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How The News voted: MLK Day edition

There wasn't any school yesterday, so there wasn't any high school basketball yesterday.

Here's a reason why. I heard the rebroadcast of Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech yesterday on WBFO on my drive to the office, and sat in the car in the parking lot to hear it all the way to the end.

The basketball begins again today, after some jockeying in this week's poll. Most notable is Niagara Falls dropping to No. 3, something I don't think has happened since the Wolverines' program was formed in 2000. Olean is also a unanimous No. 1 again among small schools.

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. Here are our previous looks at the basket: Preseason, Poll No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3.

And here's this week's ...

Large schools

1. Nichols [9-3] [last week: 1] - Despite the loss of Canestro, despite the loss in Erie, they still belong here. 

2. Jamestown (10-0) [3] - With their schedule, a clean record at this point deserves this spot ...

3. Niagara Falls (7-3) [2] - ... and Falls' loss a home to NT is why. My knee-jerk reaction was: Jamestown hardly won at Clarence, so I'm not so sure they could beat Falls. We might get that answer at Buffalo State, where J-town and Falls usually meet up. But for this poll, this week, Falls falls here because they lost at home to a North Tonawanda team that got routed by another Niagara Frontier League team in Lockport.  

4. East (7-2) [7] - Solid, impressive, disciplined win over Canisius. They just might be worthy of No. 2 or No. 3 on this list.

5. Canisius (11-3) [4] - Crusaders are off until next Monday's home game against Nichols.

6. Bishop Timon-St. Jude (11-3) [5] - Tigers get visit from Nichols on Friday.

7. St. Joe's (7-7) [6] - Grover loss was a stunner, but the Marauders were depleted. Still a top 10 team with an early win over Sweet Home.

8. Sweet Home (9-2) [8] - Very nice performance against Middle College. At this point, these Panthers might be better than the ones that lost to St. Joe's. 

9. Williamsville South (8-3) [9] - These guys might be better than the Panthers, but we've got to wait for Jan. 29 and Feb. 5 to find out.

10. Orchard Park (8-1) [10] - Quakers visit Clarence on Friday; I was tempted to put Lockport here but we need to see a little bit more.

Small schools

1. Olean (9-2) [1] - No. 1 spot solidified thanks to No. 2's first loss.

2. Middle College (8-1) [2] - I blogged a little about this last week when Timon lost in overtime to Canisius last week -- I don't think the Kats were quite ready for the atmosphere of a big-time game like the one they played on Saturday: a very good opponent with very good coaches, a big venue, a big crowd. Kats started slow while Sweet Home -- as is its modus operandi -- loudly claimed possession of the floor, and the pace, in the first quarter. Middle recovered in the middle quarters, but playing down the stretch was another first: last quarter, every possession counts, very good opponent, big crowd, etc.

The thing is, Saturday's experience should certainly help the Kats down the road. If they take it and learn from it, they could go a long way.

3. Grover Cleveland (7-1) [6] - Even when I wasn't sure I knew what I was talking about, I guess I knew what I was talking about -- I had the Presidents ahead of a couple of teams that I had second thoughts about last week, but then Grover came up with huge wins over large schools at Riverside and against St. Joe's. In the small schools, the No. 3 through No. 10 (make that No. 12) spots are tough to figure.

4. Lackawanna (8-1) [3] - Grover ahead of Lackawanna? Hey, check this out -- January 26: Grover Cleveland at Lackawanna (at 6 p.m.). 

5. Depew (9-1) [4] - Their next three (home for Pioneer today and Cheektowaga Friday, at Pioneer Jan. 26) might not be too imposing, but after that Wildcats are at East Aurora (Jan. 29), at Amherst (Feb. 4), home vs. Maryvale (Feb. 9). 

6. St. Mary's (10-5) [7] - No games until at St. Joe's on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. You might make it home in time to see the Jets shock the world again.

7. Maple Grove (7-4) [8] - Host Finney of Section V (Rochester area) on Wednesday in rematch of last year's Class D regional.

8. Allegany-Limestone (8-3) [9] - Rerun from last week: Lost big to Jamestown and Olean and by one to Bradford (Pa.). Definitely still a top 10 team.

9. Wilson (7-2) [5] - Had to knock them down in what has been a tight poll. We like the Lakemen to win the rematch at home on Feb. 9 to ... 

10. Medina (6-3) [NR] - ... the Mustangs, who appear improved from the beginning of the year, which is when it lost to just-boxed-out-of-the-poll East Aurora.

Don't like what you're reading? The comment space is below.

Also, visit the live chat Wednesday night at 9:30.

---Keith McShea


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About Prep Talk

Keith McShea

Keith McShea

Keith McShea has covered high school sports at The News since his hiring in 1999. The 1995 University at Buffalo graduate and Long Island native (North Babylon Bulldogs) covers — and live blogs — everything from scrimmages to state championships & helps head The News' All-Western New York selections.

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