The girls CHSAA Class AA State tournament begins on Wednesday with Nazareth looking to defend its crown. We asked our staff of Matt Ehalt and Rob Abruzzese to dissect the brackets and predict who will win.
Brooklyn/Queens 1: Christ the King
Brooklyn/Queens 2: Bishop Ford
Brooklyn/Queens 3: Nazareth
Brooklyn/Queens 4: Molloy
Archdiocesan 1: Moore Catholic
Rockville Centre 1: St. Anthony's
Rockville Centre 2: St. John the Baptist
Christ the King--Bye
Nazareth vs. St. John the Baptist
Moore Catholic vs. Bishop Ford
St. Anthony's vs. Nazareth
WHO IS THE TEAM TO BEAT?
EHALT: ST. ANTHONY'S: Nazareth has been slipping lately and St. Anthony's is on a roll. While Nazareth might have been the better team over the course of the season, I don't like how they've played recently. St. Anthony's also demolished Bishop Ford earlier this year.
ABRUZZESE: NAZARETH:The Lady Kingsmen were stunned in the city playoffs, but they still have the most talent of any team in the state and will be motivated to show that they are the best in the State tournament.
WHICH TEAM IS ON UPSET ALERT?
EHALT: MOORE CATHOLIC: This is due to its matchup. Despite being the Archdiocesan champion, it draws Bishop Ford in the quarterfinals. The Lady Falcons are a tough game for any team in this bracket and Moore Catholic has to face them in its first game.
ABRUZZESE: MOORE CATHOLIC: It's hard to see Moore making it past the semifinals as it draws Bishop Ford in the quarters and then it doesn't get any easier as it will face the winner of Molloy/St. Anthony's in th semis.
WHICH TEAM IS THE SLEEPER?
EHALT: CHRIST THE KING: I don't think Christ the King is going to be picked by many people to win this tournament but they have shown that they have the ability to do so. You don't beat teams like Bishop Loughlin, Nazareth and Bishop Ford in a row without being a talented team capable of making a run.
ABRUZZESE: MOLLOY: Molloy is a team with a good coach and a lot of talent. It has a very tough quarterfinal opponent in St. Anthony's, but if it can get past that round it may end up in the finals.
WHAT'S THE BEST QUARTERFINAL?
EHALT: BISHOP FORD VS. MOORE CATHOLIC: I'm looking forward to seeing how this matchup plays out between two of the top teams in New York City. After the great season both of them have had, only one of the will be alive for the semifinals.
ABRUZZESE: MOLLOY VS. ST. ANTHONY'S: This is the two teams that are the most closely matched in the quarters. Either team can easily find itself in the finals too so keep an eye on this game.
WHAT'S THE BEST POTENTIAL SEMIFINAL?
EHALT: CK VS. NAZARETH: This one is easy. These are two rivals who would love nothing more than to knock the other team out. Last season, Nazareth defeated CK for the title and CK just knocked Nazareth out of the Brooklyn/Queens tournament. This should be a battle.
ABRUZZESE: CK VS. NAZARETH:There is not a lot of love between these two teams and they would be facing each other for the fourth time this season. Look for Nazareth to be out for revenge and CK will be trying to show its win in the city playoffs was not a fluke.
WHAT'S THE FINAL AND WHO WINS:
EHALT: ST. ANTHONY'S OVER NAZARETH: I'll take the two most talented teams in the bracket in the final and then take the team playing the better ball. Nazareth just has not been the same team down the stretch and I think a St. Anthony team that's hot will defeat it.
ABRUZZESE: NAZARETH OVER BISHOP FORD: Nazareth doesn't lack for motivation in this tournament. It always feels like it has a target on its back anyway and this will be a revenge tour of sorts as it felt slighted by both CK and Ford after the death of its head coach Apache Paschall back in January.
YOUR TOURNAMENT PICKS?
EHALT: Nazareth over St. John the Baptist; Ford over Moore Catholic; St. Anthony's over Molloy; Nazareth over Christ the King; St. Anthony's over Bishop Ford.
ABRUZZESE: Nazareth over St. John the Baptist; Ford over Moore; St. Anthony's over Molloy; Nazareth over CK; Ford over St. Anthony's.