Aviation, Flushing should lead Queens ‘B’ leagues

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Aviation, which finished last year with an 18-6 record, will play an up-tempo, high-flying game and will trap on defense in Queens B-I. Junior Pete Caris, Robert Rivera, a 5-foot-10 senior, and Glen Byrd, a 6-foot senior, are the team's top shooters, while Kareem Bertand, a 6-foot sophomore, is one of the early surprises for head coach Steve Hagenlocker in his 12th year. Jack Covington, a 6-foot-3 senior, is a guard who will have to play forward.

"We're a small team that needs to play good defense," Hagenlocker said. "If we shoot well, you don't need offensive rebounding. We're going to have to try and score off transition."

John Adams finished 20-4 last year and lost in the 'B' semifinals. But seven seniors are gone, as it longtime head coach Emil Ostenberg. Jim Pitman takes the reigns of a very young team, which will be led by 5-foot-11 senior guard Donte King.

"We're going to try and run up and down the floor and play up tempo," Pitman said.

Robert F. Kennedy finished 4-20 last year, but with three of the seven teams in Queens B-I making the playoffs, the Panthers have a chance to make the postseason.

Andrew Miller, a 5-foot-9 senior guard, and Jason Chung, a 5-foot-10 senior guard, will provide leadership for Harry Weinstein's team. Arthur Liu, a 5-foot-10 sophomore, has been a pleasant surprise for Kennedy.

"We're a better looking team this year," Weinstein said. "I hope for a decent season. We've gotten better."

With just four upperclassmen, Robert F. Wagner is a very young team. Sophomores Adrian Rosales, 5-foot-7, 6-foot-2 Ken Chapman and 5-foot-9 Jason Murphy need to step up for Tim Connor's team if a playoff berth is within reach.

Richmond Hill returns much of a team that went 10-14 last year, including 6-foot-4 senior Silvero Lebron, 6-foot junior Tyrone Fosmire and 5-foot-8 juniors Jose Bracero and Luis Abreu.

Newcomers, which finished 5-19 last year for fourth-year Michael Gordon, will be led by swingman Michael Michel, a 5-foot-11 senior, and 6-foot-3 Gregory Lendof, a senior center.

Renaissance finished 2-16 last year and the Knights should struggle again for first-year head coach Ed Chilgren.

Queens B-II

The Flushing Red Devils return four of five starters from last year's team that went 12-11. But a year of experience should mean a playoff berth for a team that features 11 seniors, including 6-foot-4 Wayne Taylor, 5-foot-6 Lamel Gooding, 6-foot-1 Marinko Djokic and 6-foot-1 Michael Bruce.

"We like to push the ball and we have good balance," said second-year head coach Charles Richardson. "We can also shoot the three well, but we're having trouble with rebounding and free throws.

John Bowne should also battle for one of two playoff spots, with some coaches considering them the favorite in the division. Seniors Antoine Millien and Joralif LaFontaine and sophomore Genc Selimi lead the charge for the Wildcats, who finished 18-5 last year for head coach John Tsapelas.

Townsend Harris is the third team that should be fighting for the division's two playoff berths. The Hawks return their top two returning scorers in 6-foot-2 senior Isaac Acosta and 6-foot-1 senior Philip Marmon-Halm. But the team is not very big, so rebounding and post play may make a difference between a postseason spot or not for Howard Furman's squad.

Long Island City is another team that lost a lot to graduation, as the entire starting five is gone from a team that finished 17-9. Zijad Medunjanin, a 6-foot-3 senior forward, will be the team's go-to player and can average 15 to 20 points per game. Also, the return of 6-foot-1 Charles McCoy, who becomes academically eligible Dec. 16, will be a huge addition for Harley Watstein. Javier Vasquez, a 6-foot-4 junior center, is good for about 10 to 12 points per game and is the team's lone inside threat.

Freshman Hakim Abarkha, a 5-foot-4 guard, will be a player to look for in the future for LIC. Greg Partsinevelos, a 5-foot-5 senior, will be the team's starting point guard and sophomore Bobby Moore, a 5-foot-11 transfer from New Jersey, and Arthur Rodriguez should also help out in the backcourt.

"We're a little behind where we were last year," Watstein said. "We had experience last year. This year we're starting with fundamentals. A lot of kids haven't played organized ball before."

Queens Vocational struggled last year, finishing 7-19 and should be led by Louis DeMaria, a 6-foot-1 senior, who should lead the team in scoring. But with just two playoff spots available, Rich Maloney's team appears to be on the outside looking in during the playoff run.

Academy of American Studies round out the division. Coached by Juan Faya, the Eagles were 1-18 last year and while there should be an improvement, the team should once again finish in the lower echelon of the division.

Updated 7:16 pm, October 10, 2011
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