By Zach Braziller and Marc Raimondi
There were titles, championship games, deep runs and renaissance seasons for Queens in 2011-12.
Holy Cross advanced to the CHSAA Class AA intersectional title game for the first time since 2008. Joining the Knights in the quarterfinals were Christ the King and Archbishop Molloy.
In the PSAL, Cardozo reached the Class AA quarterfinals and shared a division title with surprising Bayside. Pathways was the big winner, taking home its second straight PSAL Class B championship behind future Division I big man Jordan Washington. Long Island City reached the ‘A’ semifinals.
All-Queens boys’ basketball Player of the Year: Omar Calhoun, Christ the King
It was a season that ended earlier than expected for Christ the King — in the quarterfinals for the two-time defending CHSAA Class AA intersectional champion. But it’s hard to place blame on Calhoun, the UConn-bound scoring machine.
All the 6-foot-4 guard did this year was place his name among the greatest players in New York City history by becoming Christ the King’s all-time points leader, surpassing former Arizona star and NBA player Khalid Reeves. On top of that, Calhoun was named to the All-American Championship Game.
Calhoun will leave CK as the winningest player in program history, including a pair of CHSAA Class AA intersectional titles and a New York State Federation championship.
“He is one of the most highly decorated players in Christ the King history,” Royals Coach Joe Arbitello said.
All-Queens boys’ basketball Coach of the Year: Paul Gilvary, Holy Cross
The last time one of Gilvary’s teams made the CHSAA Class AA intersectional title game back in 2008, things were a little different. He had a star in Sylven Landesberg, who was one of the top players in Holy Cross history.
This year, the Knights were a group of blue-collar, unselfish kids, none of whom have signed with a Division I school. Though Cross fell to St. Raymond in the championship game, it still took home a CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan title, which the Knights won just days after the death of Gilvary’s mother. From that point on, the players said they were competing for him.
“It’s not about me,” Gilvary said. “It’s always about them. They’re the ones that do all the work and they’re the ones that should reap all the benefits and get all the accolades.”
F Mairega Clarke, Holy Cross
A year after being sidelined for a large chunk of the season due to a scary bout with high blood pressure, Clarke was a key ingredient in Holy Cross’ run to the CHSAA Class AA intersectional final. The skilled, 6-foot-5 big man had 15 of his 19 points in the second half of the semifinals against Mount St. Michael.
F Tajay Henry, Cardozo
When national prospect Jermaine Lawrence abruptly left in January, Henry emerged. The gutty, gritty and skilled 6-foot-5 forward became Cardozo’s heart and soul, its top defender, rebounder and scorer, and led the Judges to a share of the Queens AA regular season crown, the borough title and a PSAL Class AA quarterfinal berth.
G Marquise Moore, Holy Cross
After missing parts of the season with a toe injury, Moore took his entire game to a new level in the playoffs. Already a versatile piece in the lineup, the 6-foot-2 combo guard had 25 points in the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens final and 17 in the intersectional semifinals to lead Holy Cross to the title game.
G Jon Severe, Christ the King
As a junior, Severe became an electric, versatile scorer for Christ the King with a deadly three-point shot and an innate finishing ability around the basket. The highly recruited 6-foot-2 guard tied the school’s single-game three-pointer record in January against Xaverian with eight threes to match Larry Davis’ total from 2006.
F Jordan Washington, Pathways
The 6-foot-7 man-child led Pathways to a second straight PSAL Class B crown, averaging 23 points and 13 rebounds in five playoff contests. The junior with multiple high Division I offers may not return to the Queens school — he’s considering prep school — but if he does, you can pencil in Pathways for another crown.
F Uzonna Akazi, Bayside
The senior 6-foot-7 forward wasn’t just about potential this winter — he was also about production. Around the time star guard Austin Williams went down with a season-ending knee injury, Akazi, who will attend junior college next year, became the post presence, rebounder and defender Coach Corey Semper always felt he could be, averaging 13 points and eight rebounds per game as the Commodores finished tied atop Queens AA with perennial powerhouse Cardozo.
G C.J. Davis, Archbishop Molloy
Already holding major Division I offers before even playing a varsity game, Davis had to meet high expectations this year as a sophomore and he did just that. The chiseled, 6-foot-1 guard had an adjustment period early, but ended up leading Molloy to the CHSAA Class AA intersectional quarterfinals.
G Will Davis, Holy Cross
Holy Cross was unable to win its first CHSAA Class AA intersectional title since 2008, but it was no fault of Davis. The lanky, athletic senior guard saved his best game for last, dropping in 21 points against St. Raymond in the championship game.
F Jordan Fuchs, Christ the King
The two-sport star who has interest from big-time basketball and football programs was the picture of versatility for Christ the King. The 6-foot-5 Fuchs, a gifted athlete, was tremendous around the basket, but also showed off the ability to step out and make three-pointers, too.
F Marko Kozul, Archbishop Molloy
Molloy’s most consistent performer, Kozul was an excellent inside-outside threat. When he scored inside and out and rebounded, the Stanners were extremely tough to beat — and that’s what Kozul did down the stretch as his team reached the CHSAA Class AA intersectional quarterfinals.
G Dupree McBrayer, Springfield Gardens
The top sophomore in the city nobody talks about, McBrayer led Springfield Gardens to its best season since the days of Charles Jenkins, to a Queens A East division title and the PSAL Class A quarterfinals. All of the 6-foot-3 combo guard’s potential was on display in a season-ending two-point loss to eventual city champion Brooklyn Collegiate when he had 19 points and 10 assists in nearly engineering the upset.
G Brandon King, Bayside
The Christ the King transfer was supposed to form a potent 1-2 backcourt punch with Austin Williams; instead, he carried much of the scoring load when Williams went down with a knee injury in January, averaging 16 points per game. Bayside wouldn’t have been able to beat Cardozo for the first time in 11 years and earn a share of the Queens AA crown without the talented junior.
G Anthony Libroia, Holy Cross
The team’s best three-point shooter and top defender, Libroia had his best performance in the CHSAA Class AA intersectional semifinals against Mount St. Michael. The 5-foot-11 point guard locked up Mount star Malik Gill and also had 10 rebounds and 10 assists to lead Cross to its first title game since 2008.
G Tarik Raynor, Campus Magnet
The 6-foot-3 wing enjoyed a stellar senior season at both ends of the floor as Campus Magnet finished second in Queens AA. The highlight was a 26-point, six-rebound performance in an early-season upset of Queens dynamo Cardozo.
F Arthur Santanna, Long Island City
He failed to win a city title, but the 6-foot-3 wing did everything else in four productive seasons at Long Island City. The versatile and uncommitted senior was part of back-to-back Queens A West regular-season champions and helped the Bulldogs reach the PSAL Class A semifinals each of the last two years.
F Ismail Abdullah, Beach Channel
F Morrell Gaskins, Archbishop Molloy
F Andrew Winter, St. Francis Prep
G Ed Roscigno, Holy Cross
F Ryan Yearwood, Cardozo