesday it will be a home date in league play with Xavier before going to Syracuse for a pair of games in the CBA Holiday Classic where the Cardinals will open up with Buffalo Monsignor Martin Association power St. Joe's Collegiate.

7- KIPP NYC College Prep (6-0)- Games last week with Morris and Roosevelt were postponed because of COVID issues meaning KIPP will be off for almost three weeks when they take the court again on January 3rd against Grace Dodge in league play. Jamir Watson is one of a number of KIPP players who can carry the offense on any given night, and while not a traditional power basketball wise, the Bulldogs are showing themselves so far this season to be a team who may be around for quite a while.

8- William Grady (6-1)- Grady is a team we have a bit of a bone to pick with this week. We love head coach Karl Sanders who has done a great job of putting the Falcons back on the map in terms of NYC basketball during his tenure, but Grady hasn't posted a score on the PSAL website in nearly two weeks. We can't tell you if they won, lost, or didn't play the game because they haven't updated. It's disappointing because the Falcons have some impressive players to watch for, but there have been no updates. Hopefully that changes this week as Grady is due for a Wednesday non-league game at McKee/Staten Island Tech.

9- Nazareth (2-0)- There is being well rested and then there is what Nazareth is going to be dealing with. Starting the year 2-0 behind head coach Gary Ervin, the Kingsmen have had three games postponed, including two that were suppose to be big resume builders this week against Chaminade and Holy Cross. If Nazareth gets on the court for their next scheduled game on January 4th against Fordham Prep it will be 24 days between games. A long time for a team that has to be itching to get out there and be rid of COVID keeping them sidelined.

10- DeWitt Clinton (9-0)- Balance is the key word for this seasons Governors team as they seemingly have a different player step up to lead them each time out. Last Wednesday it was 14 points from Jayson Jones West as Clinton stayed perfect heading into 2022 after an 88-37 win over Christopher Columbus. As we said that was the last game of the 2021 calendar year for the Governors who will look to keep up their big time play when 2022 gets going.

11- Bayard Rustin Educational Complex (6-0)- Having their chance to show that they are on the level of the best in the PSAL Manhattan A Division taken away from them last week when their matchup with Murry Bergtraum was postponed just means Bayard Rustin will have to wait a bit longer to show just how good they are and can be. Both of their games scheduled for last week were postponed as Eugene Benn and the rest of the Titans will be hungry and ready come showtime in 2022.

12- Lehman (6-1)- After a somewhat slowish start to their game on Wednesday against Roosevelt Educational,the Lions charged forward late as Jalen Elfe had a double-double with 19 points and 11 assists to lead Lehman to a pulling away 59-42 victory. Lehman will go on here this week and host a couple non-league games to stay busy as on Tuesday they will host George Washington, before an even more interesting game on Thursday will see the Lions taking on Seward Park in a Bronx vs. Manhattan battle.

13- Evander Childs (5-1)- Getting in one game last week, the Tigers used a 22-6 fourth quarter to run away from Alfred E. Smith late 77-51 on Tuesday. Torrin Swinton had 22 points to lead Childs, while Adonis Nina had 11 of his 21 in the final stanza in the victory. The Tigers other game against Bronx Science was postponed due to COVID as it will now be 2022 when we see Evander Childs on the hardwood once again.

14- Louis Brandeis (9-1)- After a loss it is more about how you respond over anything else. That was what Brandeis dealt with last week after they fell on Monday to Graphics Campus on the road 60-57. The Bulldogs responded with flying colors as they hosted Fiorello LaGuardia to close out their 2021 part of the schedule, and with Faly Sylla scoring 15 to lead 4 players in double figures scoring, it was Brandeis coasting to a 79-21 win. Like we said that's it in 2021 for the Bulldogs, but they have tough challenges ahead to show if they are truly a PSAL contender this season.

15- St. Joseph by the Sea (3-3)- With a leader on the ball in Daniel Marinaccio its no surprise that the Vikings are among the best of the best not just on Staten Island, but in the CHSAA A Division overall this season. Sea took Farrell to the wire in what was a November loss by 6, and Sea does have a nice win over Salesian just this past week in a game that Marinaccio had 18 to lead in a 71-57 win. St. Joe's will next go to New Jersey to play in the Wildwood Christmas Classic starting on Monday when they will open with St. Thomas Aquinas of NJ as they hope to bring the title back home.

16- A. Philip Randolph (8-1)- It was a nail biter but Randolph managed to hold on for a 64-63 victory over MLK Jr. on Wednesday to ensure themselves a spot in the Sweet 16. Cheikh Seck had 20 points to pace the Cougars in the win, while it was Tuscan Ellison with a 10 point and 12 rebound double-double as well for the winners. Randolph is also now off until the calendar turns 2022 where they will have many more opportunities to show that they are the real deal, and a threat to compete for a PSAL Class A Division title.

Beacon (8-2)
Benjamin Banneker (5-3)
Brooklyn H.S. for Law and Technology (8-3)
Fort Hamilton (7-1)
Graphics Campus (8-1)

Class B

1- Community Health Academy of the Heights (10-1)- Running away with the Manhattan B2 Division in the PSAL already early on this season is no surprise, but the among of quality non-league wins over the likes of Maspeth, South Bronx Prep, Hunter College, and Stuyvesant truly has to open eyes and put Community Health as the current team to beat in the PSAL. That can obviously change but with talent like Sayvior Carroll and John Harrington leading the way, the Phoenix are surely a favorite and team to watch when they hit the floor again in 2022.

2- Poly Prep (4-0)- COVID has taken away a couple of non-league games that looked really intriguing for the Blue Devils as postponements to games against both Fort Hamilton and New Dorp will have Poly Prep now waiting until 2022 to hit the court again which is a disappointment to say the least. This is a pretty young Poly Prep group but the talent is there under w head coach Edgar De La Rosa to make some noise and once again be there at the end to lift the NYSAIS Class B title.

3- BCAM (5-1)- It's been since December 14th when BCAM got 26 points from Earl Morgan in an 80-50 victory that they have taken to the floor. The layoff has been tough for sure but holding a non-league win over Fannie Lou Hamer, along with a close loss to Paul Robeson of the A Division, it certainly means the future looks bright for the Lions who will get going again with their schedule early on in 2022.

4- Berkeley Carroll (3-0)- When you think of teams to watch in NYSAIS, Berkeley Carroll isn't always the first one that comes to mind. After knocking for Dwight School already early on this season though 60-57 it might be the time to start taking this young and impressive group a bit more seriously. They will be off for almost a month when the Lions take the court again on January 5th against Packer, but when they do get back to action you can expect to continue to see things that make you think Berkeley Carroll can be a force in NYSAIS this season.

5- Maspeth (5-1)- After falling for the first time this season to Community Health in a tough non-league matchup 72-57 it has been a lot of inactivity as their three games since have all been postponed due to COVID issues. Sean Lopez and the rest of the Argonauts will get back to action hopefully coming up this Thursday in what looks on paper to be another very good non-league test when Maspeth goes to Fannie Lou Hamer in a battle of two of the PSAL's longtime best in Class B.

6- Dwight School (4-1)- When you have a player the caliber of Richard Nweke you have a chance to go out and win every time out. At 6'9" and a complete force in the paint, Nweke easily has Dwight this season as a NYSAIS Class B favorite, though their chance last week to showcase what they could do as a team was put on hold as the Hackley Tournament was cancelled due to COVID. It wont be until 2022 that the Lions are back in action, but when they are you can expect very big things to come.

7- Achievement First (4-0)- Having been tested for the first time on the season last Monday, Achievement First got 29 points from Malaki Clarke Braithwaite as they held off a late EBC/Bushwick Leaders rally to hold on for a 60-55 victory. That is the type of win that could carry over and allow Achievement to continue to learn and grow as a team in their hopes for a PSAL B Division title. They are now off until the start of 2022 where they will continue to try to stay perfect and show the rest of the PSAL that they are the real deal.

8- The Scholars Academy (9-0)- With wins over Brooklyn H.S. for Law and Technology, McKee/Staten Island Tech, and Beach Channel already this year in non-league action, Scholars may be one of the more underrated teams you will see in New York City. This past week the Seawolves got 21 points from Anjolaife Ahmed as he led 6 Scholars players in double figures in a 107-47 win over Queens School of Inquiry. Perfect on the season to date, the Seawolves will look to continue the dominating play when they get back to action in the first week of January.

9- Fannie Lou Hamer (7-2)- Dropping a 59-47 contest to Bronx AA school Samuel Gompers sees the Panthers falls a bit here this week in the NYC Class B rankings. Khalil Lloyd though is still looking like one of the divisions top guards, and with solid depth and great coaching you can not count out Fannie Lou from being among the contenders for a Class B PSAL crown. The Panthers will have a chance to prove themselves in a big way this week when on Thursday they have a scheduled non-league matchup against Maspeth at home in the Bronx in what is certainly one of the games of the week.

10- Trinity School (6-0)- Our final team once again this week at the #10 spot is Trinity, a team who already hold a solid win over CHSAA Class A school Xavier. The Tigers are showing themselves to be a dangerous and lethal three point shooting team through six games this season, and with big dates to come in 2022 against the likes of Poly Prep and Fieldston, there are more opportunities to come for a Trinity School team looking to put themselves on the New York City basketball map.

Academy of American Studies (6-1)
Bard H.S. Early College (7-0)
Baruch College Campus (7-0)
Lab Museum United (4-0)
NEST+M (5-0)

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