Brooklyn AA division ready for wild second half

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The depth of the Public School Athletic League’s Brooklyn AA division will make for a wild second-half of the basketball season.

Just to give you a taste of what is possible, take a moment to wrap your mind around this: Boys & Girls, which has just two league wins in seven tries, lost to division leader Thomas Jefferson by just one point (77–76) before the Christmas break. This is the same Orange Wave team that nearly beat the nation’s second-ranked team at the City of Palms Classic. South Shore, which is .500, would be undefeated if it managed just 13 more points over three games.

Pundits have recently called the AA division the city’s best for good reason, and despite Jefferson’s so-far undefeated season, there is more parity than ever before. A new challenger is emerging and an old power is undergoing a revival in a league recently dominated by Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson, and Boys & Girls.

George Westinghouse was a Class A school just five years ago. The Warriors (9–1) currently sit in second place — thanks to Damarri Moore and Akeem Tate’s length and athleticism. Moore is averaging a double-double at 10 points and 10 rebounds a contest, and Tate is averaging 16.7 points per game. And classmate Arsheen Jones could be the key to Westhingho­use’s season.

“The team is confident that we are a good team,” Warriors coach Everett Kelly said after beating Lincoln. “We have a lot of new guys. It’s still matter of understanding if we play together, we can win. We have good pieces that complement each other. If we play as a team, we’ll win. We have enough threats to win.”

Westinghouse is certainly the new kid on the block. Robeson, on the other hand, is a former city power that has produced Division-I players such as current coach Todd Myles, Allen Griffin, Shamel Jones, and Gary Ervin. The Eagles are back in the division title picture after four losing seasons. It has already beaten Lincoln and faces Westinghouse at home on Jan. 8 with second place on the line. Myles is right to think his club is a potential sleeper in the city’s title battle.

“I think we are back,” Myles said.

The big reason is Robeson’s 6-foot-7 senior center Issac Kante, who is averaging 17.8 points and 10.6 rebounds a game in league play. He has scholarship offers from mid-major colleges like Iona and St. Francis College among others. Konte is the team’s star, but it has plenty of other weapons. Three Robeson players reached double figures in a win over Construction last weekend.

“We have a balanced attack,” Myles said.

Brooklyn AA is a more balanced division than in recent years — Shamorie Ponds and Jefferson have the lead for now, but no team is safe.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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