By Keith McShea
Every week during the basketball season a panel of voters participates in The News' large and small school boys basketball polls.
This week is the -- gasp! -- final week of the regular season. Time flies when you're having fun watching high school basketball. This week has quite the Saturday finishing it off. That's when we'll learn the seedings and schedule of the Section VI tournament, and also when those famous lovebirds Canisius and St. Joe's get together at 2 p.m. at Canisius College (two days after Valentine's Day).
Here's last week's ballot (Week Seven, Feb. 5). Previous polls: Week Six, Jan. 29 (Super week); Week Five, Jan. 22 (inauguration), Week Four, Jan. 15 (MLK), Week Three (Jan. 8, which followed a two-week holiday break); Week Two (special Christmas edition, Dec. 18); Week One (Dec. 11). Also, here's last year's final 2011-12 post.
With not much movement in the poll and not many games left, here's a look at this week's ballot along with each team's remaining schedule:
1. Canisius (17-4) [last week: 1] -- Still tops in the Class A state poll after a loss in Erie, Pa., against a Cathedral Prep team ranked sixth in the state in Class AAAA.
Games left: Thursday vs. Timon (6:30), Saturday vs. St. Joe's (2 p.m. at Canisius College).
2. Niagara Falls (14-3)  -- Last game Wednesday at Lew-Port.
3. Jamestown (14-2)  -- Tonight at West Seneca West.
4. St. Joe's (17-4)  -- Tonight at Frontier, Thursday vs. Sweet Home, Saturday vs. Canisius at Canisius College.
5. Williamsville North (13-3)  -- Tonight at Orchard Park, Thursday at Williamsville East.
6. McKinley (13-3)  -- Tonight vs. Hutch-Tech, Thursday at Bennett.
7. Bishop Timon-St. Jude (10-11)  -- Tigers are taking a hit in the poll for losses, and we see that considering the big loss at Joe's Friday. But, we're keeping them here. Even without Donte Williams they took Canisius to the final minute. Super tough schedule continues this week:
Wednesday vs. V-Aquinas, Thursday at Canisius, Monday at St. Francis.
Sidenote: We have gone without the annual whoa-nobody-thought-that-was-going-to-happen upset that we usually see once a year in the Monsignor Martin Association. Which means, Timon or St. Francis is due for an upset win, or St. Joe's will beat Canisius Saturday. Unless we don't have one of those games this year? Hmmm....
8. Clarence (13-4)  -- Tonight at Lancaster.
9. Amherst (14-1)  -- Tonight vs. Depew, Wednesday vs. Pioneer, Friday at Springville.
10. Williamsville South (12-4) [NR] -- Tonight vs. Iroquois, Thursday vs. Allegany-Limestone.
Will South gets the nod at No. 10, which means they now will face the Curse of the New Kid in the Top 10. You don't think that's scary? Why don't you ask Sweet Home about that (they lost after a BIG first quarter by South Friday). Then ask North Tonawanda. Then ask Lockport. It's OK to admit it. You're scared now.
1. Olean (16-1)  -- Today at Gowanda.
2. Silver Creek (17-0)  -- Thursday vs. Dunkirk.
3. Oracle Charter (17-1)  -- Regular season concluded.
4. Nichols (15-5)  -- Friday at St. Mary's, Monday at Niagara Catholic. Bumped up with another team's fall; playing St. Joe's and Canisius tough recently didn't hurt.
5. Cleveland Hill (14-1)  -- Tonight vs. JFK, TBA at Holland, Monday at St. Mary's.
6. East (11-5)  -- To lose at McKinley would be OK. To get blown out at McKinley, where Oracle won and Middle College went down to the final minute, gets you dropped a few spots on this ballot.
Wednesday vs. Hutch-Tech, Thursday vs. Middle Early College.
7. Middle Early College (10-5)  -- Tonight vs. South Park, Thursday at East.
8. St. Mary's (15-6)  -- Tuesday at Walsh, Friday vs. Nichols, Monday vs. Cleveland Hill.
9. Lackawanna (13-3)  -- Tonight vs. Holland, Thursday at JFK.
10. Maple Grove (15-1)  -- This is ridiculous. Maple Grove played, and won, at Randolph in a big game that was mentioned on this blog, in The Buffalo News and also mentioned on PrepTalkTV Weekly.
And, in a shocking development, the game was not called in to us.
Repeating from the LAST TWO WEEKS, also after 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). We'll be at Jamestown CC, as we have every year the games have been held there, if you are playing for a sectional title three Fridays from today. And oh by the way, we (and other members of the small school poll) consider you a top 10 team. Least you can do is what is expected of any and every team in WNY: Call in your games.
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