Mekeel Christian Academy will host its first Lions Armory Tip-Off Tournament Friday and Saturday as part of the first big weekend of the Section II basketball season.
Mekeel's event for boys' teams will take place at the Washington Avenue Armory and include seven games and 11 teams, including four-time New York Federation Tournament of Champions winner Abraham Lincoln of Brooklyn.
"There's not going to be a game not worth watching," veteran Mekeel coach Chad Bowman said.
Shenendehowa will meet Abraham Lincoln Friday at 6 p.m., and Mekeel will take on the Railsplitters of the Public School Athletic League Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
"It will be a great measuring stick for Shenendehowa and us to go up against a truly historic basketball program," Bowman said. "Their tradition is so rich."
Abraham Lincoln's basketball list of alumni include Stephon Marbury, Sebastian Telfair and Lance Stephenson, the last of whom held the state career scoring record before Joseph Girard III of Glens Falls broke it as a junior in the 2017-18 season.
"They were young last year and they have almost the whole team back," Bowman said of Abraham Lincoln. "They'll be real good. We're a little undersized and a little untested, but we'll give it a rip and see what happens."
Friday's two-game card will begin at 4:30 p.m. with Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons meeting Bishop Maginn. Saturday's action will start at 12:30 p.m. with Watervliet meeting Catholic Central, and Lansingburgh will go against Bishop Maginn at 2 p.m. Albany and Hudson play at 5 p.m., and Shaker and Bishop Gibbons will square off at 6:30 p.m.
Mekeel will also be hosting its Sunmark Shootout at Cool Insuring Arena Feb. 1. Mekeel, with Ozzy DeJesus and Alex Barnhill leading its cast, has a game penciled in with Maine-Endwell that day. The Lions independent schedule will also include games with Ogdensburg Free Academy, Binghamton, Bishop Grimes and Briarcliff in the rematch from the 2018 state Class B semifinal that Mekeel won in double-overtime before claiming the state championship.
Several other boys' and girls' tournaments and non-league games are on the slate for Friday and Saturday.
On Saturday at 6 p.m., the Schalmont boys' squad will take on Albany Academy in a non-league tilt at SEFCU Arena. Schalmont, led by Shane O'Dell, was the Section II Class B runner-up to Glens Falls last season and to Mekeel the prior season. Albany Academy capped its 2018-19 season with a pair of Class A wins at the New York Federation Tournament of Champions, and has UConn commit Andre Jackson among its cast.