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Fall championship pages pass baton to All-WNY pages

Saturday's paper marks the crossover of the fall championship pages and this year's fall All-Western New York pages.

A page honoring cross country state champions from East Aurora and Maple Grove appears Friday, as does the All-Western New York page for girls volleyball.

Also appearing Friday will be a story I wrote on Meghan Redenbach, a sophomore setter for Roy-Hart who has been battling ovarian cancer for two years -- getting to games and to practices any way she could even while undergoing chemotherapy treatments at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

The lineup of fall All-Western New York pages:

Dec. 15: Boys volleyball
Friday, Dec. 24: Girls volleyball
Saturday, Dec. 25: Boys soccer and field hockey
Next week: Girls soccer

A review of the state champoinship pages:

Saturday, Dec. 18: Nichols girls soccer
Sunday, Dec. 19:
Williamsville North field hockey
Monday, Dec. 20: Falconer and Randolph girls volleyball
Wednesday, Dec. 22: Eden girls volleyball
Friday, Dec. 24: East Aurora boys and girls and Maple Grove girls cross country.

High-quality reproductions of the championship pages are available for purchase at buffalonewsstore.com, where you can also peruse (and purchase) championship pages from the last two years.

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Also, check the high school home page for season schedules for boys and girls basketball. They are a little rough around holiday tournament time, which we are working to flesh out in the next few days. Otherwise it is what we have in our system at this time.

If there need to be changes made to the schedule, coaches and athletic directors need to email sports@buffnews.com.

We are also continuing to improve our new Web scoreboard system for basketball, and we anticipate you being able to see upgrades over the next week.

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to all.

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/highschools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

Ho-ho-ho-how The News voted: Ho-ho-ho-holiday edition

Every week a panel of voters participate in The News' large and small school boys basketball polls. Here's the second polls, published today in the Scholastic Spotlight.

And every week we let you know, like the blog title says ... how The News voted. Here's a link to last week's first ballot, and here's how we're sizing things up just before Santa Claus starts setting up on the low block.

Here's a helpful link if after reading some of this you feel like your team ran one play while you were running another.

Scouting video says this guy has no left. LARGE SCHOOLS

1. Niagara Falls (4-0) [last week: 1] -- To paraphrase a certain other voter/blogger, if you didn't vote for Falls No. 1, you'd be a cotton-headed ninnymuggins.

2. Jamestown (2-1) [4] -They'd get bonus points this week for their uniforms being very Christmassy, but they don't need any. Mathmetologists out there will be able to see that Falls got all 10 first-place votes, and the Red Raiders got all 10 second-placers. With votes like that, these top two are tracking towards Buffalo State like Santa tracks Christmas Spirit with the Clausometer.

3. Williamsville South (3-1) [2] -- These three-kings (get it?) are next in action at the (Holly) Jolly Boys Tournament it hosts. But wait, I have more! Billie fans, did you know the Christmas Goat is one of the oldest Scandinavian and Northern European Yule and Christmas symbols and traditions?

4. Canisius (3-2) [3] -- Love the schedule (beat Riverside big, lost to South small, lost to Falls big), which continues Thursday with Sweet Home at St. Mary's. Going on six games? When do these guys have time to Christmas shop?

5. Riverside (3-1) [7] -- Followed impressive road wins at Wilson and St. Joe's with one at Orchard Park, so they get a bump. That OP win is something of an unwrapped present while ...

6. Williamsville North (3-0) [5] -- ... the Spartans trip to OP is still a Secret Santa mystery. Bonus points to the Quakers if they play "Silver Bells" when Sterling Taplin is introduced.

7. Bishop Timon-St. Jude (3-0) [6] -- The schedule hasn't been the greatest. It's almost been like Buddy the Elf playing hoops against the other elves (a screen shot seen early in the movie that I unsuccessfully scoured the Interwide Net Web for). But we'll take the Tigers for now over ...

8. St. Joe's (3-2) [8] -- ... a Marauders team which has played a schedule of abominable snowmen, but has had the consistency of the faulty bulb in that string of lights on your house. "One goes out, they all go out!"

9. McKinley (2-0) [9] -- We'll have to wait until after the Epiphany (Jan. 6, also the birthday of a certain sportswriter as noted in stocking stuffer Prep Talk Fact-A-Day Daily Calendar) to see the Macks next, but they certainly have the potential to shoot up the poll come 2011, just like ... 

10. East (2-0) [10] -- ... the Panthers, who have a chance to claim that they be the kings of Orient (It's East vs. the East Orientals of Rochester at the Rush-Henrietta Tournament on Dec. 29.

Just getting boxed out (again): Frontier again, Maryvale again, Will East again, Orchard Park again and we'll throw Depew and Lancaster (in that order) as possibilities after Lancaster played North tough followed by the Wildcats routing their rival Monday night.

SMALL SCHOOLS

1. International Prep at Grover Cleveland (2-1) [1] -- When the Presidents take on Tapestry on Jan. 17, it could resemble the emotional frenzy that occurs when the kids are let loose at the presents under the tree.

2. OTC Middle College (2-2) [2] -- Small, but powerful. Like Miles Finch.

3. Wilson (3-2) [3] -- These next three are tied together by overtime results like reindeer harnessed together. ... ... On Lakeman!

4. St. Mary's (3-3) [4] -- ... On Lancer!

5. Newfane (2-1) [5] -- ... On Panther!

6. Tapestry Charter (5-0) [8] -- Our run comes to an end because Timberwolf has too many syllables.

7. Dunkirk (2-0) [NR] -- As I noted last week, I should have voted for these Marauders last week. Merry Christmas to me: You can't put a basketball blog monetary value on the wordplay involving the first four letters in their school name.

8. Lackawanna (2-3) [6] -- It was like Christmas for Lackawanna last Friday. Senior Dondre Alexander got a shiny 1,000th-point while coach Tim Foley hit the career 200-win target as if he was shooting with an official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle. And no, noone shot their eye out.

9. Maple Grove (3-1) [7] -- Attention Red Dragon Fans! Last-minute gift idea!

10. Tonawanda (4-0) [NR] -- Should be a fun year in ECIC IV. In recent seasons, an entertaining, multi-team race in ECIC IV was as likely as a successful pitch for a children's book about a tribe of asparagus children who are self-conscious about the way their pee smells.

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

No chat this week. No chat for a whole year, actually. See you after we start our happy, healthy 2011.

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/high-schools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

Live from the Tom Keenan Memorial Classic: Niagara Falls routs Canisius, 77-58 (with video)

Hello from Canisius High, where the marquee game of the Tom Keenan Memorial Classic will be tipping off as Niagara Falls plays at Canisius

5:05 p.m. The game was originally scheduled for 4:30 p.m., but has been pushed back since it is the fourth of four games today. There are five minutes counting down on the scoreboard as the teams warm up.

I just watched the last four minutes of the St. Joe's-Aquinas game, but they weren't pretty for the "home" team. St. Joe's lost, 81-58. Aquinas took a 27-12 lead after one quarter, and was up, 45-24, at halftime. Reggie Agbeko led St. Joe's with 20 points while Jammal Coleman had 24 for the Little Irish.

Aaron Nevins' free throw drops. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News) According to the St. Joe's radio crew, Connor Rehbaum hit his head on a fall to the floor in the first half and was kept out as a precaution.

A very impressive win for Aquinas and one that certainly makes Falls' comeback win over Aquinas last Saturday look more impressive. St. Joe's, on the other hand, suffers a letdown after what I thought was a very good performance at Lackawanna on Wednesday night.

5:12 p.m. National Anthem over and we're about to tip.

5:18 p.m. We have our first timeout, taken by Niagara Falls coach Sal Constantino with 5:46 and Canisius off to a 6-0 lead. A few turnovers by Falls early.

5:28 p.m. Canisius has a 20-12 lead after one quarter thanks to a 7-0 run to end the period, punctuated by Aaron Nevins' swish of a three from the right side with about seven seconds left. Niagara Falls had come within 13-12 on a tough pullup in transition by Taijay Williams, but Canisius closed with some nice energy as Gordon Lyons had a putback of a Nevins miss and Matt Hart put in a very pretty layup, switching hands at full speed and laying it in.

5:35 p.m. Canisius calls a timeout with 4:43 left in the second after some nice pressure in the backcourt by Falls, something we haven't really seen to this point. If anything, Canisius has pushed the tempo more and has shown more pressure in the backcourt. Canisius is up, 22-16.

5:42 p.m. We are at HALFTIME with the score Canisius 30, Niagara Falls 30. It's been a pretty great first half, both teams making shots, making plays, not too many turnovers or sloppy play.

Canisius scored the first basket of the quarter -- a Lyons follow -- to take a 10-point lead and it was up, 24-16 on another inside basket by Lyons, showing good control to score against Street (who also showed nice control as to not pick up an early foul).

Falls went on an 8-0 run to tie the game from there, pushing the pace with pressure and scoring in the open court and on rebounds. Six-foot-three sophomore reserve Jermaine Crumpton hit the second of two sweet jumpers from the free throw line to start the run. Street had a putback, and a Crumpton block on the other end turned into a follow by sophomore guard Ja'Leo Wilkins on his own fast-break miss. Wilkins added another follow basket as despite the sophomore's 5-9 frame he came down with his own miss and put it back between two taller defenders for the 24-24 tie. 

The teams literally traded baskets for the rest of the half, with Wilkins scoring two of the three, including a very nice pullup jumper in transition with about three seconds left after he pushed the ball upcourt.

Great stuff, what you would like to expect from the No. 1 large school (Falls) taking on No. 3 (Canisius).

5:50 p.m. About 1 minute left until we get playing again. The delayed tipoff of this game has squashed any thoughts I had of making a road trip down to Jamestown to see the Red Raiders host Williamsville South in the final of the United Way Tournament. That game is scheduled for 7:45 p.m. It would have been a lot, even if this game started on time, but I was definitely thinking about it :-).

Falls just came out of the locker room with the Canisius fans huddled around the bleachers booing as they entered. The Niagara Falls cheerleaders lined up as kind of a welcoming move, while Jordan Stree't's dad, Jeff Sr., joined the cheerleaders in greeting the Wolverines. Lots of smiles, some nice high school energy there.

5:54 p.m. Some sort of delay to start the second half; not sure what it was about.

6:02 p.m. Timeout Niagara Falls, which has a 42-38 lead with 2:51 left in the third.

6:10 p.m. At the END OF THE THIRD QUARTER, Niagara Falls leads Canisius, 49-46, thanks to a final-second halfcourt runner by Marcus Feagin. Whoa. That was wild. Should have had the iPhone going. Arghh. Another pretty great quarter with both teams playing at a pretty high level.

6:15 p.m. Hate the scoreboard here because during timeouts every clock counts down the timeout instead of showing the time left in the game. Arghhhh.

Canisius calls the timeout after Falls goes up, 57-50, on a transition basket by Wilkins off a rebound and outlet by Street. Canisius had a basket just roll off the rim before the rebound. Some very good defense being played by Falls. About 5 or 6 minutes left.

6:24 p.m. Timeout by Canisius with less than three minutes left -- stupid clock -- and Falls has turned this game into a blowout so fast I didn't get any of it on the iPhone. Falls leads, 75-54, with just over two minutes left.

Falls had a little cushion and then turned up the defensive pressure -- pretty much going for the jugular. And they got it.

Some late highlights after Falls' run to take control of the game, but a similar theme: Strong rebounding, great defense, great transition.

6:27 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Niagara Falls 77, Canisius 58.

Interview and stats time for me.

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Canisius Niagara Falls The box score is up at the high school home page's scoreboard section.

Five scorers in double figures for Falls. Very impressive performance by the Wolverines, especially in the fourth quarter.

Video has been posted. Scorebooks are on the right.

* * *

And now for the postgame show, with videos now available in HD (as is the above highlight).

Getting videos up to youtube from my phone in HD is a little more involved, so I won't be able to do it all the time, but the extra HD details are great to have, even in interviews like these:

* * *

Here's my story on the game, also available on your local newsstand.

A quick word on Williamsville South at Jamestown: Wow. The matchup of defending sectional champions lived up to its billing as the Red Raiders hold on for a three-point win. It'll be interesting to see how the poll shakes out on Tuesday.

Check out the scoreboard on the high school home page, which has improved this week -- the box scores are retractable (previously they were just expandable), the schedule now includes times of all games and there's a cleaner look to the box (called a widget to Web heads).

We'll be continuing to make improvements, so stay tuned. We really appreciate your patience.

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/highschools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

State championship pages start getting served up Saturday

Tomorrow will mark the -- pick your metaphor -- kickoff, first serve or starter's gun on our state championship pages for the 2010 fall season.

Debuting Saturday will be a page honoring Nichols girls soccer, which won the state Catholic championship with a tremendous win over downstate power St. Anthony's of Long Island and finished the year ranked 24th in the country by ESPNRise.

The rest of the lineup:

Sunday: Williamsville North field hockey
Monday, Dec. 20: Falconer and Randolph girls volleyball
Wednesday, Dec. 22: Eden girls volleyball
Friday, Dec. 24: East Aurora boys and girls and Maple Grove girls cross country

High-quality reproductions of the pages will be available for purchase at buffalonewsstore.com, where you can also peruse (and purchase) championship pages from the last two years.

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/highschools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

Live chat from Msgr. Martin-ECIC Challenge (Dec. 15): St. Joe's postgame, Will North-Lancaster pregame, and a request for JV scores (?!?!)

This week's chat will be tonight at 9:30, and we will be coming to you LIVE from the ADPRO Monsignor Martin-ECIC Challenge at St. Mary's.

We'll be able to give updates from the second half of St. Joe's-Lackawanna, which has a scheduled tipoff of 8:30 and is the fourth game of tonight's revamped lineup.

I promise I'll get to your question or comment in the chat -- but please be patient. It can get busy fielding all of the questions and I can only answer one at a time. And PLEASE don't enter your question/comment multiple times -- that only makes things crazier.

* * *

Here's a link to last week's chat (Dec. 9) -- in which we had quite a bit of discussion on All-Western New York football along with basketball -- and here's Dec.1.

You can check out the final live chat of the fall season -- as well as check out an archive of the 12 weekly discussions of the fall -- via our post of the Nov. 23 chat. For the super-chat-fan out there, this link takes you to the 2009-10 spring and winter archives.

As always, if you have a question but you won't be able to make the chat, post one in the comments section or email me and I'll do my best to address it.

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/high-schools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

Monsignor Martin-ECIC Challenge rescheduling complete

The ADPRO Monsignor Martin-ECIC Challenge rescheduling is complete, and it results in a Christmas present of a doubleheader. 

The final two games of the challenge will be played next Thursday, Dec. 23 at St. Mary's, with Bishop Timon-St. Jude and Amherst playing at 6 and Canisius vs. Sweet Home following at 7:30.

Both games were originally scheduled for tonight but were squeezed out due to Tuesday's postponements leading to tonight's four-game lineup.

Timon and St. Mary's were scheduled to play on Dec. 23, so the schools are working on finding a new date for that game.

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Coaches and athletic directors are asked to send rescheduled games, times and dates to sports@buffnews.com as soon as they are set. It is especially important for us to have rescheduled games as soon as possible so we can adjust our new Web scoreboard/schedule feature.

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/high-schools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

Msgr. Martin-ECIC Challenge games among many postponed

Among many games postponed tonight due to the repeated playing of "Let It Snow" is the ADPRO Monsignor Martin-ECIC Challenge tripleheader hosted by St. Mary's.

Between school cancellations (many in the Southern Tier) that started the day and the calling off of afterschool activities (Buffalo city schools, Clarence, Lancaster, Lockport, Orchard Park, Williamsville, West Seneca, among many others), most of tonight's high school sports schedule will be postponed. 

* * *

St. Mary's athletic director and boys basketball coach Dan Gill notified me that Wednesday's lineup of the AdPro Monsignor Martin-ECIC Challenge now looks like this:

Wednesday's games at St. Mary's: St. Francis-Lancaster, 4 p.m.; Nichols-Cheektowaga, 5:30; Niagara Catholic-JFK, 7; St. Joe's-Lackawanna, 8:30. 

That leaves two very good games to be rescheduled: Bishop Timon-St. Jude vs. Amherst and Canisius vs. Sweet Home. Both will be played as a doubleheader at St. Mary's on a date to be determined.

In other rescheduling news, tonight's game in which Australia's Prince Alfred College was to play at Chautauqua Lake has been rescheduled for Saturday at 11:30 a.m.

* * *

Coaches and athletic directors are asked to send rescheduled games, times and dates to sports@buffnews.com as soon as they are set. It is especially important for us to have rescheduled games as soon as possible so we can adjust our new Web scoreboard/schedule feature.

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/high-schools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

How The News voted: Basketball polls tip off

Every week a panel of voters participate in The News' large and small school boys basketball polls. Here's the tipoff edition, published today in the Scholastic Spotlight.

Here's a link to last year's final poll.

My apologies on not doing a preseason poll. Would have done it if I found that eighth day of the week.

In a preseason poll, I probably would have had something like: Jamestown, Will South, Clarence, Niagara Falls, Bishop Timon-St. Jude, Canisius, St. Joe's, McKinley, East, Maryvale.

In a quasi-preseason poll that I usually include with my preview (again, chest-tap, my bad), which is after the first weekend of action, I probably would have had something like: Canisius (thanks to Wilson Tournament win), Jamestown, Will South, Niagara Falls, St. Joe's (bump from Lockport win), Timon (hadn't played yet), McKinley, East, Clarence (after loss to Williamsville East), Maryvale.

And now we get official up in here: 

LARGE SCHOOLS

1. Niagara Falls (2-0) -- Niagara Falls at No. 1. Same as it ever was? We'll see. With a trip to Canisius on Saturday, this just might last a week.

But you have to like the Wolverines have started under Sal Constantino. Could be the two most impressive wins of the young season (Canisius may have an argument there). Falls has has size to go along with the quickness and talent we're used to seeing from the usual Cataract act, and they are playing hard. When's the last time Falls has been underestimated? I know: Never. Seems like the perfect cast to be thrown into the underdog role.

2. Williamsville South (2-0) -- As savvy hoop watcher said Monday night at the Monsignor Martin-ECIC Challenge, in March 2011 we'll probably talk about South's win over Canisius as a Game of the Year.

3. Canisius (2-1) -- Niagara Falls visits the Keenan Classic at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. See you there.

4. Jamestown (0-1) -- If they keep improving the way they did from the first half to the second in the opener at Falls, they'll be just fine. And maybe we should call it Super Saturday? If the first round games go the way we think the first round games will go, it's Will South at Jamestown Saturday night at 7:45.

Hmmm.... Falls-Canisius will definitely start later than 4:30 (there are three games before it) ... could someone make down to Jamestown after Falls-Canisius to catch the top four in two great games? Hmmmmmm..... 

5. Williamsville North (2-0) -- A win over a two-time state final four team that still has a Hoy shooting and scoring gets you here. Like the Canisius-South game, people will be talking about the game where there were 28 points, six three-pointers and one remarkably poised freshman (Sterling Taplin).

6. Bishop Timon-St. Jude (2-0) -- Impressive point margin over OTC Middle College.

7. Riverside (2-1) -- Impressive win at St. Joe's.

8. St. Joe's (2-1) -- Coach Mark Simon said of junior Reggie Agbeko: "Work in progress." Same for the team, but their work progressed pretty well against Depew (45-27).

9. McKinley (2-0) -- Ripped from last week's chat: I like the Macks' balance and depth (and wins over a top 10 small school in St. Mary's and what I think is a high quality OP team) just a little bit more than their Yale Cup mate ... I mean their Yale Cup Division I mate ... 

10. East (2-0) -- ... Panthers, who beat Nichols big (the Vikings' difference in 09-10 to 10-11 could possibly be the biggest one-year difference in the history of Western New York high school sports) and went back-and-forth with now-distant Yale Cup cousin OTC Middle College.

Just getting boxed out: Frontier (won own tourney), Maryvale (debut tonight in the ECIC III-ECIC III Challenge at Depew), Will East (won Amherst), Orchard Park.

SMALL SCHOOLS

1. International Prep at Grover Cleveland Can You Make These New City School Names Any Longer Mr. Superintendent? (1-1) -- Blue-and-gold Presidents lost to OP, beat St. Mary's, have a lineup (and a standout in Holland) that makes them as good a No. 1 as any (they would have been my No. 1 the two previous quasi-polls).

2. OTC Middle College (1-2) -- You try playing an East team still angry you won the Yale Cup last year (with four players that aren't around any more) and Timon in South Buffalo.

3. Wilson (1-2) -- Top-notch win over St. Mary's at Cataract after falling twice against an outstanding field they invited in opening weekend.

4. St. Mary's (2-3) -- Lost to two teams above them here as well as McKinley, beat a very good team in Newfane, so good ... .

5. Newfane (1-1) -- We'll put the Panthers here. I know it's only like one day of results, but looks like you better circle those Wilson-Newfane fun ones in marker on the calendar as likely Niagara-Orleans title deciders.

6. Lackawanna (1-2) -- Edged St. Francis, lost big to OP and Frontier.

7. Maple Grove (2-1) -- Red Dragons beat Olean and Randolph, which makes them unofficial King of the Southern Tier ... for now.

And congrats to the Bemus Pointers! You are the first team in our small school poll with a winning record!

I credit these teams for playing great tough, nonleague matchups early in the year. You would think it can only help them down the road, and of course, we'll find that out while we drive down that road.

What a difference a season makes: If this were football season, there would be blockheaded claims that teams with losing records shouldn't be in the poll; not to mention Neanderthal club-pounding over nonleague games between public and private schools (of the 17 teams listed in these polls so far, 14 of them have reached "across the aisle" to play a school in the opposite category).

Ahh, basketball season is so refreshing. Pardon me while I let that wash over me while I kick my feet up and plan my next visits to a private-public basketball game: Tonight, check. Wednesday, check. Saturday, check.

MLK Classic at City Honors' new gym on Jan. 14 (Lackawanna-Lafayette 11 a.m., OTC-St. Joe's 12:30 p.m.; Sweet Home-McKinley 3 p.m., Canisius-I-Prep, 4:30), check. Last weekend's Cataract Classic, check. Last week's Pastor-Cooper Tournament, check. Ahh, that feels good.

8. Tapestry Charter (2-0) -- 184 points in two games under Earl Schunk. I hope Charter School scoreboards have triple digits.

9. Westfield (1-1) -- Whoops. Just noticed that Dunkirk crushed them in the final of the Westfield Winter Classic. Guess I shoulda voted for Dunkirk. Definitely a my bad (chest tap, head-shake, pounding my forehead with my palm repeatedly), but that's early-season polls for you.

10. Archbishop Walsh (4-1) -- With at least 10 teams to put here, I threw in one that was putting up some serious wins down south early on -- they must be doing something right.

Don't like what you're reading?

The comment space is below, and this week's live chat is at 9:30 p.m. (LIVE from the Monsignor Martin-ECIC Challenge, joining the end of the St. Joe's-Lackawanna game in progress).

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/high-schools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

Live from Day One of the Msgr. Martin-ECIC Challenge: GI, Walsh, WSE win; St. Mary's edges Clarence, 62-59

Hello from courtside from St. Mary's bright, fine facility for the first of three days of the ADPRO Monsignor Martin-ECIC Challenge.

That blur is O'Hara's Mark Cerza scoring on what would be a three-point play. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News) I'm arriving at halftime of the four-game lineup. Grand Island scored the first win of its season -- and of coach Nate Beutel's career -- with a 50-41 victory over Christian Central. Archbishop Walsh continued a very strong start to their season with a 70-53 win over Holland.

7:32 p.m. West Seneca East and Cardinal O'Hara are the third game tonight, and O'Hara has a 27-23 halftime lead. Sophomore Mark Cerza has been quite impressive in the first half. He has two three-pointers and had a three-point play off a drive near the end of the half. O'Hara was up, 17-14, after one quarter.

8:03 p.m. West Seneca East had a great third quarter to go up, 41-38, heading to the fourth. Solid defense and some transition baskets have helped the Trojans while the Hawks have looked a little lost on offense. "I know you're better than that, you know you're better than that, so let's play better," WSE coach Jason Kline told his team at the half.

8:10 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: West Seneca East 53, Cardinal O'Hara 45.

Very solid second half and a very nice comeback for the Trojans, while Cardinal O'Hara somehow lost all of the momentum it had in the first and had no continuity.

8:28 p.m. How about this thing running on time with four back-to-back games? Very impressive. Clarence and St. Mary's tipping off. Some nice energy in the building with a decent crew of students out to support the home team.

8:58 p.m. My apologies about no update at the quarter, which Clarence led, 15-13. St. Mary's had a very nice close to the second quarter to take a 32-29 halftime lead. Junior Devin Redden, who has shown some great energy on both ends, hit a three-pointer in the final seconds of the first half for the St. Mary's biggest lead of the game, equaling Clarence's largest lead (13-7 in the first quarter). 

9:23 p.m. A nice back-and-forth third quarter ends with St. Mary's up, 44-39. I'm taking care of some Scholastic Spotlight stuff here at courtside so I've been getting glances of the action. St. Mary's got a fabulous fast break finish by Redden off a push from Erik Simmons for their last basket of the quarter.

9:51 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: St. Mary's 62, Clarence 59.

There was some quality drama at the end but Clarence's three-pointers missed on their last possession.

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/high-schools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

Tipping off tonight: Msgr. Martin-ECIC Challenge and Australian tour

It's good to be a Western New York basketball fan these days.

Coming off a fantastic Cataract Classic, both in terms of matchups and quality of play, tonight marks the tipoff of the ADPRO Monsignor Martin-ECIC Challenge at St. Mary's in Lancaster. There are top-notch marqee matchups in each night's finale while there are other treats along the way.

Tonight is the busiest night as a four-game slate starts at 4 p.m. with Christian Central vs. Grand Island, followed by Archbishop Walsh vs. Holland (5:30), Cardinal O’Hara vs. West Seneca East (7) and St. Mary’s vs. Clarence (8).

On Tuesday, it's Nichols vs. Cheektowaga (5 p.m.), Bishop Timon-St. Jude vs. Amherst (6:30) and Canisius vs. Sweet Home (8), which is the Panthers' season opener.

On Wednesday it is St. Francis vs. Lancaster (5 p.m.), Niagara Catholic vs. JFK (6:30) and St. Joe’s vs. Lackawanna (8).

Another interesting series of games this week includes Prince Alfred College, a private high secondary school from Adelaide, Australia, which is stopping by Western New York during their tour of the United States.

Prince Alfred has toured the area in 2000, 2003 and 2007 when coached by Steven Johnson, a Western New York native who, after spending 12 years teaching in Australia, has since returned here and is a science teacher at Chautauqua Lake. Prince Alfred tips off its WNY stops tonight at Fredonia at 7:30 p.m.; members of the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams from Fredonia High School will host Prince Alfred student athletes during their week-long stay.

Prince Alfred plays Chautauqua Lake on Tuesday; the team will visit Niagara Falls and attend a Buffalo Sabres game on Wednesday; plays at St. Francis on Thursday and concludes its tour by playing at Cheektowaga on Friday.

The visiting athletes -- many of whom have never seen snow -- will also attend classes at the host schools on game days. The team departs Sunday evening for New York City, will spend Christmas in Philadelphia and will play several games in that area, then stops in San Francisco on its way home.

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/high-schools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

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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.

@KeithMcSheaBN | kmcshea@buffnews.com

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