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Thursday Night Live: Hoops (Middle College beats Grover) and hockey (Canisius beats Joe's) before the chat (with video)

Before our live chat tonight around 10, we've got some hoops and hockey to watch.

5:40 p.m. We're at Grover Cleveland anticipating the start of one of the most anticipated games of the season -- Middle College visits with an undefeated record. The Kats are the only unbeaten left in the Yale Cup after East's surprising loss on Tuesday.

6:02 p.m. With 2:56 left in the first quarter, Grover is getting some turnovers and transition baskets and has a 15-7 lead.

6:05 p.m. Middle College calls a timeout with 1:41 left in the first quarter with Grover up 17-7 thanks to a I-wish-I-had-the-iPhone going one-handed, from a standing-start JAM by Kadeem Hillman. WOW.

6:09 p.m. Another dunk -- this time a fast break finish by Justin Stokes for Middle College. To show that I'm an equal opportunity dunk-misser, I don't have the video of that either. Arghh. That came in the final minute. We are at the end of the first quarter and Grover Cleveland leads, 20-11.

6:17 p.m. Middle College with a great run which included a dunk by Stokes on a fast break (that one Ive got on video) and has taken a 23-22 lead with 4:04 left in the second, prompting a timeout by Grover coach Earl Schunk.

6:26 p.m. We are at halftime and Middle College leads Grover, 35-30.

6:45 p.m. Schunk calls a timeout with 2:49 left in the third and Middle College up, 47-37.

6:49 p.m. An injury timeout with 1:11 left in the third and MC up, 51-41.

6:52 p.m. We are at the end of the third quarter and Middle College leads Grover Cleveland, 51-43

I've seen Grover look dead before and come back to win against good teams -- St. Joe's and Lackawanna -- so it could be an exciting fourth.  

7:05 p.m. Some fun back-and-forth action but Middle College holds a 65-58 lead with 3:08 left in the game. Grover just took a timeout.

7:09 p.m. Chris Holland hits a three-pointer and Grover is within 73-64 with 1:37 left.

7:13 p.m. Grover calls a timeout with 57.1 seconds left trailing, 73-66. Middle College has the ball; they've missed some free throws.

7:16 p.m. No comeback today. Middle leads, 77-66, with 20.4 seconds left and is going to the line. 

7:17 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE in HOOPS: Middle College 79, Grover Cleveland 66

Some interviews and then I'm off to Amherst for hockey.

8:19 p.m. We are here, plugged in and powered up at the Amherst (Pepsi? It's on some signs but not on others) Center for Federation hockey.

After two periods, Canisius leads St. Joe's, 4-3. The teams traded goals in the late going. I'm going to get some work done here -- trying to file a report for Middle College's win -- and I'll provide updates after goals and at the end of the game.

8:48 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE in HOCKEY: Canisius 5, St. Joe's 3.

I've got video of Canisius' fifth goal, which I'll post here when I can.

Joe's was pressing to tie the game but a late penalty hindered their comeback attempt in the final minutes. Joe's pulled their goalie but there was no real close calls the rest of the way. Canisius continues a dominant year in the Federation. 

And it seems that hockey moms are, as someone once said, pit bulls with lipstick. One St. Joe's mom was one of a few St. Joe's fans who were irate at the late penalty called on the Marauders (you can hear some of them as the penalties are being announced at the start of the clip) and let loose on the referee, including a forceful, "YOU SU*K!!!" Nice.

9:21 p.m. They just dropped the puck for Williamsville South against Williamsville East. Seniors for both teams were honored before the game. A good crowd on hand, but nowhere near the amount that was here for Canisius-St. Joe's.

9:46 p.m. South and East are scoreless after one period.

10:01 p.m. It's time for the LIVE CHAT. Get thee to the adjacent post on here. 

---Keith McShea

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

Live chat Jan. 14: After the games, join the chat

There is pretty great schedule of high school action tonight, and when it's through I'll be on a live chat at 10 p.m.

I'm going to start my high school day at the early-bird boys basketball special of Bishop Timon-St. Jude at St. Joe's at 4:30 p.m. The next stop is during the Yale Cup's 5:30 p.m. lineup -- I'll head to Riverside as they host Grover Cleveland. Then I'll probably catch some action at the St. Joe's-Canisius hockey game at the Amherst Pepsi Center -- it's a 7 p.m. start -- before getting my first look of the Jamestown basketball team as the Red Raiders visit Clarence in ECIC I play (it's a 7:30 p.m. start, but you JV guys, take as long as you like so I'm able to catch more of the action :-) ).

I'll have live updates from my travels on the blog, then I'll head back to One News Plaza for the chat. See you there (actually, see you here).

If you won't be around for the chat, feel free to ask some questions in the comments section below and we'll tackle them during the session.

Also, if you've caught a game, feel free to let us know what you thought of the action in the comments space below.

Here's last week's chat, and here's the previous chat, held Dec. 15 live from St. Mary's.

---Keith McShea

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

Canisius-Wheatfield Fed hockey is on for tonight

The general rule is, if there's no school, there's no sports. With all those school closings on the television tickers today, that means today's schedule is going to take a hit.

We do know that the Federation hockey game between Canisius and Niagara-Wheatfield is on for 7 p.m. at the Amherst Pepsi Center -- that's the only Fed game that will be played tonight.

If you've got any info on scheduling, less us know here or send me an email (linked below).

---Keith McShea

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

Live chat is back tonight at 10:15

Our weekly chat returns tonight at 10:15 p.m. as the Section VI basketball champions prepare for the Far West Regionals and two hockey teams get ready for the final four in Utica.

Visit here at 10 p.m. to discuss championship week for boys and girls basketball as well as the rest of the just-concluded winter season. We should also know the Section V boys basketball representatives from Class A, B an C, which will be determined tonight at Blue Cross Arena.

Of course, any questions on high school sports are in bounds. If you can't make it, feel free to throw a question in the comments space below.

Here's a look at our previous live chats of Winter 2009: Feb. 25, Feb. 18, Feb. 11, Feb. 4, Jan. 28, Jan. 21 and Jan. 14.  

---Keith McShea

Hockey & hoops off to states

Do you hear it?

It's the same sound you may have heard on Monday. Actually, it's more like something you didn't hear.

It's the sound of nothing happening in high school sports.

All of a sudden, only a select few basketball champions and two hockey teams are still competing in the winter season. Monday was the first day in a long time on which there was no playoff action.

Niagara-Wheatfield and Kenmore East are heading to Utica for the state final four in hockey this weekend. There is semifinal action Saturday before the state championship games Sunday afternoon.

Which brings us to a question:


There are obviously more basketball teams alive (five in boys and girls), but they all have to win a regional game before advancing to next weekend's state final four in Glens Falls.

Vote and let us know why you voted that way in the comments section below.

---Keith McShea

Monday morning point guard:
What a weekend

In case you missed it, what a weekend it was:

* * *


We at The News sports department concluded our 50th anniversary celebration of the All-Western New York boys basketball team by announcing our all-time All-WNY team.

Your comments are welcome on a blog post which includes a list of the team.

We also compiled a decade-by-decade retrospective of the All-WNY teams, including our all-decade teams as well as which schools dominated those eras.

The entire series, an all-time All-WNY roster and links to your feedback for all the various eras is linked at the top right-hand side of the high school home page.

* * *


The Section VI boys basketball championship weekend was one to remember in every class.

First, check out a great photo gallery of an eventful Saturday at Buffalo State (there are a lot of great shots from throughout the week at the high school sports photo gallery page).

* AA: Niagara Falls outlasted Williamsville North (story and live blog).

* A-1: The most memorable game of the weekend came in the A-1 final as McKinley beat Williamsville South in double overtime (story and live blog). Williamsville South's Mark Coppola left quite an impression on the Macks. 

* A-2: Depew beat ECIC III rival Maryvale for its first title in 42 years (story and live blog).

* B-1: Ryan Carney's last-second three-pointer lifted Olean over East Aurora (story and live blog). 

* B-2: Akron used an unbelievable third quarter to beat Allegany-Limestone (story and live blog; as you'll see, the B-1 and B-2 games were combined in the same story).

The action at Jamestown Community College on Friday night wasn't bad either.

* C: Ashton Brown scored a school-record 47 points to lead Randolph over Westfield (story and live updates). 

* D: Chris Secky became Maple Grove's all-time leading scorer in a win over Sherman (story and live updates; the D and C games are on the same post because our connection was a little weak).

* Meanwhile, Canisius had its season end in the state Catholic semifinals.

* The All-Western New York talk about this year's team has started already -- don't worry, we'll have a post up on that subject very soon.

* * *

In girls hoops, Lockport ended Jamestown's reign in Class AA while Amherst, Olean, Salamanca and Sherman also won sectional titles.

* * *


In hockey, Canisius won its first state title (story, blog entry and photo gallery) ...

... while both Section VI representatives -- Niagara-Wheatfield and Kenmore East -- are off to Utica for the final four.

* * *


We had a big roundup in Sunday's paper for a reason -- there was some serious track and field, bowling and swimming events held far and wide.

* * *


There is no Scholastic Spotlight this week -- it will be back in the spring. The next polls of the basketball season will be the final ones and will be published in our All-Western New York and all-star editions.

---Keith McShea

Live from the state Catholic hockey final: Canisius wins first title

We’re coming to you from the Buffalo State Ice Arena, the site of this year’s New York State Catholic hockey championship game between Western New York Federation Catholic champion Canisius and New York City Diocese champion Monsignor Farrell.

Canisius leads 2-0 after the first period on a pair of wicked wrist shots as Brendon Sorrento scored off a short-handed two-on-one at 8:07 high glove side. Joe Mitchell went to the same spot except from just below the goal crease for the Crusaders’ second goal with 1:31 left in the period. Farrell hasn’t generated much on offense even though it’s had three power plays.

Second period: It took a bit but the dam finally broke late in the second period as Canisius scored twice in the final 3:57 to take a 4-0 lead into the intermission. Ryan Wagner banged in a rebound to make it 3-0. At the moment, Max Hyland has received credit for the Crusaders’ fourth goal for tipping in a screen shot from the point by Sorrento. Shots after two periods in favor of Canisius, 25-6.

Third period: Farrell’s David Defranco had chance to break shutout inside first 2:30 of period but rifled a shot off the post from the right circle.

Farrell had a couple of other shots a minute after that as it is showing a decent burst of energy here in the early going. Farrell goalie Ian McBride robbed Sorrento of a goal on doorstep with Derek Jeter-like diving backhanded glove stop with 10:42 left. With 9:02 left, Farrell’s Nick Thorgersen scores a slam-dunk type of power-play goal on a backdoor play in the crease off a pass by Defranco.

That should pretty much do it. Senior John Brownschidle’s scores off a Ryan Wagner assist with 2:31 left to make it 5-1.

It’s over. Canisius wins its first state hockey title, 5-1, making the Monsignor Martin schools a perfect 8-0 in the state Catholic title game since its advent in 2002.

For further coverage, read Monday’s sports section.

--Miguel Rodriguez

Pining for some old-time (Fed) hockey

Canisius won its first Western New York Varsity Hockey Federation playoff title since being one of eight schools 19 years ago to form the one WNY league in which public and private schools peacefully coexisted in a competitive setting.

Yet as thrilling as the Crusaders' triumph over Bishop Timon-St. Jude was for the Fed's Catholic Schools title -- the fact it was for a Catholic Schools crown and not an overall league championship kind of left Canisius coach Terry Miller wanting. Sure he's happy that the Crusaders won their first postseason title since claiming the Monsignor Martin championship in 1989. But ...

"I feel bad for the kids," he said.

As it's already been well documented, the Fed's expansion in recent years led to the state-playoff qualification for league membership to be tweaked so that the postseason means more than regular-season results, to account for 17 public schools in the 22-team league.

But there had always been an electric atmosphere when the last two schools standing -- regardless of classification -- met for the championship.

It's something Williamsville North's coaching staff missed -- at least before the start of their exciting game against league newcomer Niagara-Wheatfield.

Surely they're not alone.

With the Fed using a state-playoff qualification system similar to basketball for the public and Catholic schools, it's against the rules to have the three Fed winners duke it out before the state tournaments.

But wouldn't it be possible to have an overall championship game or to have a basketball-style Federation tournament in which the Catholic and public schools state champs meet in a grand season finale?

---Miguel Rodriguez

Who'll skate for Federation hockey titles?

It's a superb week of Western New York Federation hockey semifinals at the Amherst Pepsi Center, with doubleheaders Wednesday (Catholic schools), Thursday (small schools) and Friday (large schools). All games are at 7 and 9 p.m.

Should be a great few days at the Pepsi Center.

So who'll be meeting for the championships and who will come out on top? Tell us who and why in the comments section below.

Wednesday's Monsignor Martin semifinals
St. Joe's vs. Bishop Timon-St. Jude, 7 p.m.
Canisius vs. St. Francis, 9 p.m.

Thursday's small school semifinals
1-Kenmore East vs. 6-Williamsville East, 7 p.m.
2-Williamsville South vs. 5-Sweet Home, 9 p.m.

Friday's large school semifinals
6-Clarence vs. 1-Wmsv. North, 7 p.m.
5-Niagara-Wheatfield vs. 2-Lancaster, 9 p.m.


Winners advance to Sunday's finals at Buffalo State: small schools at 1 p.m., large schools 3:30 p.m., Catholic final 6 p.m.

---Keith McShea

Couple of quick wristers

* Jerry Sullivan did his usual great story-telling in writing about Canisius hockey senior John Brownschidle, who battled through a bout with cancer over the summer and is now part of the Crusaders' excellent Federation season.

* I had a note in today's Prep Talk about Nichols' 100 years of hockey celebration this weekend. There's much more information at a Web page devoted to the event.

* One of the best matchups every year in Federation hockey is Williamsville North and St. Joe's, and the two teams go at it at 7 p.m. Thursday night at the Amherst Pepsi Center.

---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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