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.
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.
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. :-)
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.
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.
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:
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 ...
Tonight marks one of the biggest days on the high school basketball calendar: Section VI's Quarterfinal Friday.
There are 28 games across seven classes tonight, with the winners advancing to the final four at Buffalo State (Classes AA, A-1, A-2, B-1, B-2) or Jamestown Community College (C and D). Prepare for the big night by reviewing game previews for almost all of the matchups on our scoreboard page.
Here's our video preview of the night:
Today's snowstorm has postponed four games as of 3:15 p.m. -- all of which were to be hosted by Southern Tier teams.
Section VI boys basketball chairmain Jim Walker said that the Class D matchups of Olmstead at Sherman, North Collins at Panama and Ellicottville at Clymer, as well as the Class B-1 game of Buffalo Arts at Dunkirk have all been postponed to Saturday at 2 p.m.
PrepTalkTV will visit some early games before settling in for the evening at Williamsville North, which is hosting McKinley at 7 p.m. in a highly anticipated Class AA quarterfinal.
We'll have a live blog of the action from Will North, and we'll provide updates from other games as we receive them; feel free to join the chat via your smartphone or chime in afterwards in our comments section. The same scoreboard page that has the previews during the day will be updated with results and box scores as soon as we receive them at One News Plaza.
5:24 p.m. The first game of the night is a 5 p.m. start for Sweet Home at Hutch-Tech, and the host Engineers have rebounded very nicely after a slow start.
Maurice Miles just took two defenders to the hole and scored for a basket and a foul; he hit the basket for a 26-24 lead with 2:41 left in the second quarter. Sweet Home scored the first seven points of the game and led after one quarter, 17-12. Hutch-Tech has stepped up the defense and is rebounding very well. Sweet Home has brought its usual energy but they've had trouble finishing shots. Miles has been too much to handle for Sweet Home defenders while Hutch-Tech has gotten good contributions from other players, including John Cherry and Marcus Nelson, who hit a three-pointer to give Tech its first lead of the game at 23-20.
5:31 p.m. We are at HALFTIME here at Hutch-Tech, and the Engineers have gone into the locker room on an upswing and with a 33-28 lead over Sweet Home. Miles swished a three-pointer with about 25 seconds left, and, after a basket by Sweet Home guard Rashan Crule (11 first-half points), John Cherry hit a shot in the lane at the buzzer for Tech. Cherry has four baskets for eight points, all in the second quarter.
Miles, as I mentioned, has been simply too much to handle for Sweet Home -- he has 17 points already. Whew. He does a nice job bringing the ball up and distributing as well.
5:49 p.m. With 3:46 left in the third quarter, Hutch-Tech tracks down a loose ball and calls timeout owning a 37-32 lead.
5:59 p.m. At the END OF THE THIRD QUARTER, Hutch-Tech leads Sweet Home, 45-35.
Hutch-Tech continues to look good on defense and on offense with some unselfish passing plays, while Sweet Home continues to put up wild shots, most of them rebounded by Hutch-Tech. Nelson had a great steal and no-look pass for a Tim Whittlehead basket late in the third.
6:03 p.m. Great play by Miles to put Tech up 14 (49-35) and prompt a timeout by Sweet Home coach Scott Martin with 6:22 left. Miles stole an errant outlet pass -- dribbled up to the lane, went behind the back, then scooped a pass ahead to an open Nelson for a layup. Sweet.
6:12 p.m. Another very strong play from Miles, who shakes his defender on the right wing, then beats two more defenders on his way to a dominant drive and a 57-38 lead for Tech with 3:20 left. It was all the more impressive because on the previous defensive play, Miles was undercut and fell HARD to the floor. Scary play, but he jumped right back up.
6:13 p.m. Miles off a lob and he scores while being fouled for a 59-40 lead with 1:50 left.
6:17 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Hutch-Tech 59, Sweet Home 43. Very impressive win for the Engineers as they take care of business and advance to next Wednesday's Class A-1 semifinals at Buffalo State.
I'm heading up to Will North and I'll have a live blog from that game.
6:59 p.m. Hello from Williamsville North. Here we go with the live blog.
10:59 p.m. Wheeeewwwww. What a night. Story and PrepTalkTV work is finished. We'll post the video later as I take a look ahead to the semifinal matchups at Buffalo State and Jamestown Community College.
Big win for Riverside, obviously. I know some might say I should have been at Maryvale, but as I discover from time to time, I can only be in one spot. McKinley was the highest-ranked team among the four, and with them playing on the road against a good team, and with it being a higher class (bigger schools), it was an easy choice.
I REALLY appreciate all the updates in the chat. It really made the night enjoyable for me and hopefully others "tuning in."
Other big wins? Some thoughts after a scan of our scoreboard:
How about Kenmore East going to win at Williamsville East? Really nice win there. ... Cleveland Hill going south to win its way back to Buffalo State -- nice job by that program. ... Lancaster with a solid home win over Kenmore West. ... With the way Frontier was playing that looked like it might be a scary game for Niagara Falls, but they run away with it and return to Buffalo State. ... The margin for Williamsville South over ECIC II rival Iroquois was an eyebrow-raiser. Joe Licata remains one three-pointer away from tying the all-time state record. ... Olean lived up to the hype that I and others were giving a young team that has been on quite a run with a rout at Amherst. ... Cheektowaga joins Cleveland Hill in returning to Buffalo State with a nice win over Lew-Port. ... No surprises in B-1. ... Maple Grove by one! That was fun to follow on the blog. Great job by Silver Creek. ... Impressive Class C wins for I-Prep, OTC and Tapestry -- which gets 32 from Dazmon Knight in a nice win over MST Seneca. ... Jordan Farrant of Holland scores 33 of his team's 41 points against OTC. What a finish of the regular season for him.
Big day tomorrow as well -- I'll be at Canisius College for the semifinal doubleheader of St. Mary's against Canisius at 6 and St. Joe's against Bishop Timon-St. Jude at 7:45 p.m.
Hello from Northampton Street and a very key Yale Cup and top 10 large school showdown between host East and McKinley.
Sorry for a slow start but the laptop has been a little stingy.
6:01 p.m. With 3:43 left in the first quarter, McKinley leads East, 7-4. All of the Macks' points have come on free throws.
A lot of energy in the gym. Loud. A great Yale Cup atmosphere.
6:08 p.m. A lot of free throws in this first quarter. With 1:26 left, East leads McKinley, 13-12.
6:11 p.m. Starling Bryant is hit with a technical and he deserved it for being all over the officials. Too much, and definitely too early.
6:15 p.m. At the end of the first quarter, East leads McKinley, 22-16.
Big three-pointer in the final seconds of the quarter by Chris Boyd, who celebrates right in front of a bleacher along with East grads from last year, Domonique Jackson and Deon Robinson. Fun scene there.
6:17 p.m. Dujuan Rutledge with a three to open the quarter for McKinley (22-19).
Dennis James covers the ball on the floor and McKinley coach Zaire Dorsey calls timeout with 6:46 left in the second. East coach Starling Bryant throws something behind the bench, pretty standard for him.
6:22 p.m. Timeout East, which leads, 27-21, with 4:53 left in the second quarter.
Sweet steal-and-finger-roll by Chris Boyd for East, 29-21.
Big three right in front of me -- left side of the arc -- from Andre Jackson for a 32-22 East lead.
6:29 p.m. A lot going on here -- I'm going to switch to the 'live' blog we use for chats for the second half. Game is too quick, and normal blogging can't handle it (or my typing. heh).
East up, 34-29, in final minute.
6:33 p.m. We are at HALFTIME and East leads McKinley, 36-29.
Second half below:
Here's the best highlight I caught on the iPhone, Jasen Oden finding Andre Jackson to push the lead from four to six under two minutes:
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Like I said at the end of the game, great win for East. And yes, I have had East ranked quite low (or not at all) this year. I was reminded of that from two East superfans after the game. :-)
I do think they have gotten a lot better since that first meeting with McKinley.
A tradition unlike any other continued tonight as I and plenty of other high school hoopheads checked out opening night of the week-long Pastor-Cooper Memorial Tournament at Daemen College.
I wasn't there for a quality start of the season for the St. Mary's girls team, which beat Williamsville North, 37-34.
I caught the last four minutes of McKinley beating the St. Mary's boys, 66-51. The Macks looked good as they finished off the Lancers, very active on defense and some nice fast-break finishes, including one by a high-rising Antonio Avery, a returning senior starter. It appeared that the Macks are back to their throw-a-lot-of-bodies-at-you, up-tempo attack as they had 12 people scoring. I saw some nice decisions down the stretch as well.
The final game had Grover Cleveland taking on Orchard Park, with many (including me) expecting the Presidents to win since it has some key returning players (very key in Chris Holland). However, OP played smart and Kyle Witkowski kept hitting three-pointers (five for all 15 of his points) in a 57-52 victory.
First eyebrow-raiser was that Grover is now wearing uniforms to reflect the school's name change to International Prep at Grover. As the picture shows, it's now I-Prep at Grover on the uniforms, and the colors are a deep navy blue and white. Throw in how former assistant Shawn Ryan has taken over for longtime head coach/sideline comedian Earl Shunk (who retired and is now coaching Tapestry Charter), and it really was like watching a new entity.
Chris Holland was back, along with fellow seniors guard Kenny Pringle and big man Kadeem Hillman. Holland showed why he is a returning All-Western New Yorker with his usual well-rounded game that showed off scoring, rebounding (especially rebounding), passing and defense (steals and blocks). Junior Maurice Cheatom showed some great energy for the Presidents but overall the team could have used some more; could be the football season hangover as many players were on the Class C North champions' roster.
Grover did trim the lead to 49-48 with 4:37 left, but OP responded with an up-and-under move off a baseline drive by senior Zach Schenk (watch below) and a jumper by senior Ryan Lindquist. Schenk and junior Matt McCormick delivered some clutch two-for-two trips to the foul line in the final 1:30 to push a 53-51 lead to 57-51 with 43.7 seconds left.
Let's go to the iPhone video:
Great starts for McKinley and OP, great to have hoop season back. I'll be at Friday's championship triple-header, which I will start looking forward to as soon as I get through a ton of work this week.
In related stories, my weekly chat will be Wednesday at 9 p.m., the All-Western New York football team will be published Saturday, the Connolly Cup will be awarded Saturday, the boys basketball preview will be published next Tuesday, and we are working on a new feature for our Web site that we're hoping will be really, really cool (and it will include a master season schedule). Stay tuned.
One spot left for Ralph Wilson Stadium, and it's being decided today as McKinley visits Sweet Home in a Section VI Class A semifinal.
2:15 p.m. We're getting caught up here in closed quarters. I'm in a folding chair in the back of the cozy press box with WGR doing the game on the radio.
McKinley got one first-down run but punted after four more plays; Sweet Home went three-and-out; McKinley has called a timeout with 5:20 left in the first facing a second-and-11 at its 30.
UPDATE from correspondent Nate Beutel at Canisius' Stransky Complex in West Seneca: Mercer Timmis scores on a 1-yard run to give Canisius a 7-0 lead over St. Francis.
2:23 p.m. Sweet Home's second drive was a short one but a good one as the Panthers took advantage of excellent wind-helped field position to score. The wind is a huge advantage for teams heading right to left on your computer screen :-).
After taking over at the McKinley 30 after a Macks punt, Sweet Home got a 21-yard TOUCHDOWN from senior Ralph Neasman, who made a tackler miss near the line and then burst through to the right side for an easy finish to the end zone. The snap for the extra point is wild and a flailing pass attempt fails; the Panthers lead McKinley, 6-0, with 3:02 left in the first quarter.
2:30 p.m. Sweet Home takes advantage of more great field position set up by an interception by senior Kyle Luchey. Nice play by Luchey on a ball that was held up in the wind -- definitely a solid second guess of the Macks passing there. The Panthers took over at the McKinley 25 and five plays later, on third-and-3, Neasman pinballed his way into the end zone on a very nice 6-yard TOUCHDOWN run. Sweet Home's two-point conversion attempt is no good after a shotgun snap goes over Jordan Johnson's head. With 1:01 left in the first quarter, Sweet Home leads McKinley, 12-0.
2:35 p.m. At the END OF THE FIRST QUARTER, Sweet Home leads McKinley, 12-0.
UPDATE: Canisius is up, 13-0, on St. Francis after a 22-yard pass by Travis Eman with 10:58 left in the second quarter.
2:41 p.m. McKinley is on the board as it converts on its first possession with the wind in the second quarter. Quarterback Marquell Ingram makes a great read after initially going back to pass, then runs cleanly right up the middle for a 5-yard TOUCHDOWN. McKinley's two-point conversion is also no good after a bad snap and Sweet Home leads McKinley, 12-6, with 10:44 left in the second quarter.
2:47 p.m. We have a Sweet Home timeout with the Panthers facing a fourth-and-4 at the McKinley 44 with 8:45 left in the second quarter.
2:49 p.m. A Johnson pass into the wind falls incomplete and McKinley takes over at its 44 with 8:40 left in the second.
2:56 p.m. McKinley punted and Sweet Home took over at its 20; with 4:50 and counting down, Sweet Home faces a fourth-and-2 at its 44 and appears to be going for it.
2:57 p.m. Sweet Home gets the first down to the McKinley 49 thanks to an endaround run by senior K.J. Zinermon.
3:05 p.m. Sweet Home calls a timeout with :06 left in the first half. First down at the McKinley 9.
3:07 p.m. We are at HALFTIME after a great finish to the half for Sweet Home, who scores a TOUCHDOWN on the final play.
On the final play, Johnson rolled left, rolled left, then ran past the left pylon for a 9-yard score and a 18-6 halftime lead for Sweet Home. The two-point conversion attempt for Sweet Home fell just short as Neasman was stopped going up the middle. Neasman had a nice 11-yard run to set up the first-and-goal.
Here are some first-half highlights -- including all three touchdowns -- thanks to wind-battling video reporter Lauren Mariacher:
3:16 p.m. UPDATE from West Seneca: Canisius has a 21-6 lead. The Crusaders extended its lead with the second of two Eman-to-Theo Russell pass plays.
According to Canisius athletic director Jim Mauro, here's the scenario for Canisius, which with a win would force a three-way tie atop the Monsignor Martin's League AA at 2-1. The first tiebreaker is point differential with a maximum of 20 points. With Canisius having lost by more than 20 to St. Joe's, and St. Joe's having lost by 20 to St. Francis, Canisius needs to win by 20 or more to force thing to the next tiebreaker -- which is points allowed among the three teams. St. Joe's allowed 75; Canisius allowed 50 and St. Francis 21 entering the game. For Canisius to jump over St. Joe's, it needs to win today by 20 and hold St. Francis to 24 points or less.
3:25 p.m. We're about to start the second half here and it appears that some kind of penalty has been called on Sweet Home. Apparently it is a 15-yard penalty for the Panthers not being present on the sideline after the break. That's a first. Interesting call there.
It was just announced; officially it is a delay of game penalty.
Impressive first half by Sweet Home, which, as we've seen before, was hampered by some penalties but overcame them. The score at the end of the half was huge obviously. Gives Sweet Home a nice cushion against a McKinley team which can move the ball.
3:29 p.m. With the 15 yards pushing Sweet Home back, they kick off and a short McKinley return moves the Macks to their 49 to start the second half. McKinley is going left-to-right and into the wind so we're starting the second half as we did the first with Sweet Home having the wind.
3:31 p.m. McKinley's first drive is a three-and-out in which Mikal Coleman had a sack on third down; Sweet Home takes over at its 46 with 10:50 left in the third quarter.
3:41 p.m. With 6:21 left in the third, a Sweet Home junior lineman Scott Schriver is down and is helped off the field; the Panthers face a third-and-1 at the McKinley 46.
3:43 p.m. UPDATE: St. Francis scores to cut Canisius' lead to 20-13 late in the third.
3:46 p.m. Just as in the first meeting between these teams, mistakes have killed McKinley. The Macks had a penalty on their punt return to knock them back to their own 7 with 5:16 left, and on the first snap, a fumble led to Mikal Coleman covering the ball in the end zone for a Sweet Home TOUCHDOWN. The extra point kick is good by JV callup Sean Huber and Sweet Home leads McKinley, 25-6, with 5:08 left in the third quarter.
3:52 p.m. Another error for McKinley, which had been moving the ball well, but the drive ends with an interception by junior Brian Barnes and Sweet Home takes over at its 14.
4:01 p.m. A very unfortunate and disappointing development here as three players were ejected after some post-play activity that brought a total of five flags. Sweet Home's Rashaad Rogers and Tim Oaks have been ejected as has Mileec Deberry of McKinley. After a run by Ralph Neasman, there was some activity at the right (far) sideline and players got together and I believe Oaks and Deberry took their helmets off for an automatic ejection. Radio reports have Rogers being ejected for coming off the Sweet Home sideline.
After all the fallout, Sweet Home had first-and-10 at its 10.
4:08 p.m. At the END OF THE THIRD QUARTER, Sweet Home has a 25-6 lead over McKinley.
McKinley will start the fourth with a third-and-10 at the Sweet Home 33.
UPDATE: Canisius' lead is 21-13 after three quarters.
4:14 p.m. UPDATE: Canisius leads, 21-19, with four minutes left after stopping St. Francis' two-point conversion following a touchdown.
4:25 p.m. We're under five minutes here.
4:25 p.m. Kyle Luchey returns a punt 35 yards for a TOUCHDOWN and Sweet Home leads McKinley, 31-6, with 3:17 left.
4:39 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Sweet Home 31, McKinley 6.
FINAL from West Seneca: Canisius 21, St. Francis 19.
That means, that based on the point differential tiebreaker, today's result makes St. Francis (2-1, plus-18 point differential) the top seed, followed by St. Joe's (2-1, even, beat Canisius head-to-head) then Canisius (2-1, minus-2).
The Monsignor Martin AA semifinal matchups are 4-Bishop Timon-St. Jude at 1-St. Francis, and, get a load of this: 3-Canisius at 2-St. Joe's, a rematch at the site of St. Joe's blowout win over Canisius in Week Five.
As always, we want to hear from you about any games you saw: Let us know what you thought of the players, teams -- even the concession stand -- in the comments section below.
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Also, if you will be at a game and are interested in supplying updates to the Prep Talk blog, email me with your name and cell number at email@example.com and I'll get in touch -- or you can just email me updates from one of those fancy phones. We don't need every play or even every possession -- just scoring plays and the score after each quarter and anything else that would cause you to blow up a fellow fan's phone with a text/email. I'll definitely give you a shoutout here, as I have the last few weeks, for helping pass the word along during the Friday Night Live and Saturday Afternoon Live blogs.
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.