scored a weekend sweep of New York City's champions to earn its fifth New York Federation boys basketball championship.
The Knights scored the first six points of overtime and pulled away from defending Federation champion Christ the King for an 84-78 victory in Class AA at the Times Union Center in Albany. Christ the King was the Catholic High School Athletic Association champion.
A day earlier, senior guards Jabarie Hinds
and Khalid Samuels
combined for 35 points, and Randy Stephens
added 12 points and 10 rebounds off the bench as Mount Vernon (23-5) eliminated Boys & Girls (26-7) 70-63, the Public School Athletic League champ that was playing shorthanded after suspending seven players earlier in the week.
Against Christ the King (22-7), Hinds scored 14 of his 31 points after the end of the third quarter, with nine coming in overtime.
Junior Isaiah Cousins
(12 points, five rebounds) banked in a 3-pointer with :52.7 left in regulation, but the Royals' Omar Calhoun
(33 points) answered with his own 3-pointer with 16.1 seconds to go. Hinds missed a runner, and teammate Jamell Walker
missed a second-chance opportunity at the buzzer.
Hinds then opened OT with a short jumper to start the Knights' decisive 6-0 run and finished with nine points in the extra session.
* In Class A, Long Island Lutheran (Brookville)
(23-4) opened the third quarter on a 14-0 run and rolled past Manhasset St. Mary's (29-1) 78-51. Long Island Lutheran outscored St. Mary's 20-7 in the third quarter and 46-16 in the second half en route to its second championship in three years. St. Mary's (29-1) won 57-55 when the teams met Jan. 13.
Villanova recruit Achraf Yacoubou
, who was selected the tournament MVP, and Mike Florin
scored 18 points apiece. Yacoubou also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.
The outcome left Class D New York Mills
(24-0) as the only unbeaten team in the state. New York Mills ended its season the previous weekend by earning a New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship.
In Class B, Connor Huff's
putback at the buzzer carried Collegiate (New York)
(22-8) over Salesian 48-46. Kevin Punter's baseline jumper with 16 seconds left had tied the score at 46 for Salesian.GIRLS FEDERATION FINALSNazareth (Brooklyn)
is now 1-for-1 in winning the state's season-ending championship, having polished off PSAL champ Murry Bergtraum 60-54 in Class AA.
Nazareth is a first-year program created when coach Apache Paschall brought what remained of his St. Michael Academy team to Brooklyn after that Manhattan school closed its doors last June.
In the interim, Paschall was hospitalized for heart trouble and suspended for a week by his principal for commenting on a CHSAA recruiting probe of the school that eventually exonerated Nazareth according to reports last week.
Syracuse University recruit Tiffany Jones
led Nazareth with 22 points and 10 rebounds to help offset 25 by Cori Coleman
While Nazareth had a first-round bye, Bergtraum squeezed past Cicero-North Syracuse 58-49 on Saturday, wiping out a 10-point deficit late in the third quarter. Coleman led the Lady Blazers with 18 points and Shaniqua Reese
added 12 points and 23 rebounds. Breanna Stewart
and Kelsey Mattice
scored 16 points apiece for C-NS.
* In Class A, Carolyn Gallagher
scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in an 53-48 win for Archbishop Molloy (Queens)
over Peekskill to mark the Stanners' third Federation crown and first since consecutive titles in 2003-04. Molloy was down 28-22 midway through the third quarter before making a 16-3 run that included eight straight points by Gallagher, who shot 11-for-15 from the free-throw line.
* In Class B, Long Island Lutheran (Brookville)
rallied from 15 points down in the fourth quarter and edged Irvington 59-57. Down 53-41, the Crusaders scored 13 straight points and 17 of 19.BUSY WEEK OFF THE COURT IN NEW YORK CITY
The luster was taken off the Federation tournament at the start of the week when Principal Bernard Gassaway suspended seven Boys & Girls players, including starting forward Jeffland Neverson and sixth man Anthony Hemingway, for academic reasons.
The Kangaroos brought only nine players to Albany following the school's third round of suspensions this season. If the timing seemed unfortunate, don't mistake it for grandstanding by Gassaway. The Brooklyn school that has given basketball the likes of Connie Hawkins and Pearl Washington has been on a Department of Education watch list since the beginning of the year, and the administration is desperately trying to turn classroom performance around.
* The PSAL became the first of New York's three major sanctioning bodies to allow its basketball champions to play in a made-for-TV national tournament this week.
The boys team at Boys & Girls (Brooklyn)
and the girls from Bergtraum (New York)
were given the OK to travel to North Bethesda, Md., for the National High School Invitational beginning March 31. Eight boys teams and five girls squads from a handful of participating states were invited.
Given the competitive nature of schoolboy basketball in New York, where CHSAA and PSAL standouts routinely resurface at rival schools, the development raises questions as to whether the Catholic schools association will have to follow suit and allow its teams to dabble in the NHSI. On the other hand, it's considered a given that the much larger New York Public High Schools Athletic Association will steer clear of the tournament.
* The board of directors at traditional CHSAA basketball power Rice (New York)
is working to raise millions of dollars to finance a five-year plan to keep the struggling Harlem school open.
As is the case at many private schools following the 2008 recession, declining enrollment has created a troubling financial picture at Rice, which has produced a line of outstanding players including Dean Meminger, Felipe Lopez and Kemba Walker. Without a plan to stabilize its finances, the school could soon be history according to published reports recently.John Schiano, who has written about high school sports in western and central New York for more than 25 years, covers New York for MaxPreps. He may be reached at email@example.com.