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How The News voted: One month until final fours (and your vote for No. 1)

Exactly one month from today will be Friday, Feb. 26, one of the best days of the boys basketball season as Section VI holds its quarterfinals for all of its classes.

So by the time that night is over, we'll have the final fours set for Buffalo State and Jamestown Community College. The Manhattan Cup semifinals on Tuesday, Feb. 23 will have been played, so we'll know who is playing in the Sunday, Feb. 28 Manhattan Cup final.

But, as my story in today's Scholastic Spotlight details, there is a beautiful month of basketball to be played before then.

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, No. 3. and No. 4.

And here's this week's ...

Large schools

1. East (8-2) [4] - Last week I wrote that the Panthers just might be worthy of No. 2 or No. 3 on this list. Once Nichols indeed fell back to Earth without one of its stars, East has a claim on No. 1 as well.

2. Jamestown (11-0) [2] - I saw East impressively beat Canisius, which gives East one more win over a top 10 large school than the Red Raiders (zero). I saw Jamestown pull out a win at a very good Clarence team by three thanks to Carlos Rivera's late three-pointer. I also saw No. 10 OP win at Clarence in overtime by three.

If you toss the ball out between Jamestown and East, based on what I saw from the two teams in the last two weeks, I'd take East. East's lost at state-ranked Section V Class AA school East (that's not a typo); Jamestown beat state-ranked Section V Class A school Newark in OT at home. You could give the Raiders and edge there, but I'll take East's win over Canisius on a neutral court.

3. Nichols [10-4] [last week: 1] - Just to make sure everyone realizes this -- with Canestro, Nichols wins at Timon (and Canisius, after my ballot was filled out) and is still No. 1 by a full-court shot. Period. But the reality is that they are without Canestro, and despite Regan being an absolute force lately, they are a different team right now.

4. Niagara Falls (10-3) [3] - That NT loss is quite the anchor. Loss to 11-3 Central Cathoic of Erie, Pa. isn't. 

5. Canisius (11-3) [5] - Super Sunday one week early: Canisius at St. Joe's, 4 p.m.

6. Bishop Timon-St. Jude (11-3) [6] - Bounce from Nichols win stunted by loss at Frannies.

7. St. Joe's (9-7) [7] - Marauders are again ninth in the poll because people must not like super-tough schedules. Marauders were hurt against Grover and not too long ago (Jan. 11) beat St. Francis by 23.

8. Sweet Home (9-2) [8] - Good news: Friday at Will South is just about here, finally ...  

9. Williamsville South (8-3) [9] - ... Bad news: Friday I'm in the office commandeering a huge night of hoops, so I'll be putting the South-Sweet Home game film in my Netflix queue.

10. Orchard Park (8-1) [10] - OT win at Clarence keeps Quakers here ahead of those Red D-D-D-D-Devils.

Small schools

1. Olean (11-2) [1] - My small school poll is the same as last week. I may be struggling for material. Olean went from a unanimous No. 1 last week to nine votes for first this week. Theories are welcome.

2. Middle College (10-1) [2] - Looked quite good against Riverside.

3. Grover Cleveland (9-1) [3] - See you at 6 tonight at Lackawanna..

4. Lackawanna (10-1) [4] - See you at 6 tonight against the Presidents. My second straight Tuesday post-pickup hoops date with the Steelers. Last week was a trip.

5. Depew (11-1) [5] - What's up with the angry Wildcat fan calling me out? Feet to the fire? Don't touch my feet. Especially after I play pickup hoops.  

6. St. Mary's (10-7) [6] - So they lose to St. Francis (by two) and at St. Joe's. What's up with teams with St. in front of them with super-tough schedules not getting as much respect in other polls as I give them? Maybe it's me. Lancers still beat Maple Grove, although maybe I'm the only voter who cares? Maple Grove is sixth and St. Mary's is ninth? Really? I know the wins were in December, but St. Mary's is only team in WNY to beat East and they also beat Clarence (and for those of you with short-term memory, Maple Grove!). Ninth?

7. Maple Grove (7-5) [7] - I like Maple Grove. I love their schedule. But what's their best victory? Grover without Chris Holland?

8. Allegany-Limestone (8-3) [8] - Host Olean on Feb. 5 trying to improve on 74-41 loss at the Huskies. The Gators, like Olean, are blowing everyone else out in CCAA I.

9. Wilson (9-2) [9] - Plenty of opportunity in N-O games for these guys to move up later.

10. Medina (6-3) [10] - Plenty of opportunity in N-O games for these guys to move up later. See -- told you I was struggling for material.

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

Also, visit the live chat Thursday night around 9:45.

---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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