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Battle of champions basketball tourney this weekend

Did you wonder in late March which high school basketball team was the best in the state?

Did you wonder in late March which high school basketball team was the best in the state?

We'll find out this weekend, kinda, in unofficial fashion.

The Battle of the Champions, featuring players from the three city teams that won state titles and Friends League powerhouse Friends' Central, will take place at Southern High, Broad and Snyder, tomorrow night and Sunday afternoon.

The event was conceived and planned by coach/athletic director Andre Noble, of AA champ Imhotep Charter. To gain permission from District 12 chairman Robert Coleman and PIAA executive director Brad Cashman, Noble said he was not allowed to list the teams by their school names or send the players onto the court in school jerseys.

"It just so happens that we're able to go by geography," Noble said.

So, Imhotep will be Northwest Philly; Ss. Neumann-Goretti (AAA) will be South Philly; Math, Civics & Sciences will be North Philly; and Friends' Central will be County. Rest assured: These teams will be those teams.

Noble said Chester (AAAA) was unable to participate due to availability issues.

"With proms and this and that," Noble said, "pulling this together was very difficult. The Chester people understand."

The schedule: Tomorrow, N-G vs. FC at 6, Imhotep vs. MC&S at 7:30; Sunday, consolation at 1, final at 3.

Noble said the proceeds will benefit community causes and each school's basketball program. The three Pub/Cath teams, he added, will be guided by assistant coaches.

New Fords coach

Henry "Doug" Fairfax, a first-team Daily News All-City guard for Haverford School in 1999, and later a star at Drexel, has been named the Fords' interim basketball coach for the 2011-12 season. He replaces Steve Cloran, who resigned last month.