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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


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)" »

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" »

More from OTC Middle College's big win

I didn't get to ECC-City for OTC Middle College's game with City Honors as early as I wanted to (don't ask!) but I certainly saw plenty of reasons why the Kats are having a fine season.

They routed a City Honors team that had won seven straight with a balanced lineup for a 73-43 win. Check out the box score and details.  

Here are the Kats talking about the win and their season:

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

Thursday Night Live, tweeting #preptalkscores & getting video highlights from four games (including Tonawanda's record-breaker)

We're doing our running-around-to-games thing tonight, and for the second straight night we're doing a Twitter experiment. I'll be much more mobile if I just tweet, so that's what I'll probably do while I'm running around. At the end of the night I'll provide some overall thoughts and details here. 

So follow along at

And if you are out at any kind of varsity high school action, tweet updates with the hashtag #preptalkscores.

You just might win the #preptalkscores Tweet of the Night (check out last night's).

Here's the plan: Hutch-Tech at Riverside (6 p.m.), MST Seneca vs. I-Prep/Grover at Medaille (6), Emerson vs. OTC Middle College at Waterfront (6), Tonawanda at Lackawanna (7) and Williamsville East at Hamburg (7:30). 

Here we go. See you on the tweeter. 

* * * 

You can check out the tweets for my travels ... here are some video highlights .. 

Foremost among them is the history-making moment for Tonawanda's Jesse Lalka -- yes, it's a free throw, but it was cruicial in putting the undefeated Warriors up four in the final seconds of a 46-41 win at Lackawanna. Scroll down for six highlights, plus interviews, from that one.

Pretty cool "Jess-ee Lal-kaa!" chant after the big point.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

I-Prep wins small school city battle

After it was moved from Tuesday to tonight, I was able to get to just the second half of the big small school battle of the Yale Cup.

I saw International Prep at Grover Cleveland give a very impressive performance in a 79-72 win over host Occupational Training Center Middle Early College at Erie Community College's Flickinger Center (a lot of words in that sentence, a full-school-name edition :-) ).

I walked in with I-Prep up, 36-33 at the half, so I was pleased it was still a game. The Presidents took control with a 22-13 third quarter and then held off a relentless OTC team in the fourth.

I-Prep might have looked as good as I've seen them this year in the third. Good ball movement, good defense, good decisions. Chris Holland (25 points) did his thing as a distributor, three-point shooter and penetrator (not to mention a block or two and several rebounds on the other end). Kenny Pringle (21 points) was excellent in pushing the ball on drives and he hit two threes. Two patient possessions against a zone resulted in mini-baseline drives by Dartwon Brooks and Maurice Cheatom.

Kadeem Hillman (24 points), meanwhile, continues to be extremely impressive. The muscular, 6-5 senior has always had the ability to deliver powerful finishes (as I wrote after watching I-Prep's win over Tapestry), but this season he has worked at polishing what is rapidly becoming a devastating all-around game. He has developed a great touch around the basket, grabbing rebounds and banking in short jumpers, or posting up and hitting fadeaways. Twice while in the high post, he took an entry pass, turned and hit jumpers from the elbow -- shots with a nice arc and the soft touch he's displayed on those short putback shots he's been draining.

And just to remind everyone what those biceps can do with a basketball in transition: The fourth was highlighted by a Hillman dunk which was near-ridiculous. He caught up with a bouncing breakout pass that might have been out of reach for many big men -- reeled it in in the lane and took a couple of steps before delivering a major, two-handed rim-bender that left the crowd buzzing for several minutes. (I didn't have the iPhone cranking, but I believe YNN had a cameraman there -- it's worth checking out).

OTC was impressive in how they just came coming and coming -- that's how they played against St. Joe's despite losing two of their top players. All are healthy now, by the way, which is very good news for the Kats.

Actually, the Kats surged after Hillman's dunk. While most teams would have faded being down 11 points with 2:33 left and the other team having delivered a major blow like that, the Kats kept coming downcourt in waves and causing turnovers until they made it a 73-70 game with just under two minutes to play.

Hillman's 2-for-2 trip to the line started what would be a 6-of-8 free throw finish for I-Prep that helped them hold off OTC.

I-Prep certainly emphasizes its No. 1 standing in the small school poll with its victory while the relentlessness of OTC should keep them rated very high, I think.

Check out our basketball scoreboard for the box score as well as updates on all the action.

---Keith McShea

I-Prep/Grover, OTC Middle College meet tonight; city games postponed to next week

For some reason it was not on our schedule, but an important note: the matchup between top city schools International Prep at Grover Cleveland and OTC Middle College is tonight at 6:45 at Erie Community College's city campus.


* All other Buffalo Public Schools boys (Yale Cup) and girls (Canisius Cup) games have been moved from this week. Games scheduled for Tuesday are to be played Monday, Jan. 31; games scheduled for Thursday are to be played Monday, Feb. 7. According to Buffalo Public Schools athletic director Aubrey Lloyd, the move was made due to Regents exams being held in several gyms.

* Saturday's St. Joe's at Canisius game is scheduled for 5 p.m., following the freshman (2 p.m.) and JV (3:30) games.

* Tonight's Orchard Park at Lancaster game has been moved to Wednesday at 6:30.

Coaches and/or athletic directors should notify The News ASAP if you have postponements. Call 849-4461 or email

Check out our basketball scoreboard through the evening -- and every evening -- for updates on all the action.

---Keith McShea

Championship pages return today with OTC Middle College

After a one-day break, our state championship pages and audio slideshows return with the OTC Middle College boys basketball team. 

Our page is the headquarters for the state titlists. The pages are available for purchase -- along with tons of other pages and photos -- at

The Clymer girls got us started Monday, followed by the Maple Grove boys on Tuesday. Here's the schedule for the rest of the pages, with a special edition at the end of the week:

Friday: Nichols boys basketball
Saturday: All-Western New York issue (boys and girls)

While we're talking scheduling, the Scholastic Spotlight will spring back into action three days later on Tuesday, April 13.

---Keith McShea

Live from the C state final: OTC Middle College wins STATE TITLE with 74-41 rout of II-Maple Hill (with video)

OTC Middle College, state champions. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)

Hello from courtside at the Glens Falls Civic Center for the second of two state championship games featuring Section VI champions.

I'll be updating the play-by-play for my notes, but feel free to follow along. The games are also on Time Warner Cable SportsNet.

I will do my best to post your comments immediately but PLEASE understand that I may not be able to, especially at the end of games. I'm under a heavy deadline with the two back-to-back games tonight and I'll be doing my best to keep track of the action and to get my stories together. Thanks very much.

After the game, feel free to post comments below.

* * *

Video of the final seconds ... (you can hear the Maple Hill fans were great in support of their squad, right to the end)

---Keith McShea

Live from the C state semifinals: OTC Middle College routs IV-Moravia, 57-40

We're back doing our live blogging thing this evening for Middle College's 5 p.m. semifinal.

The afternoon session here at the Glens Falls Civic Center concluded with Maple Hill (24-1) of host Section II (Albany area) beating Glens Falls veteran program and Section I (Westchester County) champion Blind Brook, 50-46.

The Class C state final is Saturday night at 7:15 p.m. and the locally based Wildcats of Rensselaer County will certainly have a ton of fans here.  

* * * 

Not exactly the overwhelming performances we've seen from Middle College the last two weeks, but a very impressive win nonetheless as they toughed it out. Alexander with a super-gutsy performance.

* * *

Here's the box score and some stats:

Middle College 57, IV-Moravia 40

IV-MORAVIA (20-3): Dillon Langtry 0-2 0-0 0, Greg Pasho 0-6 1-2 1, T.J. Powers 1-3 0-0 2, Dylan Powers 0-0 0-0 0, Nick Dwyer 2-4 1-2 5, Lee Wakefield 1-2 0-0 2, Ryan Nesbitt 0-0 0-0 0, Pat Mott 2-16 1-2 6, Jeremy Stewart 9-17 3-3 24.

MIDDLE COLLEGE (23-1): Justin Stokes 8-13 1-4 17, Davon Alexander 7-11 8-10 22, Darale Young 3-8 3-7 10, Devonte Harper 0-0 0-0 0, Keonte Jones 0-2 0-0 0, Patrick Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Khalid Brown 1-3 0-0 3, Curtis Harper 0-5 0-0 0, Sean Mulhern 2-3 1-2 5, Cordell Torres 0-1 0-0 0.

Three-point goals: Langry 0-1, Pasho 0-2, T.J. Powers 0-1, Mott 1-9, Stewart 3-7; Stokes 0-2, Alexander 0-2 Young 1-5, Jones 0-2, Brown 1-3 C. Harper 0-5, Torres 0-1.

First quarter: Middle College, 10-6; halftime: MC, 28-20; third quarter: MC, 40-27. 

Middle was 2 for 20 from three-point range (!) but was 19-26 on their two-pointers. 

Alexander 15 rebounds; Stokes five assists, two blocks, two steals; Darale Young nine rebounds, three assists (although coach Randy Rich said on MC's stats he had a triple-double). 

* * *

Quick scouting report on Maple Hill from their win earlier today. The Wildcats had a balanced effort with 6-foot senior Jake Jasicwicz (13 points, nine rebounds), 6-5 senior Sean Danaher (11 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks), 5-9 senior Dominic Prinzo (eight points, five assists, three steals) and 6-foot senior Christopher Despart (eight points). 

* * *

After the game, feel free to add comments below.

---Keith McShea
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About Prep Talk

Keith McShea

Keith McShea

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

@KeithMcSheaBN |