Long Island Lutheran players celebrate a 51-31 win against Christ...

Long Island Lutheran players celebrate a 51-31 win against Christ the King in the New York State Federation Tournament of Champions Class AA boys basketball final on Saturday, March 23, 2019, in Glens Falls. Credit: Hans Pennink

The annual New York State Federation Basketball Tournament of Champions, which crowns an overall state champ in games pitting the state public school, Catholic school, private school and New York City PSAL winners, will return after three years of cancellations.

The state Federation canceled the 2020 and 2021 tournaments — scheduled to be played at Fordham University — because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 2022 tourney wasn’t played because Fordham was dealing with changing vaccination requirements and no alternative site could be secured.

The 2023 Tournament of Champions will be hosted in the Capital Region (Section II) by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, the governing body for all state public schools outside New York City.

The games will be played March 25 and 26 at three venues: Guilderland High, Shaker High and Shenendehowa High. It will produce boys and girls champions in the AA, A and B enrollment classifications.

“The desire to have the tournament was strong among all the [state associations],” said Don Buckley, the former St. Anthony’s athletic director who now serves on the state Catholic High School Athletic Association executive board. “Thank goodness these three high schools stepped to the fore and volunteered to host.”

Buckley added that the Federation could determine a site for its 2024 boys and girls basketball championships in the coming months.

“The Federation has been a great tournament,” Nassau/Suffolk CHSAA president Ralph Dalton of St. John the Baptist said. “It’s a big deal. You want to be able to say your team was the best in the sport. I wish we had it [in] other sports.”

Long Island high schools have a rich history in Federation play since the advent of the Tournament of Champions, in 1979 for boys and 1982 for girls.

Long Island Lutheran has won eight state Federation boys basketball titles, more than any other program statewide, including the last one held in 2019. Malverne is the last Island public school to win a title, taking Class B in 2007. St. Anthony’s is the last Island Catholic school champion, winning Class A in 2005.

LuHi has won four state Federation girls basketball crowns and St. Dominic has won three. Baldwin was the 2018 Class AA state Federation champion. LuHi won Class AA in 2015. The last Island Catholic school to win a Federation championship was Kellenberg in 2009.

This season, several Long Island teams are contenders to not only win their state association championships but also the Federation. In the most recent NYS Sportswriter Association boys basketball rankings, LuHi is No. 1 and Baldwin No. 9 in Class AA, Chaminade No. 8 in Class A and Southampton No. 9 in Class B. In the most recent NYS Sportswriter Association girls basketball rankings, LuHi is No. 1 and St. Mary’s No. 3 in Class AA.


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