Like all preseason predictions, there is quite an amount of gray area, but here are some reasons for my Bay Shore Athletic League boys basketball predictions.
Even without Andre Wells, Salesian has amazing depth and experience. That makes it the league favorite, in my eyes. Six seniors besides Wells saw a good amount of playing time last season. The Chieftains won the Punahou Holiday Classic on Friday and now have an 8-4 record. Their first two losses occurred while David Singleton, an all-BSAL pick last season, and Wells were still playing football and leading the Chieftain to the North Coast Section Class A championship.
St. Mary’s, though, could win the league title and prove me wrong. They have won five in a row and have a budding star in sophomore Will Brew. It was also impressive how they came back from an 18-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter to defeat Vashon Island-Washington 73-65 in overtime and win the Cactus Jam championship game.
Kennedy and St. Joseph Notre Dame, which are both definitely BSAL contenders, could flip-flop at three and four. But the Eagles have impressed me this season with having a number of go-to players. Brandon Tatum is still the main guy, but Tim Jones, Marvin Boadu and Josh Sims have also showed a penchant for clutch play early in the season.
The Pilots are 9-4 with six sophomores on the roster. It’s interesting to think about how good this team could be when they start to mesh.
Piedmont could be ready to join the upper echelon of the BSAL this season. The Highlanders return three starters and eight players overall, and won nine of their first 11 games this season. After the Highlanders face St. Joseph Notre Dame on Jan. 6, a lot of questions will be answered about both teams.
There has been a lot of buzz about the John Swett team’s improvement this season, but St. Elizabeth seems to consistently field a competitive team year-in and year-out, which helped me to pick the Mustangs sixth. The tallest player on St. Patrick-St. Vincent’s squad is 6-foot-1, and although the Bruins opened this season with a near-.500 record (5-7), the team’s lack of height could cause problems for them as the season progresses. Albany already has a lot of chemistry, as its starting five players all competed on a successful junior varsity team last season. But it is yet to be determined whether that success will translate to the varsity level.