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Tuesday, March 1, 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 (21-3)- Getting a game winning three pointer at the buzzer from Jaden Daughtry allowed the Terriers to squeak past Xaverian in the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan semifinal 52-51 and winning that was all St. Francis Prep needed as the momentum of that victory allowed them to ease past Bishop Loughlin in the title game 68-49 to claim back to back Diocesan Championships. Up now for St. Francis Prep will be the CHSAA Intersectional City Playoffs which will begin on Sunday for the Terriers in the Quarterfinals against the winner of a game this week between Iona Prep and Archbishop Molloy.

2- Cardinal Hayes (23-3)- While the Cardinals were able to make their way into the CHSAA Archdiocesan of New York title game against Archbishop Stepinac on Saturday, it was Hayes who wasn't able to get much of anything going as they scored just 10 points in the opening half, ultimately falling to the Crusaders for the second time this season 51-40. It wasn't the result Cardinal Hayes wanted but they still will receive the double-bye into the CHSAA Intersectional City Playoffs as they will square off on Sunday against the winner of a second round battle between Christ the King and Mount St. Michael.

3- South Shore (21-3)- The #1 seed in the PSAL Playoffs, the Vikings will get going on their run to the championship this week. After losing in the Brooklyn Borough title game to Eagle Academy II, South Shore's only loss to a PSAL team this season, the Vikings are amped and ready to go out and show that they are the best the PSAL has to offer. A Round of 16 game on Friday will be South Shore's only contest of the week and it will take place at home against the winner a game between WHEELS and Forest Hills that will take place on Wednesday.

4- Eagle Academy II (17-5)- Having defeated South Shore to win the schools first ever Brooklyn Borough Championship you can easily say momentum is on the side of the Eagles who can definitely consider themselves now the favorites to bring home the PSAL City Championship. The route to the title won't be easy for Eagle II who are the #3 seed but they have the depth and the talent to make it happen. Friday in the Round of 16 it will be Eagle II taking on either H.S. for Construction or Harry Truman for the right to move into next weeks quarterfinals.

5- Susan Wagner (26-1)- It's been forever since the Falcons have had a team and a season like this. They won the PSAL Staten Island Borough title by defeating Curtis for a third time this season and have now earned the #2 seed in the PSAL City Championship's, the highest seed a team from Staten Island has ever been awarded. Susan Wagner will now get back to the court this coming Friday in a Round of 16 game where the Falcons will be pitted against the winner of a Wednesday game between Thurgood Marshall Academy and Canarsie.


6- Campus Magnet (20-3)- An underdog story if their ever was one, the Bulldogs are the winners of 19 straight and now after winning the PSAL Queens Borough Championship, head into the PSAL City Playoffs with all sorts of momentum as they look to become one of the best stories in recent memory in the PSAL. As the #4 seed in the playoffs it will be a very tricky Round of 16 game for Campus Magnet as they will be home on Friday to take on more than likely Thomas Jefferson as they longtime Brooklyn power will play Springfield Gardens on Wednesday for the right to take on the Bulldogs.

7- Eagle Academy (18-8)- Champions of the Bronx, Eagle Academy are primed and ready for big things ahead in the PSAL City Playoffs as they have the size and the overall depth all over the court to give anyone they go up against major fits. Even after winning the Bronx Borough Championship the Eagles were still only given the #7 seed in the playoffs meaning they will open up their title run on Friday at home against either John Bowne or Eagle Academy III, with the Wildcats more than likely being the ones who will make the trip in from Queens.

8- Wings Academy (20-4)- Though Wings may have lost in the Bronx Borough semifinals in a heartbreaker to James Monroe 64-63 the PSAL based off of their body of work throughout the regular season still rewarded them with the #5 seed in the PSAL City Playoffs. It's a just and fair seeing for a Wings team that no one will want to take on over the next couple of weeks as they are well coached and disciplined, and now playing with a chip on their shoulder. On Friday it will be Wings taking on either Brooklyn Collegiate or JFK in what will be an intriguing Round of 16 duel.

9- Curtis (22-5)- If you take out the three losses against Susan Wagner then the Warriors season looks a whole heck of a lot better as they were able to knock of a number of perennial powers in the PSAL this year, and based off of that were given the #6 seed in the PSAL City Playoffs. That will give Curtis a Friday evening Round of 16 battle against the winner of a Wednesday game between Benjamin Cardozo and Boys & Girls in what will surely be a test for a no doubt title contender in the Warriors.

10- Bishop Loughlin (14-11)- Proving themselves to be among the elite in the CHSAA, Bishop Loughlin was able to get past Christ the King 64-60 in OT on Wednesday in the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan Semifinals to earn themselves a berth in the Diocesan title game on Friday against St. Francis Prep. The Lions would fall to the Terriers 68-49 on Friday night in Queens but the win over Christ the King gives Loughlin a double-bye straight into Sunday's CHSAA Intersectional City Quarterfinals where they will get either Msgr. Scanlan or Holy Cross with a semifinal berth on the line.

11- Christ the King (14-10)- We just talked about what it meant for Bishop Loughlin, but the 64-60 OT loss for the Royals in Wednesday's CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan Semifinals means an extra game now for Christ the King, and a dangerous one as well. A win their would've put the Royals straight into the Intersectional Quarterfinals, but instead it will now be Christ the King playing Mount St. Michael in a second round game on Wednesday, with a win putting them in the quarter's against a waiting Cardinal Hayes.

12- James Monroe (20-7)- One of the hottest teams entering the playoffs, Monroe have what seems to be a little magic in them as they knocked off Wings in the PSAL Bronx Borough Semifinals before falling in a heartbreaker by 3 in the title game to Eagle Academy. The Eagles though have been getting some fantastic guard play and are as quick and dangerous in the backcourt as anyone in the PSAL. Monroe were awarded the #8 seed in the PSAL City Playoffs and will have a Wednesday Round of 16 contest against Francis Lewis with a date in the quarterfinals on the line.

13- Francis Lewis (15-8)- After losing a tough one by three in the Queens Borough title game to Campus Magnet, Francis Lewis look primed to do something big in the PSAL City Playoffs. It wont be easy though as while the Patriots have the talent and determination to do something special they are the #9 seed and will have to go on the road in the Round of 16 on Wednesday when they go to the Bronx to face off with James Monroe. A win there would set them up in the quarterfinals though against more than likely top seeded South Shore where anything is possible.

14- St. Raymond (15-9)- Having lost in the CHSAA Archdiocese of New York quarterfinals to Iona Prep over a week ago now the Ravens have been stewing on that disappointment for some time as they readied for the CHSAA Intersectional City Playoffs. Finally though it's back to action here coming up for St. Ray's as they will play on Thursday against Xaverian in the second round with the winner getting Archbishop Stepinac on Quarterfinal Sunday out at Hofstra University.

15- Thomas Jefferson (12-9)- Due to the fact that they didn't even qualify for the PSAL Brooklyn Borough Playoffs it's been since February 3rd since the Orange Wave have taken the court for a game, meaning it will be 27 days between games when Jefferson, the #13 seed, takes on Springfield Gardens at home on Wednesday in an opening round PSAL City Playoff game. If they can win that a very dangerous and talented Jefferson team will go to Campus Magnet with a quarterfinal appearance on the line.

16- Brooklyn Collegiate (15-9)- There is absolutely no denying the talent that the Lions have this season as Brooklyn Collegiate have some incredibly impressive wins on their resume this season so far, it's all about consistency for them at this point. Given the #12 seed in the playoffs here, the Lions will open up on Wednesday against JFK before a win would put them in the Round of 16 against Wings Academy in what would be one of the biggest games to watch in the PSAL in that round.

Benjamin Cardozo (19-7)
Forest Hills (14-11)
John Bowne (14-10)
Msgr. Scanlan (12-13)
Xaverian (11-12)

Class A

1- Transit Tech (24-2)- The #1 seed in the PSAL City Playoffs on the A side of things, the Express have been the cream of the crop all season long so far and only solidified their spot with an impressive showing in the Brooklyn Borough Playoffs by winning a game and then falling 72-69 to AA #1 seed South Shore in the semifinals. Now though it's City Playoff time and as the #1 seed it will be Transit taking on either Aviation or Boerum Hill in a Round of 32 game this coming Thursday to continue their postseason run.

2- Fordham Prep (20-4)- It's been a crazy and roller coaster year in the CHSAA in Class A but when you look at the most consistent program there throughput the season it's been the Rams who dominated All Hallows in the City Quarterfinals this past Saturday 73-36 to move into semifinals which will take place this coming Tuesday against St. Joseph by the Sea at Archbishop Molloy, with the title game to take place this Friday up at Monroe College in New Rochelle.

3- Paul Robeson (19-1)- We aren't going to try and understand how the PSAL decided on the seeds in both the A and B Divisions. It wasn't exactly the best or most consistent job but it's a tough job and one that isn't easy. After a perfect regular season, Robeson lost in the quarterfinals of the Brooklyn Borough Playoffs before given the #7 seed in the Class A PSAL City Playoffs. It's a bit lower than the Eagles wanted or expected even but they will now focus on what's ahead as on Thursday they will take on either John Adams or Metropolitan Campus in the Round of 32.

4- DeWitt Clinton (20-1)- After an unbeaten regular season it was the Governors who went into the Bronx Borough Playoffs full of hope before falling in the quarterfinals there to James Monroe. That gave them their first loss of the year but it didn't squash any confidence they have now going into the PSAL Class A City Playoffs. The PSAL gave Clinton the #4 seed, a solid reward for their regular season, and it will be a Round of 32 battle for the Governors on Thursday when they take on either MLK Jr. or Port Richmond.

5- St. Joseph by the Sea (18-7)- When the brackets for the CHSAA Class A Playoffs came out it looked as if the Vikings were on a collision course for a semifinal matchup with Fordham Prep and that is exactly how it has played out after Sea dominated from the start in an 83-59 victory over Salesian on Saturday in the quarterfinals. St. Joseph by the Sea are healthy and playing some great basketball now meaning that Tuesday's semifinal at Archbishop Molloy in Queens against the Rams should be a great one, with the title game to follow for the winner this coming Friday.

6- Brooklyn High School for Law and Technology (21-7)- If basketball is being played in March then you can be sure that Law and Tech will be there challenging for a championship. Year after year now the Jets program has become a perennial title contender, and this year is no different. They are the #3 seed in the PSAL Class A City Playoffs meaning they are considered among the best of the best, with things to get going for them on Thursday as they will open up what they hope will be a championship run at home against the winner of a Tuesday game between Long Island City and Frederick Douglass Academy.

7- Graphics Campus (22-3)- Many knew that the Manhattan side of the PSAL this season was pretty wide open, and that was proven true as Graphics Campus went out and defeated AA powers Thurgood Marshall Academy and WHEELS to claim the Borough Championship. Maybe it's because of Manhattan's perceived weakness but the 49ers were still just given the #6 seed in the City Playoffs. That means they will hit the court this coming Thursday for a Round of 32 game against either Evander Childs or Sunset Park.

8- Murry Bergtraum (18-3)- Another Manhattan team, Bergtraum was considered the best in that borough in Class A for most of the season but they would fall to WHEELS in the Borough Semifinals before Graphics ultimately won the title. The semifinal loss didn't hurt the Blazers as they were still rewarded with the #2 seed in the PSAL Class A City Playoffs, a reward for their sensational regular season in a tough division. It will be Thursday that we see Bergtraum again in the Round of 32 against the winner of a game between Walton and Bronx United.

9- Lehman (16-2)- One of the best from the Bronx, Lehman made it to the Bronx Borough Playoffs before falling in the quarterfinals to Truman 62-57. The Lions were no doubt hoping for a bit of a deeper run there but now have solely squared their attention to the City Playoffs in Class A where they were given the #9 seed by the PSAL committee meaning a Round of 32 game awaits this Thursday against either Thomas Edison or Stuyvesant for the right to move into the Round of 16.

10- Beacon (20-5)- Every season when you ask people who is the toughest team to take on style wise the Blue Demons are one of the first teams people answer with as they slow the game down quite a bit and are one of the more methodical teams who limit their mistakes, but can also shoot the lights out of the ball. With two wins this season over Manhattan Borough champs Graphics Campus it's no surprise to see Beacon get the #8 seed in the City Playoffs with a Round of 32 game coming up on Thursday against either Queens H.S. Complex or Grand Street Campus.

11- Msgr. Farrell (17-6)- Back at full strength with their leading scorer back on the court after missing time due to injury, Farrell have picked back up where they left off and have made their way into the CHSAA Class A City Semifinals after defeating a tough St. Edmund Prep team in the quarterfinals on Saturday, 42-39. The Lions will be taking on Nazareth in the semifinal on Tuesday at Molloy with the winner of that one moving into Friday's championship game to be played at Monroe College.

12- Louis Brandeis (17-5)- When you really look things over the A Division in Manhattan in the PSAL is actually quite strong with a number of teams who are capable of making a run and proving themselves worthy of being a contender for the championship. Brandeis is another one of those teams as the Bulldogs were awarded the #13 seed which was maybe a bit lower than they were hoping for, but nonetheless they are ready to get going this Thursday against either KIPP NYC College Prep or Far Rockaway who will play on Tuesday to determine the Bulldogs foe in the Round of 32.

13- McKee/Staten Island Tech (16-9)- Going up against a pair of top AA seed a combined four times this season in Susan Wagner and Curtis, the Seagulls record is a bit misleading as they played and hung with Transit Tech until the very end in a close loss showing that when going against A Division there is no doubt that MSIT are more than capable of making a title run. As the #5 seed it will be McKee hosting a Round of 32 game this Thursday against either Hunter College H.S. or James Madison.

14- Nazareth (16-6)- The final of the four CHSAA Class A semi finalists in our rankings, Nazareth is more than confident that it will be them bringing home the championship as they have been competitive against AA opposition when gin the chance, and even though they weren't at their best still found a way to get by Msgr. McClancy in the quarterfinals on Saturday, 45-39. Finding a way to get the W when struggling is huge this time of year, but the Kingsmen will have to play better in Tuesday's semifinal against Msgr. Farrell with a berth in Friday's title game on the line.

15- Evander Childs (12-6)- We are now getting to the point where the seed some of these teams got doesn't represent what they actually deserved. The Tigers were 11-3 in a very tough Bronx A1 but still managed to only secure the #27 seed, one of the stranger seedings that you will find all year. For that it will be Evander playing an opening round game on Tuesday at home in the PSAL City Playoffs against Sunset Park, with a win there moving them into the Round of 32 on Thursday against Graphics Campus with either of those two going out way earlier then they deserve.

16- KIPP NYC College Prep (11-4)- If you are looking for an issue with KIPP it's the fact that they lacked marquee non-league games, and when playing against better teams in the Bronx they didn't get the results they were hoping for which is probably why they were given the #20 seed in the PSAL City Playoffs in Class A. That seed means a Tuesday opening round game against Far Rockaway at home before a possible Round of 32 game against. Louis Brandeis in one of the more competitive games in that round that you will see.

A. Philip Randolph (16-5)
Bayard Rustin Educational Complex (12-4)
Flushing (15-4)
Seward Park (14-7)
William Grady (13-4)

Class B

1- Poly Prep (21-1)- No question it was a week to remember for the Blue Devils who in the NYSAIS Class B semifinals found a way past Dwight School to avenge their only loss of the season to move into Sunday's title game against Portledge. Many considered this season's Portledge team unbeatable against Class B competition, but tied at 54 in the closing seconds it was Phil Lawrence who stole the ball after Portledge looked to hold the ball for the last shot, then he took it the length of the court and laid it up at the buzzer for the winter as Poly close the season as champions, winning NYSAIS 56-54.

2- Community Health Academy of the Heights (23-2)- Even though we consider Community Health the best team in the PSAL Class B this season, they were given the #2 seed by the PSAL committee. If anything though that should motivate the Phoenix to show that they truly are the best team when their playoff run gets going this Wednesday in the Round of 32 when they square off with either All City Leadership Academy or Frederick Douglass Academy III in what should be an easier start to what they hope is a big couple weeks ahead.

3- Dwight School (20-6)- Having handed Poly Prep their only loss of the season, along with garnering huge AA level wins as well there is no way you can say this was anything but a tremendously successful season for the Lions who ultimately fell just short of their goal in a 62-49 loss in the NYSAIS Class B Semifinals to the aforementioned Poly Prep. They will lose some quality pieces to graduation but expect Dwight to absolutely be back in a position in the years here to come to continue being a force in Class B.

4- NEST+M (15-0)- An undefeated team that doesn't get a ton of respect is rare but that is what it seems like is happening with this seasons NEST+M group. They didn't play a very challenging non-league slate but they played in a fairly tough league and managed to get through it unscathed which is had and rare to do. They did get the #3 seed in the City Playoffs, but they got one of the toughest draws possibly as on Wednesday they will play the winner of a Monday opening round game between a perennially strong Adams Street Academy, and a ranked Achievement First. Quite the road for the Eagles for sure.

5- The Scholars Academy (22-2)- As the #1 seed in the PSAL Class B City Playoffs it will be the Seawolves looking to show that their regular season was no fluke. They were able to shock and dominate a number of Class AA and Class A teams, and even secured a win in the PSAL Queens Borough Playoffs. With the top seed means a ton of expectations, and while that could mean pressure for some, Scholars seem more than ready to embrace that challenge head on as they will get going on Wednesday with a Round of 32 date against either Institute for Collaborative education or H.S. for Math, Science, and Engineering.

6- Lab Museum United (18-1)- Getting a strong non-league win late in the season over Maspeth on the road didn't seem to matter much for the Gators who were still seeding behind the Argonauts. Lab Museum were given the #9 seed for the PSAL City Playoffs and will get a Round of 32 matchup with either Metropolitan or East Side Community as those two will square off on Monday for the right to take on the Gators on Wednesday.

7- Maspeth (16-2)- Having just talked about Maspeth, here are the Argonauts in our rankings right behind Lab Museum who they fell to in mid-February in Queens. Maspeth is still no question a team that no one should want to face off with in this Class B postseason run as they are battle tested and seem ready for big things here. The Argonauts are the #7 seed in the playoffs here and will get a date in the Round of 32 on Wednesday against either Democracy Prep or South Bronx which will have been determined on Monday.

8- Achievement First (10-1)- All year we knew this issue was coming as to what to do with Achievement First. Everyone knows they are a very good team but when you don't report much of anything meaning no non-league results, and even very little information about your league games it makes it tough which is clearly why the PSAL gave Achievement the #35 seed. It seems crazy but on Monday they will head on the road to Adams Street Academy for an opening round game before a possible Wednesday game in the Round of 32 also on the road against #3 seed NEST+M.

9- Fannie Lou Hamer (19-3)- Playoffs and deep postseason runs always seem to be what the Panthers are about, and while this season did have its ups and downs there is no reason not to think that this years group from Fannie Lou Hamer won't be making a long any of run. They clearly have the talent and with top notch coaching it will be fun to watch the Panthers as the #6 seed in the City Playoffs with a Round of 32 beginning on Wednesday against either Robert Goddard or Bronx School for Law, Government, and Justice.

10- Trinity School (15-4)- Going on the road in the NYSAIS Class B semifinals, Trinity put up a heck of a fight at Portledge as they were close until early in the fourth when the Tigers finally saw things slip away in what was a 61-50 defeat. It wasn't the ending to the season that Trinity School wanted, but they have enough coming back next season to be a threat for a title again in a years time as the Tigers continue to build something very special in Manhattan.

Bubble: Bard H.S. Early College (16-6)
Baruch College Campus (15-2)
Cathedral Prep (20-5)
Comprehensive Model School (15-1)
Summit Academy (12-5)

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