by Nate Derosena
Last Wednesday evening, New York City’s top high school senior hoopers faced off in the NYC Mayor’s Cup, an all-star game that annually pits the top boys and girls from the PSAL (Public School Athletic League) against the top boys and girls from the CHSAA (Catholic High School Athletic Association). The games featured an array of D1-bound prospects, including committees to Hofstra, Seton Hall, and Notre Dame, among others.
The winner would determine which league is the best in the city and grant them bragging rights for the year.
The event kicked off with the CHSAA girls taking on the ladies of the PSAL, in a game which featured the likes of Ashanae McLaughlin (Murry Bergtraum, committed to Seton Hall), Amber Jones (Manhattan Center, committed to LIU Post) and Aryn McClure (Archbishop Molloy, committed to Quinnipiac).
The game started off evenly matched, as the teams exchanged baskets early. Kiana Clark (Bishop Loughlin) had a solid first quarter for the CHSAA all-stars, putting up six points (2/4 3pt FG). The second quarter would be much of the same, and after a half-court shot that fell just a short by Casey Davidson (St. Joseph By-The-Sea) at the buzzer, the CHSAA all-stars only had a six point lead at the half, 28-22.
The start of the third quarter saw the PSAL all-stars come back with some determination. McLaughlin had four points for the PSAL all-stars in the third after a scoreless first half, and Jones’ defensive effort for the PSAL all-stars was unmatched.
The CHSAA all-stars would respond right back with a run of their own, however.
McClure put up four points in the quarter after a scoreless first half, including a sequence where she got a steal that led to a fast break layup, then another steal on the very next defensive possession, followed by an assist to Khadijah Dickson (Mary Lewis Academy). Mia Crooms (Mosignor Scanlon) was also making her presence known in the quarter, strongly attacking the basket any chance she got. The CHSAA all-stars ended the quarter on a 9-0 run, giving them a 50-41 lead heading into the fourth.
The CHSAA all-stars would pick up right where they left off. Alexandra Jacques (St. Edmund’s Prep) had a strong presence in the paint, despite being mismatched against PSAL center Alexandria Smith (Murry Bergtraum, committed to Middle Tennessee State). Clark poured in another six points in the fourth. Jones played strong until the very end, despite her team being down by double figures. Her effort would not be enough though, as the CHSAA all-stars went on to win 71-52. McClure was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
The boys’ game followed right after, and it was a hard fought battle throughout.
The CHSAA all-stars came out scorching hot in the first quarter, making plenty of shots from behind the arch. Matt Ryan (Iona Prep, committed to Notre Dame) had a strong start, making the first of many threes for the CHSAA all-stars, followed by a crafty assist on the next offensive possession. Doyin Isaac (Xaverian) added to the array of threes, going 2/2 from behind the arc and recording a steal in the quarter as well. Shane Herrity (St. Francis Prep) also joined in the three-point party, making the CHSAA all-stars seem unguardable from the three-point line. They had a 32-24 lead by the time the quarter was over.
The PSAL team came out swinging in the second quarter and reminded their opponents that they were all-stars as well. They started the quarter on a 6-0 run, but Ryan Kennedy (Xavier) hit a three to end the run, continuing the CHSAA all-stars great three-point shooting percentage. Justin Wright-Foreman (HS for Construction, committed to Hofstra) responded to Kennedy’s three with an emphatic fast break dunk, the first of many dunks on the night for the PSAL all-stars. After a missed shot by the CHSAA all-stars, Nakye Sanders (Tottenville, committed to Duquesne) sped down the court and lobbed the ball to Ademola Afonja (Petrides) for an alley-oop dunk. The CHSAA all-stars cooled down considerably, as Wright-Foreman went on to get a steal for yet another fast break dunk, giving the PSAL all-stars a 14-3 run to start the quarter.
Najee Larcher (Xaverian) attacked the paint strong, keeping the CHSAA all-stars in the game late in the second quarter, and Thomas Capuano (Iona Prep) hit two big shots within the last minute of the quarter to bring the CHSAA all-stars back to within two at the half, 55-57.
The PSAL all-stars kept up their aggressive play, starting the third quarter on a 5-0 run. Jermaine Bishop (Holy Cross, committed to Saint Louis) seemed to come to life for the CHSAA in third quarter, however, as his strong offense kept the CHSAA all-stars in the game. Ryan hit two back-to-back three pointers to bring his team within one, and then hit a floater with under a minute left to give the CHSAA all-stars their first lead since the second quarter at 83-81. Bishop hit a three to add on to the lead, giving the CHSAA the 86-81 advantage heading into the fourth.
The fourth quarter was a hard fought one for both teams. They began the quarter exchanging baskets, but Wright-Foreman would prove to be just a little too much for the CHSAA all-stars to handle. The PSAL all-stars went on to win 117-109 behind Wright-Foreman’s 29 points. Wright-Foreman was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.