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Tuesday, March 22, 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)- The champions of the CHSAA, Cardinal Hayes proved themselves to be not just among New York City’s best, but among the very best in the country. We will go into our expectations for the Cardinals next season in our final ranking next week but let’s just say led by Ian Jackson the future surly looks bright.

2- St. Francis Prep (22-4)- Making it to the CHSAA Semifinals before falling into a tight game against the eventual champions from Cardinal Hayes, this was the best season the Terriers have put together in some time. St. Francis Prep may graduate some this June but they have the talent and depth still to continue to be among NYC's best.

3- South Shore (25-3)- After falling to Eagle Academy II in the PSAL Brooklyn Borough Championship there were doubts if the Vikings could figure out a way past them this time for the PSAL City Championship. Those questions were erased quickly on Thursday as Max Ragusa was named Game MVP as South Shore dominated their way to the title, defeating Eagle II 77-52.

4- Eagle Academy II (20-6)- Was the 77-52 loss to South Shore in the PSAL City Championship the way that Eagle wanted to finish their season? Of course not but the Eagles are relatively new to the AA and are still really just building their program. Just being in this position this season has to be considered a tremendous success and huge building block moving forward.


5- Wings Academy (22-5)- If you just look at final results it was Wings in the semifinals who gave South Shore a much tougher time as compared to Eagle II in the title game as they fell 60-54. Mohamed Kante and the rest of the Wings team had a phenomenal season as they once again look to be the class of the Bronx.

6- John Bowne (17-11)- When you look at a team like the Wildcats they really do personify what it means to have an up and down season. They had strong winning streaks, but also their fair share of losing streaks as consistency was an issue for the better part of the season. A strong postseason got Bowne to the PSAL City Semifinals meaning another good campaign for the Queens squad.

7- Susan Wagner (27-2)- It's been decades since the Falcons had put together a season like this. They knocked off their rivals from Curtis three times and were the #2 seed heading into the PSAL City Playoffs. Wagner were knocked off at home by John Bowne in the quarterfinals but this has the potential to be a special run overall for the Falcons out of Staten Island.

8- Campus Magnet (21-4)- For most of the season the best team in Queens out of the PSAL was upstart Campus Magnet. The Bulldogs were a perennial power for years under legendary late coach Chuck Granby, but now with Eric Barnett at the helm it seems like the former Andrew Jackson is back to taking it's spot among NYC's toughest and best in the PSAL.

9- Curtis (23-6)- We have said this in prior weeks as well but if Curtis didn't have to deal with Susan Wagner this season it could've been even better for the Warriors. Even with three of their six losses coming to the Falcons, the Warriors made it back to the PSAL City Quarterfinals before falling in a close one to Eagle Academy II.

10- Bishop Loughlin (15-12)- The definition of a young team that didn't have a ton of expectations heading into the year, the Lions just got better and better as the season moved along as they matured into one of the more dangerous groups come playoff time, helping them reach the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Diocese title game, and City semifinals.

11- Christ the King (15-11)- While it was another solid year for the Royals, it's the future that has to have this group so excited. They made it to the CHSAA B/Q Diocesan semifinals before and OT loss to Bishop Loughlin, and then ultimately fell in the City Quarterfinals to the eventual champs from Cardinal Hayes, though experience will be the key as this CK team moves forward.

12- Eagle Academy (18-9)- Any time you bring a trophy to your schools the year cannot be considered anything less than a big success. Sure Eagle can look at it and say losing in the PSAL Round of 16 in the City Playoffs was disappointing, but as Bronx Borough Champions they accomplished something special that will be remembered for years to come.

13- James Monroe (21-8)- It's been the Wings and Eagle show for years now in the Bronx, but with the Eagles upending Wings Academy in the PSAL Bronx Borough Semifinals before falling to Eagle, and then making it to the City Quarterfinals before losing to the champs in South Shore, it's clear their is a new Bronx team to watch in James Monroe.

14- Francis Lewis (15-9)- This Patriots team didn't play the prettiest style, and the games they won weren't always the most beautiful things to watch but Francis Lewis had a very successful season. They were a PSAL Queens Borough Playoff finalist, and made a solid City Playoff run showing that this gritty group of Patriots were ready for the big time.

15- St. Raymond (16-10)- Starting a pair of freshmen in the backcourt was always going to be a season that had its highs, along with its lows. That was certainly the case for the Ravens who did make a trip to the CHSAA Intersectional Quarterfinals before losing to Stepinac, but with os much youth to return the future is bright for the Ravens.

16- Thomas Jefferson (13-10)- As a team used to being ranked among the best in New York City this wasn't the type of season expected or wanted by the Orange Wave. They fell in the PSAL City Playoffs in the Round of 16 by 3 to Campus Magnet, and while more was expected you can say this was just a learning year for a Jefferson team sure to be back at the top soon.

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

Class A

1- Murry Bergtraum (23-3)- Having been among the best in the A Division in the PSAL for a number of years now, the Blazers finally got over the top and took home the City Championship this past Sunday as they held a double digit lead for most of the game against Transit Tech before holding on behind the play of Donnell Campbell to take home the title, 61-59.

2- Transit Tech (28-3)- The #1 seed heading into the PSAL City Playoffs, the Express made it to the City Championship this past Sunday against Murry Bergtraum, though they fell behind quickly trailing by as many as 14 to the Blazers. David Ellington helped lead a late comeback attempt though that ultimately fell just short with Transit falling 61-59 in the title game.

3- Fordham Prep (22-5)- Dominating the CHSAA for most of the season, the Rams were looked at as the team to beat heading into the postseason. Behind League MVP Omari Ward they more than lived up to expectations defeating Nazareth to win the championship for a second straight time leaving many to now wonder if Fordham Prep is destined for the AA.

4- DeWitt Clinton (23-2)- Credit has to go to the Governors as they haven't had a ton of recent basketball success but things have definitely turned around making a deep postseason run before falling to Transit Tech in the PSAL City Semifinals 64-55 in a game that was single digits throughout with Clinton leading early on as well proving they are among NYC's best in Class A.

5- Brooklyn High School for Law and Technology (24-8)- With one of NYC's top playmakers on their side in Greg Ricketts, the Jets were in every game they played this season because of their ability to control the tempo. In the PSAL City Semifinals it was Law and Tech's season ending in a 70-62 loss to Bergtraum but again it was a great run from a great Law and Tech program.

6- McKee/Staten Island Tech (18-10)- Playing a schedule on Staten Island where they played AA schools Susan Wagner and Curtis a combined 5 times during the regular season, MSIT came into the PSAL A Playoff battle tested. Led by Masiah Gilyard, the Seagulls made a strong run before falling 91-85 in Double OT in the quarterfinals to Clinton, ending a great MSIT year.

7- Nazareth (17-7)- As the season went along this Kingsmen team really started to come together and gel and be a major force in the CHSAA. Making it to the Class A City Championship, Nazareth found themselves leading Fordham Prep most of the way, until midway through the 4th quarter when things got away a bit with the Kingsmen falling just short in a 42-38 title game defeat.

8- Paul Robeson (21-2)- Playing all season without a home gym due to renovations it's incredible to really think about how solid of a year it was for the Eagles having played every game on the road. Their season came to an end when the Eagles lost to the eventual champions in Murry Bergtraum in the quarterfinals 68-48, but no doubt it was a great Robeson season.

9- Lehman (18-3)- Going on the road in the Round of 16 in the PSAL Class A City Playoffs, the Lions dominated Beacon 57-40 to get to the quarterfinals. Lehman didn't have the offensive firepower to past Transit Tech their though losing 94-76 but with another division title under their belts it's the Lions once again among the best in the Bronx.

10- St. Joseph by the Sea (18-8)- Even with somewhat of a slow start to the season, the Vikings showed that regardless of the competition put in front of them they were consistently among the best. Sea made it to the CHSAA Class A City Semifinals before falling into a close one to Fordham Prep, but it definitely looks like something special is being built here on Staten Island.

11- Bayard Rustin Educational Complex (15-5)- Not many knew what to expect from Rustin coming into the PSAL City Playoffs. They didn't have any true marquee wins that stood out, but after surprising Graphics Campus in the Round of 16 it was known that this was a special group. The Titans fell in the quarterfinals to Law and Tech but it was certainly still a season to remember.

12- Graphics Campus (23-4)- Only Thomas Edison 13 years ago won a PSAL Borough Championship from the A DIvision until this season when the 49ers shocked everyone by defeating both Thurgood Marshall Academy and WHEELS to claim the Manhattan Borough Championship. It was a remarkable run to that title and something that will be remembered by Graphics for years to come.

13- Msgr. Farrell (17-7)- When you look back to December and January there were many who felt the CHSAA A Division was the Lions to lose. They dominated the early part of their schedule, only to see a rash of injuries spoil Farrell's hopes. It was still a semifinal run for the Lions before falling to Nazareth meaning even though it wasn't a City title, it was still a very good season.

14- KIPP NYC College Prep (13-5)- Here in the Bulldogs was a team with absolutely no notable non-league games, and when they stepped up in league play during the regular season against the best they struggled. Come playoff time though KIPP peaked and made a solid late run before falling to Clinton in the Round of 16 on a buzzer beater to finish KIPP's cinderella run.

15- Beacon (21-6)- It does seem like the Blue Demons year after year put together incredibly impressive regular seasons only to fall short once the playoffs get under way. This season was no exception as they would fall at home in the Round of 16 to Lehman 57-40 meaning Beacon are left to wonder for another year what they need to do to get over the playoff hump.

16- William Grady (14-5)- Slowly but surely it looks as if the Falcons are on their way back up the ladder in terms of basketball in NYC. Grady would fall in the Round of 16 to MSIT on Staten Island 79-64 but they were among Brooklyn's best in Class A this season, and seem to be continuing to build momentum for a bright and exciting future in Coney Island.

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)- Losing to Dwight during the regular season to give the Blue Devils their first, and only loss, may have best thing to happen to them. The loss seemed to motivate Poly Prep a lot as the got revenge on the Lions in the NYSAIS Class B Semifinals, and then shocked #1 seed Portledge on a buzzer beater 56-54 to bring the NYSAIS title back to Bay Ridge.

2- Dwight School (20-6)- The Lions are in the #2 spot over the PSAL winners because playing each other head to head in February it was Dwight with a dominant 85-61 victory over Scholars Academy. With the Lions also holding a win over Poly Prep during the regular season, it shows that while Dwight may not have won the NYSAIS crown, they have a lot to be proud of this season.

3- The Scholars Academy (27-2)- Taking on Community Health Academy in the PSAL Class B Championship this past Sunday, it was a true back and forth affair with four quarters not enough to decide this one. The Seawolves though controlled the OT session and with Anjolaife Ahmed scoring 16 points, he helped lead Scholars to a 56-50 win, and the PSAL title.

4- Community Health Academy of the Heights (27-3)- With leading scorer John Harrington scoring a game high 19 points it was Community Health who rallied back from a 4th quarter deficit to send the PSAL Class B Championship against Scholars into OT. The Phoenix though ran out of gas as their tremendous season fell 1 game short of their goal, losing in the title game 56-50.

5- Fannie Lou Hamer (22-4)- Always playing their best come playoff time, the Panthers nearly knocked off Community Health in the PSAL Class B Semifinals only to lose in a heartbreaker 42-40. Amir Hughes had 19 points for Fannie Lou who return a lot of talent and should be back for another big playoff run come this time next year.

6- Trinity School (15-4)- Most just talk about Poly Prep and Dwight when talking about the best in NYSAIS. Don't forget about Trinity though who came out and were phenomenal in Ivy League play, losing only to the Blue Devils. Trinity would hang tight in the NYSAIS Semifinals on the road at Portledge before falling 61-50 showing they could compete and thrive with anyone.

7- Lab Museum United (20-2)- If the Gators were given a more deserving seed in the PSAL Playoffs who knows what could've happened. They were the #9 though nearly knocking off eventual champion Scholars Academy in the quarterfinals 67-61 in a game that was even going to the 4th showing us how close Lab Museum was to doing very big things this postseason.

8- Baruch College Campus (19-3)- With big man David Heller leading the way it was the Bearcats surprising the PSAL Class B field as the #12 seed and advancing to the City Semifinals. They didn't have the offensive firepower against the eventual champions in Scholars Academy losing 48-24 but this was surely a season that Baruch will remember, and try and build off of as well.

9- Maspeth (18-3)- Getting themselves to the PSAL Quarterfinals yet again, Maspeth would fall to Community Health in a game that saw Sean Lopez do all he could in what was ultimately a 69-54 loss to finish out the Argonauts season. Consistently a team in contention for the Class B title in the PSAL, expect more of that next year, and for the foreseeable future.

10- Cathedral Prep (21-6)- There really hadn't been any sort of winning history for the Crusaders, that is until this season when led by Nick Guillen it was Cathedral Prep rolling to the CHSAA Class B City Championship, giving the Queens school the title and memories that will last forever for what is no doubt a very special group of Crusaders on the hardwood.

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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