By Keith McShea
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 week marks a change at the top as Canisius takes over the No. 1 large school spot for Niagara Falls. Canisius had a great start to what should be a fun month, winning at Timon Friday, beating Section V Class AA power Fairport (then ranked second in the state) on Saturday, becoming the top-ranked team in the Class A state poll on Monday and ascending to The News No. 1 spot today.
Here's last week's ballot (Week Six, Jan. 29 - Super week). Previous polls: Week Five, Jan. 22 (inauguration), Week Four, Jan. 15 (MLK), Week Three (Jan. 8, which followed a two-week holiday break); Week Two (our special Christmas edition, Dec. 18); Week One (Dec. 11). Also, here's last year's final 2011-12 post.
1. Canisius (15-3) [last week: 2] -- I said I was waiting to see Niagara Falls and Canisius this past weekend to see if there was a move to be made for this spot, and the results made it a clear one. Canisius was all over Fairport from the start and then made the plays to hold on. Fairport, Bishop Kearney (which Falls lost to Sunday) and Webster Schroeder (which Falls lost to Saturday) are considered to be tightly grouped together when it comes to who is the best Class AA team in Section V.
Then there was just the eye test. Canisius toughed out a win at Timon Friday, then looked extremely good on Saturday. Ball movement, great defense, team leader Adam Weir has been excellent, Aaron White has been very good on both ends and very judicious on when to take (and hit) shots. In what will continue to be a challenging month, Canisius is off to a great start.
2. Niagara Falls (12-3) [last week: 1] -- Remain a clear No. 2 despite the 0-for-2 weekend. Webster Schroeder game was close the entire way; Bishop Kearney is playing much better than it was earlier. Bounce-back opportunity for the Wolverines tonight at Kenmore West.
3. Jamestown (13-2)  -- Ahh, the poll has some order now, not just at the top but here, thanks to the Red Raiders winning at Williamsville North last week.
4. St. Joe's (15-4)  -- Very nice road wins at Timon (actually a better win than Canisius', for what it's worth) and at Nichols. Marauders lost to Jamestown in December and one could argue, very well, that St. Joe's is a much-improved team since then. I still like Jamestown's inside-outside weaponry to give them the edge. St. Joe's, however, is playing together and playing smart, which is why they are racking up wins.
5. Williamsville North (12-3)  -- Home loss to Jamestown (teams split the season series) drops them down. Spartans did not play their best game against Jamestown (just as Jamestown did not play its best when it lost to North at home). Let's hope everyone peaks in which should be some fun games at Buffalo State.
6. McKinley (11-3)  -- Followed loss to Oracle with nice win over Middle Early College at ECC. Another good one tonight at 6 hosting East.
7. Bishop Timon-St. Jude (10-9)  -- Tigers' record is reflective of a tough schedule -- one which doesn't quit with a trip to Kearney Wednesday. Game at St. Joe's Friday is latest chance for Timon to break through against the MMA's top two.
8. Clarence (12-4)  -- Its win at North will likely help decide the ECIC I title. It still has that early win at Amherst keeps them ahead of the ...
9. Amherst (13-1)  -- ... Tigers, who continue to rolll. Big win over East Aurora last week. Likely to head into sectionals with only that one loss.
10. Sweet Home (12-2) [NR] -- The top 10 has seen Kenmore West, which lost to North Tonawanda, which then lost to Lockport last week. With that going on in the NFL, the Panthers got the nod. Sweet Home unbeaten in ECIC II; they host South Friday and are at St. Joe's in season-ender on Feb. 14. Lockport might be 10a. Sweet Home has a win over Nichols early and its losses are to Kenmore West (in Dec.; now KW seems like a much different team) and Middle Early College.
1. Olean (14-1)  -- Impressive win at Rochester's East High Friday, No. 1 ranking in Class B, looks like the Huskies are back to playing at highest of levels.
2. Silver Creek (15-0)  -- Quality 71-62 win over a quality Portville win last week. At Cattaraugus-Little Valley tonight, then host Randolph in a good one Friday (crossing fingers I can get down there) before finishing at home against Dunkirk on Feb. 14.
3. Oracle Charter (15-1)  -- Class C-1 playoffs should be fun.
4. East (11-4)  -- Quality win at South Park Friday, quality game tonight at 6 at McKinley.
5. Nichols (14-4)  -- Played St. Joe's tough until it appeared that a senior-laden, cohesive team just won the battles at both ends against a younger squad. Good news/bad news: Vikings get another chance to prove itself tonight at home at 7:30 (that's good), the opponent is Canisius (that's not).
6. Cleveland Hill (13-1)  -- Completing season sweep of a very good Lackawanna team -- on the road -- earned them a bump on this ballot.
7. Middle Early College (8-5)  -- Still talented, still dangerous, but still perhaps a step or two behind where it could be (double-digit loss to McKinley at home Friday).
8. St. Mary's (13-6)  -- Cleve Hill's bump results in Lancers' slide. Great nonleaguer to end year: Cleve Hill at St. Mary's Feb. 18. St. Mary's hosts Nichols next Friday (Feb. 15).
9. Lackawanna (11-3)  -- From reports on the loss to Cleve Hill, it was a good one, so I'm promoting both.
10. Maple Grove (11-1)  -- Repeating from last week, in which Maple Grove won and didn't call us: HEY MAPLE GROVE! CALL IN YOUR SCORES TO THE BUFFALO NEWS. Signed, newspaper/web site that has followed you (just as we do to ANY Section VI team) to state championships in football and basketball and has honored your state champs with state championship poster pages (like girls cross country today). And oh by the way, we (and other members of the small school poll) consider you a top 10 small school. Least you can do is what is expected of any team in WNY: Call in your games.
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taggedAmherst | Basketball | Bishop Timon-St. Jude | Canisius | Clarence | Cleveland Hill | How The News voted | Jamestown | Lackawanna | Maple Grove | McKinley | Middle College | Niagara Falls | Nichols | Olean | Silver Creek | St. Joe's | St. Mary's/Lancaster | Sweet Home | Williamsville North