Leading off today:
There is a tie for New York's highest boys basketball honor for the second time in three years. Jabarie Hinds, a senior guard at Mount Vernon, and Long Island Lutheran wing player Achraf Yacoubou are the co-winners of the Mr. Basketball Award
, The Journal News reported Wednesday.
The Basketball Coaches Association of New York presents the award each year. This year's other finalists for the award were Rice's Jermaine Sanders and Abraham Lincoln's Shaquille Stokes.
Brandon Triche (Jamesville-DeWitt) and Lance Stephenson (Abraham Lincoln) shared the award in 2009. Tobias Harris of Half Hollow Hills West was the 2010 recipient. In 2006, Jonathan Mitchell became the first Mount Vernon play to be selected Mr. Basketball.
Hinds has signed to play next season for West Virginia; Yacoubou is headed for Villanova.
NYC finals set: For pure name-recognition value, you can't do much better than these finalists for the New York City large-school boys basketball finalists: Rice, Christ the King, Boys & Girls and Abraham Lincoln.
Those are Sunday's combatants in the CHSAA and PSAL championship games.
Cincinnati recruit Jermaine Sanders scored 11 points in a 90-second stretch of the third quarter and finished with 30 for the night as Rice (19-9) edged Holy Cross 55-52 in the semifinals Wednesday at St. John's University.
The Raiders will be paired against Christ the King, the defending Federation champion in Class AA. Rice, which won its sixth Federation crown in 16 seasons in 2009, will be looking to avenge a 67-54 loss to CTK in their Feb. 5 meeting.
The Royals (21-6) escaped the semifinals with a 70-67 victory over St. Raymond on Wednesday as point guard Corey Edwards hit a big 3-pointer with 31 seconds left and added two key free throws in overtime. Edwards scored 10 of his 16 points over a stretch starting late in the fourth quarter and extending through OT, and Omar Calhoun contributed a game-high 23 points.
The PSAL final pairs up Lincoln and Boys & Girls, the defending champ, for the third time in four years. Lincoln swept their regular-season series this winter.
Freshman guard Isaiah Whitehead scored four of Lincoln's last six points and ripped down a clutch rebound in the closing moments as the Railsplitters (28-2) edged Cardozo 56-54 at City College of New York. Senior Shaquille Stokes scored 18 of his 22 points in the first half for Lincoln, which has won three Federation championships since 2003.
Boys & Girls advanced by defeating Wings Academy 53-48 with tight fourth-quarter defense and 22 points from Malik Nichols. The Kangaroos welcomed back guard Mike Taylor after the Rutgers recruit sat out six games due to academic issues.
The final is Sunday at 1 p.m. at Madison Square Garden.
NYC finals set: There were two big comebacks from first quarter deficits Wednesday as Section 5 held post-sectional qualifiers for spots in the NYSPHSAA quarterfinals at Blue Cross Arena.
When Irondequoit gave up the first 13 points of the Class AA game, it looked as though the Eagles were going to end up on the wrong end of the final score against their new No. 1 sports rival. Rush-Henrietta had pounded the Eagles 46-7 in the qualifier for the state football playoffs back on Nov. 5 and the basketball teams had traded road victories during the Monroe County League season.
"It's a great team," 6-foot-8 senior center Josiah Heath said. "Most of the time, it's a knockout blow."