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Monsignor Martin boys & girls basketball playoff schedules

By Keith McShea

MANHATTAN CUP PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Sunday's semifinals at Canisius College
4-St. Mary's (19-6) vs. 1-Canisius (20-4), 6 p.m.
3-Bishop Timon-St. Jude (12-13) vs. 2-St. Joe's (20-5), 7:30 p.m.
Championship
Wednesday at Canisius College, 7 p.m.

MONSIGNOR MARTIN GIRLS PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Saturday's quarterfinals at Canisius College
1-Cardinal O'Hara vs. 8-Nichols, 10 a.m.
4-Nardin vs. 5-Christian Central, 11:30 a.m.
2-Sacred Heart vs. 7-Mount Mercy, 1 p.m.
3-Holy Angels vs. 6-Mount St. Mary, 2:30 p.m.
Semifinals: Tuesday at Canisius College, 6 & 7:45 p.m.
Championship
Fri. March 1 at Canisius College, 7 p.m.

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 the Monsignor Martin girls semifinals

Some additional notes and quotes from Tuesday's semifinals at Canisius College, where Sacred Heart beat Nardin, 38-29, and Nichols beat Mount St. Mary, 61-48:

* Sacred Heart will have the definite size advantage Sunday, but if Nichols shoots the way it did Tuesday, the Vikings will be tough to beat in the championship game.

* Congratulations to Mount St. Mary, which reached the semifinals for the first time in school history. Second-year coach Steve Gathers is building a nice program.

* Former Bills GM Tom Donahoe was among those in attendance.

And now, some additional quotes from Tuesday's games:

Sacred Heart sophomore Katie Healy

On the win: "We stayed under control and looked for good passes. We got some good open looks."

On playing varsity with her older sister: "It’s a lot easier. We know how each other’s game goes."

Sacred Heart coach Sister Maria Pares

On how Nichols beat them last game: "They pressed us. That’s exactly what happened to us. We know whoever we’re going to play is going to press us, so we’ll be working on it."

Nardin coach Jackie D'Orazio

On her team's energy level and the use of the full-court press: "In the first half we started slow. We did [use the press] in the beginning of the game, we just weren't getting what we wanted out of it."

Nichols coach Bob Torgalski

On the prospect of facing Sacred Heart a fourth time this season: "I just hope I’m healthy for Sacred Heart so we can give them a good run. They’re big. Sister [Maria Pares] is going to make her adjustments. She’s a smart coach, she’s been doing it for ages."

On how far the team has come: "The kids just hung in there. We talked about where we came from and where we are. Our tallest starter is 5-10."

Nichols senior Siobhan Hanley

On playing Sacred Heart: "They’re always a tough team. They’re really aggressive. I feel like if we play like we did today, we play as a team, we’ll definitely have a shot."

Mount St. Mary coach Steve Gathers

On is team's offensive struggles: "I think the whole night we played timid. The plan was to attack the inside. We were making passes from NBA range instead of attacking and dumping off. They weren’t that deep. They didn’t have as many players after their five starters. The idea was to get them into foul trouble and we didn’t even get near it.

On Hanley's shooting: "We really weren’t expecting her to be the shooter, but they’re all good shooters. I figured in this gym it’s going to be even tougher to hit the big threes. But once you hit one or two and you’re a shooter that’s just the way it happens."

Nichols and Sacred Heart will play at 1 p.m. Sunday for the MMA title at Daemen College.

---Jay Skurski

Live from the Monsignor Martin girls semifinals: Nichols, Sacred Heart set up rematch

We're live at Canisius College for the first of two Monsignor Martin girls semifinals games. The first matchup features Nardin and Sacred Heart, with Nichols and Mount St. Mary to play at 7:30.

As the Black Eyed Peas say, let's get it started ...

First quarter

6:06 p.m.: A slow start and some good defense have added up to few points. Sacred Heart leads, 2-1, on a pair of free throws with less than six minutes to go in the first quarter. Nardin's Brianna Smith has been a force so far down low, recording a pair of blocked shots.

6:08: A free throw and the first field goal of the game, by Smith, give Nardin a 3-2 lead with less than four to play in the opening quarter.

6:10: First field goal for Sacred Heart comes from Sarah Pawlak. Her jumper from the right side puts the Sharks up, 4-3.

6:17: Sacred Heart leads, 8-5, after the first quarter. Victoria Krantz hit a 12-footer with about 20 seconds to play to extend the lead.

NOTE: We've made an executive decision on the blog from here on out: We'll go with the time left remaining in the quarter at the start of the update instead of the actual time.

Second quarter

6:07 remaining: First timeout sees the Sharks lead, 10-7. Nice jumper by Nardin's Hannah Gardner cut the Shaks' lead to three.

Continue reading "Live from the Monsignor Martin girls semifinals: Nichols, Sacred Heart set up rematch" »

Herlihy makes healthy decision

The Monsignor Martin Association lost one of its more colorful girls basketball coaches following the recent resignation of Jake Herlihy. The Nardin Gators' coach for the past 12 years stepped down, citing health reasons.

Herlihy, 61, had quintuple heart bypass surgery in April. He went into the season hoping he could finish, but three games in, it was apparent he couldn't. He was as verbal and animated as ever in a recent loss to Nichols, but confided to his wife afterward, "I'm getting too old for this. I just felt like I couldn't do this 20 more times." 

Herlihy ends his career 219-93, having won the Monsignor Martin Association playoff title in 2000, 2005 and the New York State Class C crown in 2007. Jackie D'Orazio, a member of that 2000 championship team, was quickly named Herlihy's successor. She had been as assistant the past two years.

"It's just too much for him. For him to change the way he coaches ... he really gets into the games ... he couldn't do it," said Athletics Director Mo Sheehan. "It was his decision. He's going to be missed. His daughter [Erin] had a baby [on June 28]. I think he wants to enjoy his grandchild."

Herlihy said he's comfortable with his decision. He said sometimes the best decisions aren't always the easiest. He said he likely won't go to another game until the MMA playoffs in March.

So what happens to his signatrue Gator green sport coat he wore for big games? Maybe I'll give it to [Holy Angels' coach] Fran [Snyder] mand he can wear it on St. Patrick's Day ..."

---Mary Jo Monnin

More from cross country

I wrote a story about this season's proliferation of eighth-graders succeeding in girls cross country for today's Scholastic Spotlight.

Here are some additional notes on the eighth-graders as well as notes on all sorts of cross country topics:

* * *

Among the top 18 at the 15-team Bemus Point Invitational were more eighth graders (five) than seniors (four).

Caroline Benson of Maple Grove won the race, while two other fellow eighth-graders were teammates … Emma Verdonik (fifth) and Abby Sirwatka (18th). Falconer's Kirsten Holmberg was third and Fredonia's Micaela Tramuta was 11th.

* * *

Kiki Dy is an accomplished swimmer who came to the Newfane program from field hockey, while Sarah Ziemba and twins Kelly and Kate Bocknewetch all excelled in modified track and cross country last year.

Dy "fell into our lap," said Newfane coach Mike Heitzenrater. "Because of the way our league is run in swimming, with the girls competing in the winter, she could never qualify for states. So she said, "I want to do cross country and get to the states.' "

The youngsters have meshed well with senior Bethany Dewey and juniors Erin Hannah and Amy Lanighan.

It may have helped that Newfane had a significant amount of spots to fill in its lineup after graduating much of its team last year.

Continue reading "More from cross country " »

Big weekend on several fall fields

Football is obviously the big sport in the fall, but this opening weekend is even bigger when you consider the big events that are getting other seasons started.

* * *

In today's paper we mentioned two boys soccer events, the Clarence Tournament and the Coaches V. Cancer ECIC-NFL Challenge at Sweet Home. The Clarence event speaks for itself with top teams East Aurora, Nichols and Kenmore East visiting.

The Sweet Home event has organizers wondering aloud if it is the largest boys soccer event to be held in Western New York. With five games on Friday and five on Saturday, I can't think of anything of that scope.

It's a great format and a great cause. Officials will wear a commemorative shirt to honor former longtime Western New York official Tom Mingle, who passed away on Sept. 5, 2008. The officials -- who are donating all of their game fees to cancer research -- will make a presentation to Tom's family during halftime of the Sweet Home/North Tonawanda game at 12:45 p.m. Saturday.

The format of the event is two points for a win and one point for a tie; if the two leagues are tied the tiebreaker is fewest goals allowed.

Here's the lineup:

Friday's games
Sweet Home vs. Kenmore West, 2 p.m.
Wmsv. East vs. North Tonawanda, 4 p.m.
Wmsv. North vs. Niagara Falls, 4 p.m.
Wmsv. South vs. Lew-Port, 6 p.m.
Hamburg vs. Niagara-Wheatfield, 6 p.m.
Saturday's games
Wmsv. North vs. Lew-Port, 10 a.m.
Wmsv. East vs. Niagara-Wheatfield, 10 a.m.
Sweet Home vs. North Tonawanda, noon
Hamburg vs. Kenmore West, noon
Wmsv. South vs. Niagara Falls, 2 p.m.

Also, this afternoon is the first round for the Eden Kickoff Classic, which features the hosts meeting Springville and Pioneer taking on Roy-Hart; the winners meet Friday.

Friday just isn't opening night for football at Orchard Park, Rochester boys soccer power Aquinas will visit OP at 5 p.m.

Speaking of Aquinas, on Saturday the Little Irish host Canisius while the girls team hosts East Aurora.

* * *

Clarence also has a nice collection for its girls soccer tournament, held in conjunction with the boys. Friday's first-rounders are Nardin at Clarence and Nichols vs. Kenmore East.

Some nonleague girls soccer action Friday includes a great program showdown of Williamsville North at Grand Island as well as Williamsville South at North Tonawanda

* * *

Clarence just leads the league in big opening events -- the 23rd annual Clarence Invitational in boys volleyball includes a who's who of top teams in its 16-team field. Orchard Park, Canisius, Eden and St. Francis will be there. The tournament starts at 8 a.m.

Speaking of volleyball, the boys get some serious bump-set-spiking in tonight as OP -- which went undefeated last year -- opens against St. Francis at home at 7 p.m.

On Friday, Catholic girls state champion St. Mary's opens up at Victor of Section V (Rochester area) while Williamsville North is at Starpoint.

* * *

All that and even boys basketball (!) sneaking in with the Elia Tournament at Niagara Falls

---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 | kmcshea@buffnews.com

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