The basketball polls get one last shot of 2009 before returning on Jan. 12, 2010.
Every week 10 voters participate in The News' large and small school polls for boys basketball. The poll is published Tuesday in the Sidelines of the Scholastic Spotlight.
And here's this week's ...
1. Nichols [4-0] [last week: 2] - Thank you, Monsignor Martin-ECIC Challenge, for giving us the Vikings' win over Falls. Nichols appears set in this spot for a long time.
2. Niagara Falls (4-1)  - Nice bounce back at Canisius in the fourth quarter. It might be a different group of Wolverines, but they're still the best this side of the super starting five. It was great seeing them play three of the Monsignor Martin's best (Canisius, St. Joe's, Nichols); bad part of the 18-game (trimmed by the state from 20 this year) schedule is that Wolverines have just one nonleaguer left: in Erie, Pa., on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend.
3. Jamestown (3-0)  - Dominant start in ECIC I certainly earns the Red Raiders this spot.
4. Canisius (4-1)  - From this spot to No. 9, we see a lot of parity and a lot of great hoops the rest of the way, including say, a couple of matchups between the Crusaders and ...
5. St. Joe's (2-3)  - ... the Marauders. The win over Sweet Home gets them in this pack. Lost to Falls and close ones to Middle College and Bishop Kearney. Taking Kearney to the wire is doing something.
6. Bishop Timon-St. Jude (6-1)  - Whoa. The Monsignor Martin season is going to be something else. Tigers go 2-1 in Florida (the loss was by two points) to give them a bump. Their best local win is over a Coppola-less South. We give the slightest of edges to Joe's -- for now.
7. Williamsville South (3-2)  - You could still argue that they could be No. 3 since Mark Coppola is out; but this ballot will wait and see what happens when he gets back. Great effort against Canisius.
8. East (1-1)  - Next game is Dec. 29 in an East-vs.-East (of Rochester) game at the Rush-Henrietta Tournament.
9. Sweet Home (2-2)  - These guys could also move up down the road, once all the plays are in the playbook and once all the footballers have fully transitioned into basketballers.
10. Orchard Park (4-1) [NR] - Quakers get the edge over Riverside, Hutch-Tech, Lafayette, St. Francis, North Tonawanda, Clarence, Lake Shore, Maryvale, McKinley and probably a bunch of others. Seriously.
1. Olean (4-1)  - So they lost to Nichols. Who wouldn't lose to Nichols?
2. Middle College (3-0)  - Quality schedule continues at St. Francis tonight.
3. Lackawanna (4-1)  - That's 3-1 against large schools with first loss to Timon.
4. St. Mary's (6-2)  - Loss to Lafayette at Dunkirk knocks them down a bit.
5. Wilson (4-1) [NR] - Big breakthrough win for Lakemen at Akron warrants a big jump onto this ballot.
6. Depew (4-0)  - Tough part of schedule rings in new year (Depew Tournament, Maryvale, East Aurora).
7. Allegany-Limestone (5-0)  - Undefeated (all by blowout) heading into meeting with Jamestown at IAABO.
8. Akron (2-1)  - The first victim of what should be many N-O battles.
9. Maple Grove (2-3)  - McKinley loss was a bit of an eyebrow-raiser, but the great scheduling will have these guys primed down the road in February.
10. Grover Cleveland (2-1)  - Presidents get the edge over a good trio of East Aurora (which beat Medina), Medina (which beat Seneca), Seneca (which beat South Park, which beat EA) and undefeated Niagara Catholic.
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