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 Tuesday'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.
And this is the big one -- the final poll.
Here are our previous blogs: the penultimate poll (Feb. 25, voted on before the start of Championship Week), Feb. 18, 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.
Here's our final ballot:
1. Jamestown (19-5) [last poll ballot: 2] -- Awesome win over Greece-Athena earned them this spot.
2. Canisius (23-3)  -- Big divide after the Crusaders, as was the case most of the season, it's just now they have a team above them.
3. Bishop Timon-St. Jude (15-12)  -- I stayed with the Tigers in this spot for much of the season, and with all the dust settled, there's still no compelling reason for me to go with another team here.
4. Lockport (15-5)  -- Was outstanding vs. Jamestown until the fourth quarter, and after that Jamestown rolled to Glens Falls.
5. Clarence (16-4)  -- Lockport played Jamestown tougher in semis than Clarence did in final, so we moved Lockport up.
6. McKinley (16-7)  -- Outstanding return run to overall A title -- it's just that they didn't beat any teams above it on this ballot to do so, so they they remain in a similar spot.
7. Williamsville North (15-5)  -- First game of Championship Week, by all accounts, was far from the best. Unfortunate on several levels. (Although I'm kinda OK with it since I had to miss the games due to teaching my UB class).
8. Cheektowaga (16-7)  -- I was a big supporter of the (first-time-in-history-sectional-champion) Warriors for bottom-of-ballot spots late in the year due to its two wins regular-season wins over ...
9. Amherst (18-4) [NR] -- ... the Tigers, and Cheektowaga juuuuuuust (thud) made it a 3-0 mark against their rival in the teams' super-fun A-2 final.
10. Kenmore West (14-4)  -- Other teams in contention for this spot were St. Joe's (KW beat in final week) and Williamsville South (lost to St. Joe's late in season).
1. Olean (21-4)  -- Maybe the best non-state championship team I've ever covered, a uniquely talented and excellent squad with that same core for three super seasons. Their games became literal clinics in how to play the game. It says a lot that those seasons ended with somewhat-epic losses: Three years ago, hours after Bona fell, Olean did at Glens Falls in the semifinals; last year, the beyond stunning Batavia Buzzer Beater; this year, the beyond surreal, absolutely awesome performance by eventual state Federation champion Westhill.
2. Nichols (19-9)  -- Whoa did they finish strong or what?
3. Middle Early College (19-6)  -- Have had the Kats ahead of East, so this is nothing new. Yale Cup champions had the best player in their league, played the best as a team and had so many different dynamic pieces
4. East (18-4)  -- I respect what East did against Olean. They played them tough (which they actually do every year). There was also that overtime scare with Health Sciences.
5. St. Mary's (19-6)  -- Lancers got something of a gift when Nichols' win enabled it to play in the state B final, but another trip downstate ended in a close, tough loss.
6. Fredonia (16-5)  -- Terrific year -- terrific two years.
7. Park (13-11)  -- That huge Nichols loss looked very strange ... until Nichols went out in its next game and shocked the world.
8. Sherman (21-2)  -- Another great terrific two-year run.
9. Randolph (16-7) [NR] -- Football title, basketball title, football title, basketball title ...
10. Cleveland Hill (15-5)  -- Showed some great fight against East after getting hit hard early. Another great two-year tenure here.
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