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Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022: 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. Francis Prep (18-2)- Even with their first league defeat of the season to Christ the King on the road on Tuesday the Terriers stay on top here this week. The are not at full strength and may not be for a couple more weeks with Chance Morrish still out with his broken wrist, but St. Francis Prep have still done a great job of keeping the good times going. A huge one to close out the regular season awaits on Tuesday when Latiek Briscoe and the rest of the Terriers head to White Plains to face off with Archbishop Stepinac with the winner more than likely to be #1 in the state come next weeks rankings, though Thursday could also be a tricky one with the Terriers playing host to Bishop Loughlin.

2- Cardinal Hayes (21-2)- After last Sunday's defeat at St. Francis Prep, the Cardinals have responded just as everyone expected with blowout home victories over Mount St. Michael and St. Raymond, while also going on the road to defeat Msgr. Scanlan this past week. Ian Jackson has asserted control and shown himself to be one of the best in the CHSAA this season with an incredibly well rounded game for someone still just a sophomore. The regular season will finish up here on Tuesday for Cardinal Hayes when they head down to Queens for a big battle with perennial power Christ the King.

3- South Shore (19-2)- Heading into the Brooklyn Borough Playoffs there is little doubt that the Vikings, lead by Max Ragusa at the lead guard spot, are the favorites in the PSAL. They have yet to lose to PSAL opposition this season and look ready for all comers. As the #1 seed in the PSAL Brooklyn Borough Playoffs, South Shore will get going on Tuesday when they face off against the winner of Monday's game against Fort Hamilton and Brooklyn Tech. After that it will be the semifinals on Thursday and the title game on Saturday en route to what the Vikings hope will be the Brooklyn championship.

4- Susan Wagner (23-1)- There is an argument to be made that the Falcons didn't play the same kind of strenuous schedule that everyone else in these AA rankings did and that makes them a bit too high here but the facts are they facts. Led by Xavier Barrow, they defeated Curtis twice, handled their business twice against McKee/Staten Island Tech, defeated John Bowne and a number of top Class A teams in non-leagues, and should be one of the tougher outs in the City Playoffs. First up though for Susan Wagner is the PSAL Staten Island Borough Playoffs where they are the #1 seed and will open things up on Tuesday at home against Petrides before hopefully for them playing in Thursday's semi's and Saturday's title game. 5- Eagle Academy II (14-5)- If not for South Shore it would more than likely be Eagle II that everyone would be talking about as the favorites in the PSAL this season. With Jaquel Morris inside and Eric Acker outside the Eagles have all the necessary components to make an extremely deep playoff run this season. First up though will be the PSAL Brooklyn Borough Playoffs where Eagle II are the #2 seed will take on the winner of Monday's game between Bedford Academy and Benjamin Banneker on Tuesday to start out their go at it.


6- Campus Magnet (17-3)- As big of a surprise as anyone this season, the Bulldogs are winners of 16 straight and have cruised into the #1 seed in this weeks PSAL Queens Borough Playoffs. Leverson Tulien has been the key cog for Campus Magnet so far this year and he will look to keep his play up on Tuesday when the Bulldogs open up their Queens Borough's run against the winner of a game on Monday either Epic H.S. South or Franklin K. Lane.

7- Wings Academy (19-3)- It was quite the shock when the seeds came out for the PSAL Bronx Borough Playoffs to see Wings Academy at #2 behind Eagle Academy. When you compare resumes for this season its just not that close, Wings has had the far superior season to date. That could change though as if Mohamed Kante and the rest of the Wings squad are not at their best they can be picked off. They will get going again on Tuesday with a Bronx Borough quarterfinal matchup against either Evander Childs or Walton before the semifinals and title game take place on Thursday and Saturday.

8- Christ the King (14-8)- Proving themselves once again as a team that can compete for a CHSAA title this season, the Royals on Tuesday were able to get another signature win when they defeated St. Francis Prep by 3. Christ the King would also take down Archbishop Molloy by 5, while falling once this week out of league on Saturday to Long Island Lutheran, though even that at 55-52 showed they can compete against anyone. Just one more regular season game to come this week happening on Tuesday when the Royals play host to another power in the CHSAA this season in Cardinal Hayes.

9- St. Raymond (14-7)- Easily knocking off Holy Cross and Portledge this past week, the Ravens stayed close for three quarters with Cardinal Hayes on Friday night on the Grand Concourse but would ultimately fall 88-73 to the Cardinals. Brandon Stores had a phenomenal week yet again for St. Raymond who will get back on the court on Monday when they go on the road to take on Archbishop Stepinac in another big late season CHSAA league matchup. The regular season will end 24 hours later on Tuesday with St. Ray's playing host on senior night to Salesian in a non-league clash.

10- Thomas Jefferson (12-9)- This is a tricky one as the Orange Wave didn't qualify for the PSAL Brooklyn Borough Playoffs since they had a sub-.500 record in league play. It's disappointing as Jefferson do have some big wins, especially later on her in the season because Anthony Isaac but it wasn't meant to be meaning that the Orange Wave will be off for some time before taint he court again when they will most certainly be a motivated and ready team for the PSAL City Playoffs.

11- Curtis (20-4)- With Michael Oyekanmi scoring his 1,000th career point during Saturday's 64-63 non-league road win over Canarsie of the Brooklyn AA, Curtis is going into the PSAL Staten Island Borough Playoffs riding high and ready to prove that it's them who are the ones to reckon with in borough play. There will be a good amount of challenges along the way though as Tuesday will see them at home in the opening round against New Dorp before a possible semifinal showdown on Thursday with MSIT with the title game to come on Saturday.

12- Francis Lewis (13-7)- Another team who seem to be looking good heading into the right time of the year, the Patriots are winners of five out of six and look to be a team that controls the game from the inside behind Williams Guzman. The Queens Borough Playoffs will give Francis Lewis another chance to show the kind of team they have this year with a Tuesday opener against the winner of Scholars Academy and Flushing to be played on Monday, with the semifinals and title game to follow on Thursday and Saturday respectively.

13- James Monroe (18-6)- A blowout win over South Bronx Prep in the non-league on Saturday closed out the regular season for the Eagles who look to be a team flying under the radar, though capable of beating and hanging with just about anybody. Their run to a PSAL Bronx Borough Championship begins on Tuesday when as the #3 seed they get 6th seeded, and undefeated on the season, DeWitt Clinton in what should be an interesting clash. If they get by that Monroe can expect Wings in the semifinals before a possible title game appearance on Saturday.

14- Eagle Academy (16-8)- The #1 seed in the PSAL Bronx Borough Playoffs, you can argue if that was the right call by those in charge of making the seedings, but what you cannot argue is the talent that head coach Roosevelt Byers in his first year has with this seasons Eagle Academy squad. Can they run it all the way to a Bronx title is yet to be determined though with the first opponent to be determined by the winner of Monday's game between KIPP NYC College Prep and Comprehensive Model School, with there quarterfinal game to be played on Tuesday before possible semifinal and title games on Thursday and Saturday.

15- Brooklyn Collegiate (14-8)- While the Lions have had some questionable losses, they are also a team with a tremendous amount of talent and ability, and a team that could easily prove themselves as the best in Brooklyn during this weeks PSAL Brooklyn Borough Playoffs. They are the #3 seed with a quarterfinal date set for Tuesday against undefeated Class A power Paul Robeson. A win there would send them to play more than likely Eagle Academy II in the semifinals before what Brooklyn Collegiate hopes is a championship game berth.

16- Bishop Loughlin (11-9)- The Lions have been in the rankings before but there is no doubt they are playing there best basketball of the season now as they are winners of five straight, including two wins over Molloy, along with victories over Christ the King and Iona Prep. Jakai Sanders along with Christian Joe and Christian Jeffrey have helped carry the Ed Gonzalez led Lions as they will look to close the season out strong with two road games this week, at Holy Cross on Tuesday and at St. Francis Prep on Thursday.

Benjamin Cardozo (18-6)
H.S. for Construction (11-6)
John Bowne (14-9)
Mount St. Michael (10-9)
Xaverian (10-11)

Class A

1- Transit Tech (23-1)- Still at #1 yet again this week, the Express have earned themselves the #4 seed in this weeks PSAL Brooklyn Borough Playoffs meaning they will have a home quarterfinal game on Tuesday against fellow Class A power Brooklyn Law and Tech. It will be an intriguing battle between two fantastically coached teams with the winner going on Thursday to more than likely take on Class AA power South Shore in the semifinals with the winner of that going on to play in Saturday's championship game.

2- Fordham Prep (18-4)- Blowout wins on the road over Cardinal Spellman and Xavier this past week once again asserted things that the Rams are the favorites as we wind down the regular season here. Led as of late by Tommy Whelan, Fordham Prep have at least one game to come to close out the regular season when they host Msgr. McClancy on Tuesday. There is also a chance at a makeup game later this week as well against Regis but that is to be determined.

3- Paul Robeson (19-0)- Undefeated heading into the PSAL Brooklyn Borough Playoffs are the road warriors of Robeson who steamrolled the competition to achieve their perfect. Anthony Williams and Kentrell Evans lead the way for the Eagles who will begin their borough journey on Tuesday by of course going on the road again for a quarterfinal matchup against AA ranked Brooklyn Collegiate. Anything can happen come borough time so with the semifinals and title game set for Thursday and Saturday it wouldn't be too big of a shock to see Robeson still standing as the days move along.

4- DeWitt Clinton (20-0)- In one of the worst job by by the PSAL it was the Governors give the #6 seed at 20-0 in the PSAL Bronx Borough Playoffs. Lehman though somehow got the #5 see even though Clinton hold a 68-53 road win over them en route to their perfect regular season. It gives the Governors a much tougher road having to go to Monroe on Tuesday in the quarterfinals whereas the #5 seed would've given them a much easier quarterfinal opponent in Harry Truman.

5- St. Joseph by the Sea (14-5)- After beginning the season 0-3 the Vikings are 14-2 since with their only losses in that span coming to St. Thomas Aquinas of New Jersey, and a tough 3 point loss on the road at St. Edmund's. This past week saw Sea get a tremendous road win when on Saturday they went to AA school Msgr. Scanlan and handily knocked off the Crusaders 57-37 in a game that showcased all that the Vikings could do on both ends of the court. Three games are left to finish out the regular season with Sea going to Long Island Lutheran on Tuesday, then they will host Moore Catholic in league play on Thursday, before ending up in New Jersey on Friday night at Hudson Catholic.

6- Murry Bergtraum (17-2)- There are so many big time weapons on this seasons Blazers team that it becomes near impossible most nights to contain them all. They can beat you inside or outside and can dominate scoring around the rim or from behind the arc. It's what makes Murry Bergtraum as a unit so dangerous as they enter the PSAL Manhattan Borough Playoffs as the #3 seed where they will open up their play on Tuesday in the quarterfinals against Louis Brandeis before a possible semifinal road showdown at WHEELS on Thursday.

7- Lehman (16-1)- We talked earlier in our recap of Clinton about how we believe Clinton got unfairly treated being seeded behind Lehman when they were undefeated and breezed past the Lions on the road by 15 this season. That may be true but it isn't an indictment of Lehman at all as they are a top quality Class A team who can make big noise as well in the PSAL Bronx Borough Playoffs. They have gotten a favorable draw as the 5th seed as they will go to Truman in Tuesday's quarterfinals, with a possible Thursday semifinal date against Eagle Academy before Saturday's title tilt.

8- Brooklyn High School for Law and Technology (21-6)- When you have a premier league guard like Greg Ricketts, and scorers all over the floor it makes for a team that can make a lot of noise come playoff time. That's what the Jets are hoping for as they are in the PSAL Brooklyn Borough Playoff field as the #5 seed as they will hit the road on Tuesday to take on our #1 Transit Tech team in the quarterfinals. It was a tight 76-71 game the first time these two met this season in favor of the Express with Law and Tech now out looking for revenge, and a berth in Thursday's semifinals as well.

9- Beacon (19-3)- This Blue Demons team is always there as consistent as consistent can be. They may not have the go to player who can score anytime needed like other teams do, but Beacon led by head coach Mark Jerome just find ways to outplay their opponents and grind out victories. Beacon earned the #4 seed in the PSAL Manhattan Borough Playoffs and will open up at home on Tuesday against Graphics Campus, with Beacon having taken the first two matchups between the two, though only by a combined 5 points meaning this quarterfinal should be a great one.

10- Msgr. Farrell (15-6)- Going to New Jersey on Thursday, Farrell struggled in the second half in a 56-41 defeat to Red Bank Catholic. The Lions did get back to their winning ways on Sunday when they held on to defeat Holy Trinity from Long Island 51-48 in a game that saw Farrell lead by as many as 15 early in the second half. It's just a one game week here for the Lions who will hit the court again on Sunday when at home they will take on their Staten Island rivals from Moore Catholic in their league play finale.

11- Louis Brandeis (17-4)- When you have someone who can score in bunches the way that Dylan Crooke can you have to say that Brandeis has a chance in every game they play. Once again this season the Bulldogs have made the PSAL Manhattan Borough Playoffs as they are the #6 seed and will go on the road for their quarterfinal on Tuesday against Murry Bergtraum in what is one of the more compelling and interesting quarterfinals on the schedule this year.

12- McKee/Staten Island Tech (15-8)- Out of Staten Island, most just talk about Wagner and Curtis this season but there is no doubt that McKee can play with anyone as shown by the fact that they have hung with the two other Staten Island powers this year, while picking up some quality non-league win in the process as well. Masiah Gilyard is the guy to watch on this seasons Seagulls team who will get started with their PSAL Staten Island Borough Playoff run on Tuesday at home against Tottenville before a possible road semifinal matchup on Thursday at Curtis.

13- Nazareth (13-6)- Three games meant three wins for Nazareth this past week with the most impressive coming during Wednesday's 57-46 victory on the road at Salesian. They are young and probably a year ahead of schedule for contending for a CHSAA title, but the Kingsmen want to prove that they can get the job done right now. The week here to close out the regular season will see two games for Nazareth as they will host Salesian on Wednesday before ending things on Friday on the road in Manhattan at LaSalle Academy.

14- Evander Childs (11-5)- Big man Ricardo Dixon has been just about unstoppable for the Tigers this season averaging just under 20 points and 15 rebounds a game as he has helped lead Evander Childs into the PSAL Bronx Borough Playoffs where they will enter as the #7 seed and on Monday will play an opening round game at home against Walton. A win there and it will be a Tuesday showdown with Wings Academy in the quarterfinals in what the Tigers hope is the start on a major cinderella run.

15- KIPP NYC College Prep (10-3)- Another team out of the Bronx hoping for some cinderella magic, KIPP hasn't closed out the regular season all that strongly but that doesn't mean anything anymore. Zahir Caldwell and the Bulldogs are the #8 seed in the PSAL Bronx Borough Playoffs and will open that up on Monday in the opening round against Comprehensive Model School, an undefeated Class B school. A win there would get them against top seeded Eagle Academy on Tuesday in a game that would have KIPP playing with what would be considered house money.

16- William Grady (13-4)- Going 12-1 and finishing atop Brooklyn A3 wasn't enough to get the Falcons a berth in the PSAL Brooklyn Borough Playoffs which is strange since they defeated Fort Hamilton 53-50 during the regular season, a team with 3 league losses yet still found a way to make the Borough Playoffs in Brooklyn. Some of what the PSAL did for the boroughs made no sense and this was another as Jai Clayton and the rest of the Grady squad will have to wait until the Class A PSAL City Playoffs to hit the floor again.

A. Philip Randolph (15-4)
Bayard Rustin Educational Complex (12-3)
Flushing (15-3)
Graphics Campus (19-3)
Seward Park (14-6)

Class B

1- Community Health Academy of the Heights (22-1)- It's never easy for a Class B school to make it into the PSAL Borough Playoffs but when you have a season like Community Health had there was going to be no way to deny them. Not only did the Phoenix make it, but as the #7 seed they earned an opening round PSAL Manhattan Borough Playoff home game to be on Monday against Bayard Rustin Educational Complex. A win there would send Community Health on the road against AA power WHEELS with the Phoenix looking to show that level doesn't matter if the talent and coaching is there.

2- Dwight School (17-4)- You have to give the Lions a ton of credit as they are willing to go out and play anyone that will help them improve for playoff time. They lost earlier in the season to Mount St. Michael, defeated Murry Bergtraum a couple weeks back, and while they did fall 54-44 to Albany Academy on Saturday it's games like that which will help Richard Nweke and they rest of the Dwight team hungry for the NYSAIS Class B title. Monday will see another very tough test when Dwight heads to Long Island Lutheran. After that it's ACIS playoff time with the Lions playing either Friends Seminary or Staten Island Academy in the semifinals on Wednesday before Friday's title game.

3- NEST+M (15-0)- It wasn't really a shock, it was more of a disappointment that a perfect NEST+M team didn't make the PSAL Manhattan Borough Playoffs as it would've been a great reward for Eagles. Since they didn't make the Boroughs it will mean a couple weeks off at least for Colter Diehm and the res of NEST+M who are certain to be one of the top seeds come PSAL Class B City Playoff time.

4- Poly Prep (15-1)- After losing two weeks ago now to Dwight, Poly have had their game against Trinity circled as it was their next chance to really make a statement about the type of team they have this season. That game took place this past Friday and it was all Blue Devils as Poly led from the very start in what was a 68-51 win. Monday will see Poly Prep hit the court again when they host Fieldston, then it's going to be a Wednesday showdown at Collegiate, before going to Dalton on Friday to end the regular season.

5- The Scholars Academy (21-1)- It's been such a phenomenal season for Raphael Tawil and the rest of the Seawolves that they were rewarded with the #7 seed in the PSAL Queens Borough Playoffs and a home game on Monday against Flushing. If they can win that on Tuesday it will be Scholars going to Francis Lewis on Tuesday in an always fun AA vs. B showdown in the Queens quarterfinals.

6- Lab Museum United (18-1)- Getting a huge win on Monday of last week were the Gators as they went to Queens and took a 42-36 win over Maspeth. It was the type of win that will make a huge difference come seeding time for the PSAL Class B City Playoffs as those are the kinds of wins that will help make a statement for Bodee Bacal and the rest of the Lab squad. They unfortunately were left out of the PSAL Manhattan Borough Playoffs meaning it won't be until City Playoff time that we see this talented team again.

7- Maspeth (16-2)- While the Argonauts did slip a bit in our rankings after their 42-36 loss to Lab Museum, they did rally with a 55-52 win over a solid Cambria Heights Academy team to get the momentum back on their side. Maspeth was also left out of the PSAL Queens Borough Playoffs meaning another really talented team will be sitting around a bit as they await to see their seed in the City Playoffs which wont get underway until the beginning of March.

8- Achievement First (9-1)- There isn't much to say about Achievement as their coaching staff really hasn't been inputting scores or leading scorers for a couple weeks now making it harder and harder to evaluate just what type of team Achievement is, and can be. We know they are tough and talented based off of their record and quality wins, but they as well will have to wait until the PSAL City Playoffs to get on the floor again after not making the field for the PSAL Brooklyn Borough Playoffs.

9- Fannie Lou Hamer (19-3)- Locking down a quality win out of league this past Saturday, the Panthers were able to sneak past JFK of the Bronx AA 62-61 giving them great momentum as Fannie Lou gets ready for the City Playoffs. They didn't make this seasons PSAL Bronx Borough Playoffs field meaning the Marc Skelton led team will have a lot of time to prepare and ready for what will surely be another very deep playoff run.

10- Comprehensive Model School (15-0)- Last but not least is Comprehensive Model, a team with a great record but not much in terms of tests on their resume. Sales Conteh has been a major weapon around the rim for the Sharks who did make the PSAL Bronx Borough Playoff field as the will get going on Monday on the road as the #9 seed to take on KIPP NYC College Prep in what its Comprehensive Model's first ever borough appearance. It's a great opportunity for them as a lead in to what they hope will be a long run in this seasons postseason.

Bard H.S. Early College (16-4)
Baruch College Camus (15-2)
Cathedral Prep (17-5)
Summit Academy (12-5)
Trinity School (13-3)

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