NYC girls basketball power rankings: Preseason
No. 1 Nazareth
Is there a better team in the country? There’s not a better team in the city, that’s for sure. Led by standouts Brianna Butler, Darius Faulk and Bianca Cuevas, the Lady Kingsmen are ranked No. 7 in the country by USA Today and the overwhelming favorites to win a second straight New York State Federation Class AA title.
No. 2 Mary Louis
With George Mason-bound Reana Mohamed, Jasmine Nwajel and freshmen Mei Lyn Bautista and Jordan Agustus, there’s high expectations in Jamaica Estates this year for The Mary Louis Academy.
No. 3 Christ the King
Even though Bria Smith is now at Louisville and Nia Oden is at Illinois, don’t count out the Royals, not with sophomore Sierra Calhoun, one of the top players in the city and Adelphi-bound knockdown shooter Lauren Nuss back.
No. 4 Murry Bergtraum
The Lady Blazers streak of 13 consecutive PSAL Class AA titles is in jeopardy and Ed Grezinsky’s squad has already dropped its first two games of the season. UNC Charlotte-bound Shequana Harris and her teammates will play for teammate Tayshana (Chiken) Murphy, who was killed in September.
No. 5 South Shore
A year after losing to Murry Bergtraum in the title game at Madison Square Garden, led by VCU-bound Janice Winter and Marshall commit Fannnisha Price, Anwar Gladden’s girls are poised to take that next step
No. 6 Bishop Ford
With UTEP-bound Shanice Vaughan and junior sensation Aaliyah Lewis joining an improved frontcourt, the Falcons could make some noise in the CHSAA if they can play more consistently than last year.
No. 7 Moore Catholic
The Mavericks went 71-11 the last three years, but return just one starter in Iona College commit Christina Rubin. Good thing Lafayette signee Jamie O’Hare made the jump from St. Peter’s after the perennial powerhouse closed its doors in June.
No. 8 Archbishop Molloy
New coach Scott Lagas wants the Stanners to play up-tempo on both sides of the court. That’s just fine with the tandem of Carolyn Gallagher and Amani Tatum, one of the better one-two punches in the city.
No. 9 John F. Kennedy
O’Neil Glenn has all the ingredients – depth, experience and versatility – to make a deep playoff run. Leshauna Phinazee, Joyalevern McFarland, Deaisia Acklin and Chelsea Custodio return from a team that lost to Bergtraum by three in the semifinals a year ago.
No. 10 Francis Lewis
Returning starters Jazmine Hamlet, Jasmine Davis and Tyese Purvis are still smarting over last year’s 21-point loss to South Shore in the PSAL semifinals. That’s the added motivation this year.
No. 11 Bishop Loughlin
Senior point guard Nyree Alston, coach Kasim Alston’s daughter, Ayana Ratliff, Imani Tate and Jasmine Alston are looking for some respect. A victory over the weekend against Murry Bergtraum is a good start.
No. 12 Benjamin Banneker
No one made a louder statement out of the gate than Banneker, which handed Bergtraum its first league loss since 2008-09 when the Warriors pulled out a 51-44 win a week ago. Africa Williams, who had 25 points, nine rebounds and five blocks, is anxious to prove that was no fluke.
No. 13 Truman
Emonni Cropper, who transferred in from Brooklyn Collegiate, will miss the season with a torn ACL, but Krystal Pearson, a 5-foot-10 swingman, can score like nobody’s business and she’s joined by transfers Joella Gibson and Lynda Fields as well as Daquana Smith on a Mustangs team that has high expectations.
No. 14 Cardinal Spellman
Troi Melton has graduated and is now at Boston University, but Onia Webb still has one season left before she bolts for Northeastern and, along with junior guard Joye Tirado and sophomore Maria Backman, the Pilots are a solid squad.
No. 15 St. John Villa
Almost everyone is back, including the backcourt of Dorothy O’Neill and Danielle Iacampo, for a quick high-scoring team that finished third on Staten Island and defeated St. Francis Prep in the postseason.