Love them, or hate them, the Bishop-Kearney Kings did what they said they were going to do, or what everybody else thought they were going to do, win the New York State Public High School Athletic Association State Championship at the highest level, Class AA.
Of course the irony is, Bishop Kearney is a private school. Bishop-Kearney captured its first State Championship in 2009 in Class B. In 2012 they reached the State semi-finals in Class A before being eliminated by Harborfields from Section XI.
With four starters coming back from last year’s team and the addition of 6’11” Junior Godspower Ogide in the off-season, Kearney requested to move up to AA this season.
The move was the right one, as Kearney would now have one of the largest frontcourts in Section V history with Ogide joining 6’9” Sophomore Thomas Bryant & 6’10” Senior Chinonso Obokoh.
Obokoh will be attending Syracuse University next season on a basketball scholarship and Bryant is currently ranked #3 in the nation for Sophomore basketball recruits by Scout.com a national recruiting service. Obokoh is ranked by Scout.com as the 26th best center in the 2013 recruiting class.
And the talent doesn’t stop there, Antwoine Anderson a 6’1 senior guard is a D1 recruit and 6’3” senior forward Alvin English was Rochester City Athletic All-Star at Wilson as a sophomore before transferring to Kearney prior to last season. He is being recruited by mid-majors.
With all the talent and expectations going into the season Coach Jon Boon and company put together a brutal “National Schedule” that saw the Kings traveling all over the country playing in national tournaments.
In the early going Kearney took its lumps and even lost to two local schools and at one point with Obokoh injured and with a 5-7 record it looked as if they might not even make it out of Section V let alone win a state championship. After two losses in Ohio that left them at 5-7 the players had a meeting and decided it was time to “Take care of business” and they did just that - they won 12 games in a row, along the way they won a Section V championship, Far Western Regional Championship and the New York State Championship.
This weekend they’ll play for the Federation Championship. But before they even play in the Federation Tournament, I think it’s safe to say that they are the “Kings of New York."
The latest NYSSWA Set of basketball Rankings came out last night, Bishop-Kearney is currently ranked #4 out of the top 30 AA teams in New York State, Kearney has wins this season over #6 Troy-II, #8 New Rochelle-I, #15 Webster-Schroeder-V, #20 Jamestown-VI, & #26 Niagara Falls. In Class A, the #1 Ranked team in the state is Albany Academy who Kearney defeated 63-41 earlier this season.
They also defeated one of the top teams in New Jersey St. Peters Prep who lost in the NJSIAA Non-Public A Final. This weekend they’ll play the #2 ranked team in the state when they play legendary Christ the King ( 26-3) if they win they’d play either #1 Long Island Lutheran or #3 Abraham Lincoln for the Federation Championship.
The teams they lost to were no cupcakes either. Losses to #5 Canisius, #19 Mt. Vernon, #15 Webster Schroeder, #26 Niagara Falls, St. Edward Ohio, Hoover Ohio, & Fairport who is Honorable Mention in AA.
People in Section V don’t like Bishop Kearney because they are a private school who can recruit players from all over Section V, New York State and the country.
They play by their own rules.
However I will say this: They challenge themselves and don’t make things easy for themselves. By all rights they’re a Class C school playing in the largest classification New York State offers, and they are successful. They’re playing the best competition available.
The forums on http://sectionv.talksback.com have been on fire all season long, many posts blasting Bishop Kearney, their coach Jon Boon and Section V. Kearney has been the Hot Topic on Twitter and Facebook all season long, the talk in the local coffee shops. The reactions from people on social media Sunday afternoon after Kearney won the State Championship was anything but congratulations.
If Bishop-Kearney is successful this weekend and win the NYS Federation Title they be recognized as the best boys basketball team in New York State.
I don’t know what the future holds for Bishop Kearney, if Bryant sticks around two more years Kearney could be the Kings of New York for a few more years and beyond.
(Bill Collmer is a bogger and sports writer for Gatehouse Media's New York newspapers and a co-founder of sectionv.talksback.com)