By Keith McShea
Every week during the basketball season a panel of voters participates in The News' large and small school boys basketball polls, which are published in the Scholastic Spotlight.
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, which debuts this week. It returns next week before taking a one-week break for the holidays.
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As you may have seen, I wrote an expanded version of this blog as today's boys basketball outlook. There is also a story on Howard Washington of Canisius and a list of returning All-WNY players.
Here's a link to last year's final poll, and here's this year's first shot:
1. Canisius (3-0) [last year's final ballot: 2] -- There is a lot of unknowns, a lot of excitement and a lot of parity entering this season. The Crusaders have pretty much a new (and very young) team to start this season, but their fine start, including the Keenan Classic title win over Nazareth, definitely earns them this spot.
2. McKinley (1-0)  -- One game. One win. An impressive one over Kenmore West.
3. Clarence (3-0)  -- Road win at Will North the most impressive win in a very impressive early resume: at its tournament it beat Amherst and North Tonawanda, two teams with some poll buzz of their own.
4. Bishop Timon-St. Jude (2-2)  -- Fine win over North at Cataract Classic, fine effort against Aquinas at home.
5. Jamestown (1-1)  -- Clarence gets the top ECIC I nod partly because it's played more quality games. We'll learn about the Red Raiders Tuesday night at Will North.
6. Williamsville North (1-2)  -- Two losses to two teams above.
7. St. Joe's (2-3)  -- Nice Lockport tourney win has been followed by losses to pretty good competition.
8. Kenmore West (2-1)  -- Very nice win at NT Friday night.
9. Lockport (3-1) [NR] -- Nice effort against St. Joe's (OT loss in Lockport final), but not enough to place them ahead of West at this point.
10. Amherst (2-1)  -- Like last year, an early loss to Clarence. It endangers the Tigers (in ECIC III among smallest of large schools) will be looking up at ECIC I teams on this ballot.
On this ballot's bubble: Hamburg after starting 2-0 to win the Lions Club tourney, some team named Niagara Falls (very young team with very un-Falls like 0-3 start), and Cheektowaga owns a nice early win over Depew.
1. Olean (4-0)  -- As was the case last season, probably the easiest pick in either part of this ballot.
2. East (1-0)  -- Ton of returning talent and a whoa of a start with the rout of Timon.
3. St. Mary's (1-0)  -- Bunch of talent back from last year, nice start to the season with win over ...
4. Middle Early College (0-1)  -- ... the Kats, another small-school poll staple.
5. Randolph (1-0) [NR] -- Maycock and Morrison connect from long-distance with the basket as well as they did during the football season with each other.
6. Fredonia (1-0)  -- Was a big fan of their game at Buff State last year. Key players back.
7. Nichols (2-2) [NR] -- the big got bigger thsi season as All-WNY honorable mentions Chris Miner and Cam Lewis were joined by Claernce transfer Tanner Schmit.
8. Silver Creek (4-1)  -- They lose a lot, but they have a (literally) big returner in junior center Billy Brooks.
9. Barker (3-0) [NR] -- Bulldogs with something you don't usually see up in the Niagara-Orleans: A blowout win at Newfane.
10. Lackawanna (2-1)  -- Decent start, great nonleaguer tonight at home against Fredonia.
On this bubble: Park, Health Sciences, Cleve Hill, Depew.
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