I’m taking a bit of a break from work the next couple days, which, unfortunately, means I’ll miss Saturday’s quarterfinals in the CHSAA. I’ll be somewhere on a mountain in the snow, putting myself in dangerous spots like this and trying to escape without hurting myself.
Seven local Catholic schools remain in the “A” and “B” intersectional quarterfinals, but only two will meet: Stepinac and Fordham. The winner will likely play Mount St. Michael on Tuesday at Spellman in what will be the area’s biggest non-Section 1 game of the season.
Before then, let’s take a peek — and a stab — at this weekend’s matchups:
“A” Intersectional Playoffs
At Mount St. Michael, Bronx:
Mount St. Michael vs. Monsignor McClancy, 11 a.m. — Despite being the top seed from the toughest league and the team most deserving of a top seed, Mount earned a very tough playoff draw. Yes, the Mount earned a bye into this round, but McClancy is a relatively challenging opponent. Although Mount won the only head to head meeting 77-54, that was back on Dec. 7. This should be closer. McClancy has improved, winning eight of its last 11, but still won’t be on the level of Mount, the tournament favorite. The backcourt of Peter Aguilar, Malik Gill and Clarence White are too athletic and tough. The pick? Mount 71, McClancy 59
Stepinac vs. Fordham Prep, 3 p.m. — Stepinac’s season has been remarkable in a sense. When the Crusaders win, they win in bunches. But same goes when they lose. In fact, they haven’t won fewer than two straight or lost fewer than two straight all season. Everything’s a streak. Well, Stepinac seems to be on one of its good runs lately thanks to the improved play and leadership from its seniors. It also already has a 55-49 win at Fordham that came during a six-game winning streak in mid-January. Something tells me Stepinac’s season will be defined, good or bad, by its third meeting with Mount, and that’ll come Tuesday. This may be ugly, but every win looks beautiful this time of year. The pick? Stepinac 59, Fordham 52
Iona Prep vs. St. Edmund’s, 6 p.m. — Don’t let the seeds fool you. Yes, Iona is the fourth seed out of A-North and St. Edmund’s is the top seed out of A-South, but they were locked in a 57-55 game back on Jan. 2, a game where Edmund’s prevailed. But the Brooklyn-based school is just 7-6 since, while Iona, despite its record, has absolutely improved. This game is basically a toss-up, but I think Iona’s tougher schedule has prepared it to advance. The pick? Iona Prep 51, St. Edmund’s 50
“B” Intersectional Playoffs
At Salesian, New Rochelle:
Salesian vs. Cathedral, 12 p.m. — The pick? This one’s easy. Salesian hasn’t lost a game to a CHSAA B team all season. The Eagles won their two head to head meetings with Cathedral by a combined 70 points. Something tells me it won’t be “third time’s a charm” for Cathedral. The pick? Salesian 74, Cathedral 40
Blessed Sacrament vs. St. Agnes, 1:30 p.m. — It’s been a difficult season for the Cardinals, who have won just twice in 2011. One of their losses came to St. Agnes, 58-51, on Feb. 16. It will have been 10 days ago, but it was the last game for both teams. Hard to believe anything will change, right? The pick? St. Agnes 66, Blessed Sacrament 60
Sacred Heart vs. Monsignor Scanlan, 4:45 p.m. — Two teams in the B division would be co-contenders for the championship if it weren’t for defending champ Salesian. Nazareth would be one, but Sacred Heart would be the other. The Irish, which beat Edgemont, Saunders, Tuckahoe and Gorton and lost close games to Blind Brook and Rye, have impressed more than one Section 1 coach, especially dynamic guard D’Andre McPhatter. The senior and his Sacred Heart team has also beat Scanlan twice, winning by 21 and 27 points. Same goes, here. The pick? Sacred Heart 66, Scanlan 40