High School Sports
Daily News names Bronx high school basketball all-stars
Boys and girls players of the year in the borough are Shavar Newkirk of Cardinal Hayes and Maria Backman of Cardinal Spellman
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Shavar Newkirk (l.) of Hayes is the boys basketball player of the year in the Bronx.
Coach of the Year: Dwayne Mitchell, Monsignor Scanlan
Mitchell had the winning pedigree after the years he spent as a coach at former powerhouse Rice HS. But he was far from that prestige and success when he took over a Scanlan team that failed to win a single game in the CHSAA ‘B’ division during 2011-’12.
But Mitchell did the unthinkable, reversing course with Scanlan in just one season, going undefeated in division play before winning Class B city and state titles.
The Crusaders rode that momentum into Albany, where they won their first-ever Federation crown by edging fellow Bronx representative Fannie Lou Hamer.
Player of the Year: G Shavar Newkirk, Cardinal Hayes, Jr.
The Bronx is burning with talented high school basketball players, but no one was more impressive this season than Shavar Newkirk, who was the leading scorer for the Cardinals during the CHSAA Class AA regular season, racking up 17.1 points per game.
While the junior guard possesses the type of grit needed to excel in the city, he combines that with excellent composure on the ball. Newkirk is quick and fearless driving to the hoop, consistently willing to take contact in the paint and draw fouls. He’s also a savvy distributor, deftly putting his teammates in position to score.
Newkirk’s 28-point effort in Hayes’ 67-66 win over Molloy in the CHSAA intersectional quarterfinals was one of the more memorable performances of the season, thanks in part to a three-quarter court heave that beat the buzzer at the end of the third quarter and tied the game.
F Bashir Ahmed, JFK, Sr.
JFK’s big man averaged an 24 points and 12 rebounds. With 36 points and 18 boards, he almost led the Knights to a second-round upset in the city playoffs over Cardozo before losing in overtime.
F Jaequan Brown, Wings, Sr.
Brown is one of the most underrated players in the city. Struggling to draw Division I interest, Brown proved he’s more than capable, scoring 14.8 points while grabbing 9.2 boards a game.
G Desure Buie, Wings, Soph.
One of the best young guards around, Buie emerged as a confident floor general for Wings, averaging 10 points and seven assists for a team that reached the PSAL semifinals for the fourth straight year.
G Chris Robinson, Cardinal Hayes, Jr.
Robinson was one of the catalysts for a very talented Hayes squad. He poured in a team-high 23 points in the Cardinals’ CHSAA intersectional semifinal loss to Christ the King.
SECOND TEAM: G Marvilio Berroa, Wings, Sr., G Tory Ferguson, St. Raymond, Jr., F Mustafa Jones, Cardinal Hayes, Jr., C Luis Santos, St. Raymond, Soph., G Tyler Wilson, Cardinal Hayes, Sr.
HONORABLE MENTION: G Yohan Almonte, Gompers, G Domenick Arena, Cardinal Spellman, G Raz Council, All Hallows, G John Dewey, Monsignor Scanlan, G Jaquan McKennon, St. Raymond, G Andrew Utate, Mount St. Michael
GIRLS COACH OF THE YEAR: Jane Morris, Spellman
In her 40th year of coaching, Morris led Spellman to the CHSAA Class A state final for the first time ever.
Morris’ team had to “reinvent” itself after the loss of three senior starters. To compensate, she used 6-2 star Maria Backman down low while also using 5-9 sophomore Niagah Morgan in the paint to allow Backman to roam around the outside occasionally.
Morris also deftly handled an injury to point guard Joy Terado by splitting minutes with junior Danelle Gibson, and mixed in sophomore Jade Dega.
It was a balancing act but it worked, as Morris led the program to a 19-9 record.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: F Maria Backman, Spellman, Jr.
The highly-recruited junior led Spellman to the CHSAA Class A State final for the first time ever.
Backman could do it all, whether she was taking her defender down low or roaming the outside for long-distance threes or even taking her defender off the dribble. Backman, a 6-2 forward, could fill up the basket when she wanted but was also the consummate teammate and coach on the floor, using her high basketball IQ to affect the flow of the game.
She’s also a skilled defender, anchoring Spellman’s zone in the middle with active feet and hands. A gym rat, Backman worked hard to raise the level of her game since she was a raw freshman. College coaches have already taken notice with schools such as St. John’s, Georgetown, Columbia, Pitt and Hofstra recruiting her.
She averaged 26.3 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks to lead the team in each category. She had 22 points and a whopping 12 blocks against Kellenberg in the state semifinals before running into Nazareth in the final.
Cardinal Spellman High School
Cardinal Spellman basketball player Maria Backmanis the girls player of the year in the Bronx.
F Daquana Smith, Truman, Sr.: Smith averaged a double-double, scoring 12 points and hauling in 12 boards a game while posing match-up problems for those who guarded her.
G Amely Del Rosario, JFK, Sr.: As the offensive focal point for Kennedy, she averaged nearly 17 points a game and went off for 31 points against Midwood.
G Danelle Gibson, Spellman, Jr.: Gibson showed flashes of the player she can become, helping to lead Spellman to the state title game while displaying a dependable scoring touch in the paint.
G Karen Bellamy, Wings, Sr.: Bellamy averaged 14.3 points but raised her level for the playoffs, scoring 21 in a loss to Grand Street.
SECOND TEAM: G Lisa Fields, Truman, So., G Aaliyah Mercer, Samuel Gompers, Sr., F Victoria Sorrell, Preston, Sr., F Marika Gordon, Truman, Sr., F Teresa Tartarone, Cardinal Spellman, Jr.
HONORABLE MENTION: F Kwana Brunson, Wings, F Julia Key, Evander Child, F Rachel Lander, Horace Mann, G Kayla Patrick, Monsignor Scanlan, G Alondra Soroa, DeWitt Clinton, G Savannah Stern, Fieldston, Jr.