Tag Archives: Red Hawks

The next level

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Omari Maynard


High School of Construction does not have the tradition that Cardozo, Campus Magnet and Bayside have accumulated over the years. The school has existed for less than a decade and is in its second season competing in Queens AA — the highest level of borough basketball.

After going 20-10 in their last two seasons competing in the Queens A division against Springfield Gardens and John Adams, the Red Hawks won 14 league games last year. The only two losses were to Cardozo, and then the Red Hawks knocked the Judges off in the borough championship game last February at City College.

The Red Hawks saw their first season competing in Queens AA end with a second-round overtime loss to Brooklyn Collegiate. That was the last game of second-leading scorer Marlon Alcindor and the final game of Justin Wright-Foreman’s first season with the school after transferring from Christ the King.

This year, the Red Hawks are looking to remain a significant force in the PSAL and so far they’re doing it well with an overall record of 8-0. As of Dec. 15, they have won their first five league games by nearly 25 points per game and have averaged 78 points while holding opponents to 53 points.

“They were always good but they played in a lower league,” coach Cory Semper said before a 76-39 win at Van Buren last week. “The school is the type of school I don’t see any parents turning down. It’s a great school. It just works. It’s a public school in a Catholic school environment. That’s what kids want and parents want.”

The success also breeds attention and perhaps nobody on the Red Hawks gets in the spotlight more than shooting guard Justin Wright-Foreman. He averaged 21.6 points last year in league play, 25.2 in five playoff games and through five league games, Wright-Foreman has averaged 27.4.

“It’s good,” Semper said of coaching Wright-Foreman. “I’ve had kids like him before when I was at Bayside. So I’m used to it. But he’s a go-to guy. When we need something we go through him. It’s good coaching him. He’s confident. He’s confident in his teammates. It’s a good experience.”

Normally someone with those totals would be attracting coaches from many Division I colleges, but Wright-Foreman has already decided where he will be playing next season. He had about 15 scholarship offers but committed to Hofstra in early October.

“We wanted to get it over with early,” Semper said. “He had 15 offers on the table, but it was a matter of choosing the right one. I think he had Hofstra in his heart all the time, but he wanted to see what else was going on out there, but I think he made a great choice for him and his family.”

The Red Hawks are not just about Foreman-Wright. They also have an effective secondary scorer in Kyle Allman, a St. John’s Prep transfer who has averaged 13.2 points in league games and had 26 in a 106-66 non-league win over Wadleigh at Gauchos Gym in the Bronx on Dec. 14.

They also have a rugged rebounder in 6-foot-5 Bryshon Bryant, who had 11 rebounds against Van Buren and has 41 through five league games.

Still there are times when Wright-Foreman will have to take over, a point he acknowledged after getting 22 against Van Buren last week.

“I want my teammates to get open,” he said. “But sometimes I have to take control of the game, but most importantly I have to get my teammates involved. Give them the ball and let them work.”

So far everything is working for Construction from their elite shooting guard to their smothering trapping defense, but like many coaches, Semper believes the team’s performance can get even better.

“It’s still early,” Semper said. “We still got a lot of learning to do. There are a couple of teams that are dominant right now. We’re not on that level. I think we’ve got to lose a couple of games to see how good we are but hopefully we don’t lose any.”




Red Hawks flying high, fresh faces eyeing back-to-back titles

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre


High School for Construction junior softball player Jenasez Alves has something to prove.

Last year, the Red Hawks varsity and junior varsity squads were top teams in the city. The varsity team won its division and then the city title — the school’s first Division A championship — after a 3-2 win over perennial powerhouse Tottenville High School of Staten Island.

But despite the junior varsity team also winning its division, they’ve come up short in the playoffs, and were routed two years ago by Tottenville.

Jenasez Alves

Alves, who was on that team, was promoted from the junior varsity team this year and is looking for payback. She is determined to help the varsity team win back-to-back titles and hopes to repay the squad from Staten Island in the process. Likewise, other fresh faces on the Red Hawks are trying to earn their stripes to defend the team’s city title.

“I just want to see how everything plays out,” Alves said after a game against the John Bowne Wildcats on Monday, April 7, “and with this team this year, if we will be able to fill in the shoes of last year’s [team].”

With her motivation, Alves is shocking even her coach. She is currently batting .632, and Alves went 3-for-4 on Monday with two triples and three RBIs, helping the Red Hawks to a 15-0 shutout over the Wildcats (1-4 PSAL).

“Jena is a totally different ball player, she has come a long way with a lot of hard work,” head coach Marco Migliaccio said. “We lost a lot of big players, but she stepped up. This is an unexpected surprised.”

The Red Hawks (8-0 PSAL) are powered by many seniors from the championship team, including all-star Brittany Rodriguez, who has lead the A division in hits and batting average for the past two years. Rodriguez, the team’s ace, also led the league in strikeouts (162) and wins (15) in 2012.

But behind the upperclassmen are two dangerous freshmen who bypassed the junior varsity team. Freshman infielder Lizul Portugal, who is already a regular starter, is batting .704 in 27 at bats with five homers — good enough to be in the top of the A division in both catergories. Besides eyeing another title, Portugal will learn from Rodriguez and the other seniors about how to lead the team beyond this season.

“Brittany has been everything over the years,” Migliaccio said. “It helps [Portugal] a lot. Brittany really had nobody to look up to, but [Portugal] has a year to watch Brittany and look up to her.”



Players take to the ice for midnight hockey in LIC

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Charles Osborn


While most people are getting ready to settle in for the evening, Mark West, 35, checks his pads and tape, and laces up his ice skates for an 8:30 p.m. hockey game.

West, a graphic designer by day, plays ice hockey with the Red Hawks, one of the many adult hockey teams that play late at night at the City Ice Pavilion in Long Island City.

West lives in Brooklyn, but has been playing hockey since he was a teenager in Hillsboro, New Jersey, where rinks are not nearly as difficult to come across as in the city. So he goes at night once a week to enjoy the sport of his youth, despite the awkward timing.

“If you put on skates and try it, you know why,” West said. “You fall in love with it instantly.”

The adult hockey leagues bring men of all ages and backgrounds, almost all of whom work full-time, to play night ice hockey, with games that start as late as 10 p.m.

Teams are broken into divisions according to relative skill level, with Division 1 representing the facility’s elite and Division 4 catering to those who are not as competitive.

But experience doesn’t matter so long as you fit into the accepting, respectful culture.

The players’ rabid desire to skate, pass and shoot is what binds them, and is what keeps a fraternal atmosphere in the facility.

“Everyone who plays in the league is friends with almost everyone else,” said Patrick Jones, the adult hockey coordinator at the facility. “Each division is highly competitive, some more than others, but everybody is mostly focused on development and ice time.”

Most of the players’ backgrounds are completely different. But when they are on the ice they all become hockey players.

“It’s interesting to see investment bankers playing on the same team with guys who can hardly afford equipment,” Jones said. “Everyone feels at home here.”

The league costs $4,845 for a 10-game season, which includes a single elimination playoff for those teams skilled enough to make it. The matter of equipment is as fraternal as the sport itself — much of it is donated and shared throughout the hockey community.

“We make this gear available to customers at no cost and encourage brand new players to come skate in our gear before committing to the sport,” Jones said.

The men play for the fun of it, and for the opportunity to prove to themselves that they are the best in their division. There are no big contracts and at least on most nights, no fans. But occasionally a girlfriend may appear.

Nina Iyala, whose boyfriend, Steven Williams, plays on the Red Hawks, recently attended a game to cheer on her man. The couple is from Rockland County, but Williams was asked to play in Queens by a friend.

“They love hockey so much they jumped at the chance,” she said.

Nick Raz, an electrician who also plays for the Red Hawks, came to play midnight hockey from Rockland County as well. He returns home at 11:30 p.m. after games.

“We all try to play as much as we can, which usually works out to about four times per week,” Raz said. “I’m going to play until my knees give out.”