First, here’s a story I wrote for today’s paper:
With competitive balance in some divisions waning and Rice High School scheduled to close its doors, CHSAA basketball reconsidered its league’s structure for the 2011-12 season. The result is a reshuffled deck in the New York Archdiocesan that will send Mount St. Michael, Stepinac and Fordham Prep to the AA division alongside longtime powers St. Raymond and All Hallows.
“The A league had gotten too big and the AA kept getting smaller and smaller, so we needed to balance up the leagues,” said Fordham Prep coach Kevin Pigott, the CHSAA chairman of the Archdiocesan of New York.
Three of the teams that will move up to AA were dominant in A last season: champion Mount St. Michael, runner-up Cardinal Hayes and semifinalist and 2010 champion Stepinac. Those three were all in the same division of the league A, along with Iona Prep, which joined them in the league’s semis.
Meanwhile, the CHSAA’s vaunted AA division had dwindled to just three teams. Rice’s closure would’ve left it at just two.
Pigott said the Archdiocesan will tweak the format if somehow Rice reopens rather than return to its previous system.
“We were going to do this even with Rice,” Pigott said.
The coaches from all 11 AA and A schools in the Archdiocesan voted to power rank the teams with the top six falling into AA and the next five into A. Mount St. Michael was voted third, Stepinac fourth, Fordham Prep sixth and Iona Prep seventh.
Every team in the new AA league will play its league opponents home-and-home. It will also play the two AA teams from Staten Island — St. Peter’s and Monsignor Farrell — twice and two teams rated similarly in the Brooklyn-Queens AA division. For example, Mount St. Michael and Stepinac will play Xaverian and Holy Cross, which are third and fourth, respectively, in their league.
The Archdiocesan’s A teams will have a slightly different schedule. They will play each league opponent twice and each of the four teams from the Brooklyn-Queens A league and Staten Island’s two A teams — St. Joseph by the Sea and Moore Catholic — twice apiece.
The reaction from coaches has been mixed, according to Pigott, who said teams will be power rated every offseason to ensure competitive balance.
“My non-league schedule now becomes my league schedule,” said Stepinac coach Tim Philp, who is a proponent of the restructured league. “I just think the better the competition for your program will just make you better.”
Now, here’s a look at the CHSAA’s 2011-12 power rankings —
New York Archdiocesan
1. St. Raymond
2. Cardinal Hayes
3. Mount St. Michael
5. All Hallows
6. Fordham Prep
7. Iona Prep
10. Cardinal Spellman
11. La Salle
1. Christ the King
2. Bishop Loughlin
4. Holy Cross
5. Archbishop Molloy
6. St. Francis Prep
1. Bishop Ford
2. Monsignor McClancy
3. St. Edmund’s
4. St. John’s Prep
Staten Island —
1. St. Peter’s
2. Monsignor Farrell
3. St. Joe’s by the Sea
4. Moore Catholic