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How The News voted (Week Four): MLK Classic is Saturday

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

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

This is just one ballot -- there are nine other voters in each poll. This week's News poll is available via the high school home page.

The Buffalo Public Schools host its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Classic on Saturday, including a very nice marquee matchup of Canisius and McKinley meeting at City Honors at 5:30 p.m.

There is no school Monday. 

Watch & listen a bit to part of the reason why. It's worth it:

In case that video gets taken down by youtube (it's not officially authorized but more than 1 million people have watched it), you can listen to the "I Have A Dream" speech here.

Here's last week's ballot (Week Three, Jan. 8, which followed a two-week holiday break). Previous polls: Week Two (our Christmas edition on Dec. 18); Week One (Dec. 11). Here's our final "How The News voted" post from the 2011-12 basketball season

LARGE SCHOOLS

1. Niagara Falls (7-1) [last week: 1] -- Authoritative second halves in routs of Kenmore West and Lockport.

2. Canisius (8-3) [2] -- Strong win against St. Joe's, regardless of the Marauders' lineup. At Aquinas Thursday before Saturday's showdown with ...

3. McKinley (8-1) [4] -- ... the Macks, whose 26-point home rout of Clarence elevates it over the ECIC I guys below.

St. Joe's? We'll get to them in a little bit.

4. Williamsville North (8-2) [5] -- Last week my gut was aching because it wanted to put North and Jamestown ahead of Joe's and McKinley, but North's home loss to Clarence wouldn't allow it. We've split the difference. North lost at Albany's Green Tech, a loaded charter school ranked in the state's AA top 25, as Taplin went for 31 and five threes. No shame there.

5. Jamestown (8-1) [6] -- One-loss team might be shaking its head how far it has fallen in poll. A home loss will do that, especially with this tough top six.

6. St. Joe's (12-2) [3] -- Having Jordan Glover and Jaylen Morris conk heads in the second quarter was a bummer for most in the Koessler Center Saturday, and it's a bummer for the Marauders when it comes to this ballot. As of poll time, we could certainly hazard a guess that the backcourt would be back soon, but we don't know that. As with Eckstrom last week, there is enough doubt to move them down at this moment (the buzzer-beating win at McKinley would go the other way if we rolled out the basketball when I rolled out this ballot).

If St. Joe's senior backcourt comes back and the Marauders return to playing the level of team ball it was playing, I think they certainly are able to anyone on this list, and, yes, that includes their rival. Knocking off Falls would be tough, but I'd give them a shot. 

7. Bishop Timon-St. Jude (7-5) [8] -- Impressive rout of visiting Nichols was the first of four straight wins; host Batavia Wednesday at 7 p.m. (might try and get out there before PrepTalkTV Weekly at 9).

8. Clarence (8-3) [7] -- Wins at North and at Amherst keep them solidly in top 10.

9. Kenmore West (7-3) [9] -- Quality losses, but wins don't match up with Clarence's.

10. Amherst (10-1) [10] -- Same 10th team in same top 10 from last week (although obviously some moved around).Keep racking up quality wins against something of WNY high school hoops' "mid-majors," the quality small schools of ECIC III which have been very competitive and playing good ball, but just occupy both No. 10 spots on this ballot. It's cool, we'll likely see another forceful showing at Buffalo State in A-2 and B-1.   

SMALL SCHOOLS

1. Olean (10-1) [2] -- Sam Eckstrom returned (Thursday), so Huskies returned (to No. 1).

2. Silver Creek (11-0) [1] -- Suddenly a very clear No. 2 with Middle Early College's loss Friday (which was witnessed by many Black Knights and coach Rob Genco).

3. East (7-4) [9] -- Overtime victory over Middle Early College earns them the spot that MEC had been in much of the year. That game wasn't the prettiest, but I think we'll see better ball from both teams, especially come postseason. Now that East has righted itself with big wins like this one, throw in a quality loss like the close one to McKinley, and they deserve this spot. Early losses came without Percy Bryant in the lineup.

4. Nichols (10-3) [4] -- Tough loss at Timon, home loss at Aquinas. 

5. St. Mary's (8-4) [5] -- Considered moving them past Nichols but held off. Still very much looking forward to this pair's league meetings.

6. Middle Early College (6-2) [3] -- Kats need to be better than they were Friday vs. East. We get another chance to see them Saturday vs. East Aurora. 

7. Cleveland Hill (9-1) [8] -- Golden Eagles still rolling after opening with two-point loss to Nichols. Holding off on moving them higher than this for now.

8. Maple Grove (8-1) [7] -- Tough to tell where they fit in. Win over East was early on without Bryant. Next Tuesday Red Dragons are at rival Randolph, which MG beat by 20 early but the Cardinals hung with Silver Creek in a high-scoring deal (Bryce Morrison 39 and nine -- !!! -- threes). 

9. Lackawanna (6-2) [6] -- Keeping them here for now. Only losses to Batavia and Cleveland Hill.

10. East Aurora (6-3) [10] -- Five-game win streak includes one over CSAT (which won recently at Newfane) and one over Maryvale (avenging earlier loss, and Maryvale just beat Depew), enabling it to box out quite a few contenders for this spot. 

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 our live chat Wednesday evening following our second 2013 episode of PrepTalkTV Weekly. 

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

buffalonews.com/highschools     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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