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‘AA’ has ‘roos highs and Eagles lows

As the second half of the Brooklyn “AA” Division is set to begin, the first half was both one to remember and to forget. The first half was marred by the infamous December 14 “Basketbrawl” game between the Jefferson Orange Wave and the Robeson Eagles where the Wave had to forfeit three games and the Eagles’ had their season suspended. The high hopes of both the Grady Flacons and Banneker Warriors going deep in the playoffs are dashed since both teams are a combined 4-10. On the other hand, the feel-good story of this division and PSAL High School basketball are the Boys & Girls Kangaroos. Coach Lovelace’s squad have wowed fans and fellow players with their impressive play and their undefeated 7-0 record reflects that. Here’s how the season has shaped up: Boys & Girls Kangaroos After going 11-3 last season, Coach Ruth Lovelace had her team poised for another run at the PSAL championship after a disappointing quarterfinals lost to Wings Academy last season. The Kangaroos are pinned with borough rival Lincoln in the makings of a tough and competitive division. In the previous match up of these two teams, the Kangaroos had the upper hand as they defeated Lincoln, 61-60 at Boys & Girls at home on December 14th. Despite being a defensive showcase in the first quarter with the Kangaroos outscoring Lincoln 7-5, the game would come to life when they would hold off Lincoln’s 37-point second half storming. Their next match up would be January 30 at Lincoln as another divisional battle would take place. The squad MVP so far would be guard Frederick Nixon. In the squad’s past five games, he has averaged 17.60 points, 6 rebounds, and 5.20 assists per game. Canarsie Chiefs Despite being eliminated in the semis last season, the Chiefs are led by guard/forward Nathaniel Lester. He has averaged 19.80 points, 8.80 rebounds, and 2.60 assists per game in five games this campaign. In four of their five games, the Chiefs defense has been extremely stingy by only allowing 65 or less points with the exception of the December 12th lost to Lincoln where they gave up 72. Coach Tom Allen’s team has made the playoffs 10 consecutive seasons and its more than likely that will make it a 11th consecutive season as they will be unsuspecting contender in the division to challenge Boys & Girls and Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln Railsplitters The name of the school just spells out perennial powerhouse in New York City High School basketball. The team has won four championships in the past five years led by Coach Dwayne Morton. This season, the team is led by guard/forward Lance Stephenson, a player that has averaged 26.75 points per game, ranked first in the division in scoring, and sixth in rebounding. Despite having their only defeat in the season, so far, against Boys & Girls, this team’s expectations is quoted on the team’s website as, “Sky’s the limit.” “Sky’s the limit” is more than true for a Railsplitters squad that has impressed the city and more importantly the state with its truly outstanding play. This team is a definite lock contender for a second straight PSAL title and a fifth championship in six years. South Shore Vikings Coming off a disappointing 4-10 season, this Vikings squad is poised to jockey for a playoff spot this year. Led by guard/forward Sharif Muhammed, averaging 13.80 points per game, he scored 20-plus points in two consecutive games against Canarsie and Grady. Despite having the Department of Education splitting up the school, the Vikings have kept their heads up high despite having this unfortunate announcement to the school. They will need to continue to keep their heads up high as they are in a division with powerhouses Canarsie, Boys & Girls, and Lincoln, enough said. Jefferson Orange Wave As one of the teams involved in the “Basketball Brawl” melee on December 14th against Robeson, the Wave are awfully impressive and are led by guard Keith Spellman, a vital part in this year’s team and last year’s squad when they made the playoffs but were trounced by Frederick Douglass Academy. Despite having the PSAL order to forfeit three games and their rights to play in a basketball tournament in Salisbury, Maryland during the holiday break, the Wave would be the wild card of the division and is sure to make noise. Spellman, only being a sophomore, has averaged 23 points per game, scoring a season high 25 against South Shore on December 12, the last game that the team has played prior to the melee. With the Wave and the Vikings being the wild cards of this division, they need to make a great push down the stretch to make the playoffs and ultimately be successful in the playoffs. Grady Falcons/Banneker Warriors Both schools are the ultimate underachievers, neither of them has tasted too much success this season, both have combined to be 4-10 this season. The Falcons only “true” win has come by beating fellow division dweller Banneker on December 14, 76-75 at home. The other two victories are forfeits by the suspended Robeson Eagles. Playing impressive ball while his team is not is the Falcons’ guard Tyief Thompson, who averages 17 points per game. Robeson Eagles The Banneker Warriors have one win and that win comes way by default because of a Robeson forfeit. Besides that, they are winless. Despite their unimpressive play, the Warriors are led by guard Tony Valis, who is averaging 15.75 points per game this season. Both squads are stilling in the basement of this extremely competitive division, the likeliness of either team making the playoffs are highly unlikely. Prior to “Basketbrawl”, the Eagles were 1-2 with their lone 66-59 win against Banneker on December 12 at Banneker. Besides that, the team wasn’t doing too much as they were outscored 108-97 in their two losses. Since the PSAL handed down their “no-nonsense” policy of fighting, the Eagles suffered the brunt of a season-wide suspension of their 2006-2007 campaign and will look to re-tool for the 2007-2008 season.

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