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Tuesday, March 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- Cardinal Hayes (26-3)- Getting 24 points from Ian Jackson, and yet another double-double from big man Tobe Awaka it was the Cardinals who got out to a quick start and never looked back in what ended up being a 79-59 win over Archbishop Stepinac as Cardinal Hayes claimed their second CHSAA Intersectional Championship in four years with the victory. D.J. Victory also came up huge with 12 points and 9 assists in a Game MVP effort as the Cardinals are once again #1 in NYC, and New York State overall.

2- St. Francis Prep (22-4)- After falling behind by 20 in the CHSAA Intersectional Semifinals on Wednesday to Cardinal Hayes, the Terriers stormed back with a big third quarter to get within just 5 on a couple of occasions. They had their chances to make it a one possession game and really put pressure on the Cardinals too but were unable to get those buckets to fall as even with Latiek Briscoe scoring 17 it wasn't enough as St. Francis Prep's season came to an end with a 73-62 defeat to the eventual champions.

3- South Shore (24-3)- It may have been tighter than they hoped but South Shore are on their way to play for another title as the Vikings knocked off Wings Academy on Sunday at CCNY 60-54. Max Ragusa had a tremendous second half by scoring 15 of his 19 points and help stave off a number of Wings runs to push South Shore into the PSAL Championship which will take place this Thursday evening at Barclays Center.


4- Eagle Academy II (20-5)- The Vikings opponents at Barclays Center on Thursday will be the Eagles who clipped John Bowne 47-29 on Sunday in the other semifinal played at CCNY. Eric Acker had 18 points as Eagle Academy put together a stellar defensive performance as they never trailed and dominated from start to finish to set up a fourth matchup between Eagle and South Shore, with the Vikings winning the first two, before Eagle Academy took the third. Now everything this time is on the line on Thursday.

5- Wings Academy (22-5)- Knocking off Campus Magnet in the quarterfinals on the road gave Wings the opportunity to move onto CCNY on Sunday to take on #1 seed South Shore in the PSAL semifinals. Wings gave it their all too as Mohamed Kante and the rest of the Wings players kept the game close throughout, giving themselves a chance at the very end. It wasn't mean to be though as Wings fell 60-54, but still left an impression that there is no doubt that they can thrive and compete with anyone in NYC.

6- John Bowne (17-11)- Raesean Greer led Bowne to another upset in the PSAL quarterfinals when they knocked off another borough champion in Staten Island's best in Susan Wagner. That win put the Wildcats in the semifinals for the second straight time with Sunday seeing them go up against Eagle Academy II for the right to play for the title. Offensively though nothing went right for John Bowne on Sunday as they couldn't hit anything from the outside in what was a 47-29 loss to Eagle II to put a cap on what truly was another great season for the best in the PSAL in Queens.

7- Susan Wagner (27-2)- Many put Wagner as a sleeper team to win it all after a remarkable season, the best in Wagner history. They drew the #10 seed in John Bowne at home in the quarterfinals on Monday, and while confidence was high going in it proved to not be their day as even with a raucous crowd on their side it was Bowne who made the big plays late to shock Wagner 53-50 and end the Falcons season earlier than they had hoped.

8- Campus Magnet (21-4)- Getting to host a PSAL quarterfinal on Monday was a shock in itself as prior to this season no one really gave the Bulldogs much of a chance to be in that kind of position. They sneaked past longtime Brooklyn AA power Thomas Jefferson in the Round of 16 and welcoming Wings Academy to Queens on Monday. Campus Magnet dug themselves a hole early though in this one that they couldn't get out of as even with Leverson Tulien securing yet another double-double it was Wings who ended the Bulldogs season with an 80-69 defeat.

9- Curtis (23-6)- Another team that was right there in terms of doing something very special were the Warriors as they went on the road to Eagle Academy II in the quarterfinals of the PSAL playoffs on Monday and more than held their own. It was a single digit game pretty much the entire way as Curtis was paced by Qadir Martin who had 21 points in what was ultimately a 54-46 loss for the Warriors to end their year.

10- Bishop Loughlin (15-12)- With Daye Kaba and Christian Jeffrey both leading the way as sophomores for the Lions this was basically a situation where Bishop Loughlin is a year ahead of schedule. Big things were expected of this group, but maybe not this soon as they made it all the way to this past Wednesday's CHSAA Intersectional Semifinals before falling to Stepinac 73-57. It may have not been the finish to the season that this young group was hoping for but the future certainly looks extremely bright for this no doubt future tilt contending group.

11- Christ the King (15-11)- Youth is the word of the day, and its the word that the Royals will hold close to themselves as well. Christ the King had their moments of flashes this season of showing the potential and promise they hold moving forward, but weren't able to get over the hump during this campaign losing in the CHSAA Intersectional quarterfinals to the eventual champs in Cardinal Hayes by a 70-47 score. With so much talent due back, including star Brandon Williams, the future is bright for sure in Middle Village.

12- Eagle Academy (18-9)- After winning the Bronx Borough Championship there were a decent amount of expectations in the PSAL City Playoffs. Alas for the Eagles though they struggled in. 58-49 defeat against John Bowne in the Round of 16. Regardless of final results though the fact that Eagle Academy was able to put another trophy in the trophy case means it was a very successful season for the Bronx power.

13- James Monroe (21-8)- It was a great season for teams from the Bronx and it looks as if James Monroe is hear to stay as a Bronx team to watch as harry Bonilla paced the Eagles this season, though there is an awful lot of young talent that joined him that leads those watching to believe this is the start of big things. Monroe advanced to the quarterfinals before falling to South Shore 71-59, with the best of this program surely still to come.

14- Francis Lewis (15-9)- The Patriots may not have had any true household names from around New York City like other teams do but all they did was win. Francis Lewis made it to the Queens Borough Championship before falling in a heartbreaker to Campus Magnet, and then had James Monroe on the ropes in the Round of 16 in the PSAL City Playoffs before falling 42-41. They may not have achieved what they wanted but Francis Lewis certainly made anyone watching know they don't just have a good girls basketball program, the boys are pretty good too.

15- St. Raymond (16-10)- We have spoken about a number of teams and their youth, but when two of your best players on the varsity level are freshman then you know the future is bright. Brandon Stores Jr. and Tai Turnage were an explosive backcourt, and with both still just 14 years old and true freshman it's a very safe thing to say that while this was a learning year for the Ravens, next year and the years ahead should be title contending ones for the longtime CHSAA power.

16- Thomas Jefferson (13-10)- Our final team in Class AA to hit the rankings are the Orange Wave who had a lot of ups and downs this season but still managed to show that even when not at their best they are still a team and a program that can pull off a shocker. Jefferson fell 80-77 in the PSAL Round of 16 to Campus Magnet, though had they picked up a win there it may have been a Cinderella type run for what will most certainly be a program back near the top in a years time.

Boys & Girls (11-12)
Brooklyn Collegiate (16-10)
Forest Hills (14-12)
Xaverian (11-13)
WHEELS (11-13)

Class A

1- Transit Tech (27-2)- The Express train keeps on chugging forward as David Ellington had 31 points on Friday in what was a dominant 94-76 victory in the PSAL Class A quarterfinals over Lehman. Offensively their are very few who can keep up with the fast pace that Transit Tech performs at. Next up for the Express are the semifinals which will be on Tuesday at St. Francis College against another tough foe in DeWitt Clinton.

2- Brooklyn High School for Law and Technology (24-7)- Yet again the Jets are back with a deep postseason run as they made easy work of Bayard Rustin in the quarterfinals 69-45. D'Mair Williams had 14 points and 15 rebounds, while Chewy Ricketts had 12 points and 10 assists for Law and Tech who will play Murry Bergtraum on Tuesday at St. Francis College in the PSAL Semifinals in what should be one of two fantastic games in Brooklyn.

3- DeWitt Clinton (23-1)- It took a couple of extra sessions but Clinton were able to punch their PSAL semifinal ticket after defeating McKee/Staten Island Tech at home in Friday's quarterfinals 91-85 in 2 OT's. Jomauri Pena had 36 points to leave Clinton as the Governors found a way to pull it out and move into their first semifinal in recent history. It won't be easy there though as Clinton will take on our #1 Transit Tech in what should be a very fast, up tempo type of game.

4- Murry Bergtraum (21-3)- The final of the four teams in the PSAL Class A semifinals are the Blazers who were able to control the game from the start in what was a 68-48 quarterfinal victory over Paul Robeson. Donnell Campbell had 23 points and 12 rebounds in the win for Bergtraum who will next move on to take on Brooklyn High School for Law and Technology in a marquee battle between perennial powers in one of the two Tuesday semifinals at St. Francis College.

5- Fordham Prep (22-5)- Going up to Buffalo this past Saturday were the Rams to take on Canisius in the CHSAA Class A State Championship Game. It was expected to be a major battle but it proved to be all Canisius as Omari Ward and the rest of Fordham Prep struggled in a major way to get anything going as the Rams fell 85-49. It was far from the result that Fordham Prep wanted, but as back to back CHSAA City Champions there is no better way to describe this Fordham Prep group than special.

6- McKee/Staten Island Tech (18-10)- Masiah Gilyard did just about everything he could've done on Friday in the PSAL Class A quarterfinals when MSIT went on the road to take on DeWitt Clinton. Gilyard would have 39 points and carry the Seagulls down the stretch, though his efforts weren't enough in what was a 91-85 Double OT loss for a good McKee group that came just short of a semifinal appearance.

7- Nazareth (17-7)- The runners-up of the CHSAA, the Kingsmen had their opportunities in the title game against Fordham Prep leading for the better part of the first three quarters before falling 42-38 in what was a defensive laden contest. The future is extremely bright though as 4 of 5 starters for Nazareth were underclassmen meaning that come this time next year we can expect the the Kingsmen possibly even higher than this spot.

8- Paul Robeson (21-2)- For a team that had no home court for the better part of the entire season it was quite the season for the Eagles who came up short in their PSAL Class A quarterfinal, losing on the road to Murry Bergtraum this past Friday 68-48. Kentrell Evans was the go to man inside and he finished his Robeson career out with yet another double-double as the Eagles finished just short of the semifinals.

9- Lehman (18-3)- Another team that came up just short of the semifinals were the Lions who fell in the quarterfinals on the road to #1 seed Transit Tech, 94-76. Jalen Elfe in the loss had a game high 33 points to lead Lehman who were one of the best out of the Bronx A Division once again this season, and while they lost in the quarterfinals it has to be looked upon as another phenomenal season for an always solid Lehman squad.

10- St. Joseph by the Sea (18-8)- If it wasn't for a tough start to the season with the Vikings losing their first three games it really could've been a very different season. They could've gotten a higher seed if not for the slow start in December and if that had happened who know what the results would've been for P.J. Arcuri and the rest of the Sea squad that still made a very solid run to the CHSAA semifinals this go around.

11- Bayard Rustin Educational Complex (15-5)- There were questions going into the postseason about Bayard Rustin since they struggled in league play against Murry Bergtraum, and didn't have a dominant non-league slate that really would've tested them. They surprised some with a nice run all the way to the quarterfinals though by shocking Graphics Campus 63-61 in the Round of 16 behind 23 points from Eugene Benn before falling to a strong Law and Tech team 69-45 in the quarterfinals on Friday to end their run.

12- Graphics Campus (23-4)- As the Manhattan Borough Champions and defeating a pair of Class AA teams along the way not many expected to see the 49ers ousted so early but that's what happened as Graphics were picked off by Bayard Rustin in a shocker at home 63-61. Jahmari Clark had 18 in the loss that put an end to what is still a memorable run for a Graphics Campus team o remember.

13- Msgr. Farrell (17-7)- Injuries really put a damper on what might've been for the Lions who lost Matt Hanley to an ankle injury late in January which put them at a disadvantage. He came back for the playoffs but it still seemed something was off from this Farrell group that looked ready to dominate the CHSAA during the first couple months of the season. Not the way that the Lions wanted to end the season sure, but still a nice run for this talented group.

14- KIPP NYC College Prep (13-5)- Almost pulling off the surprise of the Round of 16 were the Bulldogs of KIPP as they went to DeWitt Clinton, a team they lost to convincingly twice during the regular season and nearly got the win this time falling 59-57 to the Governors. Jamir Watson helped close an 8 point halftime deficit to get KIPP tied late before a buzzer beater for Clinton pushed the Bulldogs out of the playoffs after what is looked at as a tremendous season for this Bronx school.

15- Beacon (21-6)- Max Peiron had 13 points to lead Beacon in what was a 57-40 loss in the Round of 16 at home against Lehman. All seasons long it was the Blue Demons who thrived in the Manhattan A Division as they held wins over Graphics Campus and Louis Brandeis, but the playoffs put Beacon in a tough draw and they fell to a Lehman team that distilled and stymied a good Blue Demons team to end their year.

16- William Grady (14-5)- Going to Staten Island is never an easy task but that was the task at hand for the Falcons in the Round of 32 of the PSAL Class A Playoffs. Masi Clayton had 20 points to lead Grady as they did their best but fell o McKee/Staten Island Tech 79-62. Not the result that the Falcons surely wanted but after a couple of so-so years it seems that the Grady train is back in motion putting them among the A Division's best.

A. Philip Randolph (18-6)
Bedford Academy (15-9)
Fort Hamilton (20-5)
Franklin K. Lane (21-9)
Louis Brandeis (17-6)

Class B

1- Poly Prep (21-1)- The Blue Devils surprised some when they found a way behind the game winner at the buzzer from Phil Lawrence to knock of favorite Portledge 56-54 in the NYSAIS Class B title game. That was thought to be the final game of the season for Poly Prep but with chatter of a NYSAIS vs. PSAL set of games between champions from each league, the Blue Devils may have one more game still to go against the PSAL's eventual winner.

2- Community Health Academy of the Heights (26-2)- They have had challenges along the way so far, and nothing has been easy but Community Health are into the PSAL semifinals of Class B after defeating South Bronx Prep in the Round of 16, 64-62, and then easily pushing past Maspeth in the quarterfinals 69-54. Sayvior Carroll had 25 points to lead the way against Maspeth in a game where CHAH seemed to get back to their dominating way of play. Wednesday will see the Phoenix back at it in the semifinals where they will square off with Fannie Lou Hamer at St. Francis College.

3- Dwight School (20-6)- Another dominant team in NYSAIS, Dwight were the only ones to defeat Poly Prep this season. They had other marquee wins over the likes of WHEELS and Scholars Academy as well to solidify themselves as one of the best in New York City. Dwight do lose quite a bit to graduation, including their star in Richard Nweke but with the Lions seemingly always among the best they will surely find a way to stay near the top of the rankings .

4- The Scholars Academy (25-2)- Getting 21 points from Michael Bowman helped Scholars stay on the path of their goal as they got a 67-61 win over Lab Museum United on Friday in the PSAL Class B quarterfinals. They squeaked by Summit Academy four days before that in the Round of 1 by a 45-41 score as if this postseason has shown anything it's the depth in Class B this year. The semifinal now await and they will come on Wednesday at St. Francis College with the Seawolves matching up with Baruch College Campus.

5- Fannie Lou Hamer (22-3)- Back in the PSAL semifinals yet again are the Panthers as Fannie Lou seems to always be in a position to claim the title year after year. To get to the semifinals though it was #30 seed Adams Street Academy standing in the Panthers way, and while Fannie Lou Hamer never were able to pull away the did lead from start to finish behind 22 points from Amir Hughes to win 56-47. Awaiting in the semifinals this Wednesday is top seed Community Health in what should be a good one at St. Francis College.

6- Baruch College Campus (19-2)- Coming into the playoffs as the #12 seed the expectations were exactly there for the Bearcats. They have surprised a good amount of people though as they took down #5 seed BCAM in the Round of 16, and then ended Bard H.S. Early College's run as Baruch knocked off the #13 seed 50-40. David Heller had 25 points against BCAM, and then he added 16 points and 15 rebounds against Bard to help push the Bearcats to the semifinals against Scholars Academy on Wednesday.

7- Trinity School (15-4)- Coming up on the short end of a 61-50 final in the semifinals of the NYSAIS Playoffs against Portledge, Trinity didn't accomplish what they set out for which was a NYSAIS Class B title, but they did establish themselves as a team who will be a force to reckon with moving forward as they have solid coaching and a good foundation of talent to be considered among NYSAIS's best for years to come.

8- Lab Museum United (20-2)- Finishing out their playoff run on the short end of a 67-61 game against Scholars Academy, Lab got 18 points and 11 rebounds from Bodee Bacal in the loss that did put an end to the Gators season. They were a senior laden group with Lab Museum's top four scorers all seniors meaning there will be a bit of an unknown heading into the 2022-2023 season for the Gators.

9- Maspeth (18-3)- On the other end of the spectrum from Lab Museum is Maspeth as while the Argonauts fell to Community Health Academy of the Heights 69-54 in the PSAL Class A quarterfinals this past Thursday, they are so young that expectations will be high moving forward as Sean Lopez, the Argonauts leading scorers and rebounder, is just a sophomore meaning a title winning run is not out of the question over the coming couple of years.

10- Cathedral Prep (21-6)- There isn't a tremendous amount of strong basketball history at Cathedral Prep, though Nick Guillen has helped write some now as he helped lead the Crusaders to the CHSAA Class B City Championship this season. It was a fitting end to career of Guillen who may go down currently as Cathedral's most decorated player in it's school history. They did fall 60-53 to St. Mary's of Lancaster up in Buffalo on Saturday in the CHSAA State Championship Game but it certainly still is and was a season to remember for the Crusaders.

Adams Street Academy (16-6)
Bard H.S. Early College (19-7)
BCAM (12-7)
Comprehensive Model School (16-2)
Summit Academy (14-6)

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