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2011 Cataract Classic hoops field announced

Niagara Falls boys basketball coach Sal Constantino has announced the field for the 2011 Cataract Classic, hosted by Falls on Dec. 9-10.

Friday, Dec. 9
Niagara-Wheatfield vs. Williamsville South, 5 p.m.
Depew vs. Williamsville North, 6:30 p.m.
Bishop Timon-St. Jude vs. Niagara Falls, 8 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 10
Grand Island vs. Wilson, noon
St. Mary's vs. Amherst, 1:30 p.m.
V-Finney vs. Lackawanna, 3 p.m.
V-Batavia vs. Sweet Home, 4:30 p.m.
Newfane vs. Niagara Catholic, 6 p.m.
V-Bishop Kearney vs. Niagara Falls, 7:30 p.m.

As soon as coaches have 2011 basketball schedule dates solidified -- especially for the early-season tournaments and showcase events -- please email me at [email protected].

---Keith McShea

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

Live chat March 30: Talking spring & hockey on WECK; typing softball, baseball and hoops, from Division I to downstate, in the chat

The snow has almost melted, there are some spring sports results trickling in. There's also the discussion about this year's All-Western New York hoop teams, although I'll likely be quite tight-lipped about it when we get tonight's chat going at 9. 

I'll be taking a timeout from the chat at 9:30 p.m. to be a guest on The Late Nick Mendola program on WECK-AM (1230) so we'll go from typeing-chatting to talking-chatting and then back again. 

As always, anything in the world of high school sports -- or our coverage of it -- is up for discussion.

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 more hectic.

* * * 

Here's the mid-chat visit with Nick Mendola on WECK.

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* * *

Previous chats from this winter season: last week (March 23 -- post-Final Four), (March 16 -- pre-Final Four), (March 9 -- pre-Far West Regionals), (March 2 -- after the Manhattan Cup and A-1 semifinals), Feb. 23 (prequarterfinal Wednesday), Feb. 17Feb. 9Feb. 2, Jan. 26, Jan. 19, Jan. 12, Jan. 5 (back from the break), Dec. 15 (from the Monsignor Martin-ECIC challenge), Dec. 9 (post-All-Western New York football discussion) and 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

Winter-to-spring poll time

These polls are also posted at the high school home page -- just some fun questions as we look back at the winter and look forward to the spring:

 

 

 

 

 

 

---Keith McShea

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

MacKinnon new coach of Nichols hoops

Nichols athletic director Robert Stewart e-mailed me with the news that Jim MacKinnon has been hired to succeed Greg Plumb as the Vikings' boys basketball coach.

"Coach MacKinnon has been involved with Nichols basketball for the last two years and we are very excited to have him take over the head position," stated Stewart.

MacKinnon was the head coach at Tonawanda from 1993 to 2002; from 1990 to 1993 he was the JV coach at Canisius High School. MacKinnon's son, Andrew, was the point guard on the Vikings' 2010 state Federation Class A champion team.

---Keith McShea

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

Live from the Federation girls B semifinals: L.I. Lutheran 67, St. Mary's 45

The Federation championships made their first visit to Albany's Times Union Center. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)


Hello from the Times Union Center in Albany, a first-time home for the state Federation tournament and the site of the Class B semifinal between Catholic state champion St. Mary's and independent schools representative Long Island Lutheran.

All my typing is to keep an account of the game which I use to help me write my story. Feel free to monitor the game and even comment on our advertising-free blog, but please be mindful that I might not be able to answer every question while I'm live blogging this game. Thanks very much.

Afterwards, feel free to add your comments on the post.

The box score will be up at our scoreboard page as soon as possible.

---Keith McShea

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

Silver Hoops Classic all-star games Saturday at Grabiarz (with rosters)

The 14th annual Paul R. Missana Memorial Silver Hoops Classic will held Saturday at Buffalo's Grabiarz School.

Grabiarz is located at Military Road and Lawn Ave.

The lineup of the event, which is being presented by Adpro Sports:

Alumni Memorial -- ECIC I and II all-stars vs. ECIC III and IV all-stars, 12:30 p.m.

ECIC I & II: Erik Hansen (Wmsv. South), KJ Zinermon (Sweet Home), Connor Gallivan (Iroquois), Zak Plonka (Lancaster), Edwin Young (Wmsv. North), Nick Gechell (Frontier), David Hill (Clarence), Cody Longwell (Starpoint), Zach Rambuss (W.S. East). Coaches: Jason Kline (W.S. East), Conrad Walters (Lancaster).

ECIC III & IV: Michael Derr (Amherst), Jameson Arnold (East Aurora), Andrew Luckey (Maryvale), Jailyn Thompkins (Cleveland Hill), Sean Fox (JFK), Rick Anna (Depew), Christian Cheatom (Lackawanna), Aswad Jones (Cheektowaga), Ryan Kowal (JFK), Ryan Schmidt (Amherst). Coaches: Tony Krupski (JFK), Hank Hughes (Tonawanda).

John A. Bellanti Memorial -- ECIC all-stars vs. NFL all-stars, 2 p.m.

Niagara Frontier League: Alex Nowocien (Lew-Port), Larry Carson (Lockport), Marcus Feagin (Niagara Falls), Jake Hughes (Niagara-Wheatfield), John Allesandra (Kenmore East), Steve Vitello (Grand Island), Dante Bono (Kenmore East), Jordan Street (Niagara Falls), Devon Amato (Lew-Port), Marc Morreale (Lew-Port), Ryan Grandits (Kenmore West). Coaches: Mike Meetze (Kenmore West), Ryan Hogan (Kenmore West).

ECIC: Dondre Alexander (Lackawanna), Kevin O'Connell (Wmsv. South), Blair Estafaa (Maryvale), Joe Licata (Wmsv. South), Brandon Nance (Cheektowaga), Darin Butts (Jamestown), Phil Stasiak (Wmsv. South), Darius Edwards (Frontier), Tyler Funk (Clarence), James Harrington (Lancaster). Coach: Al Monaco (Wmsv. South).

Paul R. Missana Memorial -- Yale Cup vs. Monsignor Martin Association, 3:30 p.m.

Yale Cup: Tremmell Fisher (East), Chris Holland (I-Prep), John Black (McKinley), Davon Alexander (OTC), Antionio Avery (McKinley), Kenny Pringle (I-Prep), Kyren Willis (Seneca), William Vonoy (Bennett), Deon Artis (Riverside), Andre Jackson (East), Dajaun Rutledge (McKinley), Devon Cooper (Arts), Davon Ferguson (Lafayette), Demetrius Stokes (Emerson), Kadeem Hillman (I-Prep), Maurice Miles (Hutch-Tech), Jamal Frizzel (Burgard). Coach: Zaire Dorsev (McKinley).

Monsignor Martin Assn.: Keith Louie (St. Joe's), Aaron Nevins (Canisius), Steve Moser (St. Joe's), Richard Walsh (Canisius), Ring Henry (Canisius), Gordon Lyons (Canisius), Tom Escott (St. Joe's), Connor Rehbaum (St. Joe's), Peter Notaro (St. Mary's), Jake Spitler (St. Joe's). Coach: Mark Simon (St. Joe's).

Rosters appeared in Friday's paper.

---Keith McShea

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

Live chat March 23: Jamestown's legacy, radio visit & Jimmer talk, All-WNY process, post-Harris Canisius football and a great first pitch for softball

There is now only one Western New York team left playing basketball, Jamestown is coming off a a great weekend proving itself at the Class AA final four in Glens Falls, and we had some pretty big football news break Tuesday afternoon.

Of course, it's also time to start the discussion about this year's All-Western New York boys hoop team, although I'll likely be quite tight-lipped about it when we get tonight's chat going at 9. 

I'll be taking a timeout from the chat at 9:30 p.m. to be a guest on The Late Nick Mendola program on WECK-AM (1230) so we'll go from typeing-chatting to talking-chatting and then back again. 

As always, anything in the world of high school sports -- or our coverage of it -- is up for discussion.

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 more hectic.

* * * 

Here's the link to the audio from my visit on The Late Nick Mendola show.

* * *

Note: During the chat, the Silver Hoops Classic all-star games but the location was incorrect. The games are Saturday at Grabiarz (see separate post for schedule).

* * *  

* * *

Previous chats from this winter season: last week (March 16 -- pre-Final Four), (March 9 -- pre-Far West Regionals), (March 2 -- after the Manhattan Cup and A-1 semifinals), Feb. 23 (prequarterfinal Wednesday), Feb. 17Feb. 9Feb. 2, Jan. 26, Jan. 19, Jan. 12, Jan. 5 (back from the break), Dec. 15 (from the Monsignor Martin-ECIC challenge), Dec. 9 (post-All-Western New York football discussion) and 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

You make the call on the 2011 All-WNY boys basketball team

So you want to try and pick a 2011 All-Western New York boys basketball team?

Here's your chance.

Below is a semi-unscientific list of players under consideration for All-WNY honors, listed league-by-league. As you can see, we tried to err on the side of having too many names rather than too few.

We attempt to pick the 20 best players who had the best seasons. The 20 are divided into four five-member teams: First team, second team, third team, fourth team. We then pick around 30-35 honorable mentions. That might sound like a lot of spots to fill. But start going down the list and you'll see how things get very difficult.

Our general guideline was to include the first and second team from the all-league squads. Some teams have several names listed -- sometimes it is because they might all worthy top 20 candidates, sometimes it is because those teams went deep into the postseason and had many contributors, sometimes it is because those teams are deep and it is tough to determine which is a team's second- or third- best player for honorable mention reasons. Like we said, we err on the side of having too many names.

COACHES OF EVERY TEAM IN WNY: Please email your selections to me at [email protected] as soon as possible. Thanks.

Here's the list:

(league Player of the Year/MVP honors are mentioned, as are last year's All-WNY honors, including honorable mentions):

YALE CUP I
East - Tremmell Fisher 12 (league POY), Andre Jackson 12, Jasen Oden 12, Dominique House 12, Chris Boyd 12
McKinley - Antonio Avery 12, John Black 12, Dajuan Rutledge 12, Damone Canty 12, Dennis James 12, Anthony Sanders 12
Riverside - Justice Feggans 10, Deon Artis 12, Willie Jefferson 12, Gilbert Herrera 12
Lafayette - Devon Ferguson 12
Hutch-Tech - Maurice Miles 12, Denzell Washington 11
Bennett - William Vanoy 12, McKenzie Brown 12, Forrest Richardson 12, Derrick Turner 12
Burgard - Jamal Frizzel 12

YALE CUP II
I-Prep at Grover Cleveland - Chris Holland 11 (league POY, 09 HM, 10 THIRD TEAM), Kenny Pringle 12, Kadeem Hillman 12, Maurice Cheatom 11
OTC Middle College - Davon Alexander 12 (2010 THIRD TEAM), Cordell Torres 11, Khalid Brown 11
City Honors - Jamal Carter 11
MST Seneca - Aaron Frasier 11, Kyren Willis 12
Buffalo Arts - Devon Cooper 12
Emerson - Demetrius Stokes 12

MONSIGNOR MARTIN ASSOCIATION 
Canisius - Aaron Nevins 12 (2010 HM), Gordon Lyons 12, Adam Weir 10, Matt Hart 11
St. Joe's - Connor Rehbaum 12 (league POY), Reggie Agbeko 11, Chad Kelly 11, Steve Moser 12, Jake Spitler 12, A. Keith Louie 12, Tom Escott 12 
St. Mary's - Peter Notaro 12, Nate Meyers 11, Jake Denz 12, Erik Simmons 11, Devin Redden 11 
Archbishop Walsh - Ryan Whelpley 11 
Timon/St. Jude - Jordan Williams 11, Kyle Kobis 11, Dave Scarcello 11, Bryant Fulton 10, Ryan Dougherty 10  
Niagara Catholic - Joe Lowery 12

ECIC I
Jamestown - Jaysean Paige 11 (all-ECIC POY, league POY, 2010 HM), Darin Butts 12 (2010 HM), Joey Campion 12, Tommy Campion 10, Chris Carlson 12, Ben Wrazen 12, Adam Cecchini 11
Lancaster - J.J. Harrington 12, Zak Plonka 12, Jake Kroll 12
Williamsville North - Sterling Taplin 9, Edwin Young 12, Brandon Maranto 12, Jonathan Safir 12, Farhan Hussain 12, Nick Konotopskyj 11 
Frontier - Darius Edwards 12, Nick Gechell 12
Clarence - Tyler Funk 12 (2010 HM), David Hill 12 (2010 HM)
West Seneca West - Mike Jones 12
Orchard Park - Matt McCormick 11

ECIC II
Williamsville South - Phil Stasiak 12 (league POY, 2010 HM, 09 HM), Joe Licata 12 (2010 HM), Kevin O'Connell 12, Erik Hansen 12
Williamsville East - Connor Keenan 11, Eric Stolzenburg 12, Trent Miller 12
West Seneca East - Zach Rambuss 12
Sweet Home - Rashaun Crule 11, Kole Gilchrist 10, K.J. Zinermon 12
Starpoint - Cody Longwell 12
Iroquois - Connor Gallivan 12
Hamburg - Nick Benningfield 12

ECIC III
Maryvale - Blair Estarfaa 12 (league POY), Andrew Luckey 12
Cheektowaga - Brandon Nance 12, Aswad Jones 12, Kyle McDuffie 11
Depew - Jaden Cotton 11, Rick Anna 12, Derek Sekuterski 9
Amherst - Michael Derr 12, Glenn Belton 11, Ryan Schmidt 12  
East Aurora - Jameson Arnold 12 

ECIC IV
Lackawanna - Dondre Alexander 12 (2010 HM), Christian Cheatom 12, Raytrel Finley 11, Shane Daley 12
Tonawanda- Jesse Lalka 11 (league POY), Clayton Hess 10
Holland - Jordan Farrant 11 (2010 HM)
JFK - Sean Fox 12, Ryan Kowal 12
Cleveland Hill - Daryl Spencer 11, Jeru Molson 11, Jailyn Thompkins 12
Alden - Paul Matuszak 11

NIAGARA FRONTIER LEAGUE (no player of the year selected)
Niagara Falls - Marcus Feagin 12, Jordan Street 12, Taijay Williams 11, Jaleo Wilkins 10
Kenmore West - Martin Bailey 11, Ryan Grandits 12, Marcus Lobdell 11, Quinton Campbell 10
Lew-Port - Marc Morreale 12, Pat Stevens 12, Alex Nowocien 12
Niagara-Wheatfield - Jake Hughes 12
Kenmore East - Dante Bono 12
Lockport - Larry Carson 12
North Tonawanda - Joe Montesanti 12, Jesse Puschek 12

NIAGARA-ORLEANS (no player of the year selected)
Newfane - Rohn Pierce 12, Dan Hambruch 12, Sean Seefeldt 11, T.J. Manhart 12, Brayden Sears 12, Drew McCullough 12
Wilson - Brennan Moxham 12 (2010 HM), Tyler Truesdell 12, Tyler Martin 11
CSAT - Darnell Carson 10, Arzell Kaigler 11
Barker - Josh Haight 11, Jake Haight 9
Akron - Connor Ladd 10
Albion - Matt Webster 12

CCAA I
Dunkirk - Vincent Bomasuto 12 (league POY), Kevin Holmes 11, A.J. McCall 12
Olean - Sam Eckstrom 9, Nick Schmidt 9, Alex Curtin 12, Patrick Scholla 10, Luke Hennessy 9
Falconer - Ryan Nord 11
Southwestern - Nick Austin 12
Gowanda - Kris Kruszka 12
Allegany-Limestone - Zach Harrington 11, Joe DeRose 12

CCAA II
Cassadaga Valley - Dustin Schauman 11, Robert Glover 12, Dalton Walsh 12, Simeon Schauman 12, Kyle Pfeiffer 11 
Portville - Brian Tobola 12 (league POY), Zach Blask 10
Silver Creek - Zeddy Williams 10
Salamanca - Matt DeBoy 12, Jevon Battle 11, Jackson John 11
Cattaraugus/Little Valley - Chris Draudt 12
Randolph - Brady Morrison 11, Nick Milliman 12

CCAA III
Maple Grove - Gage Milliman 12, Alex Grace 11, Skylar Liddell 11, Ryan Kibbe 12, Connor Meekins 12
Westfield - Mike Bova 12 (league POY, 09 HM, 2010 HM), Austin Alonge 11
Pine Valley - Brendon Bentham 12, Ed Barnes 12, Jason Howard 12  

CCAA IV
Panama - Nick Lenart 11 (league POY), Zach Lubi 11, Chris Enlow 12
Clymer - Cliff Bailey 12, Andy Reinwald 12, Adam Walker 11, Dan Lictus 10 
Sherman - Chris Persons 12, David Kelley 11
Ellicottville - Colin Lapi 12
Forestville - Jayson Zipp 12 

Charter Schools
Tapestry Charter - Dazmon Knight 12, David Bass 12, Darryl Hollins 12

IAC
Christian Central - Jack Ranallo 11

If anyone thinks there's a player who is not listed who deserves legitimate consideration for the All-WNY team, just add it in a comment or email me at [email protected] and he'll be added to the list.

And be sure to be TOTALLY RESPECTFUL of the players you are discussing -- no matter where you are discussing them. Thanks.

We've got a good amount of time for some fun debating and discussion. The News' team, along with all the all-stars, the Player of the Year and the final polls, will be published in early to mid-April.

Here's a link to last year's post (and the comments, under our old format) that preceded the selection of the 2010 team.

---Keith McShea

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

Harris' stay short, but sweet

Brandon Harris has left Canisius football program after four seasons.

My take?

Harris obviously raised the level of play for the Canisius program while his connections to college football recruiting resulted in several Crusaders going on to play in college, including many at major Division I schools (James Gaines to the University of Miami and John Urschel to Penn State are probably the best examples; both players credited coach Harris for aiding their recruitment).

Actually, with his background as a top assistant coach in Arizona (Brophy Prep), I always thought Harris wouldn't be around for too long. His credentials spoke for themselves and he struck me as a fish out of water of sorts. Western New York -- and certainly New York overall -- is not exactly a hotbed for high school football in comparison with many other areas of the country. This was an opportunity for Harris to be a head coach at a region's top high school and turn the football program around, which is exactly what he did, and that would help him to other coaching opportunities.

There are those who will point to players transferring to Canisius as being part of his legacy. It's impossible for it not to come to mind when you think back on the last four seasons. Gaines (from Williamsville North) and Ricky Pringle (from St. Joe's) were key players who transferred in. Two-year starting quarterback Travis Eman (who has signed with Furman) and this past season's starting running back, junior Mercer Timmis, as well as last season's backup quarterback, Chris Jugovic, are all Canadians who enrolled at Canisius. 

As always with transferring, that's up to the player and his family -- even if you feel compelled to throw the R-word around (that's recruiting, for those who haven't visited our live chats), it's not like people are forced to transfer. It also should be noted that it isn't the first time transfers have come to Western New York from Canada (one of St. Joe's all-time greats is Canadian Sandro D'Angelis) and that standout running back Akeel Lynch is one of several Canadians who have recently transferred to St. Francis. 

And you can't argue the results Harris produced. Canisius won on the field while the legacy of players moving to the next level is a significant one. Here's a great example: Gaines, who signed with Miami with Harris' help, is doing more than fine. New Miami coach Al Golden has Gaines at No. 1 on the depth chart at middle linebacker in spring practice, according to the allcanes.com blog.

Seems to me that Canisius got what it wanted when it brought in a coach of Harris' caliber to the area. The program was re-energized by his approach -- and the winning seasons. There was a bar-raising of expectations and commitment -- including a preseason training camp in which players stayed overnight at the school.

And I can't think that Canisius expected Harris to be a life-long Crusader either.

It will be interesting where the Canisius program goes from here. Two of the men who were integral in the decision to bring Harris to Canisius from Arizona -- he credited Fr. Jim Higgins and Paul Koessler in his statement to The News -- have both passed away. The move to bring in a coach from out of town was an unusual one, and one that paid off, but I'm not sure we'll see that kind of hire again. 

---Keith McShea

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

Harris leaving Canisius football

Brandon Harris, who coached the Canisius football team the last four seasons, is leaving the program. 

Harris met with players this afternoon to notify them of his decision.

Harris e-mailed The Buffalo News with the following statement: 

"It is with regret and optimism that I'm resigning from Canisius to pursue other opportunities in coaching. Four years ago I set out to restore Canisius' standing as one of the best programs in Western New York. I'm confident that I achieved this goal.

"As in any profession, success isn't accomplishied on my efforts alone -- the late Fr. Jim Higgins and Paul Koessler were instrumental in bringing me to Canisius and I'll always be forever greatful for the opportunity they afforded me. Also, I absolutely would have not had any success were it not for my Athletic Director, Jim Mauro. During my four years here, I have met some great coaches who embraced me, the "outsider," and I'm proud to call these men friends; Gene Tundo [Orchard Park], John Faller [Sweet Home], Jerry Smith [St. Francis], Pat Murphy [Amherst] and Len Jankiewicz [Lancaster].

"Finally to the players, coaches, parents, alumni and school community: Thank you for supporting my family and I through four wonderful years. Canisius is now a highly sought after position and it is because of the efforts of so many people we not only had a great run but have positioned Canisius for future success. I have nothing but positive things to say about the city of Buffalo and my experience at Canisius."

Harris told The Buffalo News that he does not know yet where his next stop will be; he is choosing from several possibilities.

Canisius athletic director Jim Mauro said that the school would be conducting a search for a replacement as soon as possible.

Before Harris' arrival, the Crusaders had a 21-43 record since 2000 and had gone 1-7 in 2006. In four seasons, Harris' teams went 26-16, won one Monsignor Martin Association League AA championship and lost in the final two other times.

In 2007, the Crusaders went 6-5 and lost to St. Francis in the MMA AA final; in 2008, they went 6-3 and lost to St. Francis in the MMA AA final; in 2009, they went 7-5 and beat St. Joe's in the MMA AA final; in 2010 they went 7-3 and lost to eventual champion St. Joe's in the MMAA AA semifinals. 

---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 | [email protected]

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