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Countdown to Friday Night Lights: C North

By Keith McShea

Who’s who: The seven-team division consists of the Akron Tigers, Cleveland Hill Golden Eagles, JFK Bears, Lackawanna Steelers, Newfane Panthers, Tonawanda Warriors and Wilson Lakemen.

Continue reading "Countdown to Friday Night Lights: C North" »

Video: Watch Wilson's win on PrepTalkTV

PrepTalkTV's road trip north to Wilson was more than worth it as the Lakemen topped Newfane in a jam-packed gym:

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You can find all of our videos easily by going to the video player and clicking "PrepTalkTV."

---Keith McShea

Friday Night Live with PrepTalkTV: Wilson beats Newfane, 49-44

Hello from wayyyyy up north at Wilson High's Richard J. Zipp Gymnasium, where the place is packed and the Internet connections are spotty. We're good for now and hopefully for the night and for the Lakemen's huge home game against Newfane, their Niagara-Orleans rival and fellow top 10 small school. Newfane is ranked third among small schools while Wilson is sixth.

6:43 p.m. We have a connection and are holding our breath that we'll have it for the night.

Our wireless card, whose name is the same as a track and field event, is not the strongest up north, I've been told. But it worked well enough to get video reporter Lauren Mariacher's PrepTalkTV pregame video up and we're doing fine right now. But there were some dicey moments pregame for this reporter, as the school's wireless signal wasn't working either. Sighhh. OK, on with the show.

6:49 p.m. Newfane has won the JV game. We have a between-games ceremony going on to honor Wilson scholar-athletes -- not a bad crowd to be honored in front of.

Prior to the ceremony, an announcement was made by principal Dan Johnson to the assembled crowd to "squeeze in -- just like in church. We're going to have to close the doors soon and we don't want to have anyone miss this classic game."

6:53 p.m. Newfane doing a loud chant in the hallway just as Wilson's team was gathered behind the scorer's table watching the ceremony. Should be a great night. Scoreboard clock is counting down from 15 minutes.

7:02 p.m. Newfane's "Blue Zone," one of the top student sections in Western New York, is on its collective feet in the bleacher to the left of the scorer's table, behind the Newfane bench.

I'm on the railing of the bleachers on the right side, a good spot for my trusty extension cord to power up the laptop. Thanks much to Wilson athletic director Jeff Roth for helping find a spot for me as well as for Lauren Mariacher, who has a desk at which to set up her PrepTalkTV shop in the right corner.

7:12 p.m. We're about to tip off. Place is rocking following introductions.

7:16 p.m. We have our first timeout of the game, taken by Newfane coach Eric Klumpp as the Panthers trail, 7-1, with 5:45 left in the first quarter and Tyler Truesdell going to the line to try and convert a three-point play. He misses.

7:28 p.m. AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER, Wilson leads Newfane, 9-3. Some great early action here, Wilson with a super-strong start -- it had a 9-1 lead at one point. Truesdell has been big with his play and his energy.

7:33 p.m. Timeout Wilson with a player trapped after a defensive rebound. Lakemen continue to lead, 10-3, with 5:48 left in the second. Still very good defense from Wilson, as Newfane has not looked comfortable at all.

7:40 p.m. Timeout Wilson with 2:17 left in the second quarter and the Lakemen still holding a lead at 12-9. Rohn Pierce scored inside for Newfane and he hit two free throws to make it 10-7. Truesdell had a great strong baseline drive but Sean Seefeldt answered by hitting a drive while falling through the lane.

7:45 p.m. We are at HALFTIME and Wilson leads Newfane, 18-13.

Junior Tyler Martin has been huge for Wilson with three three-pointers, including two threes in the final 1:30 of the second quarter, one of which came in the final seconds. Not the highest scoring game, but Wilson deserves its edge. It has played very good defense; on offense it failed to capitalize by wasting more than a few possessions with some unforced errors. Brennan Moxham's shooting was a little off in the first half, but I'd expect the Wilson senior leader to have a impactful second half.

Some halftime highlights thanks to Lauren Mariacher:

8:14 p.m. A fun third quarter here has become a back-and-forth affair, with Newfane up, 30-29, heading into the final minute. Panthers had a great start to the quarter, taking its first lead at 19-18.

8:19 p.m. At the END OF THE THIRD QUARTER, Wilson leads Newfane, 32-30. The pace has really picked up. Should be a great finish. Two free throws by Martin with 3.1 seconds left put Wilson ahead.

UPDATE from Sean Bruso, doing the game on radio: Lancaster 26, Williamsville 25 at halftime after North's Sterling Taplin spun out of a trap and hit a three at the buzzer.

8:30 p.m. Timeout Wilson with Truesdell trapped. Lakemen lead, 40-39, with 3:11 to go. Moxham just had a huge rebound and putback from the weak side to put Wilson in front.

8:32 p.m. Timeout Newfane with 2:53 left in the game after Moxham drew an offensive foul on Newfane. Maybe an iffy call, but I can say that Wilson has been owed some after seemingly getting hit a few times on their offensive end, so it's evening out -- just like it always tends to.

8:38 p.m. Whew what a finish. Wilson leads, 43-42, with 1:36 left in the game. Rohn Pierce just hit the first and missed the second. Truesdell has been huge on the boards.

8:40 p.m. Martin hits two huge free throws for a 45-42 lead for Wilson. Newfane calls a timeout with the ball and 52.3 seconds left.

8:42 p.m. Timeout Wilson. Newfane with a miss, jump ball to Newfane; 46.3 seconds left and still 45-42.

North leads at Lancaster, 41-39, after three, thanks to Bruso.

8:43 p.m. Sean Seefeldt with a tough fallaway jumper in the lane for Newfane, which calls a timeout with 35.5 seconds left, trailing, 45-44.

8:46 p.m. Martin super-clutch at the line. He hits two with 20.7 seconds left to put Wilson up, 47-44.

8:50 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Wilson beats Newfane, 49-44.

Newfane missed two shots at three-pointers in the final seconds and Martin hit two more free throws with one seconds left to finish it off. Great win for Wilson. Fans come on to the court and raise Martin up on their shoulders.

More to come.

9:10 p.m. Big win for Lancaster, which beats North, 67-58. Thanks to Sean Bruso for that update. The box score will be available at our scoreboard page, which can also accessed through the high school home page. I've just entered the Wilson-Newfane box.

Other notable wins tonight by Williamsville South, which took care of Williamsville East by 20; and by Maryvale and coach Mark Kensy, who is now 4-0 against son Chris, the coach at Amherst.

Now we're off to put together our full PrepTalkTV episode so look for that later tonight. It will include highlights and interviews from the Wilson-Newfane game, a rundown of other top games tonight as well as a day-by-day look at next week's major matchups.

Or catch it tomorrow before logging on to check in with the St. Joe's at Canisius game, set for 5 p.m. Saturday. If you're not at the game, I'll have updates during the contest as well as highlights and interviews later on.

Here are the finished products:

PrepTalkTV episode;

and the story for Saturday's paper.

---Keith McShea

DiPaolo family dishes out a night to remember

The Western New York high school wrestling family got together for their annual reunion.

Ilio DiPaolo's Restaurant in Blasdell served as the site of this gathering also known as the Ilio DiPaolo Scholarship Award dinner. The 15th annual event, which brought together 200, honored the best from the 2009-2010 wrestling season in the form of six awards and five college scholarships totaling $9,000.

Bob Koshinski of the Executive Committee made the case for the Class of 2010 being the most elite group in the award's history. The competition was so tough, two New York State Champions did not make the final list.

The winners combined for 836 career wins, 12 Section VI individual championships, nine place finishes at states and three state championships.

The distinguished group included:
Ilio DiPaolo award: Dominic Montesanti, Medina
Gary Castanza award: Kyle Colling, Pioneer
Destroyer award: Angelo Malvestuto, Niagara-Wheatfield
Bill Hein award: Joe Kalinka, Iroquois
Cauiflower Alley Club: James Donner, Niagara-Wheatfield
St. Francis football captain's award: Adam Pasnik

• Past winner of the Ilio DiPaolo scholarship, Kane Smith, was the guest speaker. The 2005 Salamanca graduate gave a polished delivery in which he talked about how revealing 6 minutes on a wrestling mat can be, and how the sacrifice, sweat and pain it takes to be a wrestler prepares you for everyday life.

• A DVD presentation prepared by the committee gave a look into the life of man who brought everyone together. The 1950s black and white footage showed DiPaolo in the ring displaying amazing athleticism for a man his size and he disposed of each opponent.

• Dennis DiPaolo, always a gracious host, did his best to recognize some of his guests: former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, former Buffalo Bills trainer Eddie Abramoski, retired Niagara-Wheatfield wrestling coach Ace Cacciatore, retired Roy-Hart/Newfane coach Dick Lange, Empire State Games local chairman Ralph Galanti, Preston Teague of the Buffalo Bills Community Relations department, Linda Knuutila of WNY Wrestling Review and his charming mother.

---Mary Jo Monnin

Wrapping up the Section VI wrestling championships

Here are the Division I and Division II stories from the Section VI wrestling championship. And here are plenty of extras from the Division II meet Saturday night at Niagara County Community College. But first, a couple observations.

1. This was the second straight year NCCC served as host for the event, and it's a great venue. There's plenty of parking, and NCCC coach Eric Knuutilla (one of the nicest men you could ever meet) does a great job having the gym ready. The support staff, including announcers and officials, also do a good job of keeping everything moving as close to on time as possible.

2. Another thank you to Ross Conti, an assistant coach at Fredonia and committee member of the Wrestling Review of Western New York, the group that does such a great job seeding and ranking area wrestlers. Conti is a walking encyclopedia of wrestling knowledge.

112-pound champion Tom Page, Eden: Page moved ahead with a takedown in the second period to defeat teammate eighth-grade teammate Alex Smythe. Here's Page's father, also Tom Page, on what it's like for two teammates to wrestle each other: "It's extremely difficult because they're so familiar with each other's style. It's unfair to both, but some coaches say it's a privilege. I'm proud of both of the athletes, because they've done a fantastic job."

The elder Page said he wrestled both at 112 because they were the best at that weight class and deserved a chance to showcase what they could do at the sectional level. Nothing wrong with that logic.

119-pound champion Kevin Strong, Frewsburg: It's the second trip to states for Strong, who improved to 43-2 on the season. Here he is on his game plan from Saturday: "I was working on holding him down and taking it slow. Once I got my points I was very careful." Strong beat Newfane's David Ciaramella, 9-0.

125-pound champion Emory Rowe, Ripley: The smallest wrestling school in Western New York had two finalists, including one champion in Rowe. He scored a late takedown to earn a 5-3 decision over Jake Baer of Olean, a raw talent in just his third year of wrestling. Here's Rowe on the end of the match: "I was just looking for an opening and I saw him loosen up, so I dove for it and got it."

140-pound champion Devin Kramer, Depew: The Most Outstanding Wrestler of the meet scored three late points to break a 2-2 tie with Ben Haas of Salamanca and win his second sectional title (he won at 130 last year). The 130- and 140-pound divisions are packed with talented wrestlers. Kramer, a senior who is a member of the Cobra Wrestling Academy, is 36-4 on the season.

145-pound champion: Dominic Montesanti, Medina: Montesanti put forth a dominant performance despite being hampered by a knee injury. He's wrestling on a torn meniscus in his right knee. Here he is on competing hurt: "It's been a real bother, but it's my senior so I couldn't get surgery. It would put me out for the rest of the year. I have one last chance to be a state champion, so I have to tough it out."

Montesanti took sixth at the state tournament last year after dislocating his elbow and having to injury forfeit two matches at 140.

171-pound champion John Mistretta, Southwestern: Mistretta beat Greg Burroughs of Fredonia for the third time this season, never the easiest thing to do. Mistretta has a unique style that could make him a tough out at the state tournament.

189-pound champion Colin Palmer, East Aurora: Palmer is unbeaten on the season (24-0) after missing time early due to injury.

215-pound champion Pat Langworthy, Southwestern: Langworthy (33-6), a junior, won a wild weight class. Consider: the seventh seed, Panama's Cody DiDomenico, beat No. 2 Bashar Srouji of Lew-Port in the quarterfinals. Langworthy, the third seed, then beat DiDomenico. On the other side of the bracket, top seed Justin Taylor of Portville was upset by fourth seed Jake Eddington of Gowanda in the semifinals.

285-pound champion Theo King, Roy-Hart: King and 96-pounder Zach Bickle won titles for the Rams. Here's King on what he hopes it means for the Niagara-Orleans League school: "I hope it can inspire more people to come out for the team next year and continue to build the tradition of the program."

That's it for now, although we may have some video later of a few matches (if I can figure out the technology).

---Jay Skurski

Lineup set for N-O/Genesee Region hoops showcase

The lineup is set for the Niagara-Orleans League vs. Genesee Regional League Showcase, a great late-season event in its second year. Some nice matchups that make for great tuneups for the teams heading into the postseason.

Here's the schedule: 

at Genesee Community College
Friday, Feb. 12
Akron vs V-Elba, 6:30 p.m.
Medina vs V-Alexander, 8 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 13
CSAT vs. V-Kendall, noon
Roy-Hart vs. V-Pembroke, 1:30 p.m.
Barker vs. V-Byron-Bergen, 3 p.m.
Newfane vs. V-Lyndonville, 4:30 p.m.
Albion vs. V-Wheatland-Chili, 6 p.m.
Wilson vs. V-Oakfield-Alabama, 7:30 p.m.

Somewhat of a bummer is that private school Notre Dame of Batavia is not participating -- I'm not sure why; perhaps it was a scheduling issue. Batavia Notre Dame is the only Genesee Region school in the state rankings -- it is fifth in Class D, one spot behind Maple Grove..

Don't get me started on private schools being permitted to participate in Class D of the state's public school athletic association.

---Keith McShea

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:

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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.

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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 " »

Hoops too? Yup, the Elia Tournament is at NF

The Alan R. Elia Sr. Memorial Basketball Tournament, which was known as the Can-Am for many years, will be held in Niagara Falls this weekend -- giving a weekend full of kickoffs a tip-off as well. 

Here's a basic schedule and the rosters of local teams. The big news -- on this first day of school for many -- is that Stan Wier, who was an All-Western New York honorable mention as a freshman last year at East Aurora, is listed as Nichols. That confirms what some sources told me recently, that Wier had enrolled at Nichols to complete a transfer from EA.

That certainly gives the Vikings another scoring weapon to a team that returned four starters, and it gives them a serious outside threat -- which may make teams think twice about concentrating on Will Regan and Ron Canestro. 

For those who want a hoop fix, there are games all day Saturday, starting at 9 a.m. and the final games scheduled to start at 7 p.m. All those games are at Niagara Falls High.

Sunday's playoffs are at Niagara Catholic. Semifinals at 9 and 10:15 a.m. will be followed by an 11:30 consolation and a 12:45 p.m. championship.

Here are the local teams, which feature Niagara Falls players on all three:

Niagara PAL Chiefs

Ka'ron Briggs (Sweet Home), Keegan Dunlop (St. Francis, Ont.), J.J. Harrington (Lancaster), Davon Marshall (Niagara Falls), Lucas Pachete (North Tonawanda), Joel Pike (Frontier), Dajon Street (Niagara Falls), Sterling Taplin (Williamsville North), Stan Weir (Nichols). Coach: Sal Constantino.

J Ballers

Gelajide Brown (Niagara Falls), Mike Carson (Niagara Falls), Jermaine Crumpton (Niagara Falls), Lorenzo Joseph (Niagara Catholic), Maurice Respress (Niagara Falls), Kenny Stokes (Niagara Falls), Jordan Street (Niagara Falls), J.J. Wilkes (Niagara Falls), Tajay Williams (Niagara Falls). Coach: Carlos Bradberry.

Harbor Hoops

Ethan Baker (Wilson), C.J. Cox (Niagara Falls), Dan Hanbrauch (Newfane), Brennan Moxham (Wilson), Alex Short (Akron), Trevor Short (Akron), Jonas Stalyga (Grand Island), Tyler Truesdale (Wilson), Connor Vandegriff (Nichols), John Cincent (Wilson). Coaches: Jim Vandergriff/Walt Moxham.

---Keith McShea

Scribbling down scrimmages: Saturday's lineup

Saturday is the first day football teams can scrimmage each other.

Below is a list we've compiled from your responses to the Kicking off 2009 football talk post as well as some other research.

PLEASE let us know of any inaccuracies, updates or additions via the comments section below or an email to Thanks.

Also, check out a statewide scrimmage list from the NYS Sportswriters Association.

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Saturday's scrimmages

Cardinal O'Hara at Cleveland Hill, 8 a.m.

St. Francis, Sweet Home and East at Lockport, 9 a.m.

Williamsville North, Burgard, Starpoint and Kenmore West at Clarence, 9 a.m.

Maple Grove and Clymer at Cassadaga Valley, 9 a.m.

V-Hornell at Olean, 9 a.m.

Alden, Wilson and Lew-Port at Medina, 9:30 a.m.

East Aurora and Gowanda at Cattaraugus/Little Valley, at 9:30 a.m.

Riverside and Grand Island at North Tonawanda, 10 a.m.

Maryvale, Grover Cleveland, Eden and three others -- yup, a seven-team scrimmage -- at Williamsville South, 10 a.m.

West Seneca East and Cheektowaga at Canisius, 10 a.m. (Stransky Complex at 2885 Clinton St., West Seneca)

St Joe's at Orchard Park, 10 a.m.

Salamanca, V-Dansville and V-Wellsville at Pioneer, 10 a.m.

Hamburg at Jamestown, 10 a.m.

Southwestern at Randolph, 10 a.m.

Frontier and Lackawanna at Iroquois, 5 p.m.

West Seneca West, Lake Shore and Kenmore East at Amherst, 6 p.m.

Depew and Niagara-Wheatfield at Williamsville East, TBA

Batavia at Albion, TBA

Lancaster at V-Webster Schroeder, 9:30 a.m.

Newfane and V-Charles Finney at V-Elba/Byron-Bergen, 10 a.m.

Niagara Falls, V-Hilton, V-Marshall, V-Spencerport at V-Greece-Olympia, 10 a.m.

---Keith McShea


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 |