What: The New York State Federation of Secondary School Athletic Associations Tournament of Champions includes the winners of the Public High School Athletic Association, the Catholic High School Athletic Association, the Association of Independent Schools and New York City’s Public Schools Athletic League.
Where: Times Union Center, Albany.
Friday’s semifinals: PHSAA-McKinley Macks (22-3) vs. PSAL-John Adams Spartans (24-5), 1:30 p.m.; CHSAA-Nazareth Kingsmen (23-5) vs. No. 1 AIS-Albany Academy Cadets (15-4), 3:15 p.m.
Saturday’s final: 5 p.m.
New York State Sportswriters Association Class A poll: 1. Albany Academy (last week: 1); 2. McKinley (last week: 6); 3. Burke Catholic (last week: 3; lost to McKinley in PHSAA final); 4. Nazareth (last week: 5); 5. Bishop Ludden (last week: 2; lost to McKinley in PHSAA semifinal); 6. Canisius (lost to Nazareth in CHSAA final); 7. Amityville (lost to Burke Catholic in PHSAA semifinals); 8. Scotia-Glenville (lost to Ludden in regional). 9. Poughkeepsie (lost to Burke in regional). 10. Amherst (lost to McKinley in Section VI overall A final). 11. Aquinas (lost to McKinley in regional). 12. John Adams.
Federation history: This is the first trip to the Federation for the Macks (and John Adams). The Yale Cup has won only one large-school Fed title, Bennett in 1984 (that was also the last Yale Cup large school to win a PHSAA title). Western New York has won 16 Fed titles: One in AA (Niagara Falls 2005); one in A (Nichols 2010); four in B (St. John Neumann 1979; Bennett 1984, LaSalle 1988, Turner-Carroll 1999) and 10 in Class C (which is no longer part of the Federation).
Where’s John Adams? The Ozone Park neighborhood of Queens.
McKinley starters: Reyjzon Jordan (5-10 sr.), Lovell Smith (6-2 sr.), Marcus Morris (6-3 sr.), DaeQuan Warren (6-4 sr.), Samuel Smith (6-0 sr.). Reserves: Varin Lenard (6-1 jr.), Stephen Johnson (6-1 sr.), Dante Thompson (6-4 jr.), D’Andre Steward (5-10 jr.), Marshawn Robinson (5-9 sr.), Collin Renza (6-1 sr.), Deonte Bell (6-4 sr.), Kenny Walters (6-5 jr.), Devin Morris (6-2 so.), Jorge Melendez (6-2 jr.). Coach: Zaire Dorsey (fifth season).
John Adams key players: Seniors Ahmed Kone (14 points, MVP of PSAL final), Paul Johnson (JV callup, 18 points per game postseason), Markell French (13 points, seven rebounds per game). Coach: James Pitman (13th season).
How McKinley got here: The Macks won the state’s “public school” championship by beating three straight private schools (because several sections allow private schools as members). They beat Aquinas of Section V (Rochester area) in the Far West Regionals, 79-52; Bishop Ludden of Section III (Syracuse area) in the PHSAA semifinals, 75-61; and Burke Catholic of Section IX (Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan, Ulster Counties downstate) in the PHSAA final, 73-70 in overtime.
How John Adams got here: The 13th-seeded Spartans defeated the seventh-seeded McKee/Staten Island Tech Sea Gulls, 52-48, in the PSAL Class A championship Sunday at St. Francis College. John Adams upset the fourth and fifth seeds in the 41-team tournament.
Bracketology: The other bracket features a rematch between Albany Academy — which went unchallenged to the Fed as the only Class A independent — and Nazareth. AA beat Nazareth, 48-44, on Dec. 28 in a tournament at Watervliet. Nazareth avenged a Dec. 15 loss at Canisius in the CHSAA final, 48-40.
Coming Friday: Story and capsule on CHSAA Class B champion Cardinal O’Hara girls.
At buffalonews.com: Watch videos on each of McKinley’s victories in Glens Falls as well as a sights-and-sounds video that features [BN]TheLockerRoom footage following the state championship game. This weekend, there will be a live blog with play-by-play coverage for all Western New York games in Albany; comment in the blog or via Twitter using the hashtag #preptalkscores. PrepTalkTV video recaps will follow.