Since 1903-PSAL Basketball Playoffs Start Today

February 11, 2019

With lineage dating back to 1903, the PSAL basketball playoffs start today, as opening round games in the boys borough tournaments and the girls A and B Division playoffs tip at 5:00 pm around the City. The first PSAL basketball "playoffs" were held at Madison Square Garden in December of 1903, just 12 years after Dr. Naismith hung up his peach baskets in 1891.  

A excerpt from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle's report on the 1903 event:

Those who were entered in the games were limbering up in scanty clothing of every hue and marked with huge numbers to show the school represented by the young athlete. A large board floor, with a ten lap track, is boarded off, while in the center of the floor two basket ball courts are marked off.

New York City high schools with "basket ball" teams competing in the inaugural event included Flushing High School, Far Rockway High School and Boys High (now Boys and Girls). Tonight, over 115 years later, Far Rockway and Flushing will take the court in the opening round of the PSAL Queens borough tournament.

Boys & Girls will visit Lincoln tomorrow night in the second round of the PSAL Brooklyn borough tournament.

As an aside, the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) recently adopted criteria for new summer scholastic basketball events that limited eligibility to players from the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA). The NYSPHSAA and the Basketball Coaches Association of New York (BCANY) declined to hold a New York event in June 2019 due to the restrictive criteria, which would have excluded all PSAL players.

The NFHS was established in 1920, 17 years after the PSAL's first basketball event, and the NYSPHSAA was founded three years later, in 1923.  

Best of luck to all teams participating in the 2019 PSAL basketball postseason.

The photo above is the Brooklyn Daily Eagle's report on the inaugural PSAL basket ball playoffs held at Madison Square Garden on December 26, 1903.


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