Hello from the Buffalo State Sports Arena. We're moments away from our first game of a tripleheader tonight: the B-2 semifinal between Cleveland Hill and Wilson.
It's one of the best weeks of the year if you're a high school sports fan, and I'm excited to be here. We'll be back in moments with the tip.
Wilson starters: Thilk-Moxham-Parrott-Martin-Walch.
Cleve Hill starters: Glover-Tompkins-Barker-Molson-Spencer
5:31 p.m.: CH controls the tip, and we're off.
5:37 p.m.: CH leads, 6-4, midway through the first quarter. Brennan Moxham has three of Wilson's points, while Jeru Molson just converted a nice layup off a steal for CH.
5:39 p.m.: Maybe some nerves on the big stage? Lots of sloppy play on both ends. Cleve Hill definitely trying to run more, while Wilson is trying to slow the pace.
5:42 p.m.: CH is out to a 13-4 lead, prompting a timeout by Wilson coach Brett Sippel. A three-pointer by Jordan Parker on the Golden Eagles' last possession were the last points.
5:44 p.m.: Golden Eagles lead, 13-8, after one quarter. Moxham hit a three and Pat Walch went 1 of 2 at the free-throw line with 4 seconds left for Wilson to cut into the lead.
5:48 p.m.: CH timeout, leading, 17-15. Moxham has five in the second quarter for Wilson, which took a 15-13 lead, but the Eagles responded with a bucket in the lane by Barker and a steal and layup by Spencer.
5:53 p.m.: CH timeout, leading, 19-18, 3:35 left in the first half.
6 p.m.: Halftime, with the game tied, 25-25.
First-half note: Here's your scoring summaries: For CH, Tompkins has 2, Barker 4, Parker 3, Molson 4, Watkins 2, Davis 4 and Spencer with 6. For Wilson, Moxham leads all scorers with 15. DiLaura has 1, Walch 1 and Martin 8.
Programming note: Tyler Martin is wearing No. 30 for Wilson, not the No. 11 he's listed as having in the program.
6:10 p.m.: Third quarter is underway.
6:13 p.m.: Martin misses both free throws for the Lakemen, who trail by a pair. Wilson has been bad from the free-throw line, a big reason it's trailing.
Quick blog note: Making an executive decision to switch up the format and go with the time left remaining in the quarter. If you need to know what time it is, look at the corner of your monitor. :).
4:49 left in the third quarter: Jordan Thilk makes a traditional three-point play, Wilson's first points of the third quarter, and CH leads, 31-28.
3:01 left: Moxham gets his first points of the second half, as Wilson uses good ball movement to beat the 2-3 zone the Eagles have employed. CH leads, 33-30.
:24.3 seconds left: Spencer draws the foul and knocks down a pair of free throws to give the Eagles a 35-30 lead.
End of three, Cleve Hill up, 35-30. Martin missed a good look at a three for Wilson at the buzzer.
7:08 left: Moxham hits a pair of free throws after Martin started the quarter with a three and it's tied, 35-35.
5:04 left: More than 2 minutes without a hoop ...
4:18 left: The drought comes to an end when Walch hits 1 of 2 free throws to give Wilson a 36-35 lead.
3:36 left: Big-time three-pointer for Spencer to put CH up, 38-36. That's followed by a timeout.
2:47 left: Another clutch three by the Eagles, this time from Julian Glover. CH leads, 41-38. Wilson has possession.
1:22 left: Moxham drills a deep three for Wilson to tie it at 41. Wow.
1:07 left: Molson responds for the Golden Eagles with a contested 16-footer in the lane. It's 43-41. Good finish here.
:31.1 seconds left: I wasn't kidding about the great finish. Martin pures a deep three from the right wing to put Wilson up by one, 44-43. CH has possession after Wilson's Walch picked up his fourth foul on a battle for a rebound.
Here's Martin's three:
:11.4 left: Moxham grabbed a big board on defense for Wilson, but missed the front end of a 1-and-1. That gave the Eagles the ball, but Molson lost the ball in traffic. Wilson's Martin recovered. He hits 1 of 2 free throws to make it 45-43 Lakemen. Cleve Hill will have a chance to tie or win on the final possession. The next Wilson foul puts the Eagles in a 1-and-1 situation.
:3.7 left: Barker goes coast-to-coast, but can't finish at the rim. Ball goes out of bounds off CH. Wilson has possession. Eagles will need to foul, and hope for a miss.
0.09 left: Diez gets open under the basket, and Cleve Hill is late to foul him. He rattles home the first and knocks down the second, giving Wilson a four-point lead.
4:35 left: The shutout is over. Alex Curtin hits a long jumper to give Olean a 2-0 lead. On East's next possession, Chris Boyd hits a three. East leads, 3-2.
End of first quarter: East leads, 10-6. Sorry for the lack of updates, combination of a lot to do, and not a lot happening at the start. East got hoops from Jasen Oden, Tremmell Fisher, and a three-pointer by Chris Boyd for the lead. Nick Schmidt hit a three at the buzzer for Olean.
7:31 left: Sam Eckstrom opens the quarter with an inside field goal to bring Olean within two, 10-8.
3:51 left: Andre Jackson knocks down a pair of free throws and East leads, 19-13.
2:58 left: Max Portlow, a sophomore, has back-to-back baskets for the Huskies. The last one cut it to 19-15.
2:19 left: Fisher gets inside position and finishes a traditional three-point play to give East a 22-17 lead. If he catches the ball there regularly, Olean will be in trouble.
:40.8 left: It's turned into a three-point shooting contest. A three by Curtin for Olean was answered by a three for Boyd, only for Schmidt to respond for Olean. After all that, the Huskies are up one, 26-25, their second lead after Curtin's shot gave them their first.
End of first half: East 30, Olean 26. Action really picked up at the end of the first half. Boyd hit another three for East, which then got a steal by Oden on the inbounds pass. He kicked it to Jackson for a 12-foot buzzer-beater, and the Panthers are up.
7:00 left: The Huskies didn't forget their shooting stroke in the locker room. Sophomore Pat Scholla knocked down a three in the first minute to cut East's lead to one, 30-29.
5:56 left: Olean goes back in front as Eckstrom gets nice position inside and finishes with a short bank shot for a 31-30 lead.
4:03 left: Dominique House is cleaning up -- the glass. The 6-foot-4 East senior has back-to-back putbacks, the second of which he was fouled on. He knocks down the free throw and East leads, 37-31. The Panthers are on a 7-0 run.
1:47 left: East has extended the run to 13-3, taking a 43-34 lead and prompting a full timeout by Olean coach Jeff Anastasia. House had a long jumper, then a steal and pass to Oden, who's got back-to-back layups in transition.
:19.7 seconds left: Olean gets a much-needed hoop underneath by Eckstrom, who was fouled and hits the free throw to pull the Huskies within six, 43-37.
End of three: East 43, Olean 37.
6:44 left: Scholla at the line for Olean. He knocks down a pair of much-needed free throws, as East is threatening to run away with things. It's 48-39, East.
6:31 left: Another three-point play for House, making it 51-39, East. Coach Starling Bryant calls for a 30-second timeout.
4:26 left: Timeout called, with East ahead, 55-42. Updates will be minimal from now until sometime during the last game as I write a story for our paper's first edition, which of course, you can pick up tomorrow. :) I'm sure you understand.
3:19 left: Full timeout called by Olean, which trails, 56-44.
1:42 left: Beautiful passing by East finishes with an easy layup (sorry, I missed by who) and East leads, 61-46. The Panthers will face the winners of the night's final game between Cheektowaga and Riverside for the A-2 title at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
:30.7 seconds left: Olean is hanging around, but running out of time. The Huskies trail, 61-53.
Final: East 66, Olean 56. Off for interviews. Back at some point during the last game with some more coverage.
What's the question mark for, you ask? A No. 3 is on the court for Cheektowaga, but not the roster. I'll get his name after the first quarter. As for the action, Riverside leads, 8-6, with 2:39 to play. We'll update after the first quarter and halftime, then hopefully be able to give more updates in the second half.
End of first quarter: Cheektowaga 12, Riverside 11.
Halftime: Riverside leads, 28-21, after outscoring the Warriors in that period, 17-9.
5:23 left: A bucket by Willie Jefferson has given the Frontiersmen a 35-23 lead. Cheektowaga has just 11 points in the last 11 minutes.
4:36 left: Lamont Little to the line, and he makes both for his first points of the night and a 39-23 lead.
3:06 left: Delaney hits the layup and is fouled. He makes the free throw and Riverside leads, 39-28. A modest 5-0 run for the Warriors.
2:38 left: Make that 7-0 as Aswad Jones knocks down an 8-footer and it's 39-30. Riverside coach Ron Killinger calls timeout after that.
1:00 left: Justice Feggans just buried a pretty three-pointer from the right wing to give the Frontiersmen a 44-31 lead.
End of three: Riverside 44, Cheektowaga 33
5:33 left: Dagger for the Warriors. Feggans knocks down a three after Riverside uses up almost the entire shot clock. That gives it a 53-35 lead.
3:31 left: Riverside still in control, up 55-37.
3:09 left: Killinger calls another timeout, still 55-37. Brandon Nance has all four points for Cheektowaga this quarter.
1:35 left: Riverside still on cruise control, so Killinger empties the bench to get the reserves some playing time on the big stage.
Final: Riverside 58, Cheektowaga 42. Off for more interviews.
Riverside coach Ron Killinger
Postgame: Audio from the winning coaches is now posted in this blog. The East-Riverside matchup Saturday will be the third of the season for those two teams. Be sure to listen to Killinger's thoughts on that game, he's got some interesting thoughts.
Hello from what should be an eventful day of football -- after an eventful night of football.
Check out our Friday Night Live post, which features tons of details from NT's win over Riverside. The high school home page has my story on that game as well as the roundup that include's East big win at Cheektowaga.
The day gets off to an early kickoff with a 10 a.m. top 10 small school battle between Grover Cleveland and Cleveland Hill at Riverside -- which is being referred to as the "Cleveland Bowl."
10:48 a.m. We've got a long day ahead of us, so forgive us if we weren't here for kickoff. Grover Cleveland has a 14-0 lead.
I would have been here sooner but for some difficulties parking -- the good news is that a lot of people are at this game; the bad news is the lot next to the field was full and the offstreet parking was not easy. While driving around I heard an announcement of Grover's Chris Holland running in for a touchdown -- I had a glimpse of the scoreboard, too -- 7:21 left in the second quarter. That was a 23-yard run and the two-point conversion pass was no good.
As I walked into the press box, another touchdown for Grover with 2:51 left in the first half. Junior Devonte Whitsett scored on a 30-yard run. On the conversion run, Whitsett zig-zagged up the middle in tight quarters and reached across the goal line to break the plane.
10:58 a.m. It is now halftime with Grover Cleveland leading Cleveland Hill, 14-0.
Yet another impressive performance by the Buffalo Public Schools. I thought Cleveland Hill would be the favorite in this game. In the action I've seen, Grover's defense has been tough up the middle and quick to the outside, while Holland is one of the top offensive weapons in Western New York.
11:18 a.m. The second half has begun -- Grover is kicking off to Cleve Hill.
11:26 a.m. Great start of the second half for Grover. Cleve Hill went for it on fourth-and-1 at the Grover 23, but junior Tom Butler was all over the handoff and practically tackled Cleve Hill junior Brandon Davis right after he took the ball from junior quarterback Daryl Spencer.
Here's the replay:
11:36 a.m. Cleveland Hill got the ball back after a Grover punt, made a big fourth down play of their own this time, and they are on the board with a TOUCHDOWN.
Davis ran to the left on first-and-goal and had a big hole and an easy run to the end zone on a 3-yard run with 48.2 seconds left in the third. Jonathan Thomas, a sophomore, runs up the middle for the two-point conversion. The score was set up by a big play on fourth-and-13 from the Grover 30, where Spencer rolled left hit wide open junior Marquel McCarly on the left side for the first down at the Grover 8. Grover's lead is 14-8 over Cleveland Hill.
11:39 a.m. At the end of the third quarter, Grover Cleveland leads Cleveland Hill, 14-8. Grover faces second-and-11 at its 22.
11:43 a.m. Time for a major kicking myself session. I did not have the iPhone going and Chris Holland just ran for an outstanding, 67-yard TOUCHDOWN.
He ran to the right side, found some space, then accelerated down the right sideline while fending off a few tacklers while he did it. Wow. Hating that I missed that one. Tough to type and watch and do video at the same time, but ugh.
Grover's Whitsett is stopped short on the conversion run. With 10:48 left in the game, Grover leads Cleve Hill, 20-8.
11:54 a.m. We've still got a game here. Cleve Hill gets a great drive finished with a 14-yard TOUCHDOWN run by McCarly, followed by a two-point conversion run by Spencer in which he took a pitch and went airborne while taking a hit to get in the end zone on the right side. With 6:20 left in the game, Grover Cleveland leads Cleve Hill, 20-16.
12:01 p.m. We are in for quite a finish. Grover just had a pass go through the fingers of Ronnie Ashton, which looked like it would become not only a first down on third-and-42 (yes, that's right), but probably more. Grover punts and Cleve Hill takes over at its 38 with 4:26 left in the game.
12:05 p.m. Huge sack by junior Maurice Cheatom, who gets to Spencer on fourth-and-6 from the Cleve Hill 42 and Grover takes over at the CH 33 with 2:02 left. On the previous play, Cleve Hill was lining up for a fourth-and-1, but took too much time and was flagged for delay of game, a huge misstep.
12:12 p.m. Last chance for Cleve Hill, which takes over at its 25 with 1:40 to go after stopping Grover on fourth-and-3. Senior Zachary Sheisley is in at quarterback for Spencer, who was hurt when Cheatom sacked him on the last series. Tough stuff for Cleve Hill, which has no timeouts.
12:16 p.m. The final shot ends with an interception by Grover senior Keyon Miller. The Presidents take over at the Cleve Hill 40 with 1:05 left.
12:19 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Grover Cleveland 20, Cleveland Hill 16.
Yet another big win for the city. I'm heading down to the field for interviews and I'll be back from Canisius for their game with Cathedral Prep.
1:53 p.m. We're settled in at Canisius' Stransky Complex and found a seat in the press box thanks to some kind folks from the Cathedral Prep stat crew. They have a radio crew here as well.
I stopped by All High Stadium and caught what I figured I'd catch: Clarence scoring on its opening drive. It leads, 6-0, after a 4-yard run by Michael Gelz with 9:58 left in the first quarter.
Here's the play:
It's our first taste of football weather this season, windy and getting a little nip in the air. There aren't too many fans here for either side at the moment.
2:11 p.m. Great first opening possession for Canisius, which drives 79 yards in 6:40 for a TOUCHDOWN.
The score came on a rifle of a pass by senior Travis Eman to senior Theo Russell on the left side of the end zone, a 9-yard play on second-and-4. Senior Alec Curtis -- a new addition to the Crusaders -- adds the extra point and Canisius has a 7-0 lead with 5:15 left in the first quarter.
2:14 p.m. Cathedral Prep comes right back. Anthony Jordan runs for a 77-yard TOUCHDOWN, bursting into the secondary and just outrunning the Crusaders to the end zone. Noah Ackerman adds the extra point and we're tied at 7-7 with 4:19 left in the first.
2:23 p.m. We are at the END OF THE FIRST QUARTER with Canisius and Cathedral Prep tied at 7-7.
UPDATES: Clarence's lead over Bennett is 20-6 at half. ... Niagara Falls and Jamestown are scoreless with about four minutes left in the first quarter, thanks to a text from Sal Constantino.
2:37 p.m. Cathedral Prep calls a timeout with 4:46 left in the second quarter; Canisius has third-and-goal at the Cathedral Prep 5.
2:41 p.m. Canisius' drive came up empty after a field goal attempt of 22 yards fizzled with a bad snap. Cathedral Prep calls a timeout with 3:19 left in the second quarter facing a third-and-4 at its 15.
2:56 p.m. We are at HALFTIME with Canisius and Cathedral Prep tied at 7-7.
Cathedral Prep had a 56-yard field goal attempt by senior Noah Ackerman with 0.4 seconds left come up well short. After the missed field goal by Canisius, Cathedral Prep had a drive fizzle and got a great punt bounce from its own 5. Canisius' next drive ended with a Travis Eman fumble with 1:05 left in the half -- he was fighting for extra yards but Michael Amendola's hit popped the ball loose. Cathedral Prep took over at the Canisius 49 with 1:05 left in the half but the drive ended with their missed long field goal attempt; if it would have been good it would have been the longest in Prep history.
UPDATES: Sean Bruso texts in with St. Francis up, 15-8, with 6:30 left in the first half; Kenmore West up, 14-7, over Williamsville North in the second quarter; and Lockport up, 21-0, on Hutch-Tech in the first half. ... From Matt Mariacher at All High: Clarence 35, Bennett 6. ... From Constantino at Niagara Falls: Jamestown leads Niagara Falls, 14-0, at halftime. Interesting development there.
St. Joe's golf coach/assistant hoops coach Jack Herlan reports that Joe's and Frannies are 21-21 late in the second quarter.
3:08 p.m. Make that 28-21 St. Francis over St. Joe's after another Herlan update, and we're kicking off with the third quarter, Cathedral Prep to receive.
3:17 p.m. Canisius starts the second half like it did the first, with another long, impressive scoring drive. Eman hits Russell again for a 19-yard TOUCHDOWN pass, lofting a pretty ball to the left side for Russell, who had plenty of separation from his defender. Canisius' low extra point is blocked and Canisius leads Cathedral Prep, 13-7, with 7:39 left in the third quarter.
3:25 p.m. Cathedral Prep has taken the lead, 14-13, on a 21-yard pass from Damion Terry to Kimani Smith, who did a great job to make a catch on the right side and keep a foot inbounds. The extra point made the difference as Ackerman put it up and good with 3:58 left in the third quarter.
3:28 p.m. And Canisius strikes back so fast I didn't get the video and I'm not happy about it.
Eman keeps it up the middle, makes some tacklers miss, then uses his speed to burst through the secondary and no one can catch him. An 80-yard TOUCHDOWN. Great run by Eman. A two-point conversion pass is incomplete and Canisius leads Cathedral Prep, 19-14 with 3:45 left in the third.
UPDATE from St. Joe's: St. Francis leads, 35-21, at halftime. ... Jamestown is up, 24-0, after three quarters at Niagara Falls.
3:41 p.m. At the END OF THE THIRD QUARTER, Canisius leads Cathedral Prep, 19-14.
The Ramblers just converted a key third-and-4 as Terry hit Luke Trucilla over the middle. Prep has a first down at the Canisius 38 on a possession that began with a muffed punt by Canisius.
3:47 p.m. Cathedral Prep takes a 20-19 lead on a TOUCHDOWN from Terry to junior Michael Amendola on a very clutch play, a 3-yard score on fourth-and-2 at the Canisius 3 that gives Cathedral Prep a 20-19 lead with 9:32 left in the game. Prep goes for two but the pass is incomplete.
3:54 p.m. An injury timeout here with Canisius driving; it has a first down at the Cathedral Prep 31 with 6:51 to play.
3:59 p.m. Canisius regains the lead with a clutch drive and a 17-yard TOUCHDOWN from Eman to Denzel Benton -- a great bootleg play by Eman. Eman hits Russell on the two-point conversion pass and Canisius leads Cathedral Prep, 27-20, with 5:18 left.
4:09 p.m. UPDATE: Jamestown with a big win at Niagara Falls, 24-0.
4:11 p.m. A FIELD GOAL of 22 yards by Curtis put Canisius up, 30-20, on Cathedral Prep with 1:14 left.
UPDATE: St. Francis leads St. Joe's, 49-21, with 3:15 left in third.
4:16 p.m. Cathedral Prep appeared to have a kickoff return for a touchdown, but it was called back on a holding penalty (to the outrage of Prep people in the press box)
4:17 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Canisius 30, Cathedral Prep 20.
I'm off to run around and do interviews ...
4:39 p.m. HUGE win for Canisius. Canisius people are already talking about being No. 1 -- a few turned to the press box and were waving No. 1 fingers up at me. Good stuff. They definitely have a case after a win like this. If there wasn't a two-time defending state champion who I have considered to be the best team in the entire state in Western New York, it would be an easy answer. I'll spend the rest of the weekend mulling it over. :-)
I'm off to All High to catch whatever I can from Amherst-Lafayette, do some writing and some video blabbering.
5:39 p.m. We're back in the All High press box -- where we were about 22 hours ago.
Amherst has a 12-0 lead on Lafayette at halftime thanks to two second-quarter touchdowns by senior Cameron Mathews.
Here's his first touchdown, coming right at me moments after I arrived.
Mathews added another score with 37.3 seconds left in the first half.
6:05 p.m. Amherst's lead is up to 18-0 after a 7-yard run by Keon Colvin with 7:06 left in the third quarter.
6:24 p.m. Amherst now up, 26-0, after Matt Gallineau scooped up a fumble and returned it about 40 yards for a score with 2:40 left in the third. Tigers add a two-pointer on a run by Brandon Borden.
6:40 p.m. The final at St. Joe's was a big win for St. Francis, 49-21.
Some more FINAL SCORES: Kenmore West 54, Williamsville North 22 ... Lockport 42, Hutch-Tech 0 ... Clarence 42, Bennett 6 ... Grand Island 28, Starpoint 21 ... Williamsville East 27, Kenmore East 13 ... Burgard 26, JFK 3 ... Depew 46, South Park 15 ... Cardinal O'Hara 27, Bishop Timon-St. Jude 14 ... Sweet Home 26, Lake Shore 0.
6:50 p.m. And another one: Amherst beats Lafayette, 26-0.
Championship week is here, and it starts with what could be the best semifinal day of the week at Buffalo State.
Three games, starting with CCAA I power and year-long top 10 resident Allegany-Limestone taking on ECIC IV upstart Cleveland HIll at 5:30 p.m. in a B-2 semifinal.
That's followed by the highly anticipated B-1 semifinals, a final four of top 10 small schools. At 7 p.m., three-time overall Class B champion and No. 1 small school Olean takes on a dangerous Grover Cleveland team that struggled late in the regular season but the Presidents got Ricky Alejandro back for the quarterfinals and he had eight(!) threes in a very nice win at Medina. The final game of the day is a terrific matchup as ECIC III runner-up Depew takes on ECIC IV champion Lackawanna in an 8:30 scheduled start.
I've seen 12 games in the last seven days, will see 17 in the next six. It's the best week of the year in Western New York high school sports, and it should get off to a great start.
5:22 p.m. We're courtside and ready for our first game. NOTE to ALL FANS to get here EARLY this week. Buffalo State's main large parking lot is now a construction site, so parking spots are at a premium.
5:28 p.m. Also a reminder to fans that Section VI likes starting games ahead of time. Teams have been announced and the tipoff is next.
I'm going with Allegany-Limestone big. They've been here before and have a lot of players back from last year, which is why they have have been ranked all year -- just destroying teams not named Olean, Jamestown and Bradford (Pa.). Cleveland Hill has had a great season but I'm not sure they'll be able to keep up.
5:41 p.m. At the end of the first quarter, Allegany-Limestone leads Cleveland Hill, 14-10. A-L is getting some good shots while Cleve Hill is taking some bad ones.
5:50 p.m. With 2:45 left in the second quarter, Cleve Hill calls a timeout having cut the lead to 24-22. Golden Eagles have stepped up the energy on defense.
5:52 p.m. A-L calls the timeout this time with 1:25 left in the second. Omar Ramadan hit a deep three from the right side just moments ago to give Cleve Hill a 25-24 lead, its first of the game.
5:55 p.m. A-L gets a timeout on a scramble with 5.6 seconds left and the score tied at 26-26.
5:57 p.m. Nice finish of the quarter for Cleve Hill as Darryl Spencer blocks an A-L shot before the buzzer. At halftime we are tied at 26-26.
Nice job by Cleve Hill. Spencer has had a lot of energy on both ends. I thought A-L would be able to execute a little better on offense and perhaps be able to put away Cleve Hill early, but the Golden Eagles can only get more confident as the game goes on. Should be an interesting second half.
6:15 p.m. With 2:17 left in the third quarter, Allegany-Limestone calls a timeout. Cleve Hill is up, 37-34.
6:19 p.m. At the end of the third quarter, Cleveland Hill has a 42-34 lead. A great tip in by Spencer and a late three by No. 10 (sorry, no rosters!) helped the Eagles to a 9-2 quarter-ending run.
6:22 p.m. Good timeout by Cleve Hill coach Jason Pryzbysz with 7:00 left and A-L having cut the lead to 42-38 on two consecutive strong drives by Marcus Aiello and Nate Keenan.
6:30 p.m. Some great action from Cleve Hill earned it a 12-point lead at 50-38, but A-L just got a three from Aiello to make it 50-42. Timeout, A-L with 3:28 left in the game.
6:33 p.m. A-L is turning up the defensive pressure and Cleve Hill calls a timeout while being trapped. Eagles lead, 50-43, with 3:08 left.
6:42 p.m. A-L with a timeout after a made basket; Cleve Hill leads, 55-50, with 57.6 seconds left.
6:47 p.m. Cleve Hill holding on in crunch time, just barely. One free throw by Aaron Sanders gives it a 57-52 lead with 22.2 seconds left -- timeout, Cleve Hill.
6:50 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE in B-2 semifinal: Cleveland Hill 59, Allegany-Limestone 54.
Huge win for the Golden Eagles, and they deserved it. Very well-played game, composed and under control in a big-time contest.
Another evening of basketball, another buzzer-beater.
We're getting to the good stuff right away on this post. Here's the very-last-second basket that lifted Lackawanna to a one-point win at Cleveland Hill Tuesday night:
I watched the replay more than a few times on my phone, which has better resolution than YouTube, and it looked like the basket was good with the tip-in coming with one-tenth of a second on the clock and before the buzzer. Unbelievable.
Below is the post as it unfolded Tuesday night, with some additional videos added here later on ...
* * *
Hello from our second straight Tuesday of hopping around to basketball games with the iPhone.
I just got finished with my weekly pickup game, so I'm ready for action if any teams need me. Good thing WNY hoops is in good shape so nobody has to see that.
6:41 p.m. Our first stop is Cleveland Hill, which is hosting Lackawanna. Time for the National Anthem.
6:59 p.m. At the end of the first quarter, Cleveland Hill leads Lackawanna, 15-12. The Golden Eagles look good -- part of the reason I wanted to check out this game was Cleveland Hill's good start, which includes a win over Alden.
7:13 p.m. At halftime, Cleve Hill has a 31-27 lead. Steelers had a nice 13-4 run to end the quarter. I'm impressed by Cleve Hill's hustle and team ball.
I'm sticking around here for the second half since it's a close game.
Other 7:30 games I might head to include Grand Island at Amherst on the way to Jamestown at Williamsville North. I was considering zipping in to the city to see the Canestro-less Nichols host Niagara Catholic if this game was out of hand, but I'm guessing by the time I got there the Vikings might be in complete control.
The gym here is bright -- our photographers would love it -- and it just has a great feel to it with the banners and signage on the walls. There's a excellent banner concerning fan behavior that I'm going to take a picture of -- I might even do a separate blog on it. It's a banner that should hang in every high school gym.
7:37 p.m. Cleve Hill still leads Lackawanna, 45-41, after the third quarter.
7:50 p.m. Lackawanna up, 52-50, with 3:17 left.
8:11 p.m. Damon Hall tipped the ball in with 0.1 seconds left (that's what it looks like on the iPhone) and Lackawanna wins, 60-59.
I'll get the video posted ASAP.
9:02 p.m. Hello from the home-office -- we made an executive decision to forgo any more stops during Tuesday Night Live in an effort to get all the great stuff from the Lackawanna-Cleveland Hill game on the Web and ready for Wednesday's paper as soon as possible.
9:39 p.m. I've posted the video.
* * *
I can only do one thing at once -- and for the second half I used my phone as a video camera, so I wasn't able to use it to access the blog and provide a lot of updates.
Here's some more videos and notes from what was a terrific game.
Cleve Hill began the fourth quarter with a 45-41 lead.
Andrew Gilliam with a nice finish on a drive that put Cleve Hill up, 49-43, the second of three times that it would own a six-point lead (50-44 would be the last).
Lackawanna's Christian Cheatom ties up the game at 50-50, the first tie since the opening tip. On the Steelers' next trip, Hall would hit two free throws to give the Steelers their first lead of the game, 52-50, with 3:17 left.
On a play I didn't catch because I was using the phone to update the blog, Ramadhan made a nice push and then found Jailyn Tompkins to tie the game at 52-52.
The rest of the game was a very enjoyable back-and-forth. A Hall free throw up Lackawanna up, 53-52.
Big man Demetrious Smith showed a savvy passing eye several times in the game, and he came up big to find Tompkins for a layup here to put Cleve Hill up, 54-53.
Check out the little man bouncing in the bleachers after the timeout is called.
After a Lackawanna turnover, Ramadhan hits a huge three from the left corner to put Cleve Hill up, 57-53, with about 1:40 left..
A big three answered by a big three as Santiago drains one to pull Lackawanna within 57-56 with :51 left.
On the ensuing inbounds, Lackawanna makes a steal and Alexander makes a great dribble-drive-dish to Cheatom for a 58-57 Steelers lead with :39 left.
Not the most exciting video, but definitely meaningful and definitely clutch as Ramadhan (what a fourth quarter for him, huh?) coolly hits a pair with 29.1 seconds left for Cleveland Hill's 59-58 lead.
Lackawanna missed a shot on its next possession; Cleveland Hill missed a front end on a one-and-one free throw with 17.2 seconds left; Lackawanna missed a shot and the ball went out of bounds off of Cleveland Hill with 4.4 seconds left.
That catches you up to the drama captured at the top of the blog.
Lackawanna, which is ranked third among small schools, didn't look like a top team early on, and maybe that's because trips to Cleveland Hill usually haven't been too tough so perhaps they weren't up for the game.
The Golden Eagles played very well and I think I'll be seeing them again this year. They have a nice mix of weapons inside and outside and they were very well coached -- they played under control almost the entire game. Cleveland Hill hustled big-time -- it regularly beat Lackawanna down the floor early on.
The Steelers got their game together late, and they have some serious weapons, starting with Alexander. Hall is a presences, Cheatom is dynamic while Santiago hit some clutch threes. This might not have been their best night, but, as usual, Lackawanna should be a popular pick come the postseason.
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From a look at the Tuesday scoreboard, it turns out it doesn't seem like I missed much at the other stops I was considering.
The field is set, the only question is -- can anyone stop Southwestern? The defending state champions are No. 1 in the small school poll, but can they survive Section VI? North division tough guys Eden and Cleveland Hill both potentially stand in their way.
Here are some additional notes on the eighth-graders as well as notes on all sorts of cross country topics:
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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.
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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.
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.
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)  - 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)  - 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)  - 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)  - 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)  - 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)  - 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)  - 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)  - 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.
1. Southwestern (13-0)  - Too many weapons back to not be in this spot.
2. Maple Grove (13-0)  - 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)  - 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)  - 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)  - 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)  - When in doubt, rank the teams that are usually ranked.
7. Alden (8-1)  - Might be generous considering what they lost in graduation.
8. Cardinal O'Hara (6-4)
 - 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).
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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.