By Danny Wild
NEW YORK – The holidays are always good for a few things besides sales, gifts and food – a nice assortment of sports for fans ready to kick back and relax. High school hoops in the city keeps in that tradition this year with the fourth-annual Queens Jam Christmas Classic on Saturday, Dec. 27 at John Bowne High School in Flushing. The scheduled games are:
10 a.m. – Hillcrest vs. Acorn
11:45 a.m. – Bayside vs. Mount St. Michael
1:30 p.m. – John Bowne vs. Queens H.S. of Teaching
3:15 p.m. – Forest Hills vs. Canarsie
5 p.m. – Thomas Edison vs. Princeton Day Academy (MD)
Tickets are $3 in advance and $5 at the door. To purchase tickets, call 1-646-523-9004 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org or pick them up at the door. Coverage will be provided by MaxPreps, NY Hoops, Five Boro Sports, The Daily News, PSAL, Rivals.com, NYC Sporting News and many more. Bowne High is located at 63-25 Main Street, Flushing.
The latest Lance Stephenson news includes yet another possible hint of where the city’s biggest NBA prospect could end up. Stephenson scored 26 points on 10-of-20 shooting and added 12 rebounds, six assists and two steals in Lincoln’s 81-67 win over Philadelphia Roman Catholic in the fifth-place game of the City of Palms Classic in Fort Myers, Fla. on Dec. 22
The win came a few days after the Railsplitters’ 87-83 win over Jefferson in Coney Island on Dec. 18. Stephenson scored 20 points, including a clutch three with 1:19 left to give Lincoln an 81-72 lead, and further showcased his talents for St. John’s coach Norm Roberts, who sat courtside to watch the senior.
"I'm surprised he came in the building," Stephenson told The Daily News of Roberts’ visit. "St. John's is on my list."
That’s good news for St. John’s, obviously, but it was a tough night for Jefferson. Lincoln’s Anthony Allen led the game with 25 points and, after a pair of free throws with 14 seconds left, iced the game for Lincoln.
"He's the MVP of the game,” Lincoln coach Dwayne Morton said of Allen.
Lincoln junior Ray Oloughlin scored 18 while Keith Spellmen and Joel Wright led the Orange Wave with 19 each. Lance remains the straw that stirs the ‘Splitters drink, and he makes it known. The News’ Mark Lelinwalla reports that Stephenson reeled off “fierce dunks, NBA-range three-pointers and commanding drives inside.”
Lincoln lost to Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler, 101-84, in the quarterfinals of the City of Palms Classic and blew its shot at another game on ESPNU. That came a day after Stephenson totaled 37 points in a 70-55 win over Briarcrest (Tenn.) in the first round of the tourney.
If you crave even more Lance gossip and news, there is plenty to go around – the guy is getting more publicity than Plaxico Burress these days. SNY’s Adam Zagoria took in Lincoln’s win over Jefferson and reported on the senior’s star power.
“We had Stephon Marbury and Sebastian Telfair and so we're used to (the publicity),” Lincoln principal Ari Hoogenboom, who suspended Stephenson from school last year, told Zagoria. “But we're happy with it. We like it. We like to think that in Coney Island, the road to the NBA goes through Lincoln. And we're proud of that, so we enjoy the publicity."
You can read the full feature here. Adam Fisher of Naples News further chronicled the Lance-mania in Florida this past week. “He’s definitely maturing,” Morton told Fisher. “He’s learning how to respond to different situations.”
Lincoln next visits Boys and Girls on Jan. 6 at 5 p.m.
Big Apple Update
The annual Big Apple Basketball Challenge wrapped up last week, a two-day event that showcases public and catholic school teams in the city. Here’s a rundown of what happened:
* Thurgood Marshall (PSAL-Manhattan) def. Holy Cross (CHSAA-Queens), 62-61
MVP – Jason Givens (Thurgood Marshall), 21 points
Eric Klingsberg (Holy Cross), 24 points
* St. Raymond (CHSAA-Bronx) def. Campus Magnet (PSAL-Queens), 70-64
MVP – Sidiki Johnson (St. Raymond), 14 points, 9 rebounds, 6 blocks
Chad Coachman (Campus Magnet) - 18 points, 4 rebounds, 4 steals
* Wings (PSAL-Bronx) def. St. Peter's (CHSAA-Staten Island), 88-59
MVP – Ronald Baker (Wings), 32 points
O.D. Anosike (St. Peter's), 24 points, 20 rebounds
* Boys and Girls (PSAL-Brooklyn) def. Christ the King (CHSAA-Queens), 58-55
Corey Edwards (Christ the King), 10 assists, 4 rebounds, 4 steals
* Mt. St. Michael (CHSAA-Bronx) def. Curtis (PSAL-Staten Island), 78-55
MVP – Peter Aguilar (Mt. St. Michael's), 22 points, five steals
Halil Kanacevic (Curtis), 25 points, seven rebounds
* All Hallows (CHSAA-Bronx) def. John F. Kennedy (PSAL-Bronx), 45-43
MVP – Michael Alvarado (All Hallows), 22 points, nine rebounds
Ross Vizcaino (John F. Kennedy), 18 points, 10 rebounds
* Xaverian (CHSAA-Brooklyn) def. Thomas Edison (PSAL-Queens), 47-40
MVP – Jamal Fuentes (Xaverian), 15 points, 5 rebounds
* Bishop Ford (CHSAA-Brooklyn) def. Forest Hills (PSAL-Queens), 46-41
MVP – Chaz Williams (Bishop Ford), 23 points
Maurice Harkless (Forest Hills), 17 points, 11 rebounds
* Thomas Jefferson (PSAL-Brooklyn) def. Bishop Loughlin (CHSAA-Brooklyn), 63-61
MVP – Davontay Grace (Jefferson), 21 points, five steals.
MaxPreps has yet to unveil its initial rankings for 2008-09, but everyone else with an Internet connection and a keyboard seems to be weighing in on who’s the best.
ESPN Rise Fab 50 ranked only one New York City school in its Top 10 – Lincoln, surprisingly enough – but Manhattan’s Rice came in No. 14. Jefferson remained idle at No. 48 in ESPN’s poll, while Mater Dei (Calif) remained No. 1 and New Jersey’s St. Patrick kept pace at No. 2.
The Railsplitters sank worse than the New York Jets in the most recent USA Today Super 25 poll, which dropped Lincoln from No. 2 nationally to No. 16 on Dec. 16. New York Section 1’s Mount Vernon came in at No. 18.
And then there are the New York State Sports Writers Association state rankings, which heavily favor NYC schools – nine of the top 25 schools are within the five boroughs. Lincoln (1), Rice (3), Jefferson (6) and Wings (7) made the Top 10, while Boys and Girls (13), Queens’ power Christ the King (17), the Bronx’s St. Raymond (18) and John F. Kennedy (19) and Bishop Loughlin (24) rounded out the Class AA poll. Class A-D rankings are also included, so check them out, courtesy of John Moriello’s NYSSWA site.
Fire Boro Sports whipped up a Catholic League Top 10 poll on Christmas Eve and gave Rice (1-0) the nod for No. 1 in the city. Christ the King (6-1) came in second and Loughlin (3-2) came in third.
PSAL Scoring Leaders
Steven Edwards remains the city’s top public school scorer entering Christmas break. Here’s a rundown on this week’s top five:
1 Steven Edwards (Robert F. Wagner) 280 points
2 Delano Morgan (South Bronx) 244 points
3 Anthony Regalado (HS Economics & Finance) 208 points
4 Kevin White (Jane Addams) 201 points
5 Jeremy Smith (Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy) 177 points
Danny Wild is a writer and photographer for MaxPreps. He may be reached at email@example.com.