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Hoops Preview: The PSAL’s Boys Class-AA Second Round
After nearly two weeks off for the mid-winter recess, the bell rings for round two of the Public Schools Athletic League's Boys AA playoffs on Tuesday, February 28. Here's a look at the schedule with a preview of three of the most interesting match-ups. The round-two winners will advance to the quarterfinals at St. John's University (Queens, N.Y.) on Sunday, March 4.
No. 1 Thomas Jefferson vs. No 17 Paul Robeson (Feb. 29)
Before you dismiss this game, keep in mind, Robeson battled Jefferson twice during the regular season and lost the second game, 56-55. Of course, Jefferson won the rugged Brooklyn AA division and took the Boro championship, so the Orange Wave will be heavily favored. Moreover, Jefferson boasts the best backcourt in the city with sharp-shooting senior Thaddeus Hall and junior Jaquan Lynch. For Robeson, junior Denzel Wilson scored 13 points—his season average—in the team's opening round win against No. 16 Herbert H. Lehman. Jefferson had a first-round bye.
No. 6 Curtis vs. No. 11 Campus Magnet (Feb. 29)
Curtis went undefeated in league play at 14-0, but lost a non-league game on Feb. 18 to All Hallows, 52-49, on a three-pointer at the buzzer. It could serve as a wake-up call for the Warriors, who won the PSAL's Class-A championship in 2009. The player to watch for Curtis is senior Dontay Jackson, who is averaging a team-leading 16.7 points and five assists per game. For Campus Magnet, senior Tarik Raynor was one of three players to score 11 points in the team's 65-30 opening round victory over No. 22 James Monroe. Including the Boro playoffs, he's averaging a team-leading 16.8 points per game.
No. 7 South Shore vs. No. 10 John F. Kennedy (Feb. 29)
With juniors Terrence Samuel and Shamiek Sheppard, South Shore was a popular pre-season sleeper pick and remains a playoff wild card—the Vikings nearly took out No. 1 seed Thomas Jefferson in the Brooklyn Boro semifinals (Jefferson escaped, 52-50). The surging Knights won the Bronx Boro championship and slayed No. 23 Forest Hills, 86-55, in the opening round. Brothers Muhammed and Bashir Ahmed averaged a combined 22 points per game in the regular season. South Shore eliminated JFK, 70-64, in the second round of last year's city playoffs,
The rest of the second-round schedule:
No. 2 Boys & Girls vs. No. 15 Samuel Gompers (Feb. 28)
No. 3 Abraham Lincoln vs. No. 14 Beach Channel (Feb. 28)
No. 4 Wings Academy vs. No. 20 Eagle Academy (Feb. 29; 6:30 p.m. EST)
No. 5 Benjamin Cardozo vs. No. 21 Martin Van Buren (Feb. 29)
No. 8 Wadleigh vs. No. 9 Bayside (Feb. 28)
Notes: All games begin at 5:00 p.m. EST, unless otherwise noted, at the homes of the higher seeds. Statistics provided are for PSAL games only and do not count non-league contests.
Adam Martini is a freelance sports writer who has reported on New York City high school sports since 2000. He has covered high school basketball, baseball, football and soccer, and prep championship games at Madison Square Garden, Shea Stadium and Yankee Stadium.
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