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September 25, 2008This year's iS8/Nike Tip-Off Fall Classic in Jamaica & Brooklyn, NY contains the largest field ever as 60 teams compete for the number one spot. Two teams from each division advance into the first round of the playoffs which start on Oct. 7th. As we head into the back end of the iS8's regular season, NYC Hoops takes a look at each division and who's in and who is probably out, division by division.
The once mighty Shooting Stars (1-2) who were back-to-back defending champs, are now hoping to squeak into the playoff in second place. Long Island's Team Underrated (3-0) or N.Y.A.B.C f/k/a Team Odom (1-0), with Sean Johnson, look to have the best shots to win their division.
New Heights (2-0), with the dynamic duo of Ashton Pankey and Devon Collier, seems to be the dominant force in the East but the always dangerous Playaz Club Sophs have yet to play a game yet. The Bunky Reid All-stars (2-1), with the deadly outside shooter, Paris Abrams, can also get into the playoff in second place if they continue their winning ways.
This division is an extremely tight race and loaded with talent with the Juice All-stars (1-1), with Lance Stephenson, Unique All-stars (2-1), with Tobias Harris and the dark horse, Lehigh Valley Elite Heat (1-1), with the spoiler in 6-foot-10 Brett Roseboro.
A key match-up will be when the Unique All-stars face-off against the Elite heat on Sunday.
The NY Panthers (3-0), with the freshman point guard Sterling Gibbs, seem to have a lock on first place but the sometimes lethal Rhode Island Breakers (1-1) are now in town and ready to play. Look for a second place battle between them and the Brooklyn Ballers (2-1), featuring Lamount Samuell.
The J.R. All-stars (3-0), with Isiah Stokely, look to reclaim their championship throne which seems to be all but vacated as they clinch their division. Second place is a toss up between the Playaz Club Srs. (2-2), Next Level (2-2), and the Gauchos "B" (1-2). The second place winner will probably be the team that beats up on Keep Your Dreams Alive (0-2) the worst and gains the point spread advantage.
First place in this division is for the Playaz Club Jrs. (2-0) to lose as The Vill (1-1), with Lamont "Mo-Mo" Jones, and the L.I.'s Rising Stars (2-1), with Josh Elbaum, fight for the second place spot. Long Island's NY Elite (0-1) with Lebrent Walker and Chris Hampton have a shot at placing second and an outside shot at winning their division
First place in the North is tighter than it appears as Starret City (2-0) has a slim lead with the Gauchos "A" (3-1), with Durand Scott, and the D.C. Eagles (2-1) hot on their trail.
The MetroHawks are back to their winning ways and have all but clinched the south except for the fact that the Connecticut Basketball Club has yet to play and could single handedly change the balance of power. Real Scout (2-1), with Mike Poole, also have a shot at 1st or second depending on the next couple of weeks.
Black Division (High School)
The Black Division is black and white. New Rochelle (4-0), with John Calarco, has clinched first place and Boys & Girls HS (3-1), with Mike Taylor, has clinched second. End of story.
Red Division (High School)
It looks like Mt. Vernon (2-0), with Sherrod Wright, is a wrap to win the division but don't count out the Rangers (2-0). Bishop Ford (1-1), with Chaz Williams, and Team Rebound are duking it out for second place.
Green Division (High School)
Princeton Day Academy (4-0), a team from Maryland featuring John Underwood, has clinched first place in the Green Division while Wings Academy (3-1), with DeShaun Wiggins and Mike Buffalo, and Team Tex (2-1) vie for the second place spot.
Yellow Division (High School)
At the moment, Bishop Loughlin (2-0), with Jayvaughn Pinkston, dominates the yellow division but Iona Prep, who's games were not forfeited and will be made up, could change things. Bayshore HS (1-1) have an outside shot at placing as does Bayside HS (0-1).
As always, the semifinals games and the championship game will be available on demand on the
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