By MARC RAIMONDI and JOSEPH STASZEWSKI
Queens was home to the best player in the city, a New York State Federation champion, a CHSAA city champ and a PSAL title winner.
In the CHSAA, Christ the King’s Bria Smith played in the prestigious McDonald’s All-American Game and a young Archbishop Molloy team went upstate as an ‘A’ and won the Federation title. Despite coming in third in Brooklyn/Queens Division II, St. John’s Prep made a Cinderella run to a CHSAA Class B city title and a berth in the ‘B’ state final.
Scholars Academy, in just its second year with a varsity program, won the PSAL Class B title and Francis Lewis made the ‘AA’ semis for the first time since 2006.
All-Queens girls’ basketball Player of the Year: Bria Smith, Christ the King
The four-year varsity player and McDonald’s All-American will go down as one of the best to put on a Christ the King uniform. While her senior season went without a championship, it was still the best production-wise of Smith’s career. She averaged 21.1 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game.
“I think it’s been her most consistent year,” Coach Bob Mackey said. “I think she has played hard every possession. She has played every quarter. Bria doesn’t take plays off.”
Smith, who was also New York State’s Miss Basketball, scored a season-high 31 points in a win over Nazareth. She recorded her first career-triple double with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists against Bishop Loughlin and averaged 25 points over four games at the Nike Tournament of Champions in December.
“I’m just happy to have these honors,” Smith said. “It feels good to be rewarded for some of the hard work I put in.”
All-Queens girls’ basketball Coach of the Year: Tom Catalanotto, Archbishop Molloy
Getting the most out of a team filled with sophomores isn’t easy to do in a league considered one of the best in the country, but Catalanotto did that and more. He believed from the beginning this group could be special. They played right with league powers Nazareth, Christ the King and Mary Louis and were a win away from competing for a Class AA state tournament spot. When that didn’t happen, the third-year coach got his team refocused and guided them to the state Federation Class A crown.
“This team was a special team,” Catalanotto said. “They get along very well and they like to win together.”
A rotation change in the middle of the season got Molloy playing its best basketball of the season. Catalanotto allowed his team to balance its youthful energy off the court with a veteran focus on it.
“The whole winning thing will hopefully carry over to next season,” Catalanotto said.
G Jasmine Davis, Francis Lewis
Whether it was providing leadership, playing point guard or getting big rebounds, there wasn’t anything the 5-foot-8 Davis didn’t do for Lewis. The Patriots don’t make their first PSAL Class AA semifinals in five years without the junior.
F Carolyn Gallagher, Archbishop Molloy
The 5-foot-10 sophomore quietly became one of the city’s most prolific scorers and rebounders. Gallagher dropped in 23 points in the championship game to lead the Stanners to a state Federation Class A title.
G Reana Mohamed, Mary Louis
The junior showed a new level of leadership, as she was one of the strongest voices in the TMLA locker room. Mohamed was consistently one of Mary Louis’s top scorers, including an 18-point night against Nazareth.
F Nia Oden, Christ the King
The 5-foot-10, Illinois-bound forward had her best season as a Royal and showed off a much-improved jumper. Oden scored her 1,000th point and was consistently in double digits and always a force on the boards.
G Karin Robinson, Mary Louis
The George Mason-bound guard could impose her will on a game on both ends of the floors. She set a school record with 39 points in a game and helped lead TMLA to its first win against Christ the King.
G Sierra Calhoun, Christ the King
The highly touted freshman lived up to the billing. Calhoun was brought along slow after being added to the roster in the season and gave Christ the King fans a taste of what’s to come in the post-Bria Smith era with two huge three-pointers to beat St. John the Baptist in the CHSAA state semis.
G Lashonda Hathorne, St. John’s Prep
The senior helped lead her team further than it had been in at least 20 years. The lightning-quick Hathorne, who improved her jumper, navigated an up-and-down regular season with her squad, but at the end they were the city’s last CHSAA ‘B’ standing in the Catholic state final.
G Lauren Nuss, Christ the King
CK was a much different team when the junior was connecting from behind the arc. Nuss tallied 19 points on five three-pointers in a regular-season win over Nazareth and knocked down seven treys and scored a career-high 25 points to lead the Royals past Sacred Heart (Buffalo) in the CHSAA state quarterfinals.
F Tyese Purvis, Francis Lewis
The 5-foot-10 junior emerged this season as one of the best players in Queens, complementing her incredible athleticism with a mid-range jumper and excellent finishing skills around the basket. Her hard work and leadership was pivotal in Lewis’ run to the PSAL Class AA semifinals.
G Amani Tatum, Archbishop Molloy
The sophomore was the Stanners on-court leader on both ends of the floor. Tatum, who was set back mid-season with an ankle injury, led all scorers with 17 points and grabbed five boards in Molloy’s state Federation Class A semifinal victory over Wings.
G Rayne Connell, Christ the King
Some of Connell’s contributions were things that didn’t always show up in the scorebook. The junior often drew the assignment of covering on opponents’ best guard and was superb in transition and on the backboards.
G Jenna Halaby, St. Francis Prep
The Adelphi-bound senior showed flashes of brilliance for the Terriers this season. Halaby can score attacking the lane or with a mid-range jumper, but her biggest impact came on defense — her long and athletic frame made any passer thing twice.
G Shatira Hamlet, St. Francis Prep
Hamlet made the Terriers go and was their pace setter at the point. The senior was afraid to sacrifice her body for a big shot in the lane and was a pillar of consistently handling the press against some of the country’s best guards on a nightly basis in Brooklyn/Queens.
F Gurt Lynch, Archbishop Molloy
The Stanners would never have made it to Albany without the senior’s veteran presence. Lynch did all the intangibles — rebound, defense and score big baskets — was one of the big reasons Molloy was one of the city’s best rebounding teams.
G Jasmine Nwajei, Mary Louis
The talented sophomore certainly proved she could be a dynamic scorer. Nwajei provided the Hilltoppers with bursts of energy and scoring both from behind the arc and in transition.
G Alexirain Bove Domenech, Edison
G Kamille Ejerta, Archbishop Molloy
G Jazmine Hamlet, Francis Lewis
G Yarmese Jones, Bryant
G Becky Moers, Scholars Academy