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More from coaches Kensy

Here's some extra info from today's story on the coaching Kensys: Mark at Maryvale and son Chris at Amherst.

The videos were shot during the teams' first meeting this year, which was the first coaching meeting between the two.

Check out how far Mark comes down the sideline here -- it's almost as if Chris senses his opponent and decides to give him some space.

Chris on dad:

Dad on Chris:

---Keith McShea

Thursday Night Live: Timon wins at Canisius; Depew avenges only loss at Amherst (with video)

After being held up by a meeting at work, we are thankfully back in the middle of some high school basketball.

7:08 p.m. I'm right back where I was about 24 hours ago, when I saw Canisius finish off a comeback win over visiting Bishop Kearney.

The Canisius band, featuring an electric guitar, is doing an extended set, which means what? It's halftime. Canisus and Bishop Timon-St. Jude are fittingly tied at 29-29.

I walked in to see the last minute, where Timon scored off a steal but then Canisius beat the buzzer to tie it up.

Our laptop battery is running low due to that work meeting, so we won't be back until the end of the third.

7:26 p.m. At the end of the third quarter, Canisius has a 43-40 lead.

7:27 p.m. Dave Scarcello hits a three and we're tied again to start the fourth.

7:34 p.m. Tied again at 49-49 with 3:05 left as Timon takes a timeout.

7:37 p.m. Still at 49-49 with just over a minute left -- don't know exactly due to the stupid countdown clock for the timeout. Ugh. 

7:38 p.m. There's 1:27 left.

With the score tied at 49-49, Dut Dour hit an inside basket with 1:08 left to put Timon ahead.

Mike Scarcello hit the front end of a one-and-one in the video above, then -- after a timeout -- added a second free throw to make it a four-point game with 8.8 seconds left.

7:47 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Bishop TImon-St. Jude 53, Canisius 49. 

As if the top 10 large schools needed another wacky thing, huh? Very nice win by Timon.

I'm off to Depew at Amherst.

Is Amherst's the best mural in WNY gyms? (Keith McShea/Buffalo News) 8:18 p.m. Walked in the door of the oldie-but-a-goodie Amherst gym (with "Physical Education" part of the concrete -- I think -- exterior) just in time for a technical foul on Amherst and four free throws by Depew's RIck Coburn. That gave Depew an eight-point lead into a 29-17 advantage with about three minutes left in the second quarter.

A great part of this gym is the huge mural on one of the walls that greets opposing teams with a "Welcome the the Jungle."

8:25 p.m. At halftime, Depew leads Amherst, 33-22.

Continue reading "Thursday Night Live: Timon wins at Canisius; Depew avenges only loss at Amherst (with video)" »

Friday Night Live, hoops-style: Eight sites, seven games, videos, pictures, mascots and a father & son coaching battle

It's a Friday, and there are a ton of games tonight, so I'm reprising my Friday Night Live blog entry as I slush-slide my way around Western New York trying to catch as much action as I can. 

My goal is to end up at the Amherst at Maryvale game in which son Chris Kensy of the Tigers will be coaching against his father, Mark. There are a lot of potential stops in between now and then, but we'll see how much we can squeeze in.

4:58 p.m. After a stop at the office, our first stop is an easy one - the earliest game of the night is a 4:15 p.m. Yale Cup contest between Burgard and Middle College at the Kats' home court -- ECC-City's Flickinger Center. 

Upon my entry, I was handed a Middle College program -- a great-looking, 12-page full color edition with photos, bios and ads. It's even got an excerpt of the Prep Talk blog on the back page. We like that.

Middle College is up more than I expected -- 40-15 at halftime. Burgard is coming off a nice win over McKinley to start Yale Cup play on Wednesday.

Darale Young was honored for being the school's first 1,000-point scorer at halftime. That was a better highlight than much of the action on the floor -- Middle was running Burgard off the floor.

5:22 p.m. Middle's lead is now 62-23 after three quarters. Overwhelming defense by the Kats. Burgard had a two-point second quarter, according to a report from Centercourt.

With my stories posted and the next round of Yale Cup games set to start at 5:30, I'm outta here.

5:49 p.m. It turns out I was outta there a few minutes later after getting some more computer stuff straight,  fending off an aggressive parking lot attendant who thought I wasn't going to pay, slip-and-slide driving over to Hutch-Tech, and getting the Darale Young video posted in the parking lot.

5:50 p.m. Then I walk into Hutch-Tech, right on time ... for the end of the JV game between the Engineers and McKinley! Arghhhhhh!

I've got no time to waste, so I'm heading to Grover.

6:07 p.m. We arrive at Grover to an expectedly frenetic pace between the Presidents and Seneca.

I greeted the Grover mascot: "Waddup dog?" (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)6:10 p.m. No. 15 for Grover just SLAMMED a one-handed dunk down off of a standing start at the left side of the hoop. Wow. I gotta find out who that guy is. Too bad I didn't have the iPhone going. Centercourt (he got here before me) was calling for the iPhone on that one. Bummer.

6:14 p.m. At the end of the first quarter at Grover, the Presidents lead Seneca, 25-18. Ricky Alejandro hit three three-pointers in the quarter, including one in the final minute, for Grover. He only missed one shot in the quarter, reports Prep Talk Nation member Hollywood. Looks like I'm going to the right games, running into these guys.

6:16 p.m. I've got a little bit of a cushion, time-wise, since Canisius hosts St. Francis in a 6:30 p.m. scheduled start. I'm planning on stopping by there and then heading north to the Kenmore schools (7 p.m. starts). The targets are then Will North at Clarence and finally Amherst at Maryvale. We'll see how it goes.

 6:21 p.m. Seneca's Aaron Frazier just scored on a slick drive while being fouled but couldn't hit the free throw. It's a 31-26 Grover lead with about four minutes left in the second. There is a very -- spirited, shall we say -- discussion going on between an adult female Grover fan and an adult male Seneca fan. People getting fired up but nothing out of hand. Good stuff. One of the best things at this game is Grover's big dog of a mascot -- you should be able to spot the spotted fella behind the baseline on a video highlight I post later.

6:28 p.m. We're off to Canisius soon, where hopefully the JV game is finished by the time I get there. Grover leads Seneca, 36-27, with two minutes left in the second quarter.

6:29 p.m. One very important quick correction before we split -- the Grover dog mascot is a female.

Some great videos featuring said dog ...

Was it a three? Just keep your eye on the dog, dog.

The action doesn't stop, the dancing doesn't stop. Outstanding.

The overhead view of Canisius' new court from the balcony. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News) 6:43 p.m. I inexplicably take a much longer way to Canisius than I should have and arrive to catch the last seconds of the first quarter, which has Canisius leading, 15-9.

6:45 p.m. Back in the car to get some writing done, and my computer is on the fritz. Ugh. 

7:07 p.m. Just pull into a primo parking spot at Kenmore West, where the Niagara Falls visit has a pretty full lot here. 

Adding a few pictures then will get a very quick look at the game.

7:18 p.m. Walk into Ken West just in time for the Pledge of Allegiance.

Not soon after, Niagara Falls has an 8-0 lead.

C.J. Cox gets things started with a steal-and-basket.

Maurice Respress gets up for a rebound and a follow.

As Davon Marshall hits a long two-pointer, I'm out the door at 7:23 p.m.

7:32 p.m. Pull into Kenmore East, where Lockport is visiting.

7:44 p.m. Back in the car -- Lockport had a 15-3 lead after one quarter and is now up, 16-7, with 6:02 left in the first half. Shannon Haynes had two twos and a three for seven points in the first quarter. 

Nice basket by East's Peter Crawford, followed by a near-miss by Lockport's Haynes.

Another near-miss by Lockport.

The play was a bit choppy and I wasn't able to get a quick highlight like I was at West. Off to Clarence

8:11 p.m. Arrive at Clarence, and who is working the door to the gym but Buffalo News Hall of Fame Sports SuperClerk Alex Chambers, now a teacher and coach at Clarence. Gotta love it.

This was my first trip to the Clarence gym -- I've been here plenty of times for outdoor sports when the parking lot isn't all snowy.

8:20 p.m. Clarence and Williamsville North are tied at 27-27 in the final minute of the first half. I saw about two minutes of more choppy game action, but it was enough to see what people have been talking about with regards to talented eighth-grade starter Sterling Taplin of North.

Taplin sets up a teammate for a North basket.

With halftime approaching, I'm outta here and off to Maryvale.

8:37 p.m. Pull into Maryvale parking lot, hoping for at least a good chunk of the second half still to go.

 8:59 p.m. After three failed tries at doors to the Maryvale gym (score one for security!), I find the right one and sneak under the bleachers to center court (two words) and there's a lot of basketball to play.

I catch some end-of-third-quarter action and Maryvale has a 54-40 lead over Amherst heading to the fourth.

9:09 p.m. With 2:58 left to play, Maryvale is up, 58-49.

Twice in the fourth, Amherst comes within seven points ... 

... but both times Blair Estarfaa comes up big with a basket. Above is one of those times.

9:17 p.m. Maryvale is going to win this one, up, 63-52, with 25.7 seconds left.

9:24 p.m. Maryvale beats Amherst, 66-56. An embrace between the coaches at the end of the handshake line, then Chris Kensy with a little hug for all of the Maryvale players, who he coached as the Flyers' JV coach the last three years.

 Maryvale coach Mark Kensy in a late timeout, in a blurry picture (sorry). (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)I had a great talk with both Kensys after the game -- I'll write more about their meeting in Tuesday's Scholastic Spotlight.

* * *

In total, seven games at eight sites in less than 4-1/2 hours. Not bad. I'm still irked that I got to Hutch-Tech while the JV game was still going on. Could have been eight!

To review: I went from Middle College to Hutch-Tech to Grover Cleveland to Canisius to Kenmore West to Kenmore East to Clarence to Maryvale.

I planned the route based on geography and time -- and it pretty much worked out. I went a long way to not spend much time at Clarence, but I think it was worth seeing Taplin in what was a good ECIC I game. I saw Lockport and Shannon Haynes and got an idea of where their recent good play has come from. I wish I could have stuck around for more of what looked to be a very entertaining Grover-Seneca contest.

Amherst coach Chris Kensy during the same late timeout (and a same blurry picture, sorry). (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)And the end worked out great -- it was a blast seeing the Kensy-vs.-Kensy coaching battle at Maryvale. An outstanding atmosphere at that game. Amherst brought a lot of fired-up fans -- it seems the entire program has gotten a boost behind coach Chris Kensy.

I'm not sure the total mileage -- don't worry, I'll have it ready for the expense report -- but the route unfolded pretty well. My main tough call driving-wise was whether to take Sheridan all the way out between Ken East and Clarence -- I opted for the 290 to the Thruway to Transit to Wehrle to Harris Hill to Main. That was probably was best move considering the stop-and-go-ing on Maple and likely Sheridan, especially since you had to be careful with the slick roads.

* * *

Check out the night's scoreboard here.

Looks like I missed a big second half for Clarence, which went on to beat North; I was right about Grover's win over Seneca being a fun one (76-70). Middle College, Canisius, Lockport and Falls all rolled, which was expected even before I stuck my head in their games.

The one other game I wanted to check out but thought it was a little too far out of the way was Lew-Port at North Tonawanda -- and waddya know, NT wins in three overtimes. Whoa. 

Centercourt was heading up to Newfane and he saw a great one it seems as the Panthers knock off Medina, 54-53. Another whoa.

Nice showing again from Cleveland Hill, which falls to Holland in overtime. A bit curious about Lackawanna only beating Tonawanda by eight; good job by the Warriors to keep it to single digits.

We'll leave this on a pretty cool note, a video of coaches Kensy:

---Keith McShea

Fall sports head to state final fours

If you haven't seen them already, check out Pete Simon's front-page story on Grover Cleveland boys soccer and Mary Jo Monnin's wrapup of all of the non-football teams searching for state titles this weekend.

So who comes home with a plaque?

As always, let us know how and why you voted in the comments section below.

---Keith McShea

Class B field hockey final rescheduled

Section VI has announced that the Class B field hockey final has been changed from Saturday at Medina to Monday (Nov. 9) at 3 p.m. at Amherst.

No reason was cited. The game has Amherst taking on Williamsville South. A sectional final usually isn't moved to he site of the home team, but I'm guessing/hoping both school signed off on this one, and it's not like South's fans aren't nearby as well.

---Keith McShea

Who's going to win Class A football?

Class A has been a blast to keep track of all year with its talented teams and unbalanced schedule, and the next three weeks are sure to be fun as well.

Right from the start there are tremendous games as West Seneca East heads to Iroquois and WIlliamsville South hosts Grand Island in a rematch of an excellent Week One game won by South. Hamburg has had a tremendous year, and Sweet Home is only the defending state champion.

As with all of our polls, we want to hear how and why you voted. Let us know in the comment space below.

Be sure to vote in all of the polls: Class AA, Class B, Class C and Class D.

---Keith McShea

Amherst's Symoniak going Orange

Brenna Symoniak must really like the color orange.

The Amherst cross country/track standout announced at Saturday's Alden Bulldog Stampede that she's accepted an athletic scholarship to Syracuse. She said her scholarship will cover over 70 percent of her college expenses.

She had narrowed her choices down to Syracuse and North Carolina.

"I liked both coaches, but when I went to Syracuse I just felt like that was my school," she said. "I didn't think that was going to happen, but it made it a lot easier."

* * *

It's probably close enough to Halloween to describe the East Aurora girls as scary good. They are ranked No. 10 in the nation by

The Blue Devils were missing their top three runners at the Stampede due to illness and still managed to win the large school team title by 88 points.

"I don't think we're 10, but we're definitely a top-20 team," said coach Walt McLaughlin. "We don't talk about it that much because rankings don't win meets. We want to run really well at ECICs, Sectionals, states. We've got good strength, good speed up front. HFL [Honeoye Falls-Lima] is really a good team and we're going to need our best races to beat them."

---Mary Jo Monnin 

Shaquita Smith to Xavier thanks in part to NBAer

I wrote about Amherst senior Shaquita Smith verbally committing to Xavier this past weekend after a visit to the Cincinnati school.

Check this a picture of (left to right) Smith with Maria Harper, husband and former NBA player Ron Harper, and Ring City coach Walter Welsh.

Shaquita Smith with Ring City Basketball.

Coach Nick O'Neil of Buffalo-based Team United provide the snapshot. The Harpers run Ring City Basketball, which includes an elite-level girls basketball team on which Smith played along side several other Division I recruits. 

---Keith McShea

More from cross country

I wrote a story about this season's proliferation of eighth-graders succeeding in girls cross country for today's Scholastic Spotlight.

Here are some additional notes on the eighth-graders as well as notes on all sorts of cross country topics:

* * *

Among the top 18 at the 15-team Bemus Point Invitational were more eighth graders (five) than seniors (four).

Caroline Benson of Maple Grove won the race, while two other fellow eighth-graders were teammates … Emma Verdonik (fifth) and Abby Sirwatka (18th). Falconer's Kirsten Holmberg was third and Fredonia's Micaela Tramuta was 11th.

* * *

Kiki Dy is an accomplished swimmer who came to the Newfane program from field hockey, while Sarah Ziemba and twins Kelly and Kate Bocknewetch all excelled in modified track and cross country last year.

Dy "fell into our lap," said Newfane coach Mike Heitzenrater. "Because of the way our league is run in swimming, with the girls competing in the winter, she could never qualify for states. So she said, "I want to do cross country and get to the states.' "

The youngsters have meshed well with senior Bethany Dewey and juniors Erin Hannah and Amy Lanighan.

It may have helped that Newfane had a significant amount of spots to fill in its lineup after graduating much of its team last year.

Continue reading "More from cross country " »

Thursday Night Live: Week Three special edition

I can't resist the chance of checking out three 2-0 teams in action, so I'll be blogging live tonight -- I'm going to start at Williamsville South hosting Williamsville North and then move on down Main Street to Hamburg at Amherst.

We'll see what kind of highlights I'll be able to post via video and pictures -- and oh yeah, good old-fashioned words!

Don't forget to vote in the Week Three walkthrough poll.

* * * 

9:06 p.m. Hello from the front seat of my car on Westmoreland Road in Amherst, strategically located where I can see the scoreboard, which reads Hamburg 26, Amherst 0 with 4:21 left in the game.

My apologies for not posting something sooner, but I've been iPhone-video-ing plays and traveling around. The YouTube was on the blink for a while as well, so I only was able to upload a highlight just seconds ago.

The play I uploaded was the fourth touchdown for Williamsville South, which had a 29-7 lead when I left with 7:04 left in the second quarter at 8:02 p.m. The video of the play is above -- Joe Licata with his third touchdown of the game.

Will South had a slower start than I expected as the Billies committed several penalties in a flag-filled game. Will North didn't look too bad -- it went on a decent scoring drive but eventually Licata was too much for them.

When I arrived at Amherst, Hamburg had a 13-0 lead as the third quarter just got under way (both games started at 7, but all those flags slowed things down at South. I got from South to Amherst in about 10 minutes of parking spot-to-parking spot drive time.

9:15 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE at Amherst: Hamburg 26, Amherst 0. Hamburg is 3-0.

Hamburg looked too tough inside, with Amherst not able to create holes or protect quarterback Justin Jenkins. The Bulldog players were fired up, making noise and having fun on the field -- understandably so because they were all over the Tigers.

Hamburg was also too much on offense, grinding out yards and moving the ball fairly easily. I'll have more video highlights posted soon. Got some good ones today -- it was the perfect storm since I was able to spend some time just roaming the sidelines hoping that teams would have big plays (and run to my side of the field).

When I arrived at Amherst, Hamburg gave me a great one -- a halfback option pass for a touchdown to take a 19-0 lead with nine minutes left in the third quarter (below).

More highlights and details to come.

* * *

Been working on getting this straight for much of the night.

Joe Licata of Williamsville South threw for a WNY-record 522 yards in tonight's 62-32 victory over Williamsville North. 

More details will be updated in that story, video highlights of the historic night will be posted ASAP.

* * *

If you were at any of the Thursday games, give us a report in the comments section below.

* * * 

Here are additional highlights from Williamsville South's win over Williamsville North:

A great hit by Tyler Krempa of South just as North quarterback Zach Barrett let go of a pass (above).

North tries to make a game of it with a screen pass touchdown in the second quarter.

Will North got some momentum going with this tackle for loss.

* * * 

Hamburg pressures the Amherst passing game (above) ...

... and more pressure yields an interception.

Hamburg scores its third touchdown on a QB keeper.

An up-close view of Amherst getting the next kickoff.

Another nice view as Hamburg does some tough running.

* * *

I can't get over my unbelievable timing. I walked out of the South game with the Billies having taken a 29-7 lead with 7:04 left in the second quarter and things apparently heading towards blowout-ville.

But North scored three touchdowns -- and South two -- in that last 7:04! What?

It was a two-score game at halftime (16 points) and Licata broke the record in the third quarter, which should shut up the whiners (there's already been one) saying that this is a run-up-the-score deal.

I'm still amazed that so much action went down in the time I left. However, I did get to see -- and capture on video via the iPhone -- a lot of Licata's big plays. 

---Keith McShea

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About Prep Talk

Keith McShea

Keith McShea

Keith McShea has covered high school sports at The News since his hiring in 1999. The 1995 University at Buffalo graduate and Long Island native (North Babylon Bulldogs) covers — and live blogs — everything from scrimmages to state championships & helps head The News' All-Western New York selections.

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