Hello from the final day of the regular season in high school boys basketball.
Undefeated Middle College is taking on East for the Yale Cup. Unfortunately we are in a different venue, the Grabiarz School off Military Road.
It's a cool coaching matchup in that Middle College's Randy Rich was a longtime assistant under East's Starling Bryant during Traditional's championship runs.
5:42 p.m. The first timeout of the game is called by East, which trails, 19-10, with 1:31 left in the first quarter. Middle College is getting out in transition with Justin Stokes and Darale Young putting up some very nice finishes.
5:45 p.m. At the end of the first quarter, Middle College leads East, 24-15. Deon Robinson of East just nailed an off-balance NBA-range three-pointer at the buzzer; that answered Young swishing a three-pointer.
5:58 p.m. Middle College's Rich calls a timeout with 2:06 left in the second quarter. Stokes just swished an open three for a 35-27 lead.
6:01 p.m. We are at HALFTIME and Middle College leads East, 39-30.
East made a nice run in the second to come within 35-30 after a three-pointer by Jasen Oden, who is into this game. Great intensity.
Stokes continues to be fantastic. He dished to Davon Alexander for a basket off a scramble, then made a tough catch-and-finish on a quick transition to supply the Kats with their halftime lead.
6:11 p.m. We're back and the second half has started. I took a picture of the Yale Cup, which is sitting courtside.
The location of today's Yale Cup finale that will decide the league title has been moved. Undefeated Middle College will play East at the Grabiarz School.
The game was scheduled to be held at East. It will still be played at 5:30 p.m.
Buffalo Public Schools athletic director Dave Thomas said that only adults will be allowed at the game -- no students. Thomas said the changes were made "in the interest of safety" because some "threats" had been made concerning the game.
This is obviously bad news. An integral part of high school sports are passionate crowds, and unfortunately it seems some students went over the line in anticipation of a huge game. This is not they way championship games should be decided -- in a gym with no students. However, the better-safe-than-sorry call to change the venue and limit spectators is a good move to avoid any possibility of an incident.
Another week, another shift before the snap for our weekly chat.
This week we've shifted to Thursday. We'll be chatting live from the Amherst Pepsi Center at around 10 p.m.
I'll start my day at the Middle College at Grover Cleveland Yale Cup showdown at 5:30 p.m. before heading to the always-entertaining Federation hockey Thursday doubleheader. This week, St. Joe's and Canisius battle at 7 p.m. followed by Williamsville South and Williamsville East skating at 9 p.m.
As the postseason looms for some sports -- and has started for others -- we'll certainly have a lot to talk about. Anything in the high school sports world is up for discussion, from the polls to PrepTalkTV.
If you won't be around for the chat, feel free to ask some questions in the comments section below and we'll tackle them during the session.
5:40 p.m. We're at Grover Cleveland anticipating the start of one of the most anticipated games of the season -- Middle College visits with an undefeated record. The Kats are the only unbeaten left in the Yale Cup after East's surprising loss on Tuesday.
6:02 p.m. With 2:56 left in the first quarter, Grover is getting some turnovers and transition baskets and has a 15-7 lead.
6:05 p.m. Middle College calls a timeout with 1:41 left in the first quarter with Grover up 17-7 thanks to a I-wish-I-had-the-iPhone going one-handed, from a standing-start JAM by Kadeem Hillman. WOW.
6:09 p.m. Another dunk -- this time a fast break finish by Justin Stokes for Middle College. To show that I'm an equal opportunity dunk-misser, I don't have the video of that either. Arghh. That came in the final minute. We are at the end of the first quarter and Grover Cleveland leads, 20-11.
6:17 p.m. Middle College with a great run which included a dunk by Stokes on a fast break (that one Ive got on video) and has taken a 23-22 lead with 4:04 left in the second, prompting a timeout by Grover coach Earl Schunk.
6:26 p.m. We are at halftime and Middle College leads Grover, 35-30.
6:45 p.m. Schunk calls a timeout with 2:49 left in the third and Middle College up, 47-37.
6:49 p.m. An injury timeout with 1:11 left in the third and MC up, 51-41.
6:52 p.m. We are at the end of the third quarter and Middle College leads Grover Cleveland, 51-43.
I've seen Grover look dead before and come back to win against good teams -- St. Joe's and Lackawanna -- so it could be an exciting fourth.
7:05 p.m. Some fun back-and-forth action but Middle College holds a 65-58 lead with 3:08 left in the game. Grover just took a timeout.
7:09 p.m. Chris Holland hits a three-pointer and Grover is within 73-64 with 1:37 left.
7:13 p.m. Grover calls a timeout with 57.1 seconds left trailing, 73-66. Middle College has the ball; they've missed some free throws.
7:16 p.m. No comeback today. Middle leads, 77-66, with 20.4 seconds left and is going to the line.
7:17 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE in HOOPS: Middle College 79, Grover Cleveland 66.
Some interviews and then I'm off to Amherst for hockey.
8:19 p.m. We are here, plugged in and powered up at the Amherst (Pepsi? It's on some signs but not on others) Center for Federation hockey.
After two periods, Canisius leads St. Joe's, 4-3. The teams traded goals in the late going. I'm going to get some work done here -- trying to file a report for Middle College's win -- and I'll provide updates after goals and at the end of the game.
8:48 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE in HOCKEY: Canisius 5, St. Joe's 3.
I've got video of Canisius' fifth goal, which I'll post here when I can.
Joe's was pressing to tie the game but a late penalty hindered their comeback attempt in the final minutes. Joe's pulled their goalie but there was no real close calls the rest of the way. Canisius continues a dominant year in the Federation.
And it seems that hockey moms are, as someone once said, pit bulls with lipstick. One St. Joe's mom was one of a few St. Joe's fans who were irate at the late penalty called on the Marauders (you can hear some of them as the penalties are being announced at the start of the clip) and let loose on the referee, including a forceful, "YOU SU*K!!!" Nice.
9:21 p.m. They just dropped the puck for Williamsville South against Williamsville East. Seniors for both teams were honored before the game. A good crowd on hand, but nowhere near the amount that was here for Canisius-St. Joe's.
9:46 p.m. South and East are scoreless after one period.
Hello from what should be a three-stop day of hoops.
6:28 p.m. We arrive at Erie Community College and it is a competitive first quarter -- until Darale Young hits a three and Justin Stokes puts down a one-handed slam (not on video! argh!) to give Middle College a 19-11 lead after the quarter.
6:50 p.m. So much for that competitive start -- Middle College is up, 41-16, after an obviously dominant second quarter.
Nice give-up by Davon Alexander for the Young finish.
6:52 p.m. Out the back door of ECC, across the street to the parking lot and we've got Lockport on WLVL -- it's fuzzy -- I think it might be a girls game. Yup. Just heard "Lady Lions" from Norm Palmer. We're off to NT for the Lockport boys' visit there.
7:23 p.m. We have arrived at NT with Lockport leading, 16-13, with less than six minutes left in the second quarter.
For you Lady Lions fans, Lockport leads the NT girls, 32-14, late in the second quarter. A fun listen with some great stuff from Palmer.
7:41 p.m. At halftime, NT leads Lockport, 27-24.
Darrik Bloomfield had a three-point play off a nice follow to give NT the three-point lead.
Lockport was up, 24-21, when Shannon Haynes found Andrew Bailey on a nice basket inside. NT tied it at 24 when Joe Montesanti hit a three-pointer.
Montesanti leads all scorers with 10 - he also banked in a three. Haynes has nine, Bloomfield has seven as does Lockport's Sean Smith while Aaron Davis of NT has six.
8:05 p.m. NT leads, 43-42, after three quarters.
8:16 p.m. NT is up, 49-46, with 2:31 left.
8:20 p.m. NT up, 50-49, with 1:10 left.
8:32 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Lockport 54, NT 50. Senior Andrew Granchelli goes 5 of 6 at the line in the final minute. Clutch.
8:55 p.m. Nichols is up big, 69-56, with 2:52 left.
9:06 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Nichols 74, St. Francis 64.
From what I heard on the St. Francis broadcast on my way here and from talking with some fans, Frannies played Nichols tough in the first half but it was all Nichols in the second.
We'll have more details ASAP and some videos later on.
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Let's go to Mary Jo Monnin live in the newsroom ... Grover Cleveland loses to Bennett, Jamestown loses at home to Orchard Park. Wow. More to come.
There were a TON of games tonight and they'll be on the Web as soon as possible.
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For people who like typing, "scores?????" when we're obviously trying to get them together as soon as possible, some good news: tonight's scoreboard has been posted.
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If you were out at a game, let us know what you thought of the action, the teams, the players and even the concession stand.
It's always fun to get programs at different high school events. Foremost for reporters
(and photographers) — we need those rosters to make sure we get the names and players
correct in our reporting.
But a tremendous amount of work goes into those programs, compiling not just names and
uniform numbers, but statistics, photos, records and the history of teams. It's also neat to
see how the community supports the team through the different advertisements.
For those of you out there that are proud of your work, there is a contest for you. Entries
for the third annual National High School Sports Publication Awards competition are due
Sunday. The competition recognizes excellence in the preparation of high school athletic media
guides and souvenir programs distributed in 2009. Go to www.PublicationAwards.com for
Recently I picked up a basketball program for Middle College boys basketball that had bios
and color photos of players while Medina's came with a convenient scoring sheet that included not just both teams but both junior varsity squads as well. During football season, the programs for schools like North
Tonawanda and Lancaster can get pretty bulky.
If you have a favorite program, let us know about it below (and let the school know they should enter the contest).
Hello from One News Plaza. I'll be heading to the Middle College at Riverside 5:30 p.m. game, followed by a trip to South Buffalo for Nichols at Bishop Timon-St. Jude, which tips at 7:30 p.m.
I thought I might be able to catch the 4:15 p.m. game of Burgard at Seneca, but there was some work to do, including the news that Nichols will play Jamesville-Dewitt next week.
5:32 p.m. We're off to Riverside.
5:54 p.m. Get a good parking spot (not easy at Riverside), walk into the Riverside gym and Middle College has a 9-5 lead a few minutes in. The Riverside gym has been refurbished since last year and the changes are subtle but very nice -- there is now seating on the side of the court opposite the scorer's table in additon to the cool balcony seating seen at several city gyms. The bleachers -- and the new wall padding -- is all Riverside purple.
6:03 p.m. Middle College calls a timeout after taking a 19-9 lead on a fast break. There is 1:32 left in the first quarter.
6:07 p.m. Davon Alexander hits a three-pointer (that we have on video) just before the buzzer and Middle College takes a 23-11 lead after the first quarter.
6:30 p.m. We are at halftime and Middle College leads Riverside, 43-24. Not the greatest game, a little sloppy with MC taking advantage of turnovers and having too much firepower for the Frontiers.
6:42 p.m. Justin Stokes threw down a dunk for Middle College early in the third, but we were uploading video instead of shooting it. Arghh. In a related story, the Alexander three has been posted above.
Riverside's lead is now 47-24 after a Stokes fast-break basket with just over five minutes left in the third. We have a strong feeling we'll be leaving this game early to get a good spot at Timon.
6:53 p.m. At the end of the third quarter, things haven't changed -- Middle College leads Riverside, 56-30.
We're packing up and heading to Timon.
7:23 p.m. Arrive at Timon with the JV game still going on; updating here from the iPhone. I'm in the same seat -- first seat, second row, across from visiting bench -- that I watched the Canisius OT win here. Trying to figure out if i should move to the balcony where there is a table to work at. Love the view here, though.
7:58 p.m. The view on the balcony is pretty good, too, and I definitely need the work space. We've got the laptop out, some great Timon folks helped get our extension cord plugged in, and we're set. That was only after I got up to the balcony only to realize I left my wireless card in my car. There were three minutes on the clock counting down when I sprinted to the car, retrieved it and made it back in time for the tipoff. Workout for the day done.
On the court, Timon has a 17-9 lead with 2:19 left in the first quarter. Kyle Kobis has hit three three-pointers.
Bad news for Timon just now as Dut Dour went down to the floor, then hopped off the court with some sort of leg problem.
8:05 p.m. At the end of the first quarter, Timon leads, 19-11.
In the last two minutes, Will Regan just stole the ball at midcourt, had a high dribble that Timon fans wanted called for a travel -- and they really wanted it after Regan threw down a dunk with one hand. Fun stuff. And I got it with the iPhone. Whew.
8:14 p.m. With 2:48 left in the second quarter, Nichols calls a timeout as it is trailing, 31-24.
8:17 p.m. Timon calls a timeout with 58.7 seconds left and a 35-26 lead.
8:22 p.m. We are at halftime and Timon leads Nichols, 35-26.
8:26 p.m. Quality halftime entertainment going on here; the Timon PA guy has a wireless mike and is running a raffle and shooting contest.
When he's announcing, he's one of Timon's biggest fans and telling the officials that they may have missed something (I'm thinking he'll be heard on some of the highlights -- not that there's anything wrong with that). When he does that, the mike is switched off -- but one of these days the hollering will get caught on the big mike, right? That will be a fun game to be at.
8:39 p.m. Nichols calls a timeout with 2:58 left in the third quarter. Timon with some nice energy recently and it has a 44-30 lead.
8:42 p.m. Another Nichols timeout with Timon now up, 48-30, with 1:37 left. Combination of good shooting, hustle and steals getting the Tigers up big.
8:47 p.m. At the end of the third quarter, Timon has a 50-36 lead.
8:50 p.m. Timon calls a timeout after a dose of Regan to start the fourth: Jumper, block, dunk and Timon's lead is down to 50-40 with 7:17 left.
8:55 p.m. With 4:21 left in the game, Regan scores in the lane and Nichols calls a timeout trailing, 54-46. Regan has been terrific in the fourth. Had an assist on a basket since my last update.
A little experiment -- we're seeing how a post from the iPhone goes ...
(Blogger's note: we updated the post later with photos and videos and cleaned it up, but the experiment was successful -- we can blog right from the iPhone.)
6:42 p.m. I'm at Lafayette, where the host Mighty Violets lead No. 2 small school Middle College, 36-34, at halftime.
Lafayette's skinny gym is a serious home court advantage -- I'll have photos and videos showing how much.
Opposing teams hate the gym, and it's really not basketball that's being played, but I can't help but like the charm and quirks of the place. In addition to the wacko dimensions of the gym, the walls have been painted by coach Karl Maggiore with tributes to Lafayette greats and with sayings to help motivate the Mighty Violets. I did a story on the gym a few years ago when Lafayette had one of its best teams (which lost to Depew in double-overtime in one of the greatest sectional games I've ever seen). The Lafayette gym story is one of the most enjoyable stories I've ever done at The News.
Back to the game -- it's close, and I expected that. Since Middle College is a young program, this was their first trip to Lafayette. And the Mighty Violets are a good team which owns a victory over St. Mary's -- it's only loss was at Lew-Port very early on, and Lew-Port is doing just fine in the Niagara Frontier League.
At halftime, a witnessed a nice little scene -- Middle College coach Randy Rich and Davon Alexander talked with official Dave Hoch at midcourt. Alexander had just been hit with a technical foul by Hoch and coach and player were apologetic and were talking it over with Hoch, who fully explained why Alexander got T-ed up.
While I'm at it, Hoch has been in this gym before, and he's doing a great job here -- two good teams in a claustrophobic gym can lead to emotions getting out of control, but he and his partner have the game well in control.
I'm going to probably stay here before heading to Timon for its game with Canisius.
7 p.m. Middle College has a 49-45 lead after the third quarter. I might not have updates for a while because I'll be doing video.
Here's some of that video:
Alexander finds Darale Young for a nice short jumper and a 53-47 Middle College lead.
Justin Stokes with a steal and a layup as Middle College takes control of the fourth quarter, leading, 56-50.
Stokes scores while being fouled to put Middle College up, 57-53, with 3:06 left.
Young goes two-for-two to give Middle College the three-point advantage it would win the game by.
7:29 p.m. Middle College played good defense with Lafayette needing a three-pointer -- the Violets don't get up a good shot and the Kats hold on for a 61-58 victory.
Young (23 points), Alexander (20) and Stokes (18) accounted for all of the scoring.
Middle College was super-impressive to me in the fourth quarter with the discipline they played with and with their defense. Like I mentioned earlier, this gym has a tendency to lead to out-of-control games -- turnovers are almost automatic when you consider how slender the gym is how little room there is to manuever. The Kats did something I'm not sure I've seen much in the big games at Lafayette -- they maintained a deliberate pace (with Young doing a great job controlling it), and played tough defense that slowed Lafayette's ability to get the ball in positions to score. Just a very impressive win for the Kats.
After all, when the Kats walked into the place, Young turned to coach Rich and said, "Where's the real gym?" Rich, to his credit, did what many Yale Cup coaches have done in the past and held practices leading up to the Lafayette game on a court with rows of chairs set up where the Lafayette sidelines are.
On to Timon.
8:01 p.m. Arrive at Timon and see Canisius has 19-12 lead after one quarter. Canisius is looking very good and now has a 34-18 lead with three minutes left in the second.
A couple members of Prep Talk Nation are here and they're impressed with Canisius, while they say Timon has missed a bunch of free throws.
8:10 p.m. At halftime Canisius has a very impressive 43-23 lead. Blair Helton has 20 points, it was just announced. He had a ton in the second quarter. Crusaders putting forth a complete effort.
I'm surprised at the margin for sure; I think Timon might be feeling the bright lights for the first time - it's the Tigers' first big league game in a while, and there is a little pressure playing here at home before a near-full auditorium, featuring its rowdy fans -- nice job standing up the entire time. Hopefully the Tigers will find their form and make it more of a game.
8:35 p.m. Timon had better energy and hit some threes but Canisius still leads, 59-44, after the third.
8:49 p.m. Timon has it down to 66-56 with 3:18 left.
9:03 p.m. We are shockingly going to OT at 69-69!
9:18 p.m. Canisius wins by one at the OT buzzer on a driving layup by junior Aaron Nevins! Wow!
Canisius wins, 78-77. What a game.
Yes, I've got the winning basket on the iPhone and I'll post it ASAP.
The matchups for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. basketball showcase organized by Buffalo Public Schools Athletic Director Dave Thomas are set for Saturday at Erie Community College's Flickinger Center downtown:
11 a.m. -- St. Francis vs. McKinley 12:30 p.m. -- St. Joe's vs. Grover Cleveland 2 p.m. -- Canisius vs. East 3:30 p.m. -- Sweet Home vs. Middle College
Admission is $5 and there are no passes, according to a Buffalo Public Schools press release.
All matchups are intriguing -- the last three should all feature battles between ranked teams; we'll have to see how tomorrow's polls stack up.
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.