Hello from Highland Parkway and Delaware Road as Kenmore West hosts Niagara Falls in a very highly anticipated matchup -- very highly anticipated since West played host Falls to a two-point game in mid-December.
Packed parking lot here -- which is probably the most contorted parking lot in Western New York high school sports. It's a rectangle, then it's a trapezoid, then you're in a corner looking for a spot like a mouse looking for cheese. Very exciting.
7:12 p.m. Game time here was scheduled for 7:15, but things will start later after a very exciting finish to the JV game. Falls got a buzzer-beating bank-shot three-pointer from Zack Walker (might be the first time we've mentioned a JV player on the blog, but hey, it was a big shot) to tie the game at 48-48 and force overtime. Falls JV is up, 58-52, with 9.4 seconds left. Also notable is that Falls JV coach Carlos Bradberry was ejected just before the end of regulation and Falls head coach Sal Constantino took over the coaching duties. Falls had trailed by at least five in the final minute before getting in position to tie it at the buzzer.
7:19 p.m. Falls JV wins, 60-52. Fifteen minutes counting down on the scoreboard clock.
Just a reminder to check out our scoreboard page, which includes short previews of some of tonight's (and every night's) top games, including this one.
7:38 p.m. We're underway.
7:39 p.m. Three-pointer by Ryan Grandits answered by great three-point play by Marcus Feagin. Martin Bailey drive for KW and 5-3 lead. Jordan Street with a great drive while being fouled. 5-5. Martin Bailey off to the races an a FAST fast break for a 7-5 lead.
Jaleo Wilkins gets a loose ball and swishes a short jumper. 7-7. Great pace to open this game.
7:42 p.m. Missed three by West tuns into a break, a miss and a follow by Street. Falls, 9-7.
Feagin stelas an inbounds and scores on a layup; Falls, 11-7. Marcus Lobdell elevates on a strong drive to the basket and drops it in. Falls, 11-9, with 4:12 left in the first quarter. Lobdell is hurt and walks off on his own power with a limp.
Mike Wilcox drains a three after a kickout from Grandits; Wilkins with a short jumper. Falls, 13-12. Nice pass and Andrew Cosme shields off a defender to give West a 14-13 lead with less than three minutes left in first.
7:46 p.m. Marcus Feagin grabs a rebound and scores but he's called for an offensive foul that Falls fans don't like and I can see why. Falls causes a turnover and Ramir Burton, No. 11, scores for a 15-14 Falls lead.
7:48 p.m. Grandits goes to the hoop and is fouled, Falls fans don't like that one either and I can see why. I didn't see the contact. Less than two minutes to go. One for two at the line; 15-15.
7:49 p.m. Wilkins is fouled on a fast break after a very nice pass by Burton; 1:18 left.
7:50 p.m. Street fouled after grabbing two rebounds in a row -- he is a force inside; 1:08 left in first. First free throw good; second good; Falls, 17-15.
7:51 p.m. Kenny Johnston scores on a floater for KW, Falls break ends with a nice basket by Crumpton. Falls thought they had a steal and were off and running but a whistle stops it.
Bailey scores on a drive through the lane after the teams exchange turnovers. 19-19. Falls' Taijay Williams misses a three at the buzzer.
7:52 p.m. At the END OF THE FIRST QUARTER, Niagara Falls and Kenmore West are tied at 19-19.
7:54 p.m. Wilkins fouled and hits one of two; Falls, 20-19, with 7:24 left in second. Bailey scores on a strong drive in which he lands on Wilkins and gets the block call. Free throw is good; Ken West, 22-20, with 7:12 left in second.
7:56 p.m. Feagin with a putback off a missed drive. Tied at 22-22. Burton gets bumped on a rebound but no foul is called; tieup goes to Falls.
7:58 p.m. Grandits with a smooth, strong drive. Ken West, 24-22. Burton travels on other end. Ken West nearly turns it over, recovers, Bailey misses a three but 6-4 Quinton Campbell is fouled with 5:32 left. He hits two; West, 26-22.
8 p.m. Feagin with a tough turnaround; 26-24. Street with a block; Falls with a miss. Lobdell grabs a rebound and scores on an easy layup for a 28-24 lead with about 4:30 left.
8:01 p.m. Lobdell drive is partially blocked by Crumpton; Crumpton hits a nice baseline soft shot; 28-26 Ken West. Grandits misses a pullup that was well challenged by Crumpton. Quick missed shots by Falls followed by a nice fast-break layup by Bailey.
8:02 p.m. Niagara Falls coach Sal Constantino calls a timeout with 3:01 left in the second quarter and Kenmore West leading, 30-26.
8:03 p.m. Wilkins called for a travel that press row didn't see. Ken West miss, Falls fast-break miss. Andrew Cosme from Nick Hersey on a nice bounce entry pass for West, which takes a 32-26 lead under two minutes.
Feagin gets a nice entry pass in the lane from Street and is fouled on the floor with 1:48 left.
Wilkins gets a nice pass from Pascucci on the baseline and gets some contact but misses the shot.
8:05 p.m. Street scores off a nice Pascucci pass; 32-28. Wild miss by Ken West. Feagin makes a great cut in the lane and Pascucci hits him for a layup; 32-30 Kenmore West and KW coach Mike Meetze calls a timeout with 1:04 left in the second.
8:07 p.m. Grandits misses a deep three with the shot clock running down; Cosme draws a charge on Pascucci.
8:08 p.m. At HALFTIME, Kenmore West leads Niagara Falls, 32-30.
Just had a visit from Prep Talk Hall of Famer TML1000, who noted that West could be up even more if it were not for Falls' offensive rebounding, and that's true. I think a large part of the battle in taking on Falls is being able to play fearless against them, and West is certainly doing that. They are running with them, moving the ball well on offense, taking it to Falls repeatedly. Falls has shown flashes of why it is the No. 1 team by causing turnovers, finishing, and being a big presence inside on both ends -- but they have looked out of sync on offense at times. Some possessions are good, some possessions look out of sorts.
8:19 p.m. Second half has started; West ball.
Street blocks Grandits' shot in the lane and it turns into a Wilkins layup; tied, 32-32.
Campbell rebounds a miss that was altered by Street and is fouled by Street, his second, with 7:18 left in third. Campbell hits first, misses second; 33-32 West.
8:21 p.m. Misses on both ends. Williams with a floater in the lane for Falls, which takes a 34-33 lead.
Grandits missed three is rebounded by Street; Wilkins travels.
Bailey with a missed drive, Feagin with a fast-break DUNK for a 36-33 lead for Falls.
8:23 p.m. Meetze calls a timeout for Kenmore West with 5:29 left in the third.
8:24 p.m. Grandits gets his hands into Williams to steal the ball and he's fouled by Williams with 4:54 left in the third.
Turnover by West taken by Pascucci, who runs the break well and gives to Street, who scores while being fouled for a 38-33 lead with 4:35 left. Free throw is good; Falls leads, 39-33.
8:25 p.m. West turns it over in inbounds; Falls' lob to Feagin doesn't fall but he is fouled. KW timeout with 4:31 left in the third and Falls with the ball and a 39-33 lead.
8:27 p.m. Feagin hits first; misses second. Falls, 40-33. David Pascucci tries to draw a charge at midcourt and is rightly called for the block.
8:28 p.m. Grandits with a nice jumper after Falls plyed very good defense in West's halfcourt set; Falls, 40-35. West gives Feagin the three and he nails it. Big one. Falls, 43-35.
8:30 p.m. Williams scores on a burst down the left side; Falls, 45-35. Grandits draws a foul by getting his defender in the air and hits but misses the free throw. Falls, 45-37. Under three minutes left in third.
8:31 p.m. Crumpton called for three seconds. Wilcox splits two defenders abut misses. Grandtis leads a break but Burton ends the possession with a strip
Feagin misses in close, gets rebounds, dribbles out, hits three under two minute; 48-37 Falls. Wilcox miss by West; Quinton scores inside; Falls, 48-39.
8:35 p.m. Bailey misses at the buzzer.
At the END OF THE THIRD QUARTER, Niagara Falls leads Kenmore West, 48-39.
Great third quarter for Falls, who played much better defense. Feagin's threes were very big. Might go to the iPhone to try for some highlights in fourth.
8:37 p.m. Crumpton on a drive and is called for a charge and Falls doesn't like it.
Street rebound, outlet, Williams layup: 50-39 Falls. Turnover Ken West.
8:38 p.m. Another travel on Falls.
8:39 p.m. Grandits scores for West, 50-41 Falls; another travel on Falls as the player is bumped by a defender.
8:40 p.m. Feagin makes a steal and is going in for a layup and he is wrapped up by Grandits, who is rightly called for an intentional foul. Feagin misses first, makes second, Falls gets ball back with 6:14 left in third, leading, 51-41.
8:41 p.m. Falls with another travel.
Campbell gets inside for a rebound and he draws a foul on Street with 5:48 left in the game. Misses first, makes second; Falls, 51-42.
8:42 p.m. Campbell fouls Feagin on a rebound on other end; Feagin misses first, misses second.
Feagin draws charge foul on Bailey with 5:30 left.
8:44 p.m. Feagin with a follow, Lobdell with a nice fast-break finish; Falls, 53-44, under five minutes.
Williams with a steal and a layup; Falls, 55-44. Ken West miss, Falls ball with 4:24 left in game and we have a timeout by Kenmore West.
8:47 p.m. Williams with a three off an offensive rebound for Falls, 58-44; Grandits inside for Ken West, 58-46. Feagin called for an offensive foul that Falls didn't like.
Ken West miss, Feagin fouled and he's to the line for a one-and-one with 3:34 left. Miss.
8:49 p.m. Feagin in the open court nearly put down a 360-degree jam but was fouled; 3:02 left. Feagin misses first. Misses second.
8:50 p.m. Street inside for a 60-46 lead for Falls.
8:51 p.m. Pascucci to the line with 2:24 left after a foul on Ken West, I believe a technical foul was called on a player. Pascucci misses first, makes second; Falls, 61-46.
8:52 p.m. Another three by Feagin. Falls, 64-46.
Under two minutes and West has cleared its bench.
Three-pointer by Marquis Siner, steal and layup by Wilkins, Falls, 69-46.
Three-pointer by Johnston for West.
8:55 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Niagara Falls 69, Kenmore West 49.
* * *
There might be some people who don't like what coach Constantino said, but it's true and I love it. Falls should be playing an independent schedule. It's one of the state's top programs. It should do what it needs to do to become the best it can be. That means playing an independent schedule, something I've been in favor of when Falls did it in the mid-2000s, including when it won the state Federation title in 2005 -- and something I think they should have been doing every season since.
Some stuff that caught my eye on our scoreboard page: Tough one-point loss for West Seneca West, which nearly came up with a second straight big win in ECIC I against Frontier. ... As noted in the comments section on this post, Lackawanna seems to have Dondre Alexander and Christian Cheatom back as both went big in a win at Holland. ... Speaking of that interesting ECIC IV race, strong showing from Tonawanda tonight. ... Nice to see struggling Nichols hanging in there with St. Mary's. ... St. Joe's rolls along at St. Francis as it gets ready for Canisius on Saturday.
We're back at it tomorrow with a trip up to Wilson for the Niagara-Orleans showdown between the Lakemen and rival Newfane. On Saturday it's St. Joe's at Canisius at 5 p.m.
Hello from Kenmore West, my first stop of at least two tonight. West is hosting Kenmore East in their first rivalry game, with the girls to follow at 7 p.m.
I'm definitely ending up at Clarence at Jamestown (7:30 p.m. start) but I might try and squeeze in a visit to Cheektowaga, which is hosting Depew in a 6:30 p.m. start. I think I want to be at Clarence for the beginning of that one, so I might just head there.
6:49 p.m. The boys game started at 5:30 p.m., but as I said last week, the only good reason to be late for a basketball game is if you're coming from another one (weekly pickup ball).
I walked in with West up, 57-42, heading into the fourth quarter. I kind of wished it was a closer game, but I'm sure the home folks disagree. :-) It will be good to get a first look at Ken West, whose most notable game was a close loss at Niagara Falls that certainly turned some heads.
West now has a 67-52 lead with about four minutes left.
6:56 p.m. A lot of free throws since I've been here -- and some threes. Donte Bono just hit his second of the quarter for East to cut the West lead to 67-56 with just over two minutes to go.
6:59 p.m. P.J. Blanch gets fouled on an aggressive drive to basket and hits two free throws to cut the lead to 67-58 with 1:58 left.
7:01 p.m. Blanch goes down in great pain with 55.6 seconds left and East calls a timeout still trailing by 67-58.
7:04 p.m. Just got a picture of Martin Bailey hitting the first of what would be two free throws. West added another for a 70-58 lead with less than 30 seconds left.
7:05 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Kenmore West 71, Kenmore East 58.
Seventh win in a row for the Blue Devils. Nice job by West -- I can see how they could cause teams problems. They played very composed and smart with a lead from what I watched. Four players in double figures plus 6-foot-4, 230-pound sophomore Quinton Campbell grabbing 14 rebounds.
7:15 p.m. Going to input the box score for the Web and then hit the road. I'll probably head right to Clarence.
Here's Ken West coach Michael Meetze on the win and his team's season.
8:09 p.m. I'm telling you, the ride to Clarence is longggg. I've made tons of trips here over the last year with the school's success in soccer, softball, lacrosse, football and hoops. For some reason, when you think about heading to Clarence you think it's close, when it's really not. These are things this Prep Talk-er has to think about when planning coverage.
We took advantage of the time, however. I was able to upload the Meetze video above during the trip -- don't worry, we were safe: we did it during the many red lights on Sheridan Drive from the Town of Tonawanda to Clarence.
Hello from what the locals call the Devils' Den, where Jamestown has a 18-16 lead after one quarter and renowned DJ Dominic Taverna is doing his thing on the PA.
Most notable is that Jaysean Paige, the junior who seems to be scoring 30-something each night, did not start and did not play the entire quarter.
8:10 p.m. Paige takes the shooting shirt off and is in for the start of the second quarter.
8:12 p.m. Paige with a sweet three from the left side, nice and easy and a swish for a 23-16 lead for the Red Raiders.
8:16 p.m. David Hill hits a three for Clarence to cut it to 23-19 with about 4:30 left in the second quarter.
8:17 p.m. Paige with a nice bounce-pass assist underneath to Darin Butts for a 25-19 Jamestown lead with under 3:30 left in second.
8:18 p.m. Paige with a very nice pullup; again, nice and easy. Tyler Funk answers inside to make it 27-23. Funk blocks Paige on the other end, but the official says there was body involved and calls a foul I didn't see. Paige hits 1 of 2; 28-23 Jamestown with 2:33 left in second.
8:20 p.m. David Hill with a nice drive down the right side, answered by a Butts fast-break in which he was totally unguarded on the breakout. Hill with a nice dribble-fake and hanging jumper; but again, no one guards Butts and he scores a fast-break finger roll for a 32-26 lead.
Steven Hughes hits two at the line. 32-28 Jamestown; again, answered promptly by a Jamestown fast break. Mike Rademacher from Vince Taverna on a nice penetration and dish with a minute left for Clarence (34-31 Jamestown). Nice layup by 40 on a well-done play for Jamestown.
Butts called for a reach-in which the Jamestown fans don't like with 10.4 seconds left, sending 22 to the line but he misses the front end of teh one-and-one. Jamestown runs a nice inbounds play in the final seconds.
8:24 p.m. At halftime, Jamestown leads at Clarence, 36-31.
8:36 p.m. Jamestown's lead is 41-31 as it has started the half with Paige scoring two baskets, the second of which he turned into a three-point play.
8:37 p.m. Tommy Campion with a great reverse layup to prompt a Clarence timeout with 6:29 left in the third quarter. Jamestown leads, 45-33. Steven Hughes had Clarence's previous basket; Paige answered in transition.
8:39 p.m. Funk with a very good-looking turnaround jumper; 45-35 Jamestown under 6:15.
8:40 p.m. Butts with a nice shake and score; Rademacher answers with a putback; 47-37 Jamestown. Offensive foul on Jamestown with 5:04 left in third.
8:42 p.m. Chris Carlson scores inside to make it 49-38 Jamestown with 4:34 left in the third, prompting another timeout from Clarence coach Todd Banaszak.
8:44 p.m. Three-pointer for Adam Cecchini rolls around and in; 52-38 Jamestown with about four left in third. David Hill hits two free throws with 3:49 left; 52-40. Tommy Campion hits a jumper almost immediately after; Jamestown, 54-40.
8:50 p.m. Showtime for Jamestown. Back-to-back dunks by Butts and then Paige. Paige's dunk came off a behind-the-back fast-break pass from Butts and made the score 62-42 with 1:08 left. A technical was called on Paige but I'm not sure why.
8:53 p.m. At the end of the third quarter, Jamestown leads at Clarence, 62-47.
Back in a few minutes.
9:14 p.m. OK, that was more than a few. I was shooting video and I've updated our Web basketball scoreboard with details on the Kenmore West win.
Jamestown has maintained its big lead and is closing in on a win.
Some highlights from the fourth quarter:
9:15 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Jamestown 79, Clarence 67.
More details, highlights and interviews to come, and check that link above to the scoreboard for the box score and a recap for this game.
The postgame show:
* * *
Some thoughts after a look over our scoreboard: Nice win for Cheektowaga over Depew tonight in that game I wanted to check out. ... Eyebrow-raising score is West Seneca West with a low score but a big win as it defeats Lancaster. The Redskins continue to show some inconsistency -- the last time out they won at Clarence to complete a season sweep, and they played Jamestown super-tough down there, but they've also had a big loss to Depew. ... How about triple digits in the Niagara-Orleans League as Newfane outruns and outguns CSAT, 102-80. Wowww. ... Maryvale has no trouble with an East Aurora team that beat Cheektowaga last week in a 19-point win. ... Erik O'Bryan and Niagara-Wheatfield win in O'Bryan's return to his old school at North Tonawanda. ... Portville with a nice home win over Salamanca by four.
And here is our updated take on the playoff picture in AA North:
Kenmore West (4-1): Clinched spot, can win division title by beating Riverside.
Lockport (3-2): Clinched spot.
Williamsville North (3-2): Clinched spot.
Riverside (3-2): A win not only gets them in but earns it the division title.
A loss means they are likely out and NT is in.
How likely? The only scenario that Riverside can make the playoffs with a loss is if they lose to Kenmore West in a close game (four points or less) AND Lockport or Williamsville North beats the other by a lot (16 points or more). (See explanation below).
North Tonawanda (3-3): Makes it if Kenmore West beats Riverside by more than a field goal OR the margin of the Lockport-Will North game is less than 19 (same explanation below).
Niagara Falls (2-3): Out no matter what.
* * *
Why have Lockport and Will North clinched spots? And how can Riverside advance with a close loss?
The first tiebreaker is head-to-head. If two teams are tied, it's easy. If there are three (or more) teams tied, head-to-head only works if one team has beaten both (or all) of the others.
The next tiebreaker is point differential, as defined to me by Section VI chairman Ken Stoldt as a team's total point differential in all of its league games. There is a maximum differential of 20 points (if you win by 20 or more, you only get plus-20; if you lose by 20 or more, you only get minus-20).
The teams' point differentials entering the final week:
Williamsville North is +34. Lockport is +33. Riverside is +17. NT is finished at +6. NFalls is -26.
[Note: I had Lockport and Riverside's numbers both off by one because we at The News had Riverside's 23-16 Week Six win listed as 23-17. Sorry. Yikes.]
The loser of Will North-Lockport will be 3-3, will have beaten NT (3-3) and Niagara Falls (likely 3-3), will have lost to Riverside (3-3) and will own a strong point differential. Any scenario results in the winner of Will North-Lockport clearly making the playoffs and the loser making it on tiebreakers.
If Riverside loses, it is tied with NT, very likely Falls and the Lockport/North loser, all at 3-3. None of those teams have beaten all of the others, so point differential is used.
Riverside's best-case point-differential after a loss (losing by one) is +16. Will North's worst-case point-differential (losing by 20 or more) is +14. Lockport's worst-case point-differential is +13.
If Riverside loses, NT is in and Riverside is out as long as Riverside loses by five or more (giving Riverside a +12, which would be less than Will North or Lockport's worst-case); OR Lockport beats Will North by 17 or fewer (giving Will North a +17 or greater); OR Will North beats Lockport by 16 ore fewer (giving Lockport a +17 or greater). Those +17 or greaters for Will North/Lockport would be better than Riverside's best-case scenario in a loss (+16).
Here's why: The Will North/Lockport loser would win the No. 3 spot based on winning the point-differential tiebreaker. Then the head-to-head tiebreaker comes back into play among the remaining tied teams, with NT taking No. 4 since it beat both Riverside and Falls.
A scenario of a close Riverside loss and a big margin of victory between Lockport and Will North would make Riverside the No. 3 team based on point differential; the Lockport/Will North loser would be No. 4 because the head-to-head tiebreaker comes back into play (the Lockport/Will North loser beat both Falls and NT).
(If there is an unthinkable tie in point differential, the Section VI handbook says the next tiebreaker is total points allowed. Since the tiebreaker would be between two teams, I sure hope it would rever to head-to-head).
Why is Niagara Falls out? Because the only win it has over a team it might be tied with at 3-3 is over Riverside (Falls lost to North, Lockport and NT). If Falls beats Hutch-Tech, there will definitely be at least a three-way tie at 3-3. There's no possible scenario in which Falls' head-to-head victory over Riverside benefits them. Falls' maximum point differential is -6 (if it beats Hutch-Tech by 20 or more) so it loses out on any point differential tiebreakers.
* * *
If this is not correct, email me. But break it to me softly.
Brian Dugan was remembered this afternoon for his sense of humor, boundless love and "heart larger than life."
The Ken-Ton school community paid tribute to the Kenmore West High School English teacher during a ceremony on Crosby Field following the school's thrilling come-from-behind football win over Lockport, 14-13. Dugan was struck and killed by a car Wednesday night while jogging.
"Brian was one of the funniest persons whom I have ever met," Dugan's colleague, Samuel Drago, told the crowd of students, families and faculty. "And I don't doubt there are many of you here thinking the same thing."
Listen to Drago's full remarks:
Watch Ken West pull out the win and scenes from the post-game ceremony:
2:30 p.m.: The popular Kenmore West High School teacher struck and killed by a car Wednesday night was honored at Crosby Field this afternoon during a moment of silence before kickoff of the school's game against Lockport.
"The entire football season — especially today's game — is in honor of Brian Dugan, Kenmore West's beloved English teacher and coach," said announcer Jim Rowe.
A full tribute to Dugan is scheduled to immediately follow the game. Fans have been invited to write down their memories of Dugan for his family to receive.
Meanwhile, a fund has been set up for Brian Dugan's sons. Donations may be sent to:
Brian C. Dugan Children's Education Fund
P.O. Box 2
Buffalo, NY 14223
Watch this afternoon's moment of silence for Dugan:
* Another of Eden's fab four seniors in volleyball, Katie Eschner, is headed to Roberts Wesleyan in suburban Rochester.
* Check out the bios of Willie Ruiz of Canisius and Matt Fox of Maple Grove, who are both playing football at Robert Morris.
* Read up on five locals heading to Gannon football: Ian Kennedy, Bishop Timon-St. Jude; Keith Bykowski and Matthew Hornung, Cheektowaga; Ryan Sweet, East Aurora and Jeff Bellanca, St. Joe's (also baseball).
* Amanda Serafini of Frontier softball is off to Davis & Elkins in Elkins, W. Va.
* Kyle McLain of Canisius will play baseball at Washington & Jefferson, which is ranked in the Division III top 25.
* Jamie Nash of JFK will play softball atop South Hill with the Ithaca College Bombers, ranked in the Division III national top 25.
Have an update to the list or information like is posted here? See the top of the college list page for guildelines and e-mail me.
7:11 p.m. We're at St. Mary's School For The Deaf for the first time and watching a very spirited game between Tapestry and Maritime, two charter schools squaring off in Class C.
7:20 p.m. It's 16-16 after one quarter after Maritime got a steal and layup at the buzzer. Tapestry had started strong.
We're off to Sweet Home, which is hosting Kenmore West.
We have a report than Williamsville North is up at Lancaster, 18-9, after the first. That's another game I'm considering trying to get to.
7:44 p.m. Got to Sweet Home just in time for a special moment as Deshanaro Morris had his No. 4 retired by Sweet Home at halftime. I'll have pictures and a video of Day-Day's speech up as soon as I can.
I might not stick around too much longer, however. It's halftime and Sweet Home is up, 36-18.
Then again, maybe I'll stay. North is up, 39-24 at halftime at Lancaster.
8:01 p.m. Sweet Home keeps rolling. North's lead is under 10. I'm outta here.
8:31 p.m. I made it here for the last few minutes of a big victory for Williamsville North, which wins it, 68-57.
The scorebooks are at right.
Here's Will North coach Chuck Swierski on the win and the Spartans making a trip to top-seeded Orchard Park for Friday's quarterfinals:
I'm headed to the office to write some stuff up for the paper and add some details and clips here.
I'll be able to type faster -- a keyboard instead of a phone will help :-).
SANBORN -- Greetings from Niagara County Community College, site of the Section VI wrestling championships this weekend. Division I (large schools), finished a couple hours ago, while Division II (small schools will wrestle all day Saturday, with finals set to start at 4:30 p.m.
We're finished with our print responsibilities for the night and have plenty of notes left over to share. First, an observation: The simple finalist information sheet each coach fills out for his wrestlers is a valuable tool for the announcer and media in attendance. One of the toughest aspects of covering high schools sports is the availability of (reliable) statistical information, so when coaches have stuff like that prepared, it helps journalists write a better, more complete story on their student-athletes.
On to the winners and some information about them, as well as additional quotes that didn't make the paper.
96-pound champion: Steve Michel, Lancaster: Michel beat teammate Eric Lewandowski, 4-3, in a match I'm not sure either wanted to wrestle. Lewandowski was emotional after the loss, while Michel didn't seem to take much happiness out of his second straight 96-pound title. Here he is on the move that gave him the deciding points: "I shot a sweep single, then I hooked his leg and I stepped over."
103: Ronald Rodriguez-Spencer, Cheektowaga: The Class AAA winner improved his record to 32-5 and was the youngest competitor (eighth grade) to win a sectional title.
112: Tim Schaefer, Lancaster: Schaefer is 3-for-3 in sectional tournaments. He won at 96 in seventh grade, 103 last year and now 112 as a freshman.
119: Dylan Caruana, Kenmore West: One of the best matches of the night, Caruana held off Daiquann Burney of Sweet Home with a late reversal for a 6-3 decision. Here's Caruana on the fantastic finish: "The end was really exciting. I just didn’t want to give up that take down. He was about to get behind me and I couldn’t let him do it. I was only up by a point, so it was real close." Caruana has won two most outstanding wrestler awards this season, at the Orchard Park Tournament and last week at the AAAA tourney.
125: Joey Malvestuto, Niagara-Wheatfield: Plenty on this match in the print product, but a quick note: Malvestuto has overcome a broken hand and knee injury this season. He's rounding into form and improved to 31-3. Opponent Ben Mikac lost his first match of the season, falling to 34-1.
130: Joe Kalinka, Iroquois: The first of three Iroquois champions on the night, Kalinka (46-2) will make his second straight tip to states. He won the AAA tourney last week, while his opponent, Mike Feeney of Lockport, won the AAAA tourney.
135: Pat Mix, Lake Shore: Both Mix and opponent Zack Fummerelle had just one loss entering the mach. Mix took control with an early takedown, then held on for the win. Nice celebration by the Lake Shore coaches and Mix after the match, too. A school not known for its wrestling program made nice strides this season.
140: Jimmy Kloc, Iroquois: Kloc, who is a pitbull on the mat, looked like he was going to cruise, but Gage Bateman of Sweet Home gave him all he could handle. A fitting final for a weight class my wrestling go-to guy, Fredonia assistant coach Ross Conti, called the deepest of the tournament.
145: Jacob Beichner, Williamsville East: Beichner was the only wrestler not seeded first or second (he was third) to win. His reaction after winning showed all that's right with high school sports: a tearful hug with his parents. Here's Beichner on what the win meant to him: "He was beating me up pretty good in the beginning, but I’ve been training my whole life for this moment. I just wasn’t going to let that stop me. I knew he was getting tired and he was breaking. It’s my senior year, I just went full force." The loss was the first of the season for Irvin Buck of Niagara Falls.
152: Kris Duge, Clarence: It was the 38th win of the season for Duge, a senior.
160: Raleigh Defields, Iroquois: Defields was struck with pneuomia during the season and didn't start to get healthy until the end of January. He had dropped an earlier decision by one point to his opponent Friday, Lancaster's Sean Woods. Defields was a fun interview after his match. Here's some of what he had to say: "I set a goal as a freshman that I always wanted to at least win [a] class [tournament] and going to states is just an awesome bonus." On his recovery: "I've been busting my hump in practice getting my conditioning levels back and it paid off because I could have gone another minute if need be." On the end of the match, which went to overtime: "I looked up at the clock with five seconds left, held on for dear life and smiled."
171: Tony Lock, Pioneer: A sophomore who has progressively improved this season, Lock picked up his 40th win.
189: Angelo Malvestuto, Niagara-Wheatfield: Falcons coach Rick Sweney called him the best wrestler ever to come through Niagara-Wheatfield, which sums up Malvestuto's career well. He was the only one to record a pin Friday night.
215: Kyle Colling, Pioneer: A 2009 national champion, the only surprise in Colling's title is that it didn't come by pinfall. According to Conti, it's believed Colling could become the first wrestler in state history to win class titles in Division I and II, due to Pioneer moving up to Division I this season (he won Division II last year).
285: Jim Donner, Niagara-Wheatfield: Donner gets a chance to build on his fifth-place finish at last year's state tournament.
Talk to you tomorrow from the Division II tournament.
It's a Friday, and there are a ton of games tonight, so I'm reprising my Friday Night Live blog entry as I slush-slide my way around Western New York trying to catch as much action as I can.
My goal is to end up at the Amherst at Maryvale game in which son Chris Kensy of the Tigers will be coaching against his father, Mark. There are a lot of potential stops in between now and then, but we'll see how much we can squeeze in.
4:58 p.m. After a stop at the office, our first stop is an easy one - the earliest game of the night is a 4:15 p.m. Yale Cup contest between Burgard and Middle College at the Kats' home court -- ECC-City's Flickinger Center.
Upon my entry, I was handed a Middle College program -- a great-looking, 12-page full color edition with photos, bios and ads. It's even got an excerpt of the Prep Talk blog on the back page. We like that.
Middle College is up more than I expected -- 40-15 at halftime. Burgard is coming off a nice win over McKinley to start Yale Cup play on Wednesday.
Darale Young was honored for being the school's first 1,000-point scorer at halftime. That was a better highlight than much of the action on the floor -- Middle was running Burgard off the floor.
5:22 p.m. Middle's lead is now 62-23 after three quarters. Overwhelming defense by the Kats. Burgard had a two-point second quarter, according to a report from Centercourt.
With my stories posted and the next round of Yale Cup games set to start at 5:30, I'm outta here.
5:49 p.m. It turns out I was outta there a few minutes later after getting some more computer stuff straight, fending off an aggressive parking lot attendant who thought I wasn't going to pay, slip-and-slide driving over to Hutch-Tech, and getting the Darale Young video posted in the parking lot.
5:50 p.m. Then I walk into Hutch-Tech, right on time ... for the end of the JV game between the Engineers and McKinley! Arghhhhhh!
I've got no time to waste, so I'm heading to Grover.
6:07 p.m. We arrive at Grover to an expectedly frenetic pace between the Presidents and Seneca.
6:10 p.m. No. 15 for Grover just SLAMMED a one-handed dunk down off of a standing start at the left side of the hoop. Wow. I gotta find out who that guy is. Too bad I didn't have the iPhone going. Centercourt (he got here before me) was calling for the iPhone on that one. Bummer.
6:14 p.m. At the end of the first quarter at Grover, the Presidents lead Seneca, 25-18. Ricky Alejandro hit three three-pointers in the quarter, including one in the final minute, for Grover. He only missed one shot in the quarter, reports Prep Talk Nation member Hollywood. Looks like I'm going to the right games, running into these guys.
6:16 p.m. I've got a little bit of a cushion, time-wise, since Canisius hosts St. Francis in a 6:30 p.m. scheduled start. I'm planning on stopping by there and then heading north to the Kenmore schools (7 p.m. starts). The targets are then Will North at Clarence and finally Amherst at Maryvale. We'll see how it goes.
6:21 p.m. Seneca's Aaron Frazier just scored on a slick drive while being fouled but couldn't hit the free throw. It's a 31-26 Grover lead with about four minutes left in the second. There is a very -- spirited, shall we say -- discussion going on between an adult female Grover fan and an adult male Seneca fan. People getting fired up but nothing out of hand. Good stuff. One of the best things at this game is Grover's big dog of a mascot -- you should be able to spot the spotted fella behind the baseline on a video highlight I post later.
6:28 p.m. We're off to Canisius soon, where hopefully the JV game is finished by the time I get there. Grover leads Seneca, 36-27, with two minutes left in the second quarter.
6:29 p.m. One very important quick correction before we split -- the Grover dog mascot is a female.
Some great videos featuring said dog ...
Was it a three? Just keep your eye on the dog, dog.
The action doesn't stop, the dancing doesn't stop. Outstanding.
6:43 p.m. I inexplicably take a much longer way to Canisius than I should have and arrive to catch the last seconds of the first quarter, which has Canisius leading, 15-9.
6:45 p.m. Back in the car to get some writing done, and my computer is on the fritz. Ugh.
7:07 p.m. Just pull into a primo parking spot at Kenmore West, where the Niagara Falls visit has a pretty full lot here.
Adding a few pictures then will get a very quick look at the game.
7:18 p.m. Walk into Ken West just in time for the Pledge of Allegiance.
Not soon after, Niagara Falls has an 8-0 lead.
C.J. Cox gets things started with a steal-and-basket.
Maurice Respress gets up for a rebound and a follow.
As Davon Marshall hits a long two-pointer, I'm out the door at 7:23 p.m.
7:32 p.m. Pull into Kenmore East, where Lockport is visiting.
7:44 p.m. Back in the car -- Lockport had a 15-3 lead after one quarter and is now up, 16-7, with 6:02 left in the first half. Shannon Haynes had two twos and a three for seven points in the first quarter.
Nice basket by East's Peter Crawford, followed by a near-miss by Lockport's Haynes.
Another near-miss by Lockport.
The play was a bit choppy and I wasn't able to get a quick highlight like I was at West. Off to Clarence.
8:11 p.m. Arrive at Clarence, and who is working the door to the gym but Buffalo News Hall of Fame Sports SuperClerk Alex Chambers, now a teacher and coach at Clarence. Gotta love it.
This was my first trip to the Clarence gym -- I've been here plenty of times for outdoor sports when the parking lot isn't all snowy.
8:20 p.m. Clarence and Williamsville North are tied at 27-27 in the final minute of the first half. I saw about two minutes of more choppy game action, but it was enough to see what people have been talking about with regards to talented eighth-grade starter Sterling Taplin of North.
Taplin sets up a teammate for a North basket.
With halftime approaching, I'm outta here and off to Maryvale.
8:37 p.m. Pull into Maryvale parking lot, hoping for at least a good chunk of the second half still to go.
8:59 p.m. After three failed tries at doors to the Maryvale gym (score one for security!), I find the right one and sneak under the bleachers to center court (two words) and there's a lot of basketball to play.
I catch some end-of-third-quarter action and Maryvale has a 54-40 lead over Amherst heading to the fourth.
9:09 p.m. With 2:58 left to play, Maryvale is up, 58-49.
Twice in the fourth, Amherst comes within seven points ...
... but both times Blair Estarfaa comes up big with a basket. Above is one of those times.
9:17 p.m. Maryvale is going to win this one, up, 63-52, with 25.7 seconds left.
9:24 p.m. Maryvale beats Amherst, 66-56. An embrace between the coaches at the end of the handshake line, then Chris Kensy with a little hug for all of the Maryvale players, who he coached as the Flyers' JV coach the last three years.
I had a great talk with both Kensys after the game -- I'll write more about their meeting in Tuesday's Scholastic Spotlight.
* * *
In total, seven games at eight sites in less than 4-1/2 hours. Not bad. I'm still irked that I got to Hutch-Tech while the JV game was still going on. Could have been eight!
To review: I went from Middle College to Hutch-Tech to Grover Cleveland to Canisius to Kenmore West to Kenmore East to Clarence to Maryvale.
I planned the route based on geography and time -- and it pretty much worked out. I went a long way to not spend much time at Clarence, but I think it was worth seeing Taplin in what was a good ECIC I game. I saw Lockport and Shannon Haynes and got an idea of where their recent good play has come from. I wish I could have stuck around for more of what looked to be a very entertaining Grover-Seneca contest.
And the end worked out great -- it was a blast seeing the Kensy-vs.-Kensy coaching battle at Maryvale. An outstanding atmosphere at that game. Amherst brought a lot of fired-up fans -- it seems the entire program has gotten a boost behind coach Chris Kensy.
I'm not sure the total mileage -- don't worry, I'll have it ready for the expense report -- but the route unfolded pretty well. My main tough call driving-wise was whether to take Sheridan all the way out between Ken East and Clarence -- I opted for the 290 to the Thruway to Transit to Wehrle to Harris Hill to Main. That was probably was best move considering the stop-and-go-ing on Maple and likely Sheridan, especially since you had to be careful with the slick roads.
Looks like I missed a big second half for Clarence, which went on to beat North; I was right about Grover's win over Seneca being a fun one (76-70). Middle College, Canisius, Lockport and Falls all rolled, which was expected even before I stuck my head in their games.
The one other game I wanted to check out but thought it was a little too far out of the way was Lew-Port at North Tonawanda -- and waddya know, NT wins in three overtimes. Whoa.
Centercourt was heading up to Newfane and he saw a great one it seems as the Panthers knock off Medina, 54-53. Another whoa.
Nice showing again from Cleveland Hill, which falls to Holland in overtime. A bit curious about Lackawanna only beating Tonawanda by eight; good job by the Warriors to keep it to single digits.
We'll leave this on a pretty cool note, a video of coaches Kensy:
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.