Wednesday night should be a fun doubleheader at the CYP. If you’re looking for the tri-state’s best basketball talent, much of it is expected to be packed in the Our Lady of Mercy gym. Not a bad deal for $5.
Lincoln’s Isaiah Whitehead may be worth two or three times alone. If the Brooklyn-bred guard can lead his Gauchos over Frenji and to victory in Thursday’s final, he might join a very exclusive list. The reigning tournament MVP could be only the third two-time MVP in 68 years. The others? Dean “The Dream” Meminger (1966-67) and Bill Goodwin (1978-79).
So, yeah. There’s your $5 well-spent.
PORT CHESTER – Frenji played in fits and starts in its CYP Tournament debut on Tuesday — a byproduct, perhaps, of having three players 6-foot-10 or taller and playing in the basketball equivalent of a shoebox.
The Greenburgh-based team pulled away to beat Playmaker Academy 88-68. Still, something other than that mountainous front line slowed Frenji down, according to its coach.
“I think they got distracted knowing that they could play the Gauchos,” Frenji’s Tom Sampogna said. “It’s like must-see TV.”
Frenji will have its chance in Wednesday night’s semifinals after a throwback Gauchos entry won its quarterfinal 88-77 over Connecticut Select. The Gauchos have not won the CYP since a run of three straight from 2003-05, but Frenji will be forced to contend with a loaded roster that includes Lincoln’s Isaiah Whitehead (New York’s “Mr. Basketball”), who had 29 points Tuesday, and Bishop Loughlin’s Khadeem Carrington, who, along with Whitehead, is committed to Seton Hall.
“I think it’ll be fun,” Sampogna said. “What we bring up against that talent, on a small court, anything can happen. Technically, we’re the hometown team. Hopefully, they play with a little bit of pride. And if we pick up one or two more pieces who weren’t here tonight, I think that can be a factor.”
Frenji had hoped its roster would include Dobbs Ferry’s Eric Paschall and Greenburgh’s Donovan Mitchell, but both had academic commitments at their prep schools. Sampogna expects to add Christ the King’s Rawle Altkins, one of the country’s top sophomores, and 7-2 Providence-bound Paschal Chukwu of Fairfield Prep.
Frenji’s roster on Tuesday featured several locals: White Plains’ Mike DeMello and Jordan Tucker, Stepinac’s Naim Thomas and Damarcus Miller and New Rochelle’s Derek Dorn. Miller, a junior, had 12 off the bench, and Tucker, a 6-6 freshman, scored 11. Trinity Catholic senior Tremaine Frasier led Frenji with 18.
The semifinals will tip-off at 7:15 Wednesday night when the Panthers, the defending champs, play The City. Frenji and the Gauchos will follow at 8:30, with the winners advancing to Thursday night’s 7:30 final.