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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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. :-)
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).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
* 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.
Stan Wier emailed me and said he plans on returning to East Aurora for his senior year.
Wier, who earned second team All-Western New York honors with state Federation Class A champion Nichols as a sophomore in 2009-10 before transferring to La Lumiere of Indiana for his junior year. He played for EA as a freshman.
"I just wanted to let you know that I plan on coming back to East Aurora for my senior year," Wier stated in his email.
This is certainly interesting news for the 2011-12 boys hoops season. More to come from me when I'm not on vacation :-).
Hello from All High Stadium in Buffalo for the Section VI girls lacrosse championships. Class B gets us started with Lake Shore and Hamburg; Class C follows with six-time defending champion Amherst trying for a three-game season sweep of East Aurora at 5:30; at 8 p.m. six-time defending champion Lancaster takes on Frontier in the Class A showdown.
Great venue for all sports -- and it's a wonderful weather day for the action. Should be a great two days here as the boys championship tripleheader is tomorrow.
3:43 p.m. Lake Shore is off to a quick start, as Lauren Scanlan has three goals and the Eagles have a 4-1 lead with 20:13 left in the first half.
3:45 p.m. Another Scanlan goal, off a nice feed from Vivian Curry, makes it a 5-1 lead for Lake Shore.
3:49 p.m. Two quick goals from Hamburg cut it to 5-3, but another Scanlan goal on a breakaway makes it 6-3 Lake Shore with 16:04 left in the first half.
4:01 p.m. Timeout on the field with 11:01 left in the first half -- the players left their sticks in their places on the turf; ostensibly it is a water-break timeout mandated by officials. It is certainly a hot one here. Lake Shore has teh ball and its 6-3 lead.
4:03 p.m. A great feed from Curry from the right side, a great catch by Scanlan cutting down the middle, and she scores her sixth goal as Lake Shore goes up, 7-3, with 10:08 left in the first half.
4:05 p.m. Solo rush from the right side of the cage for Hamburg's Amanda Obenshain -- her second of the game -- make it 7-4 with 8:59 left in first.
4:07 p.m. Lake Shore answers that with a Curry goal inside to make it 8-4 with 7:56 left in the first half.
4:12 p.m. Obenshain takes a very nice feed from Taylor Wolff on the left doorstep of the cage and she scores to make it 8-5 with 4:08 left in the first half. That came just after a nice save by Lake Shore goalie Kachine Lay.
4:13 p.m. A draw control win and another goal by Obenshain, who made a few dodges in front of the cage before scoring and we're at 8-6 Lake Shore with 3:38 left in the first.
4:18 p.m. Big goal late for Lake Shore, who had been pressuring Hamburg but goalie Lauren Courteau came up with four nice saves in the final two minutes. Shelby Stevens then came up with a big steal of a Hamburg clear; she passed to Scanlan, who found a slashing Alie Jimerson for a nice catch and score for a 9-6 lead with 11.4 left.
4:22 p.m. We are at HALFTIME and Lake Shore leads Hamburg, 9-6.
Obenshain went down with an injury with 5.2 seconds left and was writhing on the field for a few moments before trotting off the field.
Lake Shore seems to be overpowering with Scanlan playing a big part of draw controls and the offense, but Hamburg continues to keep hanging around.
4:38 p.m. Curry comes back with her third goal to answer one by Obenshain; Lake Shore leads, 10-7, with 22:08 left.
4:42 p.m. Curry on a clear breakway from midfield -- she sprints to the cage and fires an overhead shot under the crossbar to make it 11-7; 30 seconds later Scanlan makes a great catch of a feed, then whirls in front of the cage to score for a 12-7 lead with 19:45 to go in the game.
4:44 p.m. Obenshian up the middle after a penalty and Hamburg pulls within 12-8 with 18:23 left.
4:45 p.m. Official-mandated water break with 18:18 left in the game and Lake Shore up, 12-8.
4:54 p.m. Hamburg got a great goal from Megan Mikolajek, who went coast-to-coast after a steal deep in the Hamburg end. ... but Curry scores two straight to push the Lake Shore lead to 14-9 with 14:18 left.
4:58 p.m. Lake Shore scores again as Scanlan fires it in for her eighth goal -- the lead is now 15-9 with 11:57 left and Hamburg takes a timeout.
5:03 p.m. Obenshain scores her seventh goal in front to make it a 15-10 lead for Lake Shore with 9:21 left.
5:04 p.m. Curry comes right back -- a familiar theme there for Lake Shore. She goes to the goal, has her shot stopped but she scoops up the rebound and fires it in for a 16-10 lead with 8:55 left.
5:08 p.m. Officials timeout for a water break with 6:22 left.
5:12 p.m. Hamburg cuts it to 16-11 with 5:56 left on Mikolajek's second goal.
5:13 p.m. Hamburg back to within four as Obenshain scores her eighth goal to make it 16-12 with 4:23 left.
5:15 p.m. As has happened many times today, Lake Shore comes up with a big goal just when Hamburg is thinking of making a game out of it. Kiersten Kennedy scoops up a loose ball on a turnover by Hamburg, goes to the goal and her backhand shot trickles over the line to make it 17-12 with 3:21 left.
5:18 p.m. Amanda Patrone scores on the doorstep for Hamburg to cut it to 17-13 with 2:30 left. Lake Shore's Melissa Haring was down on the play due to cramping. She remained down through an official timeout before walking to the bench.
5:23 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Lake Shore 17, Hamburg 13.
Lake Shore wins its first sectional title. Interview time for me.
And the Class B postgame show:
6:04 p.m. The Class C game is underway and Amherst, expectedly, jumps on top of East Aurora on an Ivy Timlin goal less than two minutes in.
6:06 p.m. EA ties it up on a Addie Ohler goal with 21:32 left in the 25-minute half.
6:12 p.m. Hmmmm. EA, which lost twice to Amherst during the regular season, gets another Ohler goal to take a 2-1 lead with 16:49 left.
6:15 p.m. EA scores again, with Victoria Budzyn scoring after a foul call right in front. EA takes a surprising 3-1 lead and Amherst calls a timeout with 15:13 left in the first half.
6:24 p.m. Amherst gets one back as Alana Rockoff wheels around from the right side to the left and scores to make it 3-2; that's followed by an officials timeout for a water break with 10:20 left in the first half.
6:29 p.m. Moments after a big save by EA's Rachel Hallnan, Katie Daminski scooted coast-to-coast, accelerating nicely in the Amherst half before scoring to push the Blue Devil lead to 4-2 with 7:32 left in the first half.
6:33 p.m. Alanna Rockoff scores 85 seconds after Sara Bischof and Amherst has tied it at 4-4 with 5:33 left in the first half; timeout EA.
6:38 p.m. Rockoff scores on a free shot in front -- moments after a yellow card was issued to an EA player after a collision -- to give Amherst its first lead of the game at 5-4 with 3:43 left in the first half.
6:40 p.m. Sophie Nieschur circles the cage, comes around the right side, waits a step against her defender and wheels and scores for a 6-4 lead.
6:43 p.m. After a nice save by EA goalie Hallnan, a scramble results in Sara O'Brien left open in front of the cage and she converts a pass to make it 7-4 Amherst with 1:12 left in the half.
6:46 p.m. At HALFTIME, Amherst leads East Aurora, 7-4.
Nice surge by Amherst to score the last five goals of the half; the last three came after the yellow card was issued to EA.
7:09 p.m. Amherst has kept rolling in the third quarter, scoring the first four goals to take an 11-4 lead with 18:42 left. I'm starting to write my story. Three games in one story and the Class A game is an 8 p.m. start, which puts us in a little deadline danger.
7:22 p.m. EA gets on the board but Amherst answers shortly thereafter as Ivy Timlin scores her fourth goal of the game to give the Tigers a 12-5 lead with 12:08 left.
7:26 p.m. A highlight goal from EA's Ohler, who goes coast to coast and finished it off by jumping to the left of the cage and shooting across her body to score at a very tough angle. Amherst's lead is 12-6 with 9:55 left.
7:33 p.m. EA gets two quick ones to cut it to 12-8 with 4:11 left. After Ashley Friess scored, Nikki Schneider scored right off the draw control win to cut the lead to 12-8.
7:39 p.m. Myriah Magaris with a goal off a free position shot for Amherst to make it 13-8 in the final minute.
7:40 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Amherst 13, East Aurora 8.
Seventh straight title for the Tigers, first for coach Kristy Grossman who took over for Janet Battaglia this year.
The Class C postgame show:
8:19 p.m. The Class A game has started with some great play -- by the goalies. Lancaster's Brooklyn Schilling and Frontier's Mia Wagner have exchanged saves on the first two trips by each team. Wagner then stopped two straight free position shots from near point-blank range. Whoa.
8:26 p.m. After some more great defense, Sarah Lorusso sprints in alone on a fast break and scores to put Frontier up, 1-0, with 14:14 left in the first half -- that's 10 minutes-plus of scoreless play, and it was very good stuff, not what you would automatically think of a scoreless start.
8:32 p.m. It is 2-0 Frontier as Ashley Bandt-Hunter loses the ball after a check, but then scoops it up and scoots to the goal to score on an overhand shot with 9:49 left in the first half.
8:38 p.m. We definitely have a situation here. Frontier's Lorusso scores again to give Frontier a 3-0 lead over the seven-time defending champions with 6:10 left in the first half. Lancaster called a timeout after the goal.
8:43 p.m. BIG goal for Lancaster as Alexis Ruggiero, a freshman midfielder, scores on a free position shot with a bounce shot that is the first to get by Wagner. Lancaster cuts the Frontier lead to 3-1 with 3:01 left in the first.
8:45 p.m. A big draw control violation gives the ball to Lancaster, and they capitalize as Brittany Delano scores to make it 3-2 with 1:54 left in first. Great surge here late in the half by the Redskins.
8:50 p.m. Frontier with several chances deep in Lancaster territory in the final minute, but Schilling made two big saves, one on a free position shot and one on a bang-bang pass play, and another free position shot went wide.
8:52 p.m. At HALFTIME, Frontier leads Lancaster, 3-2.
The low score is not a surprise considering the team's two meetings this year. Lancaster won both by scores of 5-4 and 9-5.
9:18 p.m. Working on my story so updating when I can.
Frontier made it 4-2 with 18:52 left on a transition play by Bandt-Hunter, who went coast to coast and fired it in after accelerating near the cage. The Falcons just made it 5-2 on another Bandt-Hunter goal with 12:22 left, prompting a Lancaster timeout.
9:33 p.m. Timeout Frontier with 3:31 left to play. Teams have exchanged goals in the last 23 seconds with Frontier leading, 6-3.
9:41 p.m. HUGE win for Frontier.
We have a FINAL SCORE: Frontier 6, Lancaster 3.
Lancaster's reign as Class A champions ends after six straight titles.
Stan Wier, who helped Nichols win a state Federation boys basketball championship last season as a sophomore, will transfer to La Lumiere, a private school located in LaPorte, Indiana.
Wier had already decided that he would not be returning to Nichols in June. The East Aurora native was considering returning to his home district, where he played his freshman season, and also received attention from New England prep schools.
Wier told me via email that he accepted a full scholarship to the boarding school because its "combination of academics and athletics made it a clear decision."
"The school itself is very challenging academically with two-to-three hours of homework per night. The basketball program is a perfect fit for me. The team consists of a solid frontcourt with a 7-foot center and two 6-10 forwards -- all have Division I offers. I round out the frontcourt due to their need of a physical shooter/scorer, and the team is being built for the future seeing as how there are four players on the team in my 2012 graduation class that are top 100 players.
"Not to mention they have a new coach who was formerly at Culver Academy and is known as one of the best player development coaches in the country. This program will simply challenge me to my limits daily to assure that I maximize potential. Also, the school is giving me a full-scholarship so for economic reasons it was a great fit as well."
Wier was a second-team All-Western New York selection in helping Nichols to one of the best seasons in recent Western New York basketball history. The 6-2 guard is an excellent shooter who also provides physical, intense play on the boards and on defense.
After a little google-ing, one of the players Wier was apparently referring to is Hanner Perea, a 6-8 forward who is reported to be deciding between Indiana and Baylor.
One would think that Wier's outside shooting would come in just as handy for La Lumiere as it did for a Nichols team led from the inside by now-University at Virginia 6-8 freshman Will Regan.
This will be Wier's third school in three years. That certainly isn't the most traditional route for a high school athlete in Western New York (although recent WNY examples of three schools in three years do come to mind), but it's hard to argue with any of the steps Wier and his family have made, whether it was to go from EA to a great team at a great school in Nichols, or to now go from Nichols to a program that seems to be at another level -- in a state renowned for basketball.
Wier told me in June that he had scholarship offers from Rhode Island and Colgate; one would think that playing alongside major D-I recruits would only help him gain more experience and exposure.
Stan Wier, a standout sophomore for the Nichols boys basketball team as the Vikings won the state Class A Federation tournament this past season, won't be returning to the Buffalo private school.
Stan's father, Todd Wier, stated in an e-mail to me that Stan, as well as younger brother Cam, would not be returning to Nichols. Most likely they will be transferring back to their home district of East Aurora; however, Stan also has offers from prep schools.
In an e-mail from Stan, the junior-to-be stated he is "leaning" towards returning to EA. He stated that Lollier of Indiana, Oak Hill Academy and "a couple of NEPSAC [New England Preparatory School Athletic Council] schools" were the prep schools interested in him.
"I've gotten full-ride scholarship offers from Colgate and Rhode Island," Stan Wier wrote, "but
I gotta keep grinding to be the best I can be."
Wier played for East Aurora as a freshman in the 2008-09 season while older brother Thad was a senior.
He transferred to Nichols and was a key component on one of the best teams of the last decade as the Vikings won just the second large-school state Federation title in Western New York history. Wier provided excellent outside shooting and grit to a starting lineup that included seniors Will Regan, Ron Canestro, Andrew MacKinnon and Connor Vandegriff.
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.
Lauren Nicole Mariacher joined The News in 2009 after graduating from the Columbia University School of Journalism. The Elma native and Iroquois graduate can usually be found on a sideline, capturing highlights for PrepTalkTV. She also hosts Prep Talk's weekly live show, with Keith McShea, as well as The News' live postgame Bills show — [BN]TheHuddle.