New York High School: Girls Basketball

Francis Lewis' Hamlet signs with Wagner

May, 11, 2012
As Wagner recruited Francis Lewis guard Jazmine Hamlet this spring, Hamlet noticed right away that there was a strong sense of family surrounding the program.

"Normally coaches during recruiting just talk to you, but they were talking to my mom and making sure everyone was comfortable," Hamlet said. "On my visit, they were great, they looked out for my interests. They just gave me that kind of vibe."

That vibe won over Hamlet as she signed her National Letter of Intent to play with the Seahawks last week. Hamlet averaged 10.3 points and 3.4 assists in league games for the Patriots this past season.

"It's very exciting, it's like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders," Hamlet said. "I don't have to think about it anymore. I can now just focus on graduating and going to Wagner."

Hamlet had originally thought of attending a junior college as she didn't have any Division I scholarships offers. That changed, though, when she attended the Boo Williams showcase in late April. After the event, Wagner started talking together and everything came together.

The Patriots liked how Hamlet was a team leader and can to split the defense, and appreciated how she saw the floor and was a true point guard at heart. After taking her official visit to Wagner, it sealed the deal for Hamlet and she signed her NLI last Friday. The 5-7 guard likes that she'll be able to play close to home.

"My family is here in Manhattan and it's like I get away from home but I'm still close to home," Hamlet said. "It's not like I'm going to be hours away. If I want to come home, it will only be like an hour and I'll be able to see my mom."

Francis Lewis coach Stephen Tsai described Hamlet as "fearless" and was happy for Hamlet and her family. He said Hamlet, who lead Francis Lewis to the Public Schools Athletic League Class AA semifinals, never gave up on the court and is tenacious at both ends.

Hamlet is the first recruit for new Wagner coach Lisa Cermignano.

"She is certainly a capable scorer with a very quick first step that allows her to get to the rim and she can hit the open shot,” Cermignano said in a press release on Wagner's website. “Jazmine’s specialty, though, is making those around her better. She drops passes on a dime.

She added: “But what she really does is she leaves her heart on the floor. She plays 150 percent all the time and literally has a presence on the floor that makes other players better. She’s a true point guard who has the ability to move over to the two because she can score. She controls the game, she controls the tempo, controls her teammates. She’s a floor general.”

Naz's Feagin to Cincinnati

May, 3, 2012
It didn't take long for Cincinnati to win over Destini Feagin.

The Bearcats only started recruiting the Nazareth senior wing in late April during the live period. A little more than a week later, Feagin signed her national Letter of Intent with the Big East school, choosing it over Morehead State and Providence.

"The visit was great and it felt like family," Feagin said. "They're experienced coaches and Coach (Jamelle) Elliott was wonderful. She's awesome. She won six national titles at UConn. It's a great fit and I bonded with the girls from the start. The competition is the Big East, that's a challenge for me, and I feel I can play that level. Why not take it on?"

Feagin took an official visit to Cincinnati last weekend and officially decided on the Bearcats after returning home and thinking things over. The senior had received some phone calls here and there from Cincinnati, but their pursuit didn't pick up until they had her SAT scores, as she only recently took the test.

The wing played one season for Nazareth after transferring from Ben Davis (Ind.), describing it as a roller-coaster year. She started out the year ineligible, head coach Apache Paschall died in January and the school announced it was going to close during the middle of the season.

"It had its up and downs," she said of her year.

On the court, Feagin was one of the key players in helping guide Nazareth to the CHSAA Class AA crown. While in most games she played a complementary role to the other stars on the Lady Kingsmen, she had her share of big moments. Nazareth finished the season ranked No. 1 in New York City by

"She had this defensive toughness and she's just a tough kid," Nazareth co-coach Ron Kelley said. "She's another scorer. She's got a great basketball body because she's super athletic. Down the stretch, she won some game for us with her great defense and her opportune shooting in big games."

Feagin is the third Nazareth senior to sign with a Big East school for next season. Brianna Butler is headed to Syracuse next season and Darius Faulk is going to West Virginia. While Syracuse will head to the ACC in 2014, the trio of teammates will be able to have some battles.

"I think Apache would be very proud and he envisioned the best places for us to all go," Feagin said. "I think we're all happy and excited that we have the chance to play against one another. We're anxious to see each other next year and it's pretty interesting"

Feagin was very close to her former coach, who she said told her that her time would finally come. The wing believes that time is finally here.

"I'm very excited and very happy," Feagin said. "I just feel the best is yet to come. I'm going to keep working and I already have started and I can only do bigger and better things as I continue to move forward."

ESPNNewYork All-New York City girls hoops team

April, 24, 2012
It's been a wild and exciting year for girls basketball in New York City and its time to hand out some hardware. Our high school staff has collaborated to bring you its Big Apple All-City team for the past year. Here's who we saw as the best of the best.

Nazareth stays open, excited for future

April, 19, 2012
Todd Jamison labeled himself as cautiously optimistic when it came to the future of Nazareth. It was announced in February that the school would close at the end of the year, but the boys basketball coach knew the school wouldn't go down without a fight.

As the fundraising efforts increased, Jamison became more confident the doors would remain open in East Flatbush. Wednesday, at a press conference, Jamison's and many others hopes became a reality as the school announced it would stay open for the next four years, leaving the school buzzing with excitement about its future.

"We just refused to accept the fact that the Board of Trustees wanted to close the school," Jamison said. "I haven't heard of any school that is going to close and that was going to be re-opening against. I'm just speechless."

Amid financial problems and declining enrollment, Nazareth announced in February the school would close. The school started working toward trying to stay open and had to meet three goals by April 15: enroll 80 freshman for next year's class, raise at least $700,000 to help pay off the deficit, and create a plan for long-term sustainability.

Jamison, as well as athletic director Rochelle Murphy, both admitted to initially thinking the school would close and there was nothing that could be done. It went right down to the wire but the school found way to meet the requirements. Nazareth has a 98 percent graduation rate for its students and 96 percent go on to college.

"For us to be staying open is a tremendous sense of pride," Murphy said. "You meet people who say good luck and I hope you stay open, but it doesn't seem like they're giving you much of a chance. I wasn't even giving us much of a chance at the beginning. To have overcome all this and be successful carrying out our plan, it's tremendous."

Those connected to the school applauded the work of school principal Providencia Quiles, for her efforts in finding a way for the school to stay open. Jamison mentioned that having a few months to work with also helped as the school had time to try and save itself.

"It's a big relief," Nazareth girls basketball co-coach Ron Kelley said. "There is a God. I'm very happy. We're very happy with this principal. I think she works hard and we're very happy to be with this administration and we think everybody worked hard to save the school and we're very excited."

Nazareth is coming off a banner year for the school. The boys basketball team won the CHSAA Class B State tile and the girls team repeated as the CHSAA Class AA State champions. Both teams made it to the State Federation tournament, although neither won the title.

Heading into that tournament, it was thought that those would be the last times that Nazareth would try to win titles. Now, Nazareth heads into next season looking to defend its titles, thanks to the hard work of many that resulted in new life in East Flatbush.

"People were elated at the press conference, because you're talking about closing the school and now we're back open again," Jamison said. "You just had to be there. We did something people thought we could not do. We won the war. That's the only way I can put it."

Recruiting: Pearson, Astel decide

April, 19, 2012
Truman senior forward Krystal Pearson has never been away from her home Bronx for more than a week, so as she decided which school she would attend, she had to make sure that her future college would make the transition rather easy for her.

"Going to college, I want to make sure I'm happy and feel comfortable," Pearson said. "I wanted the feeling like I'm going from my family to another family."

Towson found the comfort she was looking for at Towson and she signed her National Letter of Intent with the Tigers. She chose them over VCU, Florida Atlantic and Cleveland State.

"I'm very excited with my new team, my new coaching staff and am excited to be living on a campus soon," Pearson said. "I'm happy to be able to play Division I basketball."

Pearson, who averaged 15.4 points and 12.4 rebounds this year, made her decision after coming back from a trip to Ireland. She did not want to wait any longer because Towson was recruiting another player in case she decided not to choose it.

She added that if she performs what's asked of her, there is the chance for playing time right away. Her coach, John Burke, believes that Towson is a great fit for Pearson.

"She's the best player I ever had," Burke said. "She can do it all. She left a legacy and players now want to come to Truman. She puts on the map basically. She's a legend in my eyes.

ASTEL TO MANHATTAN: Having the opportunity to play her college basketball close to home in New York City appealed to McKee/SI Tech senior forward Kaitlyn Astel.

"I think the distance played a big factor," said Astel, a Staten Island native who committed to Manhattan on Saturday. "I definitely liked the location and they had a lot of interest in me."

Astel chose Manhattan over Cleveland State, and a pair of Division II schools in Philadelphia University and New Haven. The senior narrowed her list based on whether schools offered engineering, as that's what she plans to major in.

The forward made her decision after returning home from a vacation. She talked it over with her family and realized that Manhattan fit her the best. Astel averaged 20 points and eight rebounds for MSIT while leading it to the PSAL Class AA title game.

"It's a huge relief because I've had people asking me the whole year about it but I couldn't rush the process," Astel said. "It's really exciting to have made it to a Division I school and I think I made the right choice."

Her coach, Peter LaMarca, believes it's a perfect match.

"Kaitlyn really wanted engineering and they have that and it's a great school and they play Division I," LaMarca said. "She lives there, her family can go see her and she's going to excel. I think Manhattan got a steal, I really do."

Nazareth to stay open

April, 18, 2012
Nazareth Regional High School will announce at a 6 p.m. press conference on Wednesday night that the school is staying open, according to girls basketball coach Ron Kelley. The board of trustees had voted in February to close the school because of declining enrollment and financial problems at the East Flatbush school.

"They're making the announcement that they're keeping the school open for the next five years," Kelley said. "And we're working to keep it open for the next 25 years."

For Nazareth to stay open, it needed to accomplish three things by April 15: enroll at least 80 freshman for next year's class, raise $700,000 to help pay off debts, and provide a sustainable plan to keep the school operating in the future. School principal Providencia Quiles, who could not comment about whether the school was going to remain open, had worked very hard to meet those goals by having fundraisers and others types of events to help save the school.

Nazareth won CHSAA State titles in both girls and boys basketball this season. The boys team won the Class B State title while the girls were the Class AA State champion. The girls team entered the season ranked No. 1 in the nation by ESPNHS and had to deal with the death of head coach Apache Paschall, who died of heart failure in June.

"It's a big relief," Kelley said. "There is a God. I'm very happy. We're very happy with this principal. I think she works hard and we're very happy to be with this administration and we think everybody worked hard to save the school and we're very excited."

Bronx/Queens teams sweep Mayor's Cup

March, 30, 2012
The bragging rights in the Public Schools Athletic League will be in the Bronx and Queens for the year, as the Bronx/Queens teams defeated the Manhattan/Brooklyn/Staten Island squads in both the boys and girls game in the Mayor's Cup on Friday night at City College of New York. The Mayor's cup pits the best seniors in the PSAL against one another.

Girls: Bronx/Queens 65, Manhattan/Brooklyn/Staten Island 60: While JFK's Deaisia Acklin took home MVP honors, it was the play of Morrisania's Ogechukwu Uwanaka that had one of the team's coaches, Francis Lewis' Stephen Tsai, raving after the game.

"I have no idea how we win without her," Tsai said. "She had to play a majority of the time as she was our only legitimate size but she was quick enough to go against the other team's size as well. Deaisia also had to play a majority for us and while she won MVP, (Uwanaka) did so much for us in terms of rebounding, blocked shots, loose balls. It was so impressive."

The Bronx/Queens team fell in a 19-6 hole early but it pulled itself back into the game by using a zone defense and took the lead. The Manhattan/Brooklyn/Staten Island team made a late charge but Tsai said the Bronx/Queens team made some incredible shots that he would guess some of the girls didn't even expect to go in.

"The event was better than I expected," Tsai said. "The turnout was incredible, Mayor (Michael) Bloomberg was there and taking pictures with everybody, it turned out to be a great event and for the boys game it was even nicer. I was so impressed with how everything turned out. It was a great event and great to be a part of."

Boys: Bronx/Queens 122, Manhattan/Brooklyn/Staten Island 121 (OT): The Bronx/Queens team capitalized on two missed free throws by arguably the best player in the league, Leroy "Truck" Fludd, and scored a late basket to squeak out the win in overtime and complete the sweep for the boroughs.

The Bronx/Queens team took a lead on a layup by JFK's Muhammed Ahmed following Fludd's misses, and the Manhattan/Brooklyn/Staten Island team had a chance to win the game late but couldn't connect.

Eagle Academy's Najee Senior was named MVP for scoring 15 points while Wadleigh's Basil Harley scored 26 in a losing effort. Senior scored all of his points in the final four minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime.

"It was a cool event," said Wings Academy coach Billy Turnage, who was part of the winning staff. "You got to see the AA players with the A players and B players. These guys never had the chance to play together before, and I had never seen some of them, and these lower level guys are talented and can ball out."

Wadleigh coach Mike Crump, who was on the losing staff, called it an "A1 event" and had a fun time meeting Mayor Bloomberg following the game.

"We took a picture with him and I was going to give him rabbit ears," Crump joked. "He had security detail there and I didn't want to spend a week in the pen so I ultimately didn't do it."

Mayor's Cup preview

March, 29, 2012
WHO: The Mayor's Cup

WHEN: Friday, 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

WHERE: City College of New York

WHY THIS GAME IS IMPORTANT: The best of the Public Schools Athletic League's seniors will meet on Friday at City College of New York. The girls game is first and will feature the Bronx/Queens team against the Brooklyn/Manhattan/Staten Island squad at 5 p.m. The boys game pitting the Bronx/Queens team against the Brooklyn/Manhattan/Staten Island unit is scheduled to tip at 7 p.m.


Girls Bronx/Queens: Stephen Tsai (Francis Lewis), William Mann (Mott Haven), Odaly Aponte (InTech)

Girls Brooklyn/Manhattan/Staten Island: Kareem Benson (Lafayette), Katie Jungers (Lab Museum United)

Boys Bronx/Queens: Billy Turnage (Wings), Chuck Granby (Campus Magnet), Harley Watsein (LIC)

Boys Brooklyn/Manhattan/Staten Island: Mike Crump (Wadleigh), Rich Buckheit (Curtis), Everett Kelley (Westhinghouse)



JFK guard Deaisia Acklin
Queens HS of Teaching guard/forward Samantha Bond
Francis Lewis guard Jasmine Davis
Gompers forward Amanda Guareno
Mott Haven guard Shaakira Harewood
Bayside forward Ashley Mitchell
InTech center Ana Morel
Wings forward Tyler Moses
Grover Cleveland guard Jennifer Navarro
Hillcrest forward Danielle Pearce
Truman forward Krystal Pearson
Queens Vocational guard/forward Shakirra Smith
Morrisania forward Ogechukwu Uwanaka
American Studies center Lismelia Vargas


MSIT forward Kaitlyn Astel
Brooklyn Technical forward Crystal Barnes
MLK forward Sabrina Fletcher
Baruch guard/forward Destiny Freeman
Wagner guard Safiyah Goffney
Murry Bergtraum guard Shequana Harris
Pace forward Ashley Johnson
Lincoln guard Erica Juarbe
Lafayette guard Jasley Mejia
Goldstein guard Danielle Natoli
Bedford Academy center Brianna Perlmutter
Lab Museum United forward Ashanti Plummer
South Shore guard Shelby Powell
Grand Street forward Quanisha Ratley
Beacon gaurd Maya Wasowicz


Beach Channel forward Ismail Abdullah
JFK forward Muhammed Ahmed
Bayside guard Uzonna Akazi
Stevenson guard/forward Davon Anderson
South Bronx Prep guard Maurice Bailey
Campus Magnet forward Samuel Durodola
Bronx HS of Science guard Jack Edelman
HS for Construction guard/forward Harry Eromosele
Mott Haven forward Hakeem Grant
Cardozo forward Tajay Henry
Van Buren guard Brandon Howard
Wings guard Justin Jenkins
Forest Hills forward Arif Mehmetaj
Long Island City forward Arthur Santanna
Eagle Academy guard Najee Senior
Evander Childs guard Romaine Thomas


Roosevelt forward Robert Borusiewicz
Boys & Girls forward Leroy Fludd
Hunter guard/forward Sam Gordon
Jefferson guard Thaddeus Hall
Wadleigh guard Basil Harley
HS for Leadership & Public Service guard/forward Tyreek Jewell
Thurgood Marshall forward Malik Jones
Westinghouse forward Jonathan Jones
Global Studies/International Studies forward Arkeem Joseph
All City Leadership guard Carlton miller
Lafayette guard Bradley D. Oyley
Life Sciences forward Jason Perry Murray
Curtis guard DaShawn Richmond
HS Health Professions forward Gelvis Solano
CSIHS forward Quamaine Tomlin
Brooklyn Law & Techonlogy guard Ibrahima Toure
Transit Tech forward Richard Williams
W. 50th St. forward Lasalle Wright

Naz's Butler scores in All-American game

March, 29, 2012
Nazareth senior and future Syracuse Orange forward Brianna Butler scored a point in Wednesday night's McDonald's All-American Game at the United Center in Chicago, Ill. Butler played on the East team, which won 79-78 on a last-second free throw.

Butler played 11:40 and shot 0-for-2 from the field but hit one of two free throws, according to's unofficial tally. She also had a turnover, an assist, a rebound and a foul in that time. She played 7:45 in the first half and just 3:55 in the second half.

Butler, a transfer student, just completed her first year at the Brooklyn school and led Nazareth to a successful season. The Lady Kingsmen won the Brooklyn/Queens Division I title, the CHSAA Class AA championship and advanced to the New York State Federation tournament, where they lost in the semifinals.

Nazareth finished the season ranked No. 1 in's New York City poll and 20th in the Powerade Fab 50 national poll. The Lady Kingsmen were the preseason No. 1 team.

The 5-11 guard is the No. 13 prospect in the country and is headed to Syracuse.

Final girls basketball poll

March, 26, 2012
After winning the State Federation title last year, Nazareth fell short this season, by falling in the semifinals. Still, the Lady Kingsmen end the season as our top team, as they were the best from day one to the final day. Here's the final poll.

1. Nazareth (18-4)/(LW: 1): Nazareth had a season it will want to forget, because of the tragedy and distractions it faced, and now has to turn its attention to try to keep its school open as it faces closure.

2. Christ the King (15-14)/(LW: 2): Christ the King will be right back in the mix next year as it has one of the most talented sophomores in the city in Sierra Calhoun and other strong players on its roster returning.

3. Moore Catholic (22-6)/(LW: 3): Moore Catholic continues to be one of the best programs in New York City but will have to try to rebound next season without the services of Christina Rubin and Jamie O'Hare.

4. Bishop Ford (22-6)/(LW: 4): Bishop Ford is destined for more success in the future and brings back plenty of strong pieces. There's no reason to think Bishop Ford can't contend for the league title next season.

5. Molloy (19-10)/(LW: 5): Molloy had a great first season under head coach Scott Lagas and will try to duplicate that next season. It has some key juniors like Carolyn Gallagher returning next year which will help.

6. Bishop Loughlin (17-12)/(LW: 7): Loughlin, just like Molloy last year, missed out on the AA playoffs and then swept through the Class A playoffs on its way to its State Federation crown.

7. Murry Bergtraum (18-8)/(LW: 6): Murry Bergtraum won its 14th straight crown and will now try to make it 15 straight years next season. Freshman Ashanae McLaughlin looks like a star in the making in the PSAL.

8. McKee/SI Tech (25-3)/(LW: 8): MSIT had the best season in school history but will now have to try to continue that success without senior Kaityln Astel. Bringing back junior Kelin Walsh will help the Seagulls.

9. South Shore (21-6)/(LW: 9): South Shore had a good season but has to think it underachieved by not reaching the PSAL final. This team will be in the mix once again next year although it loses some key players.

10. Mary Louis (13-17)/(LW: 10): Mary Louis is buoyed by talented freshmen and will be a team to watch in the next few years. In two season, the Hilltoppers could be as good as any team in New York City.

LI Lutheran girls fall in State Fed. B game

March, 25, 2012

ALBANY, N.Y. — Tournament MVP Marley Giddins scored 16 points and added 12 rebounds as Irvington came back to beat Long Island Lutheran 74-64 in the Class B final Saturday at the New York State Girls Basketball Federation Tournament of Champions.

Brittni Lai added 18 points and Alexis Martins had 16 points and 14 rebounds for the Bulldogs (27-1), who used a 20-2 run in the second half to clinch the win.

Irvington avenged a 59-57 loss to Long Island Lutheran in last year's title game, in which the Bulldogs blew a 16-point lead.

Paige Kriftcher led the Lady Crusaders (18-6) with 20 points, while Christina Raiti added 16 in a losing effort.

Irvington, which trailed by 13 in the first half, came back to take a 54-52 lead on Martins' offensive rebound and finish with 6:36 left in the game. The Bulldogs shot 45 percent from the floor.

Things were close early before Long Island Lutheran uncorked a 17-0 run, including a three-point play by Kriftcher to open the second quarter. Irvington battled back but still trailed 37-32 at halftime.

Irvington, out of the PHSAA's Section 1 in Westchester County, got to the title with a 74-57 victory over Cardinal O'Hara in Friday's semifinal round.

Long Island Lutheran, from Nassau County in the AISAA, reached the championship for the third time in four years with a 72-44 win against The Scholars Academy in the semis.

Murry falls in State Federation AA title game

March, 25, 2012
ALBANY, N.Y. — Tournament MVP Breanna Stewart had 22 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocks as Cicero-North Syracuse cruised to a 60-28 victory over Murry Bergtraum in the Class AA final Sunday at the New York State Girls Basketball Federation Tournament of Champions.

Sarah Bowles added 14 points for the Northstars (23-3), who never trailed. Brittany Paul scored 13 points.

Shequanna Harris had 15 points to lead the Lady Blazers (17-8), who shot just 13 percent from the field.

UConn-bound Stewart, who scored 42 points in the semifinal, shattered the tournament record of 52— set in 2004 by Murry Bergtraum's Epiphany Prince and equaled in '06 by Lorin Dixon of Christ the King — with 64 over two games.

After tying the single-game record of 23 rebounds in the semis, Stewart also set a new tourney rebounding mark of 38, besting the 34 boards Shakeya Leary totaled for Murry Bergtraum in 2007.

Twelve-time finalist Murry Bergtraum represented the PSAL out of Manhattan.

Cicero-North Syracuse, from the PHSAA's Section 3, reached the championship with an 80-55 win over Nazareth in Saturday's semifinal round.

Loughlin girls win State Federation A title

March, 25, 2012
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Tournament MVP Ayana Ratliff scored 28 points as Bishop Loughlin held off Curtis 75-69 in the Class A final Saturday at the New York State Girls Basketball Federation Tournament of Champions.

Imani Tate added 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Lions (17-12), who never trailed. Jasmine Alston had a dozen points and 13 rebounds in the win.

Kristen Olsen scored 21 points for the Warriors (21-9), and Jessica Rosalbo added 17 in a losing effort.

Down 19 at one point in the first half, Curtis pulled to within 71-69 with 19 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter on Rosalbo's three-point play.

But on the inbounds pass, Bishop Loughlin found a streaking Colbert deep in the other end for a layup to clinch the win.

Bishop Loughlin led 38-24 at halftime and won despite shooting 18 of 30 from the foul line.

Curtis, from Staten Island, represented the PSAL.

Bishop Loughlin, from Brooklyn in the CHSAA, reached the championship with a 70-58 win over Rochester's East High School in Saturday's semifinal round.

Naz cautiously optimistic it will stay open

March, 23, 2012
As Nazareth’s girls and boys basketball teams head up to Albany to participate in the New York State Federation tournament, it is looking more likely that they will have a school to go back to next year.

On Feb. 8, Nazareth's board of trustees announced that the school would close at the end of the year due to declining attendance and growing debt. However, Principal Providencia Quiles now says everyone is cautiously optimistic that the school will stay open.

"We expect to be open next year,” Quiles said. “Cautiously optimistic is a good way to put it. We have set goals and it looks like we will be able to achieve them. We've gotten so much support from everyone, the students, the parents, the faculty, alumni, and from the community. It’s really been amazing.”

As outlined on the website,, the school needs three do three things by April 15 to stay open. It must enroll 80 freshmen for next year, raise $700,000 to help pay down as much as $3 million in debt, and come up with an operating plan that will keep it sustainable for at least the next four years.

So far, Nazareth has 66 freshmen enrolled in next year’s class, and Quiles is confident the school will be able to come up with the money, but she said that the last part is probably the most important as nobody wants to go through this again.

“If we are open next year it has to mean that we are open for good,” Quiles said. “There is no way that someone can go through this twice in a lifetime."

Quiles also said that the basketball teams, particularly the girls team which has been nationally ranked this season, have had a helping hand in keeping the school alive.

“I think that everyone has had a hand in elevating Nazareth, especially the girls by bringing attention to us through sports," Quiles said. "They have lost so much this year with Apache. It's been a very challenging year for them. We really appreciate everything they have done.”

It has been a challenging year for Nazareth’s girls basketball team. The biggest blow was the death of their head coach Apache Paschall, who was suffering from skin cancer and died of a heart attack in January. The eligibility of four different players was investigated as well.

Members of the faculty seem excited to have put all of that behind them though as they root for both the girls and the boys teams this weekend.

“We are excited to watch both our girls and boys basketball teams go out and try to win state championships,” the school’s guidance counselor Nancy Roberts said. “We are even more excited that they will be back here next year to defend those championships.”

State Federation tournament preview

March, 22, 2012
The New York State Federation tournament takes over Albany this weekend as the best in the state will be crowned. Here's what to look for from the New York City teams in each bracket.

Boys AA
St. Raymond vs. Boys & Girls; Winner vs. Mt. Vernon

THE SKINNY: Mount Vernon is the defending champion and will meet the winner of the St. Raymond vs. Boys & Girls. These two teams met once this season, with St. Raymond winning the game on a last-second shot. This meeting should be another great game as both teams are hot. No matter who wins, Mount Vernon will be a tough out in the final.

Girls AA
Nazareth vs. Cicero-North Syracuse; Winner vs. Murry Bergtraum

THE SKINNY: Nazareth is the favorite here as the defending champion. The Lady Kingsmen are simply the most talented team in the field, although CNS has the best player in Connecticut-bound forward Breanna Stewart. Those two teams meet in the semifinals with the winner getting Murry Bergtraum in the final. The Lady Blazers are the underdogs.

Boys A
Long Island Lutheran vs. Brooklyn Collegiate/Iona Prep vs. Harborfields

THE SKINNY: This is a very competitive field, featuring the defending champion in Long Island Lutheran. Iona Prep has been a solid team all season and certainly could walk away with the title. Brooklyn Collegiate has a tall task with Long Island Lutheran. The final very easily could be Iona Prep taking on Long Island Lutheran in the final and the Gaels certainly have a good chance to win it all.

Girls A
Rochester East vs. Bishop Loughlin; Winner vs. Curtis

THE SKINNY: A new Class A champion will be crowned but the title could be coming back to New York City for the second straight year. Bishop Loughlin has been one of the best teams all season, including the AA, and has to be considered the favorite in this bracket. If it gets by Rochester East, it gets a meeting with Curtis. The Lady Warriors will present a tough challenge in the final for either team.

Boys B
Nazareth vs. Bishop Ludden/Collegiate vs. Pathways Prep

THE SKINNY: This is certainly an intriguing bracket. Collegiate is the four-time defending champion but certainly has its work cut out for it. Its semifinal opponent, Pathways Prep, has one of the top prospects in New York City in Jordan Washington. Nazareth, on the other side of the bracket, is an impressive athletic team that can create problems, if the teams meet. Whoever wins this bracket will certainly have earned its championship.

Girls B
Scholars Academy vs. Long Island Lutheran/Irvington vs. Cardinal O'Hara

THE SKINNY: Long Island Lutheran will look to defend is title and is the favorite in this field. Last year, it bested Irvington in the final and that could be the same case once again. Scholars Academy is back in the bracket once again, after falling to Irvington in the semifinals last year. We'll see if Scholars Academy can change its luck around this time and win the title.