By Danny Wild
NEW YORK - The nation's No. 3 ranked team delivered some pre-Christmas joy to its Hawaiian hosts last week while the rest of the city battled it out through snow and ice.
Harlem's Rice High School, ranked No. 2 in New York state by MaxPreps on Christmas Eve, won the 2007 Iolani Classic on Saturday, its second Hawaiian crown in four years. Rice cruised through its tropical opponents last week, handing Saint Louis (Honolulu) a 61-40 loss on Dec. 18 before blowing out host Iolani High two days later, 72-40. The Raiders made it three straight with a 59-48 victory over Mason County on Friday before crushing Section 1's Mount Vernon, 75-51, for the tournament title on Saturday. It was the third Iolani Classic crown for Rice and the first since 2004.
Rice moved up from No. 26 last week to No. 3 in the MaxPreps national poll, but fell from its No. 1 ranking in the state.
Rice's Kemba Walker was named tournament MVP for the Red Division and teammates Durand Scott and Chris Fouch were each selected to the All-Tournament Team. Alabama's LeFlore High School won the White Division thanks in part to Nate Williams, who was named White Division MVP.
Rice jumped out to a quick start with a 21-point beating of Saint Louis. Dorvell Carter scored 16 points and James Stukes added 13 points and 11 rebounds. Walker scored eight, pulled down nine rebounds and added four steals to get the Raiders, who shot 72 percent from the foul line, into excellent tournament position.
"They brought the best out of us," Raiders coach Maurice Hicks told the Star-Bulletin of Honolulu. "It's like a boxing match. It takes time to adjust to a different style. I told my shooters to relax a little bit."
Relaxed and confident against Iolani, Fouch hit three from long range and led Rice with 17 points. Carter, Walker and Scott each collected 14 points, while Walker led with 11 boards.
Let the debating and arguing finally begin. After a month of anticipation, New York City teams finally got to find out where they ranked against the rest of the nation in MaxPreps' first batch of weekly rankings. MaxPreps unveiled its Top-25 teams last week, and several New York City have entered the Top-25 in the second week of polling.
Flushing's Holy Cross (5-0) moved up 115 spots, all the way up to No. 2 in America, after they were intially ranked at No. 117 last week. The Knights competed in the City of Palms Classic last week and will travel to play in the Stop DWI Tournament after Christmas.
Rice, at 6-0 and on the bubble at No. 26 last week, should have little trouble staying in the Top-25 after four straight wins in Hawaii.
Undefeated Bronx power St. Raymond was moved up two spots from No. 107 to No. 105 nationally, while Queens' Christ the King moved up to No. 172 nationally in the Dec. 24 poll.
The undefeated Coney Island boys at Lincoln High School were ranked No. 182 in the nation last week but
moved all the way up to No. 40. Ironically, the Railsplitters entered the week at No. 12 in the nation in the Sports Illustrated poll and No. 9 in the USA Today Super 25.
Regionally, the five boroughs dominated the state rankings. Holy Cross moved up from No. 4 to No. 1, Rice (6-0) fell from No. 1 to No. 2, and Section 1's Mt. Vernon dropped from No. 2 to No. 10 after its loss to Rice in Hawaii. The rest of the state rankings look like this:
4. Iona Prep (New Rochelle, 5-0)
5. St. Raymond (Bronx, 6-0)
6. Christ the King (Middle Village; 4-1)
7. Henninger (Syracuse Sect. 3; 6-0)
8. Boys & Girls (Brooklyn; 5-1)
9. Bishop Loughlin of Brooklyn (previously No. 19; 2-2),
10. Mt. Vernon
Also making the Top-25, the Bronx's Kennedy (No. 17; 7-0), Campus Magnet of Queens (No. 14; 7-0), Xaverian of Brooklyn (previously No. 17, now out of Top-25; 2-2), St. Peters of Staten Island (No. 22; 5-2), Robeson Business Tech of Brooklyn (No. 21; 2-2) and Thomas Jefferson of Brooklyn, (No. 19; 5-3).
You want to talk about a rivalry? A highly-anticipated game? NYPD teams in riot gear and on horseback were called in to break up a riot that began between Lincoln and Boys & Girls last year at Madison Square Garden in the 2007 PSAL championship game. The brawl spilled out of the Garden, onto 8th Ave, and made its way over to Times Square, where shots were fired and fans fled into subway stations for safety.
That was March 19, and that was the last time these two Brooklyn rivals saw each other. Easily the most anticipated showdown of the young season lived up to all expectations on Friday when the undefeated reigning PSAL champion Lincoln Railsplitters won a dramatic double-overtime thriller over Boys & Girls, 109-95.
With extra security at Lincoln, MaxPrep's Steve Spiewak braved the cold and threat of a Garden encore, only to be treated to a memorable - and non-violent - game between two undefeated teams in Coney Island.
Lincoln's Lance Stephenson scored a game-high 32 points but fouled out in the first OT, leaving the game in the hands of his teammates. The junior ranks No. 54 in scoring in the PSAL with 132 points heading into Christmas.
"All of our guys play together," Lincoln coach Dwayne Morton said. "It's not one individual player who stepped up. We came together."
Darwin Ellis had 19 points, Tim Flowers scored 17 and Vince Council added 13 for Lincoln in the win. Pat Jackson led the Kangeroos with 23 points, Clayton Sterling and Dave Imes each scored 16, Brandon Romain had 15 points and Shalik Jenkins added 14. Imes hit four three-pointers and led the team with 14 rebounds.
Last-second shots and free throw-pressure galore, you can read all about the win that kept Lincoln perfect at 7-0 on MaxPreps' New York state page. Mark your calendars: both teams will meet up again on Feb. 5.
Lincoln blew out Grady (1-4) on Tuesday with a 90-61 win.
Jane Addams sophomore Kevin White continues to lead the PSAL in scoring with 287 points through nine games as of Dec. 24. Henry Davis senior Tyrell Davis is No. 2 with 222 points in seven games, while Food and Finance senior Travis Nichols moved into No. 2 with 203 points in eight contests.
Samuel Tilden senior Willis Hayslett leads the PSAL with 111 assists through nine games, while teammate Ashton Pascall, back on the court after double knee surgery, is averaging 15 points and 14 rebounds a game.
Around the City
Christ the King 59, Xaverian 52 -- Ryan Pearson led all scorers with 17 points and Erving Walker added 16 as Christ the King improved to 4-1 with a 59-52 win over Xaverian on Sunday afternoon. The Clippers (2-2) closed the gap to four points late in the second half, but could not tie it up. Stu Wallenstein gave Xaverian a 30-28 lead with a three-pointer on the first possession of the second half, but the Royals responded with a 6-0 run thanks to a pair of baskets from Roland Brown. Pearson scored seven in the third quarter, which ended when Sean Johnson drove hard with a lay-up to put the Royals ahead by five. Christ the King travels to Delaware next week for the Bay Ball Classic.
Wadleigh 65, Xaverian 53 -- Xaverian's Rasheen King scored a team-best 20 points while Wadleigh's Curtis Loving scored 21. Williams Harrison hit four from long range and finished with 24 to help Wadleigh to the 12-point win.
Queens Lutheran 66, Brentwood 64 (OT) - Mark Parisi scored 32 points, James Jeffries scored 12 and Chris McNeil added eight to help Queens Lutheran to a two-point win in overtime over Brentwood in the Island Garden Tournament on Sunday. Parisi scored 34 points on Friday in a 54-53 win over IS 127 in the Speedy Claxton Tourney.
Eagle Academy 63, Forest Hills 59 -- Antoine Gattling led Eagle Academy with 25 points to help the undefeated Eagles to a four-point win at the Rucker-NYHoops Christmas Tournament on Sunday. Chris Davis scored 18 for the Eagles, who won the PSAL B crown last season. Chris Larmond led Forest Hills with 17 points and Andre Armstrong added 14.
Robeson 75, Blessed Sacrament 63 - Shenon Johannes led Robeson with 30 points and Deshawn Carter collected 14 to help the Eagles past Blessed Sacrament in the final match-up of the Rucker-NYHoops Christmas Tourney. Robeson reeled off a 13-0 run in the third quarter to take a 52-31 lead with 4:30 left. Jared Hall led Blessed Sacrament with 38 points, 22 coming in the second half. Rice transfer Dave Sammuels added nine in the loss.
Adelphi 88, South Shore 85 (OT) - Devone Davis led South Shore with 18 points, but the Vikings could not find an answer for Dion Waiters and Adelphi. Waiters scored the go-ahead basket in overtime and finished with a game-high 27 points. Gavin Scott added 13 points and Marcus Romain collected 12 in the win.
Thomas Edison 64, Cardozo 63 (OT) -- Trinity Fields scored 19 points and added nine rebounds in the overtime loss for No. 10 Cardozo. The New York Daily News reported on Saturday that Fields gave a verbal commitment to Iona College. The News said Fields had been considering Providence and South Carolina and had interest from Boston College, Clemson, George Mason, Hofstra, Marist, Rhode Island and Virginia Tech.
Stuyvesant 55, Brandeis 34 -- Nolan Becker scored 26 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the 21-point victory for Stuyvesant.
Brooklyn Collegiate 68, Wingate Campus 56 -- Vincent Riggins scored 29 points, Damon White scored 15 and Dwight Gist added 12 for Brooklyn Collegiate on Thursday.
Hunter College HS 68, Richard Green 62 -- Len Chenfeld led Hunter with 18 points, Sky Stallbaumer scored 15 and Kyle Waney added 13 points and nine rebounds to help Hunter to 9-3 overall and 6-1 in league action.
Fannie Lou Hamer 96, Metropolitan 59 - Dan Thomas broke a Fannie Lou Hamer school record with 20 assists, while teammate Deron Vaughn set a new school record with 39 points for the Panthers on Sunday.
Boys & Girls 70, Canarsie 57 - In a tune-up before their showdown with Lincoln, the Kangeroos enjoyed 18 points from Clayton Sterling and 16 more from Brandon Romain for a win on Tuesday, Dec. 18.
Jefferson 67, Canarsie 65 -- "We lost a couple of tough league games recently," Jefferson coach Lawrence Pollard told The Brooklyn Daily Eagle following the win on Saturday. "The guys were a little down, but you can't get too low after losing or too high after winning."
Moore Catholic 70, Monsignor Farrell 30 - What a beat down. Moore Catholic ended a 10-game losing streak to Monsignor Farrell dating back to 2002. "Manhandled, that's definitely the word for it," Farrell coach Jeff Franzreb told the Staten Island Advance. "Moore was playing volleyball around the backboards, we did a poor job of boxing out." Mikhail Bradshaw scored 22 points as he closes in on 1,000 career points.
Robeson, Carter back for the Holidays
It was not a joyous holiday season for Robeson last winter; The PSAL suspended the Eagles' season after a brawl broke out at the end of a game they were hosting against Jefferson.
Now with two straight wins, they No. 21 Eagles will enjoy the Christmas break before visiting No. 19 Jefferson on Jan. 3.
"We want to show them we can play," Robeson's Deshawn Carter told the Daily News. "I think we're underrated because of last year. We just want to play."
The PSAL suspended Jefferson's season for two weeks following the 2006 brawl, but, more importantly, it left Robeson without a schedule. Some, at the time, considered leaving the program. Carter transferred to Adelphi Academy for the rest of the year, but his mother returned him back to Robeson for 2007.
"I knew this is where I wanted to be," Robeson's Orlando Shaw said. "I like the school, I like the coach, I liked the team. I figured I had another year to play and I wanted to play at Robeson."
Carter, who leads Robeson with 19 points-per-game, is happy he's back home too.
"I am really glad I am back here," Carter told the Daily News. "It's a little hard, because I think we are still getting our chemistry back and getting used to playing together, but we are getting better and better."
Danny Wild is a MaxPreps.com writer and photographer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org