The playoffs are in full swing around the boroughs, and there are some terrific matchups on tap this weekend.
LaSalle Academy looks to defend its CHSAA B championship against Regis tonight at Fordham. After going undefeated in regular season play, the Cardinals survived a scare from Moore Catholic in the semifinals on Sunday, advancing on a buzzer-breater by Korey Williams.
Regis pulled off an upset by defeating Dylan Wusu and Sacred Heart in the other semifinal, and the Raiders will look to avert a third loss to the Cardinals this year after dropping both regular season meetings (70-47 on February 2 and 61-52 on February 16th). LaSalle has been the top-ranked Class B team in New York State for the past four weeks.
Fordham Prep is in the CHSAA A final for the second consecutive year, but the Rams will need to get past Nazareth in the nightcap at Rose Hill tonight in order to win their first title in 85 years.
The Kingsmen took both regular season games with Fordham Prep, the second of which was a 91-87 quadruple overtime thriller in Flatbush.
The PSAL quarterfinals will be played at Carnesecca Arena on Saturday, with Cardozo and Boys & Girls opening the program at 11:00 am. The Judges escaped the opening round with a 75-74 win over McKee/Staten Island Tech, with DeJavaughn Utley returning to the lineup to lead the Judges with 38 points. Brooklyn borough runner-up Boys & Girls had a lopsided 62-42 win over James Monroe to advance.
At 1:00, No. 2 seed Jefferson will take on Bronx borough champs Eagle Academy. Kareem Welch put up 37 points for the Orange Wave in their 101-81 win over Wadleigh last night. Eagle advanced by topping Manhattan borough champ WHEELS 66-55.
Lincoln will face Curtis at 3:00 in what will be a rematch of last year's quarterfinal, taking place on the same court. Both teams are coming off impressive wins, with Lincoln topping Bronx borough champ Wings Academy 66-43 and Curtis taking Brooklyn AA contender Brooklyn Collegiate 79-71. Curtis had the Railsplitters on the ropes at halftime a year ago, but Lincoln stormed back to win and went on to take the City and New York State Federation titles.
For the finale at 5:00, top seed South Shore will face Brooklyn AA foe Paul Robeson for the fourth time this season. The Vikings flexed their muscles on Thursday night with a 97-54 win over Manhattan Center, while Robeson bested Queens borough runner-up Construction 54-45 in Queens.
Although South Shore topped Robeson in their last meeting in the Brooklyn borough playoffs, the Vikings dropped both regular season meetings with the Eagles.
Simply put, the CHSAA AA Quarterfinal program at Fordham on Sunday is loaded. In a league that seems to get better every year, each of the eight teams is capable of advancing to the semifinals at Carnesecca next Wednesday.
In the opening tilt at 1:00, St. Peter's will take on Christ the King. The Eagles advanced by topping Monsignor Scanlan, a nice bounce back win after dropping a heartbreaker to Hayes in the Archdiocesan semifinals. Christ the King, perhaps the hottest team in the City, will have more than a week's rest since their 56-54 win over Archbishop Molloy in the Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan final.
This game will be more competitive game than most might expect. St. Peter's has been under the radar all season, and Chris Ledlum may be the best player you never heard of.
Although the Eagles are capable of advancing, given Christ the King's balance (Kofi Cockburn, Tyson Walker, Ryan Myers, Moussa Cisse, Quaran McPherson, Jared Harrison-Hunte . . . you get the point), St. Peter's will need to play a near flawless game to do it. Joe Arbitello is the CHSAA Coach of the Year and Charlie Driscoll is one of the best X and O coaches in the City.
Bishop Loughlin will take on defending City champs Cardinal Hayes in the second game on the program. Joe Toussaint, Tyrese Williams and Jontai Williams present a relentless perimeter threat for the Cardinals, but Loughlin has a puncher's chance here because of their length in the frontcourt (Justin Champangie, Julian Champangie and Chad Venning).
Iona Prep and Archbishop Molloy are scheduled for a 4:30 tip in what will probably be the most anticipated matchup of the day. With McDonald's All-American Moses Brown and national prospect Cole Anthony, Molloy will begin their quest for the City championship that has eluded Briarwood for 30 years. This season figured to be the best chance for Molloy to finally break the drought, but the Stanners have struggled with inconsistency and have had to juggle their rotation after senior Jade Tse left the team right before the postseason. All of this will be an afterthought if Mike McCleary's squad can win three in a row, but Iona Prep is the first hurdle to clear, and rest assured the Gaels will be one tough out. Bryce Wills, Souleymane Koureissi and Josh Alexander are the nucleus of a team that tied Cardinal Hayes for the regular season Archdiocesan title and Iona Prep has lost only four times since January 1st, all at the hands of high-caliber opponents (Stepinac x 2, Hayes and yes, Molloy).
Play of the game: Moses Brown block; Cole Anthony behind-the-back dribble & lob pass; Khalid Moore alley-oop dunk. This gave Molloy a 50-45 lead late in the 3rd on their way to a big win over Iona Prep. @Molloyhs #HSBB #nycbasketball pic.twitter.com/cSq36LqiyE— HS Box Scores NYC (@hsboxscoresnyc) January 24, 2018
The finale will feature St. Raymond against Archdiocesan champ Archbishop Stepinac. Alan Griffin and the Crusaders seem to be on a mission after being eliminated by Molloy in semifinals last season, but Dallas Watson and St. Raymond will be no pushover.
The difference in this game could be depth. Alan Griffin, RJ Davis, Joel Soriano, AJ Griffin and Xavier Wilson are all offensive threats, and Eddie Sanchez has added another weapon to Stepinac's offensive arsenal with clutch perimeter shooting in the postseason. The Ravens will need to be extremely disruptive on the defensive end in order to pull this one out.
Gotta love March.
Let the games begin.