By Marc Raimondi and Joseph Staszewski
As always, Queens was one of the power boroughs in girls’ basketball.
Christ the King came back from a 0-6 start to win its 26th CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan title in the last 28 years. Archbishop Molloy earned a trip to the CHSAA Class AA state semifinals and Mary Louis advanced to the CHSAA Class A state championship game.
In the PSAL, Francis Lewis appeared in its second straight Class AA semifinals and Scholars Academy repeated as champion in PSAL Class B. Bayside had an unlikely run to the Class A semifinals.
All-Queens girls’ basketball Player of the Year: Sierra Calhoun, Christ the King
Calhoun was hailed as the next great Christ the King player when she was moved up to the varsity as a freshman. This year in her sophomore campaign she became that, often carrying the Royals and consistently making the big plays down the stretch. Calhoun, ranked 11th in her class by HoopGurlz, can score in the lane, knock down jumpers, rebound, defend and feed open teammates.
She scored 19 points in an upset win over Nazareth in the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens semifinals and netted 14 of her 22 points in the fourth against Bishop Ford in the final. Calhoun helped CK claim its 26th diocesan crown in the last 28 years. She also had 20 points, including two big buckets late, in an upset of nationally ranked Cicero North Syracuse and Gatorade National Player of the Year winner Breanna Stewart.
All-Queens girls’ basketball Coach of the Year: Bob Mackey, Christ the King
Seemingly every year the pundits and the basketball community write Christ the King’s dominance off, and the rumblings were there again this season with a young group back. Things didn’t start well as CK went 0-6, with five games against nationally ranked teams in a schedule constructed by design to get them battle-tested.
As Mackey envisioned, his Royals team peaked late with wins over Bishop Ford and an upset of eventual state Federation Class AA champion Cicero-North Syracuse. He had them keep every game in perspective and cultivated his players and their team chemistry. His work culminated with the Royals beating Bishop Loughlin, Nazareth and Bishop Ford en route to their 26th CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens title in the last 28 years.
G Rayne Connell, Christ the King
The UPenn-bound guard was one of the keys to Christ the King’s late-season success after surgery to remove a cyst on her back sidelined her early. Connell is one of the best shut down defenders and scored 16 points in an upset of Cicero-North Syracuse.
F Carolyn Gallagher, Archbishop Molloy
It’s never flashy, but Gallagher never ceases to get the job done. She is a treat inside and out and one of the city’s most consistent free throw shooters. The junior helped Molloy reach CHSAA Class AA state semifinals.
G Reana Mohamed, Mary Louis
Mohamed finished her career playing her best basketball. The George Mason-bound guard and 1,000-point scorer came on late and helped lead Mary Louis to the CHSAA Class A state final. She poured in 21 points in a state semifinal victory.
F Tyese Purvis, Francis Lewis
The 5-foot-10 senior’s game evolved this year from just an athlete to a multi-faceted wing who could finish inside and step outside and hit jumpers from 18 feet and beyond. Purvis, who has Division I interest, helped lead Lewis to a second-straight PSAL Class AA semifinals.
G Amani Tatum, Archbishop Molloy
Tatum is the Stanners’ unquestioned leader. Molloy was known to rally late and the determined junior was usually leading the way. The junior had 18 of her 28 points in the second half in a win over Mary Louis in the diocesan quarterfinals.
G Mei-Lyn Bautista, Mary Louis
The freshman point guard had her growing pains early, but turned into one of TMLA’s most reliable players. Bautista, who is always steady with the ball, picked up some of the scoring when Jasmine Nwajei transferred. She was a key cog to her team’s run to the CHSAA Class A state final.
G Shiclasia Brown, August Martin
The sophomore became an absolute star this season, averaging 23.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game in leading August Martin to the PSAL Class A second round after leaving Nazareth. Brown did a little of everything for the Falcons this year and is headed toward a Division I scholarship.
G Jasmine Davis, Francis Lewis
The heart and soul of Francis Lewis, she sacrificed her scoring this year, but did just about everything else. Davis, a senior, was the team’s de facto point guard, its best defender, top rebounds and leader on and off the court en route to the PSAL Class AA semifinals for a second straight year.
G Kamille Ejerta, Archbishop Molloy
Ejerta was one of the city’s most dangerous shooters, even if she was quiet most of the game. The senior buried key treys in an upset playoff win over nationally ranked St. Anthony’s and in the regular season against Christ the King. She dropped in 24 points in a loss to New Jersey state champ Manasquan.
F Kollyns Scarbrough, Christ the King
As Scarbrough came into her own, so did the Royals. The sophomore became a beast in the postseason helping to lead CK to the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens championship, in which she had a double-double. Scarbrough also poured in 16 points and grabbed eight boards in an upset of Nazareth.
F Jordan Agustus, Mary Louis
It was a rocky freshman season that ended on a high note for the versatile Agustus. A knee injury held her back early, but she became a force on both ends of the floor in the postseason. She dropped in 19 points in a CHSAA ‘A’ city quarterfinal win over Maria Regina.
F Syndy Durugordon, Bayside
Bayside’s trip to the PSAL Class A semifinals as a No. 38 seed was one of the season’s best stories and Durugordon was the biggest reason. The long, athletic 5-foot-11 forward averaged 18.8 points and 13 rebounds in the postseason, which featured upsets of Beacon and defending champ Wings.
G Veronica Ganzi, St. Francis Prep
In a difficult season for the Terriers, Ganzi’s development was a bright spot. The dead-eye shooter expanded her game on both ends of the floor, attacking the basket and creating for her teammates. Ganzi poured in 25 points and hit three treys in a playoff win against St. John Villa.
F Elisabeth Gully, Mary Louis
The Queens College-bound forward’s season was cut short late in the year with a torn ACL. Before that she was TMLA’s best player in the paint, especially on the glass. Gully’s dedication to improving her skills and stamina paid off this year.
G Nyasha Irizarry, Archbishop Molloy
There weren’t too many players cooler under pressure than the sophomore shooter. Coach Scott Lagas said she was special from Day 1 of her first varsity season. Irizarry dropped in 13 points, including the go-ahead jumper in a third-place tie breaker against Christ the King.
G Chelsea Brandimarte, St. Francis Prep
G Alyssa Gatti, Christ the King
G Jessica Glaz, Scholars Academy
G Jazmine Hamlet, Francis Lewis
G Danielle Pearce, Hillcrest