What: The New York State Federation of Secondary School Athletic Associations Tournament of Champions includes the winners of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (of which Section VI is one of 11 member sections), the New York State Catholic High School Athletic Association (of which the Monsignor Martin is a member), the Association of Independent Schools Athletic Association and New York City’s Public Schools Athletic League.
Where: Times Union Center, Albany.
Today’s semifinal: CHSAA-Cardinal O’Hara Hawks (25-3) vs. NYSPHSAA-Pittsford-Sutherland Knights (24-1), 10 a.m.
Sunday’s final: PSAL-Martin Luther King Knights (19-3) vs. O’Hara/Pitt-Sutherland winner, noon.
New York State Sportswriters Association Class A poll: 1. Cardinal O’Hara (last week: 2); 2. V-Pittsford-Sutherland (3); 3. Kellenberg (4; lost to O’Hara in CHSAA final); 4. III-Jamesville-Dewitt (5; lost to Pitt-Sutherland in PHSAA final); 5. IV-Maine-Endwell (6; lost to Pitt-Sutherland in PHSAA semifinal); 7. XI-Harborfields (1, lost to Jamesville-Dewitt in PHSAA semifinal); 10. Cardinal Spellman (10, lost to O’Hara in CHSAA semifinal); 11. Martin Luther King (11); 15. Port Richmond (15; lost to MLK in PSAL final); 16. Williamsville South (16; Section VI champion lost to Pittsford-Sutherland in PHSAA Far West Regionals).
Federation history: This is the third straight trip to the Federation for the Hawks, but it is the first for any Monsignor Martin girls team in Class A. The Hawks made their last two trips as the state Catholic champions in Class B but were elevated to Class A this season due to the strength of their program. Two seasons ago, O’Hara lost to eventual Federation champion Irvington; last season it beat PSAL champion Scholars Academy before losing to Irvington in the final.
Cardinal O’Hara players: 5-6 sr. Jontay Walton (UMass-Lowell committed), 2,010 career points, 17.5 ppg, 4.4 apg, 5.5 spg, 4.8 rpg, 37 three-pointers, 75.0 FT%); 5-7 sr. Keyonte Edwards (1,113 career points; 14.9 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 2.8 apg, 4.6 spg); 6-2 sr. Kelsey McCarthy (1,031 career points; 14.3 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 3.1 bpg); 5-6 sr. Aisha Shabazz (7.3 ppg, 21 three-pointers, 2.4 spg); 5-7 sr. Jailyn Dickson (4.3 ppg, 2.5 spg); 5-2 fr. Cori Dickson (5.7 ppg, 28 three-pointers; 27 points, five 3-pointers in CHSAA final four); 5-7 fr. Anndea Zeigler (6.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.9 spg in 12 games since returning from knee injury; 14 points in CHSAA final four); 5-5 jr. Gina Draksic; 5-4 so. Lizzy Edwards; 5-5 jr. Jocelyn Velardi; 5-7 jr. Leah Coleman; 5-3 fr. Shilah Parker; 5-11 fr. Diamond Robinson; 5-5 fr. Dabria Scott. Coach: Dan McDermott (16th season).
Pittsford-Sutherland key players: 5-11 sr. G Liz Greendyke (20 ppg, more than 1,200 career points); 6-1 jr. F Santita Ebangwese (9 ppg); 5-3 jr. Bayley Axelrod (7 ppg); 5-4 jr. G Allie Panara (7 ppg); 5-10 sr. F Abby Judd (2 ppg, top rebounder). Coach Dan Judd.
How Cardinal O’Hara got here: The Hawks beat Nardin for the Monsignor Martin Association championship (70-43), then won two CHSAA tournament games two weeks ago at Holy Trinity in Hicksville, Long Island. O’Hara beat Cardinal Spellman of the Bronx (72-55) in the semifinal and Long Island’s Kellenberg (62-59) in the final.
How Pittsford-Sutherland got here: The champions of neighboring Section V (Rochester area) won that championship by beating Wayne (55-46), then the regionals against Williamsville South (58-36), before beating Section IV (Binghamton area) champion Maine-Endwell (43-39) in the state semifinals and Section III (Syracuse area) Jamesville-Dewitt (57-41) in the championship. Its only loss is to Class AA’s Webster Thomas (51-45 on Feb. 4).
Mount Mercy plays Saturday: Mount Mercy, the CHSAA champion in Class B, plays AIS-Staten Island Academy (20-7) in the Federation Class B semifinals at 11:45 a.m. Saturday at the Times Union Center. The first semi has PHSAA champion Utica Notre Dame (22-3) meeting PSAL champion East Harlem (20-1) at 10 a.m. Sunday’s final is 1:45 p.m.
At BuffaloNews.com: There will be a #PrepTalkLive blog with play-by-play coverage for all Western New York games in Albany.
– Keith McShea