Xavier cagers are aiming high | East Villager & Lower East Sider

Xavier cagers are aiming high

Xavier’s Ryan Kennedy starred against Monsignor McClancy, pouring in 23 points.

Xavier’s Ryan Kennedy starred against Monsignor McClancy, pouring in 23 points.

BY ROBERT ELKIN  |  Off to a decent start, the varsity basketball team at Xavier High School ended the month of December with a 4-5 record with the last game a 64-42 victory blowout over Monsignor McClancy on the latter’s home court across the river in Queens.

Xavier, part of the Catholic High School Athletic Association, is noted for its very successful sports programs in baseball, football and basketball. Yet, the school, at 30 W. 16th St., does not have its own outdoor athletic facilities.

Ryan Kennedy starred against McClancy, leading all scorers with 23 points. Xavier blew it open with a 12-0 spurt in the decisive third quarter when Kennedy scored eight points.

The players are certainly showing tremendous teamwork sharing the basketball on offense and playing good defense.

After starting off the season slowly, they seemed to come on strong toward the end of December.

“It’s not easy at times,” said Joe McGrane, now in his 24th year as basketball head coach. “It’s getting tougher and tougher as the year goes on,” he said of coaching.

At the same time, he added, “The kids are great, work very hard and are very coachable. This makes it rewarding.

“With the potential that this team has, the sky is the limit,” he predicted. “I think that if they continue to work hard, we’ll be a team to be reckoned with come playoff time.”

The captains are Kennedy and Joe Santangelo.

Some of the students compete in more than one sport, but, of course, not during the same time of the school year. Malik Fisher, for example, plays three sports: football, basketball and rugby. J.P. Moran is another three-sport athlete, on the football, basketball and baseball teams.

During a given school year, Fisher, who is 6-feet-2 would start off in the fall with football, then quickly move over to basketball, though missing some early hoops practices, and do the same in the winter for rugby.

“Already, the school started workouts in rugby,” Fisher noted after the McClancy game.

When asked how he does it all, he said, “It’s not that hard. I’m used to it now.”

However, football is his main sport.

“I’ve been playing it the longest,” he said. “I’ll probably go for a football scholarship.”

One of his goals is to work more on his physical strength.

As for right now, he feels the Xavier cagers can go a long way during this basketball season.

“We have the talent to do it,” he said.