The All-Western New York teams from the 2012 fall season have been published. Here's a rundown:
BOYS SOCCER: Williamsville East's Brandon Schick, who scored a school-record 84 goals for the Flames, is Western New York's Player of the Year and he leads off the season wrapup story. Discover the entire first team as well as the boys soccer honor roll, which includes all of the all-league teams.
We will be reporting live from Canisius as they welcome Rochester powerhouse Bishop Kearney (1-1), which lost its opener at Niagara Falls. That was a primary reason that Falls was voted No. 1 in the large school poll.
I'll have updates from games in the live blog below; I'll also have periodic #preptalkscores updates on Twitter that will appear in the blog.
If you want to chime in on the games -- or if you are out at another high school contest (of any sport) -- your tweets with the hashtag #preptalkscores will appear in the live blog as well.
This will be the last live blog of 2012, so here's wishing everyone a very Happy Holidays.
Note: Today's poll is the last of 2012. The poll takes a two-week holiday break and will return with the Scholastic Spotlight on Jan. 8, 2013.
1. Niagara Falls (2-1) [last week's poll: 1] -- We see a definite top three in the poll. We also see them not being separated by much.
Falls certainly deserves the top spot based on their season-opening overtime win over Bishop Kearney, because the Knights are as fearsome as the Central Park Rangers.
2. Canisius (2-1)  -- Another Tuesday, another great matchup. Last week it was the now-classic with Olean. Tonight it is that aforementioned Kearney team, which evened its record with a very solid win at Albany Academy.
Am I going to the game tonight?
Is there sugar in syrup?
3. Jamestown (3-0)  -- These guys looked very good in the win over St. Joe's. I wasn't kidding about how closely the top three are grouped together. Quinn Lee Yaw and Brendan Kellam are dynamic up front, they have a go-to sharpshooting leader in Tommy Campion and a stat-sheet-filler in Zack Panebianco.
Panebianco. That's fun to say. Pan-e-bi-an-co.
4. Williamsville North (3-0)  -- Latest impressive victory was over top 10 team in Clarence, following wins over Batavia and Riverside (with Justice Feggans). A key factor for the Spartans is that senior David Berkun is hitting so many threes.
If he had one more he'd have one for each of the 12 Pains of Christmas.
5. St. Joe's (4-1)  -- Got any last-minute shopping to do? Mark Cerza has some experience in the last-minute area.
6. McKinley (3-1)  -- The Macks (pictured above) stay tucked behind St. Joe's after the home loss. They have a matchup this evening at South Park (off to 5-0 start). Some of the Macks were so angry after the St. Joe's loss that they sounded like a certain South Pole elf.
7. Bishop Timon-St. Jude (2-4)  -- The Tigers get coal in their stocking for not calling in their game Sunday, a 58-42 loss to Kenwood (Ill.) during their weekend trip to Chicago.
Hope they didn't leave anyone behind.
That has happened before in the Chicago area near Christmastime.
8. Kenmore West (1-2)  -- Quality performances and a qualiy early-season schedule have them here.
They also had a 78-23 victory in league play.
Looks like that game went a little bit like this:
9. Clarence (3-1)  -- There are some contenders out there for the last few spots in the top 10, but we like these next two teams. Because, at this point, if you want Amherst in the top 10, which I'd say I do, you've got to have Clarence in there since the Red Devils beat them in the Lancaster tipoff. No Christmas tie-in if your nickname is the Red Devils.
10. Amherst (3-1)  -- See above. Those on the outside looking in include Williamsville South, Sweet Home, Riverside, Hutch-Tech and maybe South Park. You want a Christmas reference for these guys? You'll have to wait until Dec. 25th. Just kidding. You'll have to wait until the end of this blog.
1. Olean (4-0)  -- After the win against Canisius during its dominating start to the season, the future for the Huskies (not just this year but next year, with all those juniors) is brighter than 25,000 imported Italian twinkle lights.
2. Middle Early College (3-0)  -- Many ways of saying good basketball: Middle College, OTC, Middle Early College. Kind of like: Season's Greetings, Happy Holidays, Good Tidings. Or like this song.
3. Silver Creek (6-0)  -- Simply, having, a wonderful early-season time (the schedule doesn't hurt). Black Knights are a third through their regular season already; in other news they have started their Christmas shopping for next year. Talk about ripping through the wrapping paper on their presents. (Feel free to provide your own ho-ho-horrible Christmas line).
Last one: These guys have started so hot, they're attracting interest from this guy:
4. Lackawanna (4-0)  -- Steelers appear to be back. Not seeing them last year at Buffalo State was kind of like a Christmas without people putting idiotic inflatable things on their lawn.
5. Newfane (2-0)  -- I'm totally coming up blank here. Panthers deserve this spot with win over the next team on this list. Niagara-Orleans always plays some tough basketball. I'm just blanking on tying in a big red Christmas bow with these guys. Sorry -- I'm a cotton-headed ninny-muggins. Readers, feel free to give it a shot :-) .
6. St. Mary's (3-2)  -- The Lancers' schedule has caused some bumps (losses to Newfane and then Will South after a 3-0 start). But St. Mary's always plays a tough schedule.
Their early games are kind of like traveling through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and then walking through the Lincoln Tunnel. Somewhere along the way you're going to run into a racoon who doesn't want a hug.
7. Nichols (4-1)  -- Early wins over Cleveland Hill and Maryvale looking better this week for the Vikings. These guys were also once known as the Big Green. Speaking of big and green ...
8. Depew (2-2)  -- Another team that annually plays a quality schedule. Both losses have been close ones, to Amherst in OT and to an improving St. Francis team on a last-second shot. At Larry Jones' Workshop, the Wildcats don't have to worry about meeting their quota. They crank out quality performances like Foom Foom's crew cranks out Etch-A-Sketches.
9. East (2-2) [NR] -- The Panthers always seem to start with a couple of losses, but their home win over Riverside -- albeit there was no Justice in that game (Feggans, the fourth-team All-WNYer) -- shows they'll be a tough small school to tangle with.
Maybe even as tough as this guy:
10. Maryvale (2-1) [NR] -- Quality win over fellow ECIC-III-large-turned-small-school-this-season East Aurora earns them a spot here. The Kensys won't be singing Christmas Carols today. Nooooo way. Dad Mark (Maryvale coach) visits son Chris (Amherst coach) tonight in a matchup of two teams on this ballot.
Don't like what you're reading? The comment space is below (it's back with a few new bells & whistles -- please let us know what you think of it), as are our Twitter, Facebook & email addresses.
Our final episode of PrepTalkTV Sunday for 2012 is tonight at 8:30 p.m. -- you can watch it here, also right on the home page of buffalonews.com.
We'll talk about this past week's momentous meeting between Canisius and Olean in boys basketball -- as well as our special look (and listen) at Olean's win -- while we'll take a look at the basketball polls and what events are coming up this week and over the holiday break. We'll also be visited by St. Joe's hockey in our studio as we talk to Rich Crozier and senior captain Mike Iannello about their Federation season and their big annual December matchup with Williamsville North on Thursday.
PrepTalkTV Sunday follows tonight's 7:30 broadcast of the [BN]TheHuddle Bills wrapup show, which can also be seen in the window below.
Afterwards, I'll have a live chat right here. It should start around 9:15 to 9:30 p.m. -- the exact time depends on how long the live video show goes. Let us know what you thought of the show, as well as all of the high school action, football and all fall sports.
As always, anything in the world of high school sports -- or our coverage of it -- is up for discussion.
As always, please just ask questions once. I promise I'll get to them.
In recent years, I've encountered plenty of people who were dismayed at the loss of the Empire State Games, first for the summer of 2009, then the summer of 2011.
Well, the summer Games are back, and the foundation that runs them is hoping that those who value the state's popular Olympic-style event will support it: Literally.
The Empire State Sports Foundation, the entity that secured the rights to hold the Empire State Games, including the re-establishment of the summer games in Rochester in 2013 (July 24-28), launched a "Fuel The Torch" fundraising effort today.
Stephen Gionta, Rochester native, Empire Games veteran and current (although locked-out) New Jersey Devil, helped launch the effort. The Games' press release stated it is "appealing to all supporters, alumni and athletes across the state to get involved and help bring back the Games."
The web site includes various ways for individuals, or corporations, can donate to "Fuel The Torch."
Key info from the release:
* Under the new privately-funded model, the games will depend primarily on individual donations and corporate sponsorship to enable the work of the Empire State Sports Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 non-profit.
* The Empire State Sports Foundation hopes the annual “Fuel the Torch” appeal and the “Friends of the Games” campaign will not only help the games grow, but also guarantee that the games will be a permanent fixture for decades to come.
* Quotes from foundation COO Scott Bell:
“Work is progressing every day to bring back the games, but to make these the biggest and best Empire State Games they can be, we need athletes, alumni and all the people of New York to show their support and give from their heart.
“Our goal is more than just bringing back the summer games. It’s our hope that we will be able to make certain that the games are better than ever, and around for the next generation of New Yorkers.”
* The winter Games, which have continued to be held each year in Lake Placid, are set for Feb. 7-10.
Usually Keith and I wait until after games to hear from the coaches. For Tuesday's Canisius-Olean matchup, we decided to get a little fancy.
We mic'd the coaches during the game -- Olean Coach Jeff Anastasia for the first half, and his halftime speech, and Canisius Coach Kyle Husband for the second half.
BIG thank you to both coaches. Our shows are full of player highlights each week, but coaches all around Western New York are also putting in impressive performances during these games and deserve to be recognized.
1. Niagara Falls (1-1) [last year's final poll: 2] -- If I had a preseason poll (you can blame this year's three-team run to the football state finals for there not being one as part of our preview or outlook :-) ), I would have had Canisius No. 1. The Wolverines got their season started with a momentous victory over Bishop Kearney. Yes, they lost the next day to Brunswick of Ohio, but that is a high-quality team that I can't automatically seeing any other local team beating. Scheduling back-to-backers like that on opening weekend is worth rewarding.
2. Canisius (0-0)  -- Tremendous tip-off tonight with Olean.
3. Jamestown (1-0)  -- The backcourt ... actually, the whole court ... looked terrific in second half of their opening rout of Williamsville South. Another must-see deal tonight as the Red Raiders meet St. Joe's at 6.
4. McKinley (2-0)  -- Grinding teams down (68-51 over Timon) and blowing others out (Yikes: 105-22 over Dunkirk).
5. Williamsville North (1-0) [NR] -- Had Spartans unofficially 11th to finish last year. Opening win over Batavia, which included not only a tremendous performance by Taplin but also some very good team play with significant contributions from seniors David Berkun and Aman Washington and others.
6. St. Joe's (3-0)  -- They sure posted some big numbers in winning the Lockport Tournament (80-plus in routs of Williamsville East and I-Prep) a few days after the opening double-overtime thriller with the neighboring ...
7. Kenmore West (0-1) [NR] -- ... Blue Devils, who seemed to have the St. Joe's game in hand a few times but failed to close it out (which you had better do against SJCI). Ken West lost another high-quality early-season game with Bishop Timon-St. Jude on Monday night (which isn't accounted for on any ballot, FYI).
8. Clarence (2-0) [NR] -- The poll seems to open up a bit here, and the Red Devils may be something of a surprise, but in their tipoff tourney they routed solid small school Oracle Charter before beating a team many expected to be in the top 10 in ...
9. Amherst (2-1)  -- ... the Tigers, who have a ton back from last year and own a solid win over Depew at the Pastor-Cooper.
10. Bishop Timon-St. Jude (0-3)  -- Riverside might be in the mix, and perhaps Hutch-Tech, but for now we're going with the Tigers, who showed us enough during a grueling opening trio (McKinley, V-Aquinas, V-Geneva). (Again, the Tigers got a win Monday night but these polls officially close on Sunday).
1. Olean (2-0)  -- Huskies opening wins over Bradford and Maple Grove were even more dominant than we expected. With tonight being Canisius' opener, the talented, seasoned, in-the-groove Huskies could head home with a win. On Saturday it took Jamestown pretty much a half of its opener to get going against an overmatched opponent in Will South. Tonight should be a great one.
2. Middle Early College (2-0)  -- Talent level remains very high with Kevin Briggs, Keir Anderson and Bri'an Brown.
3. Silver Creek (2-0)  -- Strong start from a team that returns quite a bit from a squad that pushed MEC in last year's C-1 final (back in its OTC days :-) ).
4. Newfane (1-0) [NR] -- We thought quite highly of St. Mary's after their start, including a win over East at the Pastor-Cooper, so the Panthers' overtime win at the Cataract Classic earns them a nice spot here.
5. St. Mary's (3-1)  -- Here are those aforementioned Lancers, who also beat Niagara-Wheatfield and Riverside by double-digits to win the Wilson Tournament.
6. Depew (1-1)  -- An OT loss to Amherst, win over Niagara Catholic, Wildcats get things tipped off this evening at St. Mary's against St. Francis (4:30).
7. East Aurora (1-0) [4 in large school poll] -- Player of the Year is now at UB, but plenty of key cogs return. Nice start with win at Pittsford-Sutherland, which went 16-4 last year. A week from tonight, Blue Devils are at Depew.
8. Nichols (4-0) [NR] -- Quick start to the season has quickly made them a team to watch (again, last night's Sweet Home loss came after the ballots were counted).
9. Lackawanna (2-0) [NR] -- Steelers with a strong start by beating St. Francis and Frontier to win Town of Hamburg Lions Tipoff.
10. Maple Grove (1-1)  -- Nice win over East at the Olean Tournament gets them this spot, but there are plenty of suitors.
Don't like what you're reading? The comment space is below (it's back with a few new bells & whistles -- please let us know what you think of it), as are our Twitter, Facebook & email addresses, and we'll have a live chat Sunday night after PrepTalkTV Sunday's 8:30 live show.
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.