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#PrepTalkAwards section, web-style: PrepTalkTV interviews, bios, photos & more

By Keith McShea

Today's 24-page Prep Talk Awards special section has great information and photos on all of Monday night's honorees, and we've got more coverage here. 

* There are PHOTO GALLERIES from:

-- Monday's event featuring winner's photos with Andre Reed (they can be purchased here)

-- as well as photo galleries including feature shots of the Prep Talk Players of the Year

-- and shots of our All-Western New York basketball and football teams.

* Here's our TWEET-by-TWEET post from Monday night, featuring tons of great tweets from those at the event. 

* The BIOs of the Prep Talk Players of the Year in the special section were taken from here on the blog. Our Countdown to #PrepTalkAwards profiled every Prep Talk Player of the Year in a day-by-day feature on the blog that started with Brandon Galanti of Frontier (Prep Talk Soccer Player of the Year) and concluded with McKyla Brooks of Frontier (Prep Talk Girls Three-Sport Player of the Year) -- the post on Brooks includes links to all the previous bios.

* Below are PrepTalkTV VIDEO interviews with nearly all of the Prep Talk Players of the Year (some from the winter), as well as videos featuring the All-Western New York basketball and football teams:

Continue reading "#PrepTalkAwards section, web-style: PrepTalkTV interviews, bios, photos & more" »

Prep Talk Player of the Year for girls cross country: Sophia Tasselmyer, Starpoint/EA

By Keith McShea

Sophia Tasselmyer photo courtesy of tullyrunners.com.No matter where she is running, you can look for Sophia Tasselmyer at the head of the pack. 

Tasselmyer, a sophomore who ran the cross country season for Starpoint before transferring to East Aurora, is the Prep Talk Player of the Year for girls cross country. 

Tasselmyer was the All-Western New York cross country girls Runner of the Year this fall. She was the Section VI Class B individual champion and the top Section VI girls finisher overall at the state championships. She was eighth (17:54.9) among the field of 472 at states, finishing second in Class B. She was fifth at states in Class B as a freshman.

A few weeks later, running with East Aurora's team, Tasselmyer finished fourth at the Nike New York Regional Championship to qualify for the Nike Nationals in Portland, Ore. She then earned All-American status by finishing 21st in the Championship Race with a career-best 17:59 over 3.1 miles. 

Running track for East Aurora this spring, she is currently holds the fastest times in the 1,500 (4:42.01) and 3,000 meters (10:05.24) heading into this weekend's Section VI championships. 

* * *

All Prep Talk Players of the Year will be honored at the inaugural Prep Talk Awards on June 16 at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo, featuring Pro Football Hall of Famer Andre Reed and Janet Snyder of Kiss 98.5. The Prep Talk Awards will honor Prep Talk Players of the Year in more than 30 sports, along with the All-Western New York first teams in football and basketball. 

* * * 

Our Countdown to the Prep Talk Awards will feature a different Prep Talk Player of the Year each day until the big night.

The list thus far:

Continue reading "Prep Talk Player of the Year for girls cross country: Sophia Tasselmyer, Starpoint/EA" »

Countdown to Friday Night Lights: B South

By Keith McShea

Who’s who: The eight-team division consists of the Alden Bulldogs, Depew Wildcats, Dunkirk Marauders, East Aurora Blue Devils, Eden Raiders, Olean Huskies, Pioneer Panthers and Springville Griffins.

Continue reading "Countdown to Friday Night Lights: B South" »

Video: EA and Holland team up as combined football program

Mary Jo Monnin and John Hickey were at East Aurora for the kickoff of the #preptalkpreseason. EA has welcomed players from Holland this year, part of a trend of programs combining throughout Western New York and throughout the state. Holland has not had a football program.  

Mary Jo will have more in a story for Tuesday's News.

Live from Championship Week's tipoff at Buffalo State: Fredonia knocks off CSAT in B-2 (with video); Olean, Lackawanna roll in B-1

By Keith McShea

Today is the first of four straight days, and a total of five days this week, of Championship Week at Buffalo State. 

I'll provide play-by-play updates in the live blog below and I'll have periodic #preptalkscores updates via Twitter which will also appear in the blog. 

Your tweets with the hashtag #preptalkscores are welcome -- as they will appear in the live blog as well. You can comment on these games or others. Every night, scoring update tweets (in any sport) are welcome to those on Twitter -- just use the #preptalkscores hashtag. Today is also Super Monday for boys hockey while there are boys hoops semifinals at Jamestown Community College in Class D as well. 

Check our scoreboard page for a complete schedule of tonight's games; the scoreboard will be updated as we receive game reports throughout the evening.

Continue reading "Live from Championship Week's tipoff at Buffalo State: Fredonia knocks off CSAT in B-2 (with video); Olean, Lackawanna roll in B-1" »

How The News voted: Super Week (& we're not talking football)

By Keith McShea

Every week during the basketball season a panel of voters participates in The News' large and small school boys basketball polls.

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. This week's News poll is available via the high school home page.

It's a Super Week, and we're not talking about Sunday's football game. As you'll see throughout the blog, there are several big-time games this week -- there's even one on Super Bowl Sunday that is worth a bit of hype. 

Here's last week's ballot (Week Five, Jan. 22). Previous polls: Week Four, Jan. 15Week Three (Jan. 8, which followed a two-week holiday break); Week Two (our special Christmas edition, Dec. 18); Week One (Dec. 11). Also, here's last year's final 2011-12 post

LARGE SCHOOLS

1. Niagara Falls (10-1) [last week: 1] -- The 100-18 win over Kenmore East revived calls for the Niagara Frontier League to allow Falls to play as an independent. I've said they should have remained that way since the 2005 Federation championship team. 

Continue reading "How The News voted: Super Week (& we're not talking football)" »

Live from the MLK Classic: Canisius tops McKinley; Middle College, East, Lackawanna win (with video interviews)

By Keith McShea

Greetings from City Honors, again site of the seventh Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Basketball Classic, hosted by the Buffalo Public Schools. 

Today's lineup includes ranked teams in each of the four games here at City Honors. The day begins with No. 8 small school Lackawanna taking on the host Centaurs at 11 a.m., followed by No. 3 small school East meeting East Aurora (not ranked but I had them at No. 10 in my ballot) at 12:45. 

The second session begins at 4 p.m. with ECIC II leader Sweet Home taking on No. 6 small school Middle Early College. The marquee matchup of the day has No. 2 large school Canisius meeting No. 3 McKinley at 5:45. 

I'll have updates from games in the live blog below and via #preptalkscores updates on Twitter. 

Continue reading "Live from the MLK Classic: Canisius tops McKinley; Middle College, East, Lackawanna win (with video interviews)" »

Cross country state championship poster page in today's paper

The News' tribute to the state champions of the fall season condcluded today with a poster page devoted to this season's title-winners in cross country: the East Aurora boys, Barker boys and Maple Grove girls.

We have also run poster pages on Orchard Park football (with the All-Western New York team on Dec. 3), girls volleyball champions Eden (Dec. 26) and St. Mary's (Dec. 31), girls swimming champion Clarence (Jan. 9).

High-quality versions of the championship pages can be purchased at buffalonewsstore.com.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

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

EA's Stan Wier verbally commits to UB hoops

Basketball standout Stan Wier has verbally committed to the University at Buffalo.

The East Aurora senior-to-be emailed me and said he picked UB's offer over those from The Citadel, Princeton, Cornell, Rhode Island and Colgate. Wier said more offers have come in since he turned heads playing for the Albany City Rocks at the AAU National Tournament in Orlando a few weeks ago.

"It feels absolutely unbelievable -- to grow up in Western New York, play here, win a Federation title and then be blessed with the opportunity to play for your hometown college on such a great team," said Wier, who said he also worked out with St. Bonaventure. "After a few visits with the coaches and players everything felt perfect.

"Several calls and offers had come in since the Nationals and I had made a lot of visits in July ... but nothing felt as good as everything UB has to offer. UB has a great squad and I believe the City of Buffalo is in for a big surprise and treat over the next few years."

Wier has had a well-traveled and impressive high school career that has come full circle. He was an All-Western New York honorable mention with East Aurora as a freshman; he was a second-team All-WNY pick in helping Nichols to the state Federation championship as a sophomore; last year he played with and against top talent at Indiana private school La Lumiere; this fall he makes his return to East Aurora.

Next year, he'll be at UB -- where he'll meet up with former Nichols teammate Will Regan, who is sitting out the upcoming season at UB following his transfer from Virginia after playing there as a freshman.

"I’m excited to reunite with my former teammate," said Wier. "Virginia must have been a great learning/growing experience for him and I can only wait to see how much he has improved."

Wier was listed at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds on La Lumiere's maxpreps.com page. He is an obviously well-built shooting guard who has outstanding range. His outside shooting was a devastating factor in Nichols' run to the Federation title and I think it's very worthy of a Division I program (I thought that after his sophomore year). He also displayed some fine one-on-one defense and great competitiveness for Nichols during that championship season.

"It feels good to have this process complete," Wier said. "Over the years, I have made decisions that I hoped would make me a better basketball player. It wasn’t always easy leaving the new friends I made each year but playing for UB makes all the hard work and sacrifice worth it.

"I get the privilege to play for Coach Witherspoon and before that I am excited to play my senior year with my brother Cam and my friends at East Aurora. Coach [Chris] Koselny is demanding that all the players commit to being successful and EA is on the rise. All of us are working hard to get better. I went to the Buff State [Section VI championship week] games last year and remembered how exciting it was to play there with my older brother Thad [when Stan was a freshman]. I really hope Cam and I can share the same memories."

Wier elaborated (in a well-written email) about his reasons for selecting UB:

"Academics: UB is really a great academic institution. I think a lot of people take it for granted because it’s practically in their backyard and don’t realize how it measures up with the best in many ways.

Coaches/team chemistry: Coach [Reggie] Witherspoon and [assistant Jim] Kwitchoff are great guys. Their passion and intensity seemed a notch above. I have known [former standout and current assistant] Turner Battle for years: he is a great guy and was an amazing player. I am so excited to learn from him. As for chemistry: The UB team is a unit. They like each other, get along well and I just knew that I wanted to be part of them.

Win -- get to the NCAA Tourney. Coach Witherspoon has put together a great roster that has at least three other players of high major playing ability that could play for most any school in the country. Guys like Javon McCrea, Xavier Ford, Will Regan (everyone knows how good a player Will is), Dave Barnett [walk-on from EA] and other great players.

With this roster and the new guys coming in, I believe Buffalo will win the Mid-American Conference and could very well become the next Butler. Really, really excited for this opportunity.

Play: I have a strong passion for basketball and wanted to go to a school where I have a good opportunity to play as a freshman and have impact. I will be working hard as ever this next year and am really looking forward to getting involved with the team as early as I possibly can.

Coach: I am sure that after my playing days are over I want to be an NCAA coach. Coach Witherspoon has offered to take me under his wing, arrange some camps at other schools that I can work and involve me in the coaching process while I am at UB. I can’t thank him enough."

Wier's return to EA certainly makes for an intriguing storyline in the ECIC and Section VI, while being the latest local player to commit to UB provides another layer of excitement for Western New York basketball fans. It should be a fun hoops year -- and to think we've got a whole football season to go before that (starting Monday). 

And now, since I'm writing this from the Watkins Glen International media center, back to auto racing. :-)

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

buffalonews.com/high-schools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

Playing catch (up) with some summer hoops

I had a summer break that started as soon as the 2010-11 season concluded, and now I'm back -- and here to throw some notes out regarding some summer news and notes ... 

* Late in the spring season we told you about the BCANY Hoops Festival set for Johnson City from Aug. 5-7. The event seems like a great one, and it's one that came about due to the unfortunate absence of the Empire State Games this summer. 

The roster has been selected by the coaching staff of head coach Larry Jones (Depew) and assistants Mike Haskell (retired Pioneer) and Mike Berkun (Medaille):

Reggie Agbeko (St. Joe's), Stan Wier (who has transferred back home to East Aurora), Sterling Taplin (Williamsville North), Ryan Whelpley (Walsh), Matt Hart (Canisius), Aaron Frasier (Seneca), Aaron White (Canisius), Jamaal Carter (City Honors), Adam Weir (Canisius), Jordan Williams (Bishop Timon-St. Jude).

Alternates are: Matt McDonald (Canisius), Demone Harris (Timon), Kyle Kobis (Timon), Derrick Sekuterski (Depew).

The team will play Long Island on Friday, Aug 5 at 4:30 p.m. On Saturday, Aug. 6, the Buffalo team plays New York City at 9 a.m. and Hudson Valley at noon. Saturday's evening session includes a dunk contest and three-point contest at 4:30 p.m.; a parent clinic on recruiting at 5:30 and a player clinic with college coaches at 6:30.

The event concludes on Sunday, Aug. 7 with the seventh-place game (9 a.m.), fifth-place game (10:30 a.m.), consolation (noon) and championship (1:30 p.m.).

While the event is being run by BCANY, there are some expenses that will need to be covered for teams and players (food, lodging, transportation -- costs mostly taken care of by the ESG during the Games). The squad is seeking sponsorships -- if you are interested in helping the team defray some costs, call Jones at (585) 746-8327.

This team deserves some serious commenting -- that squad is a really good one, a much better collection than I expected for what is a startup event this year. Great talent, great depth, great mixture of schools. Excellent job by the basketball community in getting the word out and credit the coaching staff for what must have been some difficult choices after the tryouts. 

* Speaking of some good hoops competition, this weekend might be the Taste of Buffalo but fans can get a taste of hoops up in Niagara Falls. Some top programs are in action at the Niagara PAL Team Camp at Niagara Falls. Here's the lineup: 

Friday: 5 p.m. -- Main gym, Niagara Falls vs. Canisius; Aux. gym, St. Joe's vs. Niagara-Wheatfield; 6 p.m. -- Batavia vs. Grand Island; Aux. gym, Wilson vs. Holland; 7 p.m. -- Main gym, Jamestown vs. Sweet Home.

Saturday: 9 a.m. -- Main gym, St. Joe's vs. Niagara Falls; Aux. gym, Canisius vs. Jamestown; 10 a.m. -- Main gym, Sweet Home vs. Wilson; Aux. gym, Batavia vs. Niagara-Wheatfield; 11 a.m., Main gym, Grand Island vs. Holland.

Single elimination tournament begins at noon, with championship at 5 p.m.

There is a $2 admission for fans 13 and older.

* I will hopefully hit some summer events of all sorts -- I'll be soon selling raffle tickets to benefit the Tom Borrelli Award and Scholarship Fund. We have some great prizes and it's a great cause as we continue to honor our fallen coworker. 

The third Borrelli Award for boys and the inaugural Borrelli Award for girls will be announced later this month and the winners will receive their trophies at the July 27 Tom Borrelli Golf Tournament at Holland Hills. For those interested in golfing ($100 per person) or donating, please email me at kmcshea@buffnews.com. 

* By the way, the spring All-WNY teams and all-league teams (for baseball, softball and boys and girls lacrosse), which have been published over the last month, have all been collected at the high school home page.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

buffalonews.com/high-schools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

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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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