NYCHoops - Six Teams Test the Waters
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Six Teams Test the Waters

BRONX, NY- Monday afternoon brought together several New York's top high school programs for a strong day of competition at the Test the Waters Showcase held at St. Raymond H.S.

Seven games were played with the play strong from start to finish at the Ravens Den, and with in attendance for a good chunk of the action here is a recap of what happened on Monday, with it being a bit of a preview of what to expect come the high school season for sure.

Xaverian Handles Boys & Girls, 64 58

Nick Folk, Elijah Hardison & Billy Reyes
Nick Folk, Elijah Hardison & Billy Reyes (M. Libert)

This was a Battle for Brooklyn matchup with the Clippers taking on the Kangaroos. Xaverian was a bit shorthanded playing without star floor general Shawn Fulcher '21 who recently broke his pinky playing in a tournament, but even without him the Clippers came to play in a very big way.

After Boys & Girls got out to a quick 5-0 lead it was all Xaverian for the next 7 minutes or so as Nick Folk '21 couldn't miss from the outside as he nailed 3 three ball's in consecutive possessions to get the crowd on their feet with his outside display. It was a 15-0 run for the Clippers to take control until Khalil Brantley '21 brought up the Xaverian scoring barrage by going at a pair of defenders and finishing in traffic.

That was the start for Brantley who put on a scoring show himself in this one for the Kangaroos as he had 18 points in the opening half of play for Boys & Girls, though with Billy Reyes '20 draining shots from the outside alongside of Folk on a consistent basis it was Xaverian would took a 37-30 lead into the break.

Early in the second half the Clippers lead was pushed open to as big as 14 as Reyes and Marc Artuz '20 each buried shots to push open the Xaverian lead.

It didn't stay that big for long though as Brantley was on a mission to do whatever he could to carry the Kangaroos. Taking on defenders and going right at whoever was in his way, Brantley was a one-man wrecking crew as his pull up jumper gave Boys & Girls a 45-44 lead with 10:30 to play.

From that point on this was a back and forth battle with Elijah Hardison '20 putting back a miss for a bucket inside to give Xaverian back the lead. Boys & Girls was able to lead by as many as 3 in the closing minutes, but the size inside of the Clippers along with a couple of late Folk jumpers would ultimately do the Kangaroos in.

This game proved that with Brantley on their side that Boys & Girls will be a force to reckon with in the PSAL Brooklyn AA this season as he led all scorers in this one with 35 points but it wasn't enough as Folk had 20 points, while Reyes added 16 to lead Xaverian in what would be a very hard fought 64-58 victory.

Cardinal Hayes Exceeds Benjamin Cardozo, 62 - 50

TariqueFoster, Tyler Wise & Shemani Fuller
TariqueFoster, Tyler Wise & Shemani Fuller (M. Libert)

Another good CHSAA vs. PSAL battle took place here with the Cardinals facing off against the Judges, and while Cardozo hung closer than many in attendance may have expected it was Cardinal Hayes who pulled away down the stretch for the 62-50 win.

After Cardozo took an early 9-5 lead after an Errol White baseline finish against a pair of defenders it was Hayes that began to assert their dominance as Shemani Fuller '20 threw down one of the more impressive dunks anyone will see driving baseline and throwing it down with two hands.

That began a 17-2 run for Hayes in which Tyler Wise '22 was able to connect from both inside and outside, hitting on a three and driving it coast to coast for a finish, while along Cardinals youngster in Tarique Foster '22 showed he has range at 6'6" knocking down a three ball to put the CHSAA power up double digits with 7:38 to go in the half.

Chamarri Baskerville '20 would end that run as off a timeout he drained a right wing three to get Cardozo back on the scoreboard, though momentum was all still firmly on the side of Cardinal Hayes.

Be it Wise, Thomas Hoffman '20, or D.J. Victory '22, it didn't matter who had the ball it seemed like nearly everything the Cardinal put up was going in as they would take a commanding 38-21 lead into the locker room over the Judges.

Maybe Cardinal Hayes went into halftime a bit too confident with a 17-point lead but they seemed to take their foot off the gas a little bit with Cardozo coming out for the second half wanting to prove a point that they wouldn't get run over here.

Aaron Miller '20 cleaned up a pair of second chance looks inside with Baskerville knocking down his third three of the game, and with Andrew Laing '21 also starting to get confident from behind the arc a once 17 point cushion for Cardinal Hayes was pushed all the way down to 45-44 with 6:52 to play.

It was anyone’s ball game at that point as Hayes was settling too much for long range shots that weren't falling. Finally, Hayes got back to what they do best as Jazan Johnson '21 was able to drive baseline and finish with a reverse to push the Cardinals lead to 47-44, and that was followed by a pair of Fuller finishes to at least give Cardinal Hayes some breathing room again.

White proved to be a much more aggressive force inside in the second half for Cardozo, but when Wise knocked down a three ball for Cardinal Hayes with 2:18 left to make it a 58-48 game again that seemed to be the dagger that finished this one off for good.

A balanced scoring effort for Hayes was led by Fuller's 13 points while Wise and Foster each added 11 apiece and while it was harder than most expected at halftime, the Cardinals pulled this one out in the end with a 62-50 victory over Cardozo.

LaSalle Academy Over Adlai Stevenson, 56 - 47

Branden Pannell & Joshua Nolberto
Branden Pannell & Joshua Nolberto (M. Libert)

In a matchup of A contenders in the CHSAA and PSAL respectively it was LaSalle who got off to a quick start against Stevenson and were able to fend off a late game charge as paced by the 18 points of Branden Pannell '21 the Cardinals hung tough for the 56-47 victory.

The shooting touch of Pannell was what was carrying LaSalle in the early part of this one as he went 3-4 from behind the arc in the opening half to give the Cardinals control as Amadou Kouyate '20 did a good job in transition attacking the basket to help put LaSalle up double digits midway through the half.

O'Zhell Jackson '20 was proving to be a tough matchup for LaSalle though as the Stevenson big man was able to putback a number of second chance buckets, with Rashawn Clemente '20 one of the quicker guards off the dribble finishing time and time again at the rim.

Overall though it was a solid first half for LaSalle who had to be happy with the defensive job they were doing, taking a 34-19 lead into the break over the Ambassadors.

Things started to get a little haywire as the second half moved along though as LaSalle seemed to be in good shape most of the way maintained a lead between 10 and 15 points for most of the way, though a massive Clemente dunk with just over 5 minutes to go seemed to reinvigorate the Ambassadors and give them some life.

Stevenson began pressuring the ball more and creating enough mistakes from the Cardinals to give themselves a chance as Jackson cleaned up on his opportunities inside. Theo Noble '20 had a big late bucket for LaSalle after Stevenson had gotten the deficit within just 4 in the closing 1:30, and with Joshua Nolberto '20 doing a strong job late defensively it was the Cardinals who hung tough and showed why they are among the favorites in Class A this year in taking the 56-47 win over Adlai Stevenson.

Pannell was the leading scorer for LaSalle with the junior pouring in 18 points, while Clemente paced everyone for Stevenson with a game high 21.