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How The News voted: Last poll before the final poll

Get yourself to Buffalo State and Jamestown Community College this week to check out most of the teams below.

This is the final poll before the final poll -- the next one will be published in our All-Western New York issue well after the season.

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, No. 4, No. 5, No. 6, No. 7, No. 8 and last week's.

And here's this week's ...

Large schools

1. Nichols [16-6] [last week: 1] - Some people bristled when, during Canestro's absence, I said that with him the Vikings wouldn't have lost the Monsignor Martin games it lost. There should be bristling no longer. With the Manhattan Cup mission complete, these guys are hoping to be playing until March 28.

2. Williamsville South (14-3) [3] - Setting up to possibly be quite the postseason for the Billies.

3. North Tonawanda (14-3) [4] - NT No. 3? Yup, they were extremely impressive again against Sweet Home.

4. Canisius (19-4) [2] - I just didn't see the same team ball that South, NT and even Timon played in the most important games of the year, which is why they drop here. After taking a critical look at their late-season schedule (crushed twice by Nichols, crushed St. Mary's twice, survived in OT against St. Joe's) and with other teams on this list having a few more games to play, the Crusaders could drop further.

5. Bishop Timon-St. Jude (17-6) [5] - Put up a better fight against Nichols than Canisius. I thought about moving them up a spot.

6. Orchard Park (14-2) [8] - Great bounce-back at home over North in quarters after losing to Lackawanna. ECIC I matchup against Clarence is going to be fun.

7. Jamestown (14-3) [9] - After an up-and-down regular season, they seem to have found a serious stride to reach Buffalo State yet again. And when the Red Raiders get to the familiar orange-and-black court, you might have to pinch them: No Sweet Home? No Falls? Some serious poll upside here.

8. East (11-11) [10] - Talk about upside. Jackson is back, but I couldn't return them even close to the poll heights I had them (No. 1 during Nichols Canestro-less run) after one game.

9. Maryvale [NR] - After being boxed out of the top 10 all season, they arrive here as they arrive at Buffalo State. Sounds about right.

10. Clarence [NR] - You win at Niagara Falls in the postseason and you earn a spot in this poll.

Sweet Home is a clear No. 11 and they might be back. 

Small schools

1. Olean (15-2) [1] - Another candidate for a long basketball month.

2. OTC Middle College (15-1) [2] - And another.

3. Depew (14-2) [3] - From here on down gets a little crazy, but we're keeping the Wildcats here.  

4. Grover Cleveland (12-3) [10] - Win big on the road against a ranked team in the playoffs with your sniper (Ricky Alejandro with eight threes!) and that will make you elevate quicker than Kadeem Hillman.

5. St. Mary's (15-8) [4] - Canisius loss was not pretty. Tough to gauge these guys.

6. Lackawanna (14-3) [6] - Toughed out a win over Alden. OP win gives them edge over next two B-2 guys. Playing some nice defense in these low-scoring games. 

7. Wilson (15-2) [5] - City Honors played its best game of the season, and Wilson did win, but you'll take a hit when you struggle at home in the quarters as a top seed. Plenty of time to move on back up.

8. Allegany-Limestone (14-4) [7] - Might be fitting that they're right below B-2 buddy Wilson.

9. Maple Grove (9-7) [8] - See above about a long basketball month.

10. Medina (12-5) [9] - We'll keep them here just ahead of Cassadaga Valley, largely because the season-ending loss was to a good Grover team.

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

---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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