Queens is known for its prominent high school basketball scene, and two storied area boys hoops programs began play in their respective city championship tournaments this past week.
Despite being the 22nd-ranked team in the 41-team Public School Athletic League tournament, Forest Hills High School, the alma matter of area basketball stars like Ernie Grunfeld and Moe Harkless, pulled off a surprising 71-62 upset of 11-seed Eleanor Roosevelt High School last Thursday in Manhattan.
The Rangers went 10-4 in the Queens West “A” division of the PSAL during the regular season and were led by leading scorers Preston Cheung and Elijah Cokely, both seniors who scored 15 and 16 points-per-game respectively.
Like the regular season, Cheung had no problem scoring, as he led his team with 20 points. Christophe Garcia, the Forest Hills’ best rebounder at 11 boards-per-game, dominated as well. The junior had a game to remember, scoring 16 points and grabbing a stellar 17 rebounds. Jorge Moreno scored 14 points while Cokely chipped in with a double-double of his own, scoring 11 points and snaring 11 rebounds.
The playoffs only get tougher for Forest Hills, as the Rangers earned a date with Grand Street Campus, the Brooklyn West “A” division champions. The two schools were scheduled to square off in Brooklyn on Wednesday night.
In the Catholic High School Athletic Association city tournament, Archbishop Molloy High School, formerly led by two of the most legendary basketball coaches in history, Lou Carnesecca and the late Jack Curran, squared off with top-seed St. Peter’s High School of Staten Island in the quarterfinals of the tournament at Fordham University in the Bronx on Sunday.
Unlike Forest Hills, it was Molloy that came out on the losing end, as they were eliminated by St. Peter’s 79-68. The Stanners fell behind by double digits in the first quarter and never threatened to get back into the game.
Warren D’Ante scored 17 points for Molloy, nearing doubling his season average of nine points-per-game, while Christopher Davis scored 16 points of his own.