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 today's 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.
Here are our previous blogs: last week (Feb. 11), Feb. 4, Jan. 28, Jan. 21, Jan. 14, Jan. 7; and our first ballot (there was no blog after the second poll as I was on vacation). Here's last year's final poll.
And -- as we head into the postseason (today for Section VI, Saturday for Manhattan Cup) -- here's this week's ballot:
1. Canisius (21-2) [last week's ballot: 1] -- Rolling along at the perfect time.
2. Jamestown (13-4)  -- Jamestown deserves a reward for a double-digit home win over Will North.
3. Bishop Timon-St. Jude (13-10)  -- I'll take the Tiger team that was within four of Canisius in the third quarter in this spot (umm, yes, they did go on to lose by 30 -- but Canisius is on a different level than the rest of this ballot). And, again, we hate hanging our hoop hat on December games, but Timon did beat North.
4. Williamsville North (13-4)  -- Those Monday semis are going to be something, with the Spartans likely facing ...
5. Clarence (14-3)  -- ... these Red Devils at Buffalo State, where two great student sections should be out en force.
Unless, of course, Will North or Clarence hockey makes it to Super Monday and force fans to make a choice. That would stink. I'm not a fan of the AA games being on Monday, even before this possibility.
6. McKinley (12-5)  -- I could see an argument to have them below one or two of the NFL teams, but the Macks' recent losses are two two of the top three small schools (two to Middle College, one to East), and I'd put those small schools at this spot too (if not higher).
7. Lockport (12-3)  -- Loss at Batavia Friday but I still like the Lions scheduling that game. Coin flip has them on the road at Ken West in perhaps the marquee game of Quarterfinal Friday.
8. Kenmore West (14-3)  -- Great win over the Marauders with some great play by Twitter pal Noah Whalen.
9. St. Joe's (12-11)  -- Tough 1-3 week but against some toughies: Beat St. Francis, lost to Timon, Ken West and Canisius.
10. Cheektowaga (13-5) [NR] -- Really tough spot to vote on. Had Iroquois here last week, but their home loss to Williamsville South, which recently lost to St. Joe's, has us headed back to ECIC III and the Warriors, whose two wins over Amherst give them the edge over the very-good Tigers.
1. Olean (15-3)  -- Three 1,000-point scorers on one team. Anyone think of another? (Teams with transfers don't count, obviously). Big favorite in B-1.
2. Middle Early College (13-5)  -- Loss at East results in a split, and still I'm going with the Kats. I think they're the better team. I'm going with aggregate score, the fact that the Kats knew that they had the McKinley game (on the next day) as well to win the Yale Cup, the extremely impressive sweep of McKinley (which beat East), and the my eyeball test. These guys know who they are, they are very talented inside and out (and in between), and they play really, really hard. Favorite in C-1 and they could be playing for a while.
3. East (15-3)  -- Favorite in B-2. Can anyone get in the way of the Olean-East Class B overall final some have been talking about since November?
4. St. Mary's (17-6)  -- Lancers played Canisius tough at home. Gotta love the way they play: Balanced, unselfish, tough, smart, etc., etc. Really impressive what this program has done in recent years, including the last two under coach Paul Rath.
5. Park (11-10)  -- OT loss at Nichols. I'm keeping them here because they split with Nichols, and forced OT without two former starters and then had another foul out and lost another to injury, and they still had a three to win it. I do not know the status of Fred Foster and Hunter Anderson. If they're back for the playoffs, that certainly underlines this vote of confidence.
6. Nichols (16-8)  -- Very good win over Park on Saturday.
7. Fredonia (14-4)  -- Top seed in B-1 over Olean due to power rating built on undefeated league season.
8. Barker (18-0)  -- Only unbeaten basketball team in Western New York.
9. Cleveland Hill (13-4)  -- Nice ECIC IV win over Holland; fell to North Tonawanda at home in nonleague season finale. Still a large school and a decent one, so we're not knocking them down.
10. Sherman (17-1)  -- We continue to like the Class D top seed slightly ahead of Salamanca and Randolph.
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taggedBasketball | How The News voted