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Thursday Night Live: Clarence girls hand No. 1 OP its first loss; No. 10 OP boys survive in OT (with lots of video)

I'm starting here at One News Plaza, but the plan is to catch a little bit of Hutch-Tech's boys game against City Honors, and then head to Clarence for its girls-boys doubleheader against Orchard Park (girls at 6 p.m., boys to follow). Not a bad ECIC I doubleheader -- Clarence, which is having good basketball seasons in both boys and girls, is hosting the No. 1 girls large school and the No. 10 boys large school.   

5:54 p.m. We're signing off and making the trip a few blocks away uptown to Hutch-Tech.

6:19 p.m. Hutch-Tech has an 18-16 lead with 6:24 left in the second quarter.  I was there for the final minute of the first quarter and the first minute of the second, and the only basket scored made for a nice highlight -- a nice drive for Hutch-Tech.

I'm off to Clarence.

6:55 p.m. Arrive at Clarence where the host Red Devil girls are trying to hand top-ranked Orchard Park its first loss of the season. Clarence leads OP, 41-37, after three quarters.

OP standout senior Jaymie Druding is out for about three weeks with an leg injury, obviously a big loss for the Quakers. You can see her crutches near the bench.

Sidenote: A flying chest-bump to copy editor Geoff Nason, who changed the headline of this blog from Wednesday Night Live to Thursday Night Live. Whoops.

7:03 p.m. Some nice back-and-forth action and Clarence has a 47-44 lead with 4:31 left in the game.

7:18 p.m. Senior guard Val Nappo has hit six straight free throws and Clarence continues to lead, 55-51, with 21.3 seconds left.

OP junior Taylor Swiatek hits a huge three-pointer to bring the Quakers within one at 55-54.

7:23 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE from the girls game: Clarence 56, Orchard Park 54.

Clarence girls book Orchard Park girls book The Quakers had a final shot to tie but it came up short. A big celebration and a big finishing call by Clarence sophomore PA guy/team manager Dominic Taverna.

Scorebooks for each team are at the right.

The Clarence reaction, starting with coach Erin Roos:

Coach didn't say anything about cookies, though ...

8:01 p.m. After the first quarter of the boys game, Clarence has a 16-11 lead. Nice pace to the game.

8:03 p.m. Rant alert: I HATE scoreboards that, during timeouts, don't show the time left but instead show the time counting down in the timeout. Hate it. The game is tied at 19-19 at some point in the middle of the second quarter but I don't know how much time because I'm staring at 11 ... 10 .... 9 ... . Canisius and Clarence get D-merits for that. Do they still have D-merits?

8:08 p.m. Really nice game here, and Troy Nowak of OP seems to have a ton of points. OP takes a 26-24 lead and Clarence calls a timeout with 2:02 left in the second.

8:13 p.m. At halftime, OP leads Clarence, 26-24.

A funny moment of the first half. Some Orchard Park dudes and dudettes have made the trip (nice job by them), and when a Clarence player was at the free throw line, an OP player on the bench turned around to his OP people.

OP player on bench: "Hey, say something."

Buddy in bleachers, a little confused: "What do you want me to say?"

[Pause as Clarence player steps to the line]

Buddy in the bleachers: "AHAHAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!"

8:29 p.m. I've been checking in with the office about the girls game so I've missed some action but OP leads, 30-26, with less than five minutes left in the third.

8:32 p.m. OP coach Bob Rumschik calls a timeout with the Quakers, leading, 35-28, with 3:08 left in the third.

8:38 p.m. At the end of the third quarter, OP's lead is cut to 37-36 on a three-pointer in the final seconds from Clarence's Greg Lucsok.

8:43 p.m. OP calls a timeout with Clarence ahead, 40-39, with 5:52 left.

Hill's three-pointer puts Clarence up, 43-39, and DJ Dominic gets busy.

Nesci finishes off a nice hustle play with a three to put OP up, 44-43, and Nowak blocks a big man's shot on the other end.

8:49 p.m. A great finish of a tough fast-break drive by OP sophomore Matt McCormick gives the Quakers a 46-45 lead.

With 2:28 left, Rumschik calls a timeout.

8:54 p.m. After a McCormick three puts OP up three, Clarence calls a timeout trailing, 49-46, with 20.7 seconds left.

Late in regulation, DJ Dominic with a nice job, reminding the Clarence fans who are nearly spilling on to the court across the way that sportsmanship comes first in "the Devil's Den."

8:56 p.m. Clarence dribbles across halfcourt and calls another timeout with 15.5 seconds left.

8:58 p.m. Clarence's David Hill takes a DEEEEP three-pointer and swishes it in the final seconds; OP misses a desperation heave, and we're going to OVERTIME.

Jeesh. Unbelievable. Tied at 49-49.

Continue reading "Thursday Night Live: Clarence girls hand No. 1 OP its first loss; No. 10 OP boys survive in OT (with lots of video)" »

A fun tip-off to hoops season (and lots of video highlights)

As it is every year, it was great to see many familiar faces as well as some cool early-season basketball matchups at the Pastor-Cooper Tournament at Daemen College.

A private school played a city school in both boys games. How about that, football people? :-)

The final game was a fun one, with St. Mary's edging East, 62-59. Domonique Jackson of East and Vince Kazmierczak of St. Mary's both drew plenty of oohs and aahs from an entertained crowd.

St. Mary's looked fantastic at the start (18-9 first quarter and 36-26 at halftime) with Kazmierczak dropping several sweet long-distance shots. Jackson displayed his all-around talents as East caused several turnovers in a game that took on the frenetic pace of a Yale Cup contest.

Sophomore guard Rashaad Rogers was impressive for the Lancers with several strong takes to the basket; some times it appeared he was on the verge of going out of control, but often times he finished off the play.

Late in the third there was a flagrant foul on a St. Mary's player for a blatant body check in open space at midcourt. The foul was totally unnecessary, correctly called, and prompted some East fans to get very fired up and leave their seats. They were just venting, and they had reason to.

Continue reading "A fun tip-off to hoops season (and lots of video highlights)" »

More from cross country

I wrote a story about this season's proliferation of eighth-graders succeeding in girls cross country for today's Scholastic Spotlight.

Here are some additional notes on the eighth-graders as well as notes on all sorts of cross country topics:

* * *

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.

* * *

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.

Continue reading "More from cross country " »

Friday Night Live: Week Two

The education of the Western New York high school football fan continues tonight.

Will Orchard Park have another close one? Can Cardinal O'Hara head to the Southtowns and knock off St. Francis?

Will Frontier, North Tonawanda, Iroquois and Hamburg continue their winning ways among large schools?

Who will get the first win in the Harvard Cup?

The kickoff of the Buffalo Public Schools' Harvard Cup, which has Hutch-Tech taking on Grover Cleveland at All High Stadium, is the first of 25 games that will be kicked off tonight as Week Two gets started. You can listen to the first Intense Milk Harvard Cup Game of the Week at 5 p.m. at WJJL (1440 AM), WJJL.com or via the National High School Broadcast Network

The Williamsville North at North Tonawanda game is on WGR (550 AM).

Here's what you think the best game of the weekend is.

Stay here through the night as we'll have updates as soon as we get them.

Also, tune your twitter to "bufnewspreptalk" to get instant updates of the scores as soon as they are reported to us. We also have a fan page at Facebook -- just search "The Buffalo News' Prep Talk blog" -- and you'll get updates with links to our high school sports stories.

* * *

6:04 p.m. It's the start of our football night, but we've already been way up to Middleport for research on a girls volleyball story which features Roy-Hart (and there were tons of purple-football-jersey-wearing Ram fans walking around. I was also over at Canisius High to check out a few plays from their boys volleyball match that officially opened the school's new field house.

We watched some late second-quarter action of Hutch-Tech against Grover Cleveland in the Harvard Cup opener, including a touchdown and two-point conversion that gave the Engineers a 14-8 lead over Grover at halftime.

The scoring drive began with an interception by Tech (above), which then drove down the field and got a 7-yard TD run (below) by senior Antae Miller, who stretched out the ball ahead of him and jusssst broke the plane for the score.

Tech added a two-point conversion on a pass. I've got video of those plays and will get them up soon.

Tech scored first on a rushing touchdown by senior quarterback Mark Horne. Grover scored on a wild play in which senior tight end Dontay Byrd caught a pass that was deflected and then ran 64 yards for the touchdown.

We're writing this from the new press box at All High Stadium -- that's right, the new press box. It has been built behind the stands. The old one is still on the stadium roof, and the stairway leading to it remains boarded off and guarded full-time. I just shake my head when I think about that stairway. 

The new press box is a good one, a decent space with a tables and electrical hookups, with a good view of the action despite some pillars in front of us.

With a bunch of games starting at 7 and 7:30 p.m. in the Southtowns, I'm going to get my fill down there -- I think I'll start at St. Francis, but there are games at Frontier, Hamburg, Lackawanna and Orchard Park as well. We'll see. 

I'm heading to the parking lot and turning on the radio broadcast of this game.

* * *

7:01 p.m. We're in the St. Francis parking lot and just posted some video highlights from the Harvard Cup game. Hutch-Tech still leads and the awesome Harvard Cup radio crew is letting an official have it for throwing a celebration flag on Grover after a big touchdown. "That's the worst call I've ever seen!" said Hall of Fame coach Art Serotte. Grover scores on the two-point conversion to go up, 22-20, on Tech. Great stuff. O'Hara-St. Francis just kicked off. I'm headed to the sidelines.

7:07 p.m. Holey crud. While I fixed some blog stuff, Cardinal O'Hara returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown (I believe that's how they scored -- there were 15 seconds gone on the scoreboard) and has a 7-0 lead on the host Red Raiders. I gotta get out of the car.

7:25 p.m. Back in the car and hitting up google for "iPhone reboot" after our phone went kaput. Ugh. It was fine in the car, then I got to the field and it was dead. Uh-oh. 

On the radio, I just heard a riled-up Rick Kozak hollering that Grover beat Tech, 28-20. Quite the opener there. I kind of feel bad I don't have any Grover highlights here, but it was all Tech there at the end of the first half.

7:31 p.m. Thank you, apple.com. A reboot and we're fine. It appeared that a little piece of fuzz or paper got stuck in the slot where you put the battery in and maybe shorted it out or something. Oh well. We're back up and running and we're headed to another game. 

I don't have any video or pictures, but St. Francis and O'Hara are tied at 7-7. It turns out that O'Hara scored on its first play of scrimmage, an 80-yard run by -- I believe -- Robert Davis. St. Francis answered with a very pretty play facing a fourth-and-9 at the O'Hara 19 as senior quarterback Michael Chuchia put up a pretty pass in the right corner for senior Roland Kerr, who made the grab with plenty of room for his feet to land in the end zone. Very nice play. There is 7:46 left in the second quarter.

Too many games and not a lot of time, so I'm outta here.

* * *

7:39 p.m. I park far away from Frontier's far-away field, run through three parking lots (hey, it's good exercise) and I hear the PA announcer getting excited because Mark Schuster just scored on a 56-yard touchdown run -- but I'm still far away from the far-away field. Whoops. The Falcons take a 7-0 lead on West Seneca West.

7:54 p.m. I leave Frontier after seeing the Falcons on a nice defensive series (including the big sack above). I'd expect them to add to their lead, although the Falcons failed on a series just before I left. I think I'm headed to Hamburg next

* * *

8:03 p.m. Whoops again. Hamburg is at halftime with a 13-3 lead over Grand Island -- looks like a great game, but halftime just started and there's 15 minutes on the clock. I'm outta here. North to Lackawanna we go.

* * *

8:27 p.m. Whoa. I arrive and Lackawanna is down, 14-6, to Pioneer in the second quarter. 

Pioneer was deep in Lackawanna territory, but the Steelers stopped a run (above) and got a big sack (below) to get some key field position back.

Pioneer called a timeout, but I don't have any time to spare. I run back to the parking lot -- where I parked illegally -- and head to Orchard Park

* * *

8:49 p.m. I'm guessing OP is now in the third quarter. I'm here, but in the car doing some updating via my laptop. I gotta head to the office at about 9:15 p.m. at the latest.

9:02 p.m. The good news is that WGR is doing high school football. The bad news is that they picked North Tonawanda's home game against Williamsville North, which was a blowout waiting to happen.

And it sure happened. NT went up, 49-0, at the halftime. It just went final: NT wins, 63-0. Yikes.

* * *

9:18 p.m. I'm hitting the road after Orchard Park took a 28-10 lead over Jamestown on a touchdown run (below) by Okoya Anderson which came on the last play of the third quarter. He had a nice gain a play earlier (above) just after OP stopped Jamestown on downs in OP territory. 

* * *

9:36 p.m. Back in the office and ready to write. Stay tuned.

* * *

10:32 p.m. Our scoreboard is getting updated by the minute.

* * *

1:16 a.m. Here's a link to our football roundup, featuring Frewsburg knocking off Maple Grove (wow!). The scoreboard (linked above) is complete. High School Extra has soccer, volleyball, tennis and field hockey. 

As for the games I stopped by, it just proves the old adage: you can't tell a game by the two minutes of game action you see :-)

When I left All High, Hutch-Tech seemed OK with a lead. When I left St. Francis, it was a tie game. When I left Frontier, it was a one-touchdown lead. When I left Lackawanna, Pioneer was up and the Steeler sideline seemed to be getting nervous.

Six football games from about 5:30 to about 9:15 p.m. I've said it before, I'll say it again: I love my job.

But I'm tired. Good night.

* * *

Did you see a game tonight? Listen to one on the radio?

Let us know what you thought in the comments section below.

---Keith McShea

Live from Scrimmage Saturday: 17 teams, 14 video highlights

This should be interesting. I've got a list of scrimmages and a plan mapped out, and that list has already gotten rained on. 

Oh well -- the umbrella is in the trunk as we head off to Cleveland Hill first to see the Golden Eagles and Cardinal O'Hara in action.

A Cleveland Hill coach videos some scrimmage plays. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News) 9:52 a.m. Hard-hitting football season has officially begun.

It turns out that Grover Cleveland and Hutch-Tech also scrimmaged at Cleve Hill, so I got more action than I thought in my first stop.

A steady drizzle met me as I stood behind a Cleveland Hill coach doing his own video from a ladder set up behind an end-zone area. A big hit by a defender on a run brought an "OOHHHHHHH!" from the blue-and-yellow helmeted players on the Cleve Hill sideline. On the next play, a Grover quarterback rolled out, prompting the Cleve Hill sideline to yell, "PASS!" Oh yeah, it sure sounds like football season.

Cleveland Hill coach Glen Graham was in midseason form, urging players to assemble quickly after plays. "Everybody runs back to the huddle!"

I stepped over to an adjacent field, where O'Hara -- which looked like they were ready for gameday in the familiar white jerseys with black numbers and gold helmets -- set up against Hutch-Tech and its maroon practice gear. I spotted Jerry Falgiano for Hutch-Tech as well as O'Hara coach Angelo Sciandra as I captured my first highlight of the day.

We're in a bit of unchartered video territory as we try out our iPhone -- I can do videos with the phone, then upload them to the blog via YouTube. It's like the future.

But it's with my old-school notebook and pen that I capture a gem. Standing on the sideline of the O'Hara-Tech field, a big hit was audible from the Grover-Cleve Hill field. That prompted one mom to say, "Ohhh they doin' some hitting over there."

I returned to the Cleve Hill-Grover field, where Tony Alessi was coaching Grover and longtime Cleve Hill coach Denny Mason was also on hand.

Cleve Hill had a big run gain as I headed to the parking lot. The rain has seemed to let up. Excellent.

10:19 a.m. We're hitting the road to Clarence next since it's close by and we can shoot up to Lockport right after. But uh-oh -- the rain has picked up big-time.

10:37 a.m. OK. We've made an executive decision. We made this decision as we were driving down Main Street towards Clarence, analyzing on the way if I should just go right up to Lockport. Then I passed Williamsville South on the left, and I said, "Duh -- there's like seven teams practicing there."

Originally I thought I'd be able to get Clarence in, but the writing and posting does take a little time. We'll check out the action here, then head to Lockport, then North Tonawanda, then hopefully Canisius will still be going when we get there.

11:18 a.m. The stop at Will South was a good one -- I just posted videos to the PrepTalkTV channel on YouTube featuring Bishop Timon-St. Jude and Tonawanda, St. Mary's and Maryvale and Williamsville South and Eden. South Park was also on hand. The rain has been hit and miss, and right now it has held off.

On the main Will South field, Timon and Tonawanda were on one half and Maryvale and St. Mary's on the other.

Some nice defense by Timon here ...

... and a good -- and quick -- play here by a St. Mary's lineman.

Here's my best highlight of the day, thanks to a reverse by South that came right at me. Gotta have quick feet and your head on a swivel when you're taping on the sidelines.

South had a few nice plays in addition to this scoring play, some on the ground and a few close calls in the air.

11:28 a.m. We're heading up to Lockport with hopes that scrimmages go longer than three hours.

11:59 a.m. Whoops. Swing and a miss. No sign of anything going on at Lockport. Empty parking lot, empty field. So much for my idea that teams scrimmaged all day. We're headed to North Tonawanda, where hopefully I won't be too late.

12:22 p.m. Argh. As I'm pulling into NT, buses from Grand Island and Riverside are pulling out. Argh. Note to self: Scrimmages don't go much over two hours. That's probably a state guideline that I should have known before I started this adventure.

I still got some good bang for the buck in my two stops, seeing a total of 10 teams.

I'll see some more this evening -- I'll start at Iroquois at 5 p.m. and spend a decent amount of time there since they're hosting Frontier and Lackawanna.

Over the river and through the woods to Iroquois' scrimmage field we go. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News) 5:20 p.m. I arrive at Iroquois' scrimmage, but it wasn't exactly easy to find. The Chiefs, Lackawanna and Frontier were set up on a backfield, accessible via a dirt road that went well behind the high school building. There was a "Field of Dreams" feeling to it as you made your way down a hill, and all of a sudden in a clearing there was some high school football.

One thing that onlookers couldn't help but notice was the wording on a trailer behind the practice field's near end zone.

 "EA All the way" was how the duct tape lettering spelled out.

Apparently it was a prank by some Blue Devil backers from neighboring East Aurora who snuck onto the field one night.

Iroquois coach Frank Payne said the message is staying up until the Chiefs' Week One game -- which is against East Aurora.

East Aurora pranksters visited Iroquois' practice field one night and left a big message. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)On the field, the action was the best I saw all day -- which I suppose I shouldn't be surprised about since Iroquois and Lackawanna are two of the area's best programs, while Frontier has been a ranked large school in recent years while they've slugged it out in AA South. 

The gathering of quality teams brought out plenty of fans in folding chairs, despite the remote location.

One of the first plays I saw upon my arrival was a Lackawanna run in which the ball carrier hesitated before being swarmed by Frontier defenders. "Don't stop!" yelled Steelers coach Bruce Lakso.

Frontier had a number of quality defensive plays in back-to-back series against Lackawanna and Iroquois, including two straight batted down passes by -- I believe -- the same lineman on Iroquois rollouts. 

Above is a pass play by Iroquois finished off with some good hits by Frontier (it makes for a much better highlight when they come to my side of the field).

Here's a big interception and a nice runback -- check out the blocks -- by Lackawanna against Frontier.

A big sack here by Lackawanna against Iroquois.

I headed over to the other side of the field for a few plays and tried to get a photo to show how isolated the location was. It turned into a beautiful night for football after the rainy start to the morning.

6:57 p.m. I pulled in to Amherst, where the Tigers are paired up with Lake Shore on one half of the field while Kenmore East is knocking heads with West Seneca West on the other.

Check out West Seneca West's line pushing through for a touchdown.

A nice finish of a TD run up the middle by Lake Shore.

Amherst with a nice over-the-middle pass play for a score.

Amherst passes right at me (thank you) and the receiver makes a great catch-and-dodge before going down the sideline for a TD.

Kenmore East goes in for a touchdown on a nice keeper through traffic by their quarterback.

8:17 p.m. Back in the car for a ride home, where we'll do some editing and post some cool stuff from the evening scrimmages. 

Coach Bill Moore talks to his Lake Shore team after the Eagles scrimmaged at Amherst. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)Scrimmage Saturday is officially over.

Overall, it was a great way to get a taste of football before the season gets rolling next weekend.

It's hard to make any great proclamations based on what I saw today -- it is, after all, a scrimmage. The coaches are looking for specific things from their respective units, and they'll be poring over the videos of their day to how their guys did.

As Lake Shore coach Bill Moore said to his team at the close of their evening at Amherst, "the film never lies."

To sum up the evening, here's Kenmore East coach Matt Chimera talking about how nice it was to take his guys up against another team after training camp.

Our apologies about the audio at the end -- he finishes saying he was pleased with his team's physical play: "That's what we asked, to go out there and be physical."

* * *

If you went out at a scrimmage, let us know what you saw.

---Keith McShea

Buffalo City Schools have proud, early history in Section VI

Inspired by the showing of Section VI at the New York State Track and Field Championships in June, I decided to do a little microfilm research. For fun, let's try and find the results of every Section VI track meet starting from the beginning. But where is the beginning?

That would require finding out when Section VI was formed. And that would require cashing in a favor. An e-mail to Walt Eaton yielded a jackpot. The retired Assistant Executive Director of NYSPHSAA just happens to be working on a book on the NYSPHSAA.

"I am in the editing stages now for the entire history of the NYSPHSAA and hope to get a rough draft published in the next few months ahead," said Eaton.

Here's part of his e-mail replay. Check out what a major player the Buffalo City Schools were during those early years.

Thanks Walt! We'll look for your book here in Section VI, and I owe you a favor.

TIMELINE INTO THE CREATION OF SECTION VI

1921-22: Eight sections were created to form the NYS Public High School Association of Basketball Leagues - the Buffalo area was one of these Sections.

1923: The NYSPHSAA was formed to sponsor other sports - track and field, skating, swimming, tennis, etc.

Note: The Buffalo City Schools team won the first track and field State Championship held on May 30, 1923 at Union College, Schenectady.

1924: The NYSPHS Assoc. of Basketball Leagues merged with the NYSPHSAA. Lafayette High School won the first NYSPHSAA Basketball State Championship held at Syracuse University.

1925: The Buffalo-area team won the first Swimming State Championship held at RPI in Troy.

Oct. 1925: The doubles team from Hutchinson High School of Buffalo won the first State Championship in tennis held at Hamilton College in Clinton.

1928-29: Eight Sections were formed with the same boundaries for all sports. Section VI as we know it today was called Section VI.

---Mary Jo Monnin

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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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