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Scholastic Roundup: Tiffany Wu is doubly good

June 21, 2024 Andy Furman
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Midwood High School’s Tiffany Wu is truly outstanding in handball.

The 2023-24 PSAL handball season ended with the individual tournaments — for both boys and girls — along with the inaugural Big Ball Classic during a four-day event at Bayside High School in Queens, last week. Big ball handball is played with a larger, slower ball than “regular” handball.

And, on the girls’ side, it was Midwood’s Wu who proved to be outstanding with the ace handball and the big ball as she dominated the competition to win both the singles individual title in both tournaments.

The boys’ individuals saw John Medina of Bayside defeat Jason Eng from William Bryant with the ace handball. In the boys’ big ball tournament, it was Max Perez from Aviation High School who proved to be the best, defeating David Khatri from William Bryant in the final. Medina, who won the individual title with the regulation small handball, finished third.

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It was Cardozo High School vs. Cardozo High School in the ace ball doubles competition as Jenna Alveari and Anna Lan defeated their teammates Sibo Li and Krisha Patel for the girls’ individual title, with Sukhbir Guru and David Khatri of William Bryant knocking off Jaysen Medina and Noah Conelli from Bayside High School.

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Twelve of the top boys’ singles players along with four of the best boys’ doubles teams hashed it out at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center last week in Queens for the 2023-24 Boys Individual Tennis Championships.

Brooklyn Tech High School’s doubles team of Lukasz Rossochacki and Samuel Ginsberg went undefeated (10-0) during the regular season; and kept their record unblemished by defeating Joel Tapia and Oscar Madejski from Grover Cleveland High School in one semi-final.

The other semifinal saw Alex Pierides and Josiah Tsang from Francis Lewis High School defeat Newtown High’s Prarabdha Shakya and Rohan Shoti.

Tsang went 9-1 during the regular season in doubles while Pierides — a singles player — was 7-3. Pierides and Tsang were not a doubles team during the season.

The Engineers of Brooklyn Tech won 10-8, to claim the 2023-24 PSAL individual doubles championship.

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Metropolitan Campus in Queens hosted the PSAL’s 2023-24 Battle of the Borough Boys’ Volleyball Tournament, last Sunday.

Each of the five boroughs held tryouts and selected teams to represent their respective locales. The five teams played each other in a round-robin style event, with the top two finishers in the standings meeting for the Battle of the Boroughs title.

After round-robin play, the standings:

Queens: 6-2
Bronx: 6-2
Brooklyn: 4-4
Manhattan: 4-4
Staten Island: 0-8

Queens met The Bronx for the eventual title; and with a big spike finish on match point, the championship went to Queens, 27-25.

Aviation High’s Shin Aung was the Tournament MVP, and James Madison High’s Val Pidhoretskyy was named to the five-player All-Tournament Team. Lucas Buckley from John Jay Campus, was named a Game Ball Winner along with four other recipients.

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Two Brooklyn schools, John Jay Campus and Grand Street Campus, met at Yankee Stadium for the 2023-24 PSAL 3A Baseball Championship last week. Both teams participate in the Brooklyn 3A-Southeastern Division, and split the two games they played during the regular season with John Jay winning the first game, 13-0 (May 13). Grand Street got revenge four days after with the Wolves on top, 4-3.

Grand Street did not have a lot of chances with runners on base throughout the game, but the one opportunity they did have was in the fourth inning, when Ernesto Ortiz led off with a walk. He advanced to second on a sacrifice fly to right field by Jose Reyes.

Robert Rodriguez Perez followed with a double to score Ortiz, giving Grand Street Campus a 1-0 lead. They were not finished.

After a passed ball allowing Rodriguez Perez to move to third; Jandel Brito walked, Alvy Serrata singled up-the-middle to score Rodriguez Perez — Grand Street Campus, up 2-0.

Heading into the seventh – and final – inning, the Wolves of Grand Street brought in Hersy Felix to close out the game. Felix’s fastball was too much for the John Jay Jags, as he struck out all three batters.

Grand Street Campus celebrated their first baseball championship since 2012 with their 2-0 win.

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Lafayette High dropped a 6-5 decision to Manhattan’s East Side Community at Staten Island University Hospital Community Park Saturday in the PSAL 2A Championship.

The Patriots of Lafayette — a 14 seed — held East Side Community to just one run on two hits after four innings, behind the strong pitching of John Memoli. In fact, Memoli helped with his bat — he singled through the left side of the infield to score Lafayette’s first run of the game. Willy Pineda drove in a pair of runs in the fourth inning, and it was 4-1 Patriots.

Things started to turn when with two outs, East Side’s DeAngelo Polanco smacked a triple and then scored on a wild pitch in the fifth inning. The Tigers broke through and took the lead in the sixth inning when Omari Williams, Evan McGrath and Andrew Villaran got hits that led to a four-run rally, and saw East Side go from a 4-2 deficit to a 6-4 lead going into the seventh inning.

Lafayette managed to score once in the seventh, but Williams closed out game for East Side with a groundout and East Side was the 2023-24 PSAL 2A baseball champion, with their 6-5 win over Lafayette.

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In the PSAL 1A baseball title game — also staged at Staten Island University Hospital Park, Saturday — No.1 seed Academy of American Studies took on No. 2 seed Louis Brandeis High School.

Nicholas Gonzalez, the Brandeis shortstop, and the battery of catcher Rafael Gonzalez and pitcher Louis Gonzalez IV helped to dominate the Academy of American Studies, 15-0 for the title.

Gonzalez IV held Academy of American Studies to just one hit in a complete seven-inning performance, striking out 15 Eagles’ hitters as well in the win.

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Hank Lam, the ageless PSAL wonder — he is 70-plus and continues to officiate high school basketball — recently read Mike Hipscher’s PSAL basketball note in last week’s Scholastic Roundup.

“I have been a long-time follower of New York City high school basketball,” Lam writes, “And I have articles to verify what I am stating.”

In 1960, Boys high defeated Wingate High School, 62-59, in the PSAL semifinals of the New York City Basketball Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. “Many people who were there, and saw it,” Lam continued, “said it was the greatest high school basketball game ever played.”

Connie Hawkins scored 18 points in the win, and Roger Brown scored 39 in the Wingate loss, Lam said.

Boys High went on to play the other semi-final winner, Columbus High School of The Bronx, for the PSAL Championship. Boys High won 21-15 as Columbus tried to slow down the Kangaroos, according to Lam.

Columbus was coached by Roy Rubin, who went on to become the head coach at Long Island University. “They had a great player (Larry Kessler), who was first-team PSAL All-City, along with Brown, Hawkins, Bob Barnek (Fort Hamilton) and another Columbus player, Ronnie Miller,” Lam said.

In 1962, Boys High defeated Wingate, 50-45 to win the PSAL Basketball Championship. Both Hawkins and Brown were gone by then, Lam, notes. Boys High had some great players, he said — Vaughn Harper, Sam Penceal, Butch Murdaugh, to name a few. Wingate’s top scorer, Haskell Garrett, was held to eight points in the Kangaroos’ win.

“I just wanted to set the record straight,” Lam said.

Andy Furman is a Fox Sports Radio national talk show host. Previously, he was a scholastic sports columnist for the Brooklyn Eagle. He may be reached at: [email protected] ; Twitter: @AndyFurmanFSR


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