With another New York City high school basketball season just around the corner, here is a look at some of the great games from last season.
Although we have ranked these games from 1-10 (with some honorable mentions), we can't necessarily say they were the ten best simply because there were games we did not cover. As examples, we missed: St. Raymond's 85-84 win over Bishop Loughlin in the Bronx, a game attended by Carmelo Anthony, Brandon Jennings and Kyle O'Quinn (we were denied admission to that one); Washington's 48 point performance in a loss to Archbishop Stepinac; Mount Saint Michael's win over Stepinac in the CHSAA New York Archdiocese Final; and quadruple doubles by Jose Alvarado of Christ the King (vs. Xaverian) and Emily Engstler of St. Francis Prep (vs. Nazareth). These games are all worthy of mention among the best (though it would be an interesting debate over where they would rank), we just don't have the footage.
10. Cardinal Hayes 64 Molloy 62
CHSAA AA Championship Game at Fordham
3,000 plus packed in tight at Rose Hill to check out the finale of one of the most exciting CHSAA seasons in recent memory. After trailing for three quarters, Molloy finally took a 50-49 lead on a dunk by Moses Brown early in the fourth. After Hayes regained the lead, Molloy took possession trailing 62-60 with just 27 seconds remaining. Joe Toussaint's steal from Cole Anthony looked like it would seal it, but the Stanners got the ball back trailing 64-62 with 7.5 ticks left. Anthony got all the way to the rim on a dribble drive, but his contested shot did not fall.
9. All Hallows 51 Cardinal Hayes 50
CHSAA New York Archdiocese Quarterfinal at St. Raymond
Although the CHSAA season was a roller-coaster all season, All Hallows finished in last place of the regular season standings in the grueling New York Archdiocese Division and Hayes was the eventual intersectional champion. On top of that, the Gaels trailed this game 49-39 with just 2:39 to play, closing on a 12-1 run to win it. Nick Johnson, Kieffer Punter and Alejandro Castellanos all came up big for All Hallows in this one.
8. John Bowne 66 QHST 63
PSAL Queens Borough Final at Queens College
The big three: Christian Hinckson, Kareem Reid and Alejandro Vasquez, put it all together with a 66-63 win over CJ Kelly and QHST, taking the Queens Borough Crown. Vasquez had a game-high 37 points and Bowne was energized down the stretch by a dazzling spin move by Stephen McLeish and a one-handed dunk by Reid.
7. Molloy 70 Archbishop Stepinac 69
CHSAA AA Semifinals at Carnesecca Arena
With the score tied at 69, Molloy held for the last shot. Cole Anthony's driving layup rolled out and John Herring of Molloy missed a follow-up. Xavier Wilson of Stepinac tipped the rebound, but he was whistled for a foul when he got Khalid Moore on the arm with just 0.6 seconds left. Moore's free throw was the difference, sending the Stanners into the final.
This game was played at such a high level that many were critical of the game being decided on a foul called on the last play. The irony is that Stepinac took a 69-67 lead after Moore was whistled for a charging foul when there appeared to be no contact. Regardless of which way you came out, it was a shame that either team had to lose this game. It was that good.
6. Fannie Lou Hamer 61 South Bronx Prep 55
PSAL B Division Final at Baruch College
Shamar Carpenter's alley-oop to Charles Davis was the catalyst down the stretch, as Fannie Lou took the PSAL B title over Tilquan Rucker and South Bronx Prep. A pivotal moment in a game for all the marbles, a tee shirt was made in honor of the play.
Davis posted a double-double in the game, scoring 22 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. Rucker, the leading scorer in the PSAL, was held in check by Fannie Lou's signature defense, as the Panthers avenged a loss to the Cougars earlier in the season, their only loss to that point (more on that game below).
5. Molloy 78 Christ the King 67
Regular Season CHSAA B/Q League Game at Molloy
Spectators struggled for elbow room in this much anticipated matchup between CHSAA B/Q heavyweights. The game was defined by back-to-back dunks by Kofi Cockburn and Moses Brown in the fourth quarter. Cockburn rebounded a Jared Harrison-Hunte miss and followed it with an eye-popping one-handed slam to cut Molloy's lead to 62-56.
On the ensuing possession, with the crowd still buzzing over Cockburn's dunk, Khalid Moore drove the lane, drew the defense and found Brown for a two-handed dunk, sparking an eruption in Briarwood. The officials literally had to stop play to clear the court before Brown converted the and-one free throw. On top of all this, Cockburn fouled out on the play, and Molloy took control from there.
4. Cardinal Hayes 87 Bishop Loughlin 84
CHSAA League Game at Bishop Loughlin
Behind Keith Williams and Tyrese Gaffney, Loughlin erased a 20 point deficit at the end of the third quarter to take the lead with less than 1:00 remaining. Terry Dawkins of Hayes was injured after being fouled in the act, requiring a substitution to shoot the freebies. Jeffrey Ramirez, a reserve who sat on the bench for the first 31 minutes, entered the game and made both to put Hayes back in front 80-79. Loughlin regained the lead on a 3-point play by Keith Williams, but a 3-pointer by Jontai Williams rolled in and proved to be the game winner for Hayes.
3. Bishop Loughlin 98 Christ the King 90 in Double OT
CHSAA B/Q Diocesan Semifinal at Christ the King
Keith Williams had what was arguably the best single-game performance in New York City high school hoops last season, exploding for 37 points in Loughlin's epic double OT win over CHSAA B/Q rival Christ the King in the Diocesan Semis. Most impressive were the clutch free throws that Williams made to send the game into the first OT. With Loughlin trailing by three, Williams was fouled in the act by Jose Alvarado from behind the arc as time expired in regulation.
With time expired, Williams, alone on the court, connected on all three to force OT.
Kofi Cockburn's buzzer beating dunk sent the game into double OT, but Loughlin took over from there, advancing to the B/Q Diocesan Final.
2. The Mary Louis Academy 66 Monsignor Scanlan 55 in OT
CHSAA AA State Final at Fordham University
The Hilltoppers and the Lady Crusaders went punch-for-punch in this one before TMLA finally pulled away in overtime. McDonalds All-American and Co-Miss New York Basketball Danielle Patterson and teammate Jordan Nixon both recorded double-doubles for TMLA.
Patterson finished with 28 points and 13 rebounds, while Nixon scored 21 points with 12 rebounds. Kateri Poole had 19 points for Scanlan, going 5-7 on 3-pointers.
1. Walton 58 Brooklyn Law & Tech 57
PSAL A Division Final at Baruch College
Can't really say enough about the comeback in this game, which ended on a buzzer-beating weak side putback by Arturo Sealy to give Walton the PSAL A Division title. While the footage speaks for itself, the comeback was extraordinary on many levels. Walton faced Brooklyn Law & Tech earlier in the season and sufferred a lopsided 94-60 loss on a neutral court. It started to look like the Wildcats would get run out of the gym again when they fell behind 37-20 at the break, but Andres Rivera put the team on his back in the second half. After Walton stormed back to cut the deficit to 50-49 with 2:50 left, the Jets, behind Mikko Johnson and Larry Moreno, stretched the margin to 57-51 with just 28 seconds left, dimming the comeback hopes. The Wildcats proceeded to close the game on a 7-0 run in the last 28 ticks, compliments of a Derek Smith 25-foot 3-pointer, two free throws by Rivera and Sealy's buzzer-beater. Security had their hands full when Walton fans stormed the court to celebrate. Rivera finished with 23 points. Remarkable.
Christ the King 67 The Mary Louis Academy 57 in OT
Jaeonna Sutton sparked a 9-2 run for Christ the King in a signature overtime win over the eventual CHSAA AA State Champs. In a regular season contest that felt like a playoff final, Kaelynn Satterfield scored 24 points for the Lady Royals and Danielle Patterson had a game-high 29 for TMLA.
South Bronx Prep 69 Fannie Lou Hamer 63
In this Bronx battle of unbeatens, it was offense against defense. South Bronx Prep entered this game averaging 104.4 points per contest, while Fannie Lou was allowing just 44.5 points per game. The highly anticipated matchup did not disappoint, with PSAL scoring champ Tilquan Rucker scoring 26 points to lead the Cougars. Charles Davis had a game-high 29 points for the Panthers.
Fannie Lou Hamer 66 Maspeth 63
This was an early season gem that went right down to the wire. The exceptional passing stood out, likely a reflection of X and O specialists Marc Skelton and Anastasia Bitis stressing unselfish play.