Leading off today:
Junior guard Devonte Green scored a game-high 23 points and played a key role on defense as Long Island Lutheran defeated Thomas Jefferson 75-62 on Sunday in a matchup of the state's top two boys basketball teams in Queens.
Long Island Lutheran is ranked first and Thomas Jefferson second by the New York State Sportswriters Association. LuHi was coming off a win Saturday against Albany Academy, ranked No. 2 in Class A.
Green limited Jefferson Shamorie Ponds to 16 points, nearly 10 under his average for the top PSAL team. Ponds scored 44 points against Cardinal Hayes and 37 vs. Abraham Lincoln this season.
"I think what all the top rated guys have in common is we can all score," Green told MSG Varsity. "But I think my defense stands out and it's what makes me better than some of the other players."
Said LuHi coach John Buck: "He has so many tools to be a great defender. Slowly, but surely, he's becoming that. He's tremendous when he puts his mind to it."
Green limited Ponds to just three first-half points as the Crusaders built a 35-24 lead, but Ponds scored four second-half points before a second ticked off the clock, making all the free throws after two LuHi players were assessed technical fouls four dunking during warmups. Ponds then scored while getting fouled and made another bucket to tie the game at 38 with 4:50 left in the third quarter.
From there, LuHi went on an 18-2 burst and carried a 58-43 lead into the fourth quarter. Jefferson could not get the gap under nine the rest of the way.
"It was a good test for the guys," Buck said. "They answered it."
More boys basketball: With teammate Rawle Alkins weakened by the flu, Christ the King guard Jose Alvarado scored 25 points to lead the Royals to a 76-64 victory over Cardozo.
Christ the King, the reigning Federation champion, is ranked seventh in Class AA by the NYSSWA. Cardozo, the defending PSAL champ, is ranked fifth.
"It's hard playing sick, but he said don't worry about me, just play the game," Alvarado said of Alkins, who scored nine points after being blanked in the first half. "Everybody wants to have a game like that every game, but it was just a good game for me tonight."
Alvarado made two free throws following a foul with a second left and two more following a technical foul to give the Royals the 34-30 halftime lead. After allowing a 3-pointer to open the third quarter, Christ the King went on a 14-0 run.
"I thought that because I have so many guys, that they got worn down a little bit and we were able to go on that run in the third," Christ the King coach Joe Arbitello told The Daily News. "I'm a lucky guy, I've got Division I guys coming off the bench. So on a day when Rawle doesn't play great, we've got guys stepping up."
Big performances: Rai Benjamin of Mount Vernon beat two national champions in the 400 meters on Saturday at the Hispanic Games at The Armory. The UCLA recruit clocked 47.76 seconds to beat New Balance Indoor champion Richard Rose of Boys & Girls (:48.66) and New Balance Outdoor champ Josephus Lyles of Virginia (:48.76).
Benjamin was one of 10 winners to move to No. 1 on the U.S. high school list for the indoor season.
Among them was Greenwich senior Jeremy Spiezio, who moved to No. 6 on the state's all-time indoor list for the mile with a win in 4:10.92 to qualify for the Millrose Games. Conor Lundy of Fordham Prep (4:12.09) and Mike