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Yale Cup's opening night has a surprise

The Yale Cup opened up Wednesday evening. On a busy night I was only able to catch a quarter (the third) of East at Seneca.

East was having their way, extending its 37-25 halftime lead to 55-35 lead after three.

Here's a highlight video as Seneca's No. 3, Nic Alexander, spins and scores with a circus layup, followed by East junior Jasen Oden draining a three (even though you can't see him shoot it) from the left corner to put East up, 42-26, and prompt a timeout from Seneca coach Scott Kirsch.

Deon Robinson had some impressive plays, as usual, with a blind reverse layup as well as a finish off of a nice steal by 6-3 senior Dale Gray. Domonique Jackson also, as usual, contributed in several ways with a block on defense and two nice passes, including a slick across-the-lane find of Gray for a layup.

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The finals have rolled in, and while East's 67-45 win is no surprise, Burgard's 51-49 win over McKinley is.

McKinley lost a lot from last year but still had some good wins to its credit, including a victory over Maple Grove at the Dunkirk Boys & Girls Tournament. 

Middle College got a nice opening win at Bennett, 77-60, while Riverside came back to edge City Honors, 74-70.

Other Yale Cup finals: Grover Cleveland 73, Emerson 34; Hutch-Tech 63, Buffalo Arts 33; Lafayette 76, South Park 33

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This just in from the Niagara Frontier League: Lockport 85, North Tonawanda 63. Nice win for the Lions helped by Shannon Haynes' 37-point night.

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We'll have a complete scoreboard up as soon as possible. And don't forget my live chat at 9:30 p.m.

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/highschool     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

Listen to the Harvard Cup game

Today's 106th Harvard Cup championship between Burgard vs. Riverside at All High Stadium.(11 a.m.) will be broadcast on WJJL (1440 AM) as well as at wjjl.com and nhsbn.com. Pregame coverage begins at 10:40 a.m.

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/highschool     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

Who's going to win the Harvard Cup?

Ever since the Harvard Cup's opening weekend, when Burgard beat defending champion Riverside, those teams were expected by many to meet for the league's championship on Thanksgiving. And here we are.

The 106th Harvard Cup championship: Burgard vs. Riverside, 11 a.m. Thursday at All High Stadium.

The game will be broadcast on WJJL (1440 AM) as well as at wjjl.com and nhsbn.com. Pregame coverage begins at 10:40 a.m.

As always, discuss your vote and the game in the comments section below.

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/highschool facebook.com/preptalkblog twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

How The News voted: Preseason practice

The actual poll starts next week, so this, just like everything in high school football the past two weeks, is just practice. That's right, we're talkin bout practice.

So much so that -- hours after we submitted a top 10 list for publication in the paper -- we have second thoughts about a bunch of this top 10, particularly the large schools. If most polls should be taken with a grain of salt, this one should be taken with 1/10th of a grain. 

One final look back is here with the 2008 final poll, and here's our 2009 look forward:

1. Orchard Park (13-0 last year) [last year's final poll: 1] - A no-brainer to end last year, a no-brainer to start this year. 

2. Sweet Home (13-0) [2] - They might not be the state championship-caliber team they were a year ago (last year's depth was phenomenal), but we still like them here.

3. North Tonawanda (9-1) [3] - A lot back from a team that gave OP a tough test. You could argue they could be No. 2. Preseason-wise, we clearly see the top three, then a bunch of more teams.

4. Iroquois (8-2) [9] - Call it scrimmage bias after being fairly impressed with them on their Field of Dreams. After how low I voted them last year, they shouldn't be up this high. But certainly a great year-after-year program that should be in the top 10.

5. Lancaster (6-3) [7] - Speaking of great year-after-year, here's another top 10 team. We eagerly await the battles of AA South.

6. St. Francis (4-6) [4] - They beat Canisius when it counted last year, so we gave them a slight edge here, as we did in last year's final poll. Yet another top program which should be in the mix. Another murderous schedule this year.

7. Canisius (6-4) [5] - On paper they lost a lot, but so did they teams ahead of them. Proof that Nos. 4-7 in this poll could be interchangable. This year their schedule might be just as murderous as Frannies' (both play Ohio's St. Ignatius, Rochester's Aquinas and Pennsylvania's Cathedral Prep).

8. Riverside (10-1) [6] - The Harvard Cup champions kept a lot of talent and welcomed top lineman Sean Mulhern of Canisius. With no nonleague games for Harvard Cup teams this year, it's pure guesswork how they stack up against the rest of Western New York. Talk about a poll headache. 

9. Kenmore West (6-3) [8] - Here's a nod to the Blue Devils playing OP tough in the postseason (two losses at OP, one at NT). We err on the side of what you did last year, rather than offseason hype, and we reserve the right to change our mind once the teams hit the field :-).

10. Williamsville South (6-4) [NR] - A whole lot back from last year's team, so we'll throw the Billies in this spot, slightly edging out Grand Island, a top 10 team that's not in the top 10 (I have Frontier right after that at 12, for what it's worth). And well, would you look at this: Saturday afternoon -- Williamsville South at Grand Island.

Small schools

1. Southwestern (13-0) [2] - Too many weapons back to not be in this spot.

2. Maple Grove (13-0) [1] - All signs point to these two being atop the poll for a while. But I guess that's why they play the games.

3. Lackawanna (10-1) [3] - We'll keep the Steelers up high despite the loss of Capone Smith. Like Iroquois, this might be a case of seeing Lackawanna scrimmage (and scrimmage well). 

4. Fredonia (8-2) [4] - Another slot-them-in-from-last-year, although this year's schedule (C) might hurt them in the polls (to the bunch at B).

5. Cleveland Hill (8-1) [7] - A bunch back from a team that was a top three program last year until losing to Silver Creek in last year's semis.

6. Depew (6-3) [9] - When in doubt, rank the teams that are usually ranked.

7. Alden (8-1) [5] - Might be generous considering what they lost in graduation.

8. Cardinal O'Hara (6-4) [10] - Four Monsignor Martin small school titles in a row make them one of the best small schools. They looked it on Scrimmage Saturday, too.

9. Randolph (6-3) [NR] - Could make some noise Friday night at Maple Grove.

10. Cheektowaga (4-5) [NR] - You'd think these guys will be in the top 10 after dropping down from Class A. We shall see -- starting Friday when the Warriors host high-powered Medina

Our small-school poll regret? Probably not making room for Burgard. We'll call them the small school version of Grand Island (the 11th top 10 team).

Don't like what you're reading? The comment space is below.

Also, visit here Wednesday for a live chat with yours truly at 7 p.m.

---Keith McShea

Scribbling down scrimmages: Saturday's lineup

Saturday is the first day football teams can scrimmage each other.

Below is a list we've compiled from your responses to the Kicking off 2009 football talk post as well as some other research.

PLEASE let us know of any inaccuracies, updates or additions via the comments section below or an email to kmcshea@buffnews.com Thanks.

Also, check out a statewide scrimmage list from the NYS Sportswriters Association.

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Saturday's scrimmages

Cardinal O'Hara at Cleveland Hill, 8 a.m.

St. Francis, Sweet Home and East at Lockport, 9 a.m.

Williamsville North, Burgard, Starpoint and Kenmore West at Clarence, 9 a.m.

Maple Grove and Clymer at Cassadaga Valley, 9 a.m.

V-Hornell at Olean, 9 a.m.

Alden, Wilson and Lew-Port at Medina, 9:30 a.m.

East Aurora and Gowanda at Cattaraugus/Little Valley, at 9:30 a.m.

Riverside and Grand Island at North Tonawanda, 10 a.m.

Maryvale, Grover Cleveland, Eden and three others -- yup, a seven-team scrimmage -- at Williamsville South, 10 a.m.

West Seneca East and Cheektowaga at Canisius, 10 a.m. (Stransky Complex at 2885 Clinton St., West Seneca)

St Joe's at Orchard Park, 10 a.m.

Salamanca, V-Dansville and V-Wellsville at Pioneer, 10 a.m.

Hamburg at Jamestown, 10 a.m.

Southwestern at Randolph, 10 a.m.

Frontier and Lackawanna at Iroquois, 5 p.m.

West Seneca West, Lake Shore and Kenmore East at Amherst, 6 p.m.

Depew and Niagara-Wheatfield at Williamsville East, TBA

Batavia at Albion, TBA

Lancaster at V-Webster Schroeder, 9:30 a.m.

Newfane and V-Charles Finney at V-Elba/Byron-Bergen, 10 a.m.

Niagara Falls, V-Hilton, V-Marshall, V-Spencerport at V-Greece-Olympia, 10 a.m.

---Keith McShea

Reports have Buffalo native Coleman joining Isiah at Florida International

Chris Coleman, a 6-10, 250-pound Buffalo native, has reportedly verbally committed -- as expected -- with a Division I school. That school is Florida International, which is notable because that's where Isiah Thomas surprised many by taking the head coaching job in April.

Those reports were forwarded in an e-mail to me from Don Marsh, who has coached Coleman in AAU hoops with Marsh's Northeast Basketball Club. Coleman is a Class of 2011 recruit, according to Marsh.

Fox Sports reported the committment and the NBE Basketball Report confirmed it. The Daily News' Dick Weiss chimes in with a little New Yawk dig at the new FIU coach. Here's an ESPN page on Coleman with some scouting info.

According to Marsh, Coleman attended Burgard but did not play basketball in 2007-08, was at North Carolina's Mount Zion Academy this past season and is headed to prep school for his final two years. Marsh told me earlier this year that Lee (Maine) Academy or Notre Dame Academy (the Massachusetts program attended by Western New Yorkers Paul Harris and Lazar Hayward) were possibilities.

---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.

@KeithMcSheaBN | kmcshea@buffnews.com

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