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.