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Competition for Cardozo at the top – QNS.com

Competition for Cardozo at the top

Cardozo is still the top seed, the prohibitive favorite, but unlike the last two seasons, there are three other schools with a legitimate chance to supplant the Judges atop the borough. Queens I-A champion Bryant is one of them.
Entering the borough playoffs, the Owls will be carrying a chip on their shoulders. At 23-1, they have the best record in Queens, with nary a division defeat, yet were dropped to fourth and would draw Cardozo in the semifinals if they get that far. “I’m not too thrilled with it,” Bryant Coach John Demas said. “I don’t think it’s fair. My kids are 23-1.”
Despite a lackluster non-league schedule that included the weaker teams in Queens III-B, Demas felt they should’ve been seeded ahead of Springfield Gardens and Campus Magnet, co-champions of Queens III-B. “We should’ve been seeded No. 2. . . . But that’s out of our control. That’s politics, not basketball.”
Bryant, on the strength of their senior forwards Tony Dennison and Johnny Barnes (the two combined to average over 43 points and 20 rebounds), should present a challenge to the Judges if they can get past fifth-seeded John Bowne in the opening round.
Cardozo (18-4), meanwhile, is once again favored to reclaim their throne. But unlike the other three heavyweights, the borough playoffs are new to many of the Judges, who were either ineligible at this time last February or at their former school.
“The experience factor is what we’re lacking,” Cardozo Coach Ron Naclerio admitted.
Still, that lack of experience didn’t faze them in the regular season when Cardozo, led by the backcourt duo of Mike Troll and Sean Crawford and the talented 6-foot-8 sophomore forward James Southerland, completed their third consecutive undefeated season in league play.
Campus Magnet (19-3) and Springfield Gardens, seeded second and third respectively, should meet a third time in the semifinals. They knocked off one another during the regular season, and a borough title would significantly elevate their seed in the city-wide playoffs. With the Bulldogs’ Evan Thomas, their leading scorer a season ago, still nursing an ankle injury, the Golden Eagles (17-2) and their star guard Charles Jenkins may have the best chance to knock off Cardozo.
“They’re definitely a threat,” Naclerio said, “because if we do see them it means they beat Campus Magnet. They got a player [Jenkins] we might not be able to stop.”
But as Jenkins so appropriately stated, “it’s up to someone to take them down.”

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