By Joseph Staszewski
Uncertainty is the only thing that’s certain about the CHSAA Class AA boys’ basketball league right now, because of a level of parity we haven’t seen in years.
Over the last five seasons, there has been a clear hierarchy in the league, with three-time defending champions Christ the King, along with Cardinal Hayes, Bishop Loughlin and St. Raymond, being consistently at the top. Xaverian, Holy Cross, Xaverian, Iona Prep, and even for a season St. Peter’s, poked their heads into the group. With former Royals star Rawle Alkins now playing at Word of God in North Carolina, the title is up for grabs.
There is no clear favorite.
You could argue it is Christ the King until someone beats the Middle Village school at Fordham University in March. It’s a fair point, but the Royals don’t belong on that pedestal at the moment, after league losses to Iona Prep, Bishop Loughlin and most recently Xaverian on Sunday. CK can’t seem to get any momentum going, even with senior center David Cole back in the lineup for the first time in a victory over Archbishop Molloy last Friday.
The Stanners are this year’s addition to the pack at the top half of the league thank to the addition of Cole Anthony, Khalid Moore and Moses Brown around stalwart forward Issac Grant, one of the city’s most underrated players. A look at Molloy’s last three games tells you all you need to know about the state of the CHSAA. The team fended off Loughlin two weeks ago, fell to Christ the King in a tight contest and then beat up on a short-handed St. Raymond team on Sunday.
The St. Raymond Ravens, who own a win over Iona, lost to Cardinal Hayes and Molloy in the same weekend. No team is undefeated and only three (Molloy, Loughlin, Iona) have just one league loss. Fourth-place Holy Cross, which beat Xaverian, is just a game out of first place in Brooklyn/Queens. The ups and down and twists and turns of this season are far from over.
You got a sense how special a year it could be if you were lucky enough to squeeze into Molloy Friday night to see the Stanners going against Christ the King. Fans, college coaches and media lined the baselines, stood three or four rows deep on the stage and filled the balcony behind the basket. Jack Curran Gymnasium was sold out and the game didn’t disappoint all of us who tough out the heat and sweat generated by hundreds of people sitting and standing shoulder to shoulder for hours.
Nights like that will be more prevalent. Don’t be surprised if Christ the King has to pull out both sides of the bleachers and runs out of pizza bagels at the concession stand when the Stanners visit Middle Village on Jan. 31. People will be fighting their way into Bishop Loughlin on two Friday nights in February when Molloy and CK come to Brooklyn.
If you aren’t there, you just might miss something, because the only certainty in the CHSAA is that you can’t predict what will happen.