The city’s public school basketball programs continued their strong presence on the state stage, with the Edmondson boys topping city rival Lake Clifton in the 1A title game and the City College boys capping an undefeated year with the 3A crown. In addition, the Poly girls basketball team reached the 3A state championship game.

Mount St. Joseph won the regular-season crowns in the MIAA A Conference and Baltimore Catholic League. The Gaels fell to St. Frances in the MIAA A playoffs but bounced back to win the BCL tournament. The Park School girls basketball team also won a title in the IAAM C Conference.

Speaking of St. Joe, few schools had a more dominant winter season than the Gaels wrestling team. St. Joe swept the MIAA A Conference dual meet and MIAA tournament titles for a second straight year, won the Maryland Private School state tournament and performed well in several high-caliber national tournaments.

Also on the wrestling mats, St. Frances won its first MIAA B Conference dual meet championship and placed highly in the MIAA and Private School state tournaments.

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In indoor track, St. Joe once again made Baltimore City proud with the MIAA championship, while Mervo finished third in the 3A state meet.

Roland Park neighbors Gilman School and Bryn Mawr School round out our winter sports roll call of champions with two each. Gilman won the MIAA squash championship and captured the MIAA B Conference ice hockey championship. Bryn Mawr also won a title on the squash courts, taking the IAAM crown, and won the team title at the IAAAM A Conference swimming championships.

With those championship efforts, there were many great individual performances as well. In our opinion, the following athletes stood out as our Baltimore City Winter Sports Athletes of the Year.

Baltimore City Winter Sports Male Athlete of the Year: Amani Hansberry, Mount St. Joseph Basketball

Amani Hansberry will graduate as one of the most successful players in the storied history of the Mount St. Joseph basketball program. In just two seasons, he led the team to a 70-11 record, including two Baltimore Catholic League tournament championships, a BCL regular-season title and an MIAA A Conference championship. Hansberry was named the Baltimore Banner/Varsity Sports Network Boys Basketball Player of the Year and won the BCL Player of the Year award, becoming the first Gael to do so since James Bishop in 2019. He was also the tournament’s MVP for the second straight season.

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Hansberry transferred to St. Joe prior to his junior year, when he averaged 20.3 points, 13.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists, leading the team to the MIAA A and BCL tournament championships. His versatility and consistent performance make him the complete package on the court, and he exhibits great character and outstanding academic performance off the court. He was the MVP of the Iolani Classic in Hawaii, where the Gaels defeated Florida powerhouse Montverde Academy, the No. 1-ranked team in the nation at the time. Hansberry, a consensus Top 75 national recruit by 247Sports, ESPN and Rivals, is committed to the University of Illinois.

Baltimore City Winter Sports Female Athlete of the Year: Ande’a Cherisier, St. Frances Basketball

One of the few upperclassmen in a talented program that is used to competing for championships, Ande’a Cherisier had to take on a major leadership role for the St. Frances girls basketball team. She led the Panthers to the IAAM A Conference championship game. A University of Delaware commit, she was an all-conference pick and a consensus all-metro and all-state selection. Cherisier finished her high school career with more than 1,000 points and more than 500 rebounds.

In December, Cherisier was named MVP at the She Got Game Classic, and in Janurary she scored 15 points to help the Panthers knock off top-ranked McDonogh to move to No. 1 in the Baltimore Banner/VSN Girls Basketball Top 15 for a few weeks. Cherisier scored a game-high 16 points in a regular season-ending win over eventual Class 4A state champion Glen Burnie and scored 22 points to lead the Panthers to a dominant win over St. Vincent Pallotti in the IAAM semifinals.

Gary Adornato is the founder and original publisher of Varsity Sports Network, a high school sports news network that became part of The Baltimore Banner in August 2022.

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