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How The News voted: MLK edition

Every week during the basketball season a panel of voters participates in The News' large and small school boys basketball polls.

Today's ballot comes one day after there was no school in honor of a great American as well as three days after Saturday's MLK Classic at City Honors.

And every week we let you know, like the title says ... how The News voted.

Here is a link to previous ballots: Jan. 10 (back from the break), Dec. 20, Dec. 13 (the tipoff).

Here are this week's polls, and here's our ballot:

LARGE SCHOOLS

1. Canisius (8-4) [last ballot: 1] -- During Canisius' game with McKinley, I had just about teetered into switching my Nos. 1 & 2. 

McKinley was giving Canisius fits in a close game in the third quarter, and was doing so without a big man like Falls' Jermaine Crumpton, who had had an impressive performance against nationally-ranked Milton (Ga.) Friday night during the Burger King Classic in Erie, Pa. I was also thinking that Falls was going to beat Cathedral Prep in Saturday night's consolation game.

But ... then the Crusaders finished off a very good Macks team the way a top team should, and they even did so with junior standout Adam Weir spending a lot of time on the bench in foul trouble. Later, Falls fell to Erie's Cathedral Prep, which is certainly a very good team but not one that is highly regarded in Pennsylvania polls, if at all (they're not in the Harrisburg Patriot-News state rankings or the ESPNHS.com rankings). Also, info-packed ramblersbasketball.com called Prep's win over Falls "an upset."

So it brought me back to my season-long view that Canisius should have a slight edge over Falls. What surprised me was that we have another 8-2 first-place-vote switcheroo in the polls this week (kablam!). Canisius had 8-2 advantage before the holiday break; Falls got eight votes last week; Canisius is back to eight first-place votes this week. Wild.    

2. Niagara Falls (7-3) [2] -- Wolverine fans who want Falls in the top spot should root for Cathedral Prep on Saturday afternoon when Ramblers visit Canisius at 3.

3. Jamestown (8-1) [3] -- Frontier was getting top 10 votes at one point. Final from the Southern Tier Tuesday night: Jamestown 87, Frontier 41.

4. Bishop Timon-St. Jude (10-3) [4] -- In midst of nine-day layoff that ends Friday vs. Nichols.

5. McKinley (6-2) [6] -- I was impressed with the Macks against Canisius enough to bump them up. Usual maniacal defense, usual depth, very impressive scorer in junior Marcus Morris. 

6. St. Joe's (12-2) [5] -- Marauders played close one at home against a good Walsh team (69-60 win was one-basket game until fourth), which helped open the door for the Macks' bump up my ballot. Host Aquinas Saturday at 4. 

7. Riverside (6-2) [8] -- Solid home win over Hutch-Tech.

8. Hutch-Tech (4-3) [7] -- Host rematch with Riverside Feb. 8. 

9. Williamsville East (9-2) [10] -- Rewarding Flames for the win at Hamburg and not losing since Dec. 10 (to St. Joe's; they also lost opener to Will North). Tonight East heads to South in a huge game in the league (and the village). How huge is it? PrepTalkTV is making its 2012 hoops debut there.   

10. Kenmore West (7-2) [9] -- Very tough to figure NFL's No. 2 against the rest of the NFL (as in how far ahead they are from the pack) vs. ECIC II's top team (Will East), not to mention vs. the rest of ECIC I (Will North seems to have found its stride again after a December swoon, including a non-blowout loss at Jamestown and home win over Clarence), not to mention ECIC III's East Aurora, coming off a nice OT win against OTC Middle College and showing some very good signs.

I think the top six is very solid. Riverside is a solid seventh. I could see a case for the last three in any of those spots. Right now I'd give Will North No. 11 over EA, but I'm not sure there's a whole lot separating my 7-12. 

SMALL SCHOOLS

1. Olean (10-1) [1] -- Looks like this will be the easiest spot to fill out in the poll for a long time.

2. St. Mary's (8-4) [3] -- Lancers with impressive showing against Canisius after decent showing against St. Joe's after loss to Depew. That makes them 0-3 since late December! No biggie. Three-point loss to Canisius was enough for me to return them to the No. 2 spot just ahead of ... 

3. OTC Middle College (5-3) [2] -- ... the Kats, who lost at tough one in OT to East Aurora Saturday.

4. MST Seneca (7-0) [6] -- There were rave reviews from Indians' buzzer-beating win over I-Prep, enough for me to give them a bump. Jan. 27 is first showing of OTC-MST (at ECC :-) ). 

5. Tonawanda (11-0) [8] -- Was impressed by Lalka in win at Lackawanna, was also impressed with the team, three-point shooting, defense, hustle.

6. Archbishop Walsh (10-3) [7] -- Showing they deserve a spot at the top 10 table again with a competitive trip to St. Joe's Sunday.

7. Depew (7-3) [4] -- Lost at EA Thursday night. Probably not worthy of a three-spot drop, but Tonawanda owns a win over EA, OTC played them tougher. One of the many-more-than-10 reasons this ballot is giving me a headache.

8. Wilson (6-2) [NR] -- Like last week, the Niagara-Orleans League deserves a nod. Lakemen made themselves the team with a home rout of rival Newfane (our No. 10 last week).  

9. East (3-5) [5] -- Love the win over Hutch-Tech, love the tough schedule, not sure waddup with one-point win over Burgard.

10. Silver Creek (7-1) [9] -- We're keeping them here as Southern Tier's top Section VI team despite home loss to Randolph; hey, it was in triple overtime. 

11th among a ton of contenders: I-Prep/Grover ... or Dunkirk ... or Panama ... or ... :-)

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

---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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