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Live from Glens Falls: McKinley beats III-Bishop Ludden, 75-61, in Class A state semifinals (with PrepTalkTV VIDEO)

By Keith McShea

McKinley will play for the state championship on Sunday after another very impressive postseason performance. 

For the second straight week, the Macks turned up the defensive pressure while executing at a high level offensively to run away from a private school and advance in the state Class A playoffs. The Macks used a 25-13 third quarter to beat Syracuse's Bishop Ludden, 75-61, Saturday afternoon before an estimated 3,500 at Glens Falls Civic Center. 

The Macks (21-3) will play Section IX champion Burke Catholic (18-4) of Orange County at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the Civic Center. Burke defeated Section XI (Suffolk County, L.I.) champion Amityville, 68-50, in Saturday's first semifinal.

Lovell Smith led Macks with 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting while fellow senior Marcus Morris had 21 while hitting five of six three-pointers. Senior DaeQuan Warren added 11 rebounds, senior Samuel Smith had 10 points, four assists and three steals and senior Reyjzon Jordan had nine points and four assists.

McKinley shot 31 of 53 from the field (58.4 percent) while limiting Ludden to 19 of 52 (36.5 percent). The Macks were called for 20 fouls -- with Morris and Warren in foul trouble throughout the game -- while Ludden was called for nine. McKinley outrebounded Ludden, 38-26.

It will be McKinley's second state final, but its first since the very first year of the state tournament arriving in Glens Falls. The Ray Hall-led Macks lost the Class B final to Long Island's Malverne in 1981.

McKinley is the first Yale Cup team to make the state final in one of the two largest classes since 1984 (when Bennett won Class B). The state tournament had four classes (A, B, C and D) from its inception in 1978 to 2003; it then expanded to five (AA, A, B, C and D).

McKinley will face a private school for the third straight game. Last week, McKinley beat Rochester's Aquinas, 79-52, in the Far West Regionals. 

Here's the live blog from today's game: 

How The News voted: Let the playoffs begin

By Keith McShea

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

And every week we let you know, like the title says ... how The News voted.

This week starts the postseason -- today there will be play-in rounds in both the Monsignor Martin Association's Manhattan Cup playoffs and the Section VI tournament.

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. The direct link is here.

Here's last week's ballot (Week Eight, Feb. 12 -- Valentine's edition). Previous polls: Week Seven, Feb. 5 (Canisius No. 1), Week Six, Jan. 29 (Super week); Week Five, Jan. 22 (inauguration), Week Four, Jan. 15 (MLK), Week Three (Jan. 8, back from two-week holiday break); Week Two (special Christmas edition, Dec. 18); Week One (Dec. 11). Also, here's last year's final 2011-12 post

With not much movement in the poll and not many games left, here's a look at this week's ballot along with each team's remaining schedule:

LARGE SCHOOLS

1. Canisius (17-4) [last week: 1] -- Crusaders playing at a very high level right now, right according to plan.

Continue reading "How The News voted: Let the playoffs begin" »

How The News voted: Happy February to Canisius

By Keith McShea

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

And every week we let you know, like the title says ... how The News voted.

Thanks to the Jesuit Tournament in D.C. for having this picture on their web site.

This week marks a change at the top as Canisius takes over the No. 1 large school spot for Niagara Falls. Canisius had a great start to what should be a fun month, winning at Timon Friday, beating Section V Class AA power Fairport (then ranked second in the state) on Saturday, becoming the top-ranked team in the Class A state poll on Monday and ascending to The News No. 1 spot today. 

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. Here's the direct link.

Here's last week's ballot (Week Six, Jan. 29 - Super week). Previous polls: Week Five, Jan. 22 (inauguration), Week Four, Jan. 15 (MLK), Week Three (Jan. 8, which followed a two-week holiday break); Week Two (our special Christmas edition, Dec. 18); Week One (Dec. 11). Also, here's last year's final 2011-12 post

LARGE SCHOOLS

1. Canisius (15-3) [last week: 2] -- I said I was waiting to see Niagara Falls and Canisius this past weekend to see if there was a move to be made for this spot, and the results made it a clear one. Canisius was all over Fairport from the start and then made the plays to hold on. Fairport, Bishop Kearney (which Falls lost to Sunday) and Webster Schroeder (which Falls lost to Saturday) are considered to be tightly grouped together when it comes to who is the best Class AA team in Section V. 

Continue reading "How The News voted: Happy February to Canisius" »

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

By Keith McShea

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

And every week we let you know, like the title says ... how The News voted.

This is just one ballot -- there are nine other voters in each poll. This week's News poll is available via the high school home page.

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

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

LARGE SCHOOLS

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

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

PrepTalkTV Weekly has great visit from Sister Maria & Sacred Heart; chat has #preptalkalumni updates

By Keith McShea

For this week's PrepTalkTV Weekly -- which you can see right here tonight at 9 -- we'll welcome in a Hall of Famer in what we think is a loaded episode.

Legendary Sacred Heart girls basketball coach Sister Maria Pares, along with senior standouts La'Trice Hall and Hannah Rehbaum, will be our in-studio guests (the Sharks are coming straight from their game tonight with St. Mary's).

We'll also have a look back at some major wrestling and boys basketball action from the past week, more highlights in PrepTalkTV Rewind, our weekly look at the boys basketball polls and a look ahead to this weekend and beyond. Lauren and I will also likely talk about my Prep Talk column today pushing for a special kickoff event for the 2014 football season.

Continue reading "PrepTalkTV Weekly has great visit from Sister Maria & Sacred Heart; chat has #preptalkalumni updates " »

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

By Keith McShea

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday Night Live with your #preptalkscores: Big wins for O'Hara girls, McKinley boys, St. Joe's hockey

By Keith McShea

It's a pretty nice lineup of high school action tonight. Lauren Mariacher and I will be hitting at least a few stops tonight. 

We'll both be starting our night at the 6 p.m. girls basketball game as No. 1 small school Cardinal O'Hara takes on No. 6 large school Nardin at Canisius High School.

Other possible stops on a busy night: Also at 6, McKinley hosts Middle Early College in a boys basketball matchup of ranked schools; at 7, the St. Joe's and Canisius hockey teams go at it at Northtown Center; at 8 p.m., St. Joe's basketball hosts Bishop Kearney of Rochester. There are also some key ECIC II boys hoops games as Hamburg heads to Sweet Home and Williamsville South plays at Iroquois.

I'll have updates from games in the live blog below either directly in the blog or by using #preptalkscores updates on Twitter that will appear in the blog. 

Continue reading "Thursday Night Live with your #preptalkscores: Big wins for O'Hara girls, McKinley boys, St. Joe's hockey" »

Friday Night Live: McKinley wins at East and your #preptalkscores

Tonight's lineup isn't the busiest, but I'll be on hand for McKinley's visit to East at 6 p.m. The Macks have shown they are the team to beat in the Yale Cup, while the Panthers have been a ranked small school for much of the season.

While I'll have updates from that game, tweets to the hashtag #preptalkscores will also automatically show up in the live blog. So if you are a game tonight and you're updating via Twitter, be sure to include that hashtag. I'll have periodic tweets updating the game at @KeithMcSheaBN, but most of my play-by-play updating will come in the live blog.

Check out tonight's full schedule on our scoreboard page, where you can check back throughout the night for updated box scores and highlights.

See you out at the games, in the chat and on the tweeter. :-)

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

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

East's Fisher, I-Prep's Hillman among nine NCCC hoop signees

Three Yale Cup standouts are among an impressive recruiting class for Niagara County Community College and coach Bill Beilein.

All-Western New York first teamer Tremmell Fisher of East and honorable mentions John Black of McKinley and Kadeem Hillman of International Prep at Grover Cleveland will all sign letters of intent to the school on Wednesday. Also signing will be two Niagara Frontier League standouts in Jake Hughes (Niagara-Wheatfield) and Marc Morreale (Lew-Port) as well as Dut Dour, a 2010 Bishop Timon-St. Jude All-WNY honorable mention who is transferring from St. Bonaventure.

The class will be introduced at 5 p.m. Wednesday during a press conference in NCCC's athletics lobby.

Also signing are two out-of-town recruits: Jordan Green from New Rochelle of downstate's Section I and Andre "TJ" McCrea from Brien McMahon High School in Connecticut.

Also making it official tomorrow will be Marcus Feagin of Niagara Falls, who will sign Wednesday with Monroe Community College.

I've written before about how I think Feagin might be the type of player who could use his time at MCC to possibly springboard to a scholarship somewhere; I think Hillman and Fisher could become candidates to do the same via NCCC.

---Keith McShea
(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

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

Live from the AA semifinals at Buffalo State: Paige scores 42 to set up Jamestown vs. Falls (with video & poll)

Hello from Buffalo State for tonight's highly anticipated Class AA semifinal doubleheader.

In the first game, No. 1 large school Niagara Falls takes on No. 7 McKinley at 6 p.m. That's followed by the scheduled 7:45 p.m. matchup of No. 2 Jamestown and No. 9 Lancaster.

We'll have separate "live" blogs on each game.

Some highlights:

And the postgame show:

The second semifinal:

[NOTE: I believe I owe an apology for my opining about a three-second call on Lancaster; I thought only one foot needed to be out of the lane to avoid the call but an emailer has whistled me on it and says both feet have to be out. My bad (chest tap).]

A highlight (I didn't have the iPhone rolling during Paige's great first quarter:

The postgame show:

* * *

The winners will play at 8:15 p.m. Saturday here at Buffalo State in the AA final.

The box scores for both games will be up at our scoreboard page as soon as possible.

After the games, let us know what you thought of the action -- and the finals matchup -- in the comments section.

* * *

The first game was obviously a downer in that the showdown fizzled and the second half saw some less-than-pretty basketball. Falls played great defense early, which I think set a tone -- it was going to be tough for McKinley to score, and it seemed like things just got worse when the Macks missed several easy ones.

Only until late in the game did the lid seem to come off the basket for the Macks. Marcus Feagin, Jeff Street and Jermaine Crumpton did a very nice job on McKinley leaders John Black (six points) and Antonio Avery (seven).

Jaysean Paige had a great start with those four first-quarter three pointers, then he kept scoring consistently to end up with 42. Jamestown coach Ben Drake had a great quote about how he wouldn't have thought Paige had that many -- he just does it consistently, sometimes quietly, sometimes spectacularly.

Lancaster again played Jamestown tough, but the Red Raiders just have too much, they are just a better team.

I'm trying to think back to the last time someone had a 40-point game at Buffalo State. Randolph's Ashton Brown had 47 in the Class C final two years ago, but that was at Jamestown Community College. I recall Finney (the one that shouldn't be in Class D) getting a major individual performance in winning a D regional here -- but I just looked it up and that was Andy Marchand's 24 points on seven threes against Clymer. Looks like I'll be hitting the history books. If you remember outstanding individual performances at Buffalo State, let me know of them in the comments section or email me at kmcshea@buffnews.com.

UPDATE: Prep Talk Nation has helped jog my memory -- Micole Parker of City Honors had 40 in the C-1 final in their 2003 state championship season, while I believe Dewan Stroud went for 40 for Seneca in a classic overtime game against Lackawanna in 2002 or 2003. More to come ...

Here's my story for Friday's paper.

Here are cool photo galleries by News Photographer Mark Mulville: one for Falls-McKinley and one for Jamestown-Lancaster.

---Keith McShea

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

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About Prep Talk

Keith McShea

Keith McShea

Keith McShea has covered high school sports at The News since his hiring in 1999. The 1995 University at Buffalo graduate and Long Island native (North Babylon Bulldogs) covers — and live blogs — everything from scrimmages to state championships & helps head The News' All-Western New York selections.

@KeithMcSheaBN | kmcshea@buffnews.com

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