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Nichols seniors set for next year: Canestro to RIT, MacKinnon to USMMA, Vandegriff to Hobart

The destinations for Nichols' boys basketball seniors are set.

All-Western New York second teamer Ron Canestro is headed to the Rochester Institute of Technology to play both basketball and baseball at the Division III school.

All-WNY honorable mention Andy MacKinnon will be playing basketball at the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, located in Nassau County, Long Island, on the Long Island Sound. According to his father, Nichols assistant coach Jim MacKinnon, Andy received a "full ride" in equivalent to $210,000 to attend the institution. The Mariners are coming off a season in which they went 23-5, earned their first-ever Landmark Conference Championship, were ranked No. 23 in the national Division III poll, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Connor VanDeGriff will be attending Hobart to play basketball; Akron's Trevor Short and Canisius' Blair Helton are also headed to the Division III program in Geneva.

Of course, two-time Player of the Year Will Regan is headed to Virginia.

Nichols won the Class A state Federation championship this past season, becoming just the second large school from Western New York to win the overall state title.

---Keith McShea

Championship pages conclude with Nichols boys

The final edition of our state championship pages and audio slideshows concludes with the highly impressive feat of the Nichols boys basketball team winning the Class A state Federation title. 

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 and OTC Middle College on Thursday.

The big high school pages keep coming on Saturday with our All-Western New York issue for boys and girls basketball.

The Scholastic Spotlight will spring back into action three days later on Tuesday, April 13.

---Keith McShea

Live from the Federation boys A final: Nichols wins STATE TITLE with 65-43 win over III-Jamesville-Dewitt (with video)


Hello from the Glens Falls Civic Center for the second of two Federation championships today (see preview story and and fact-filled chart -- and other posts here from Friday -- for the details). Here is how Nichols advanced to the final.

After the game, feel free to leave comments below. 

* * *

Videos from the end of the game ... (Nichols let the shot clock expire, which is what the buzzer was for) ...

... and the end of the game, when coach Greg Plumb returned to the bench with the championship plaque ...

... and from the awards ceremony, with the MVP of Class A the final award that was announced.

---Keith McShea

Live from the Federation boys A semifinals: Nichols puts on a show in 85-66 win over AIS-L.I. Lutheran

Hello from the Glens Falls Civic Center for the last of three Federation semifinals today (see preview story and fact-filled chart -- and other posts here from today -- for the details).

After the game, feel free to leave comments below.

---Keith McShea

Who's going to win a Fed title?

As always, let us know why you voted the way you did in the space below.

---Keith McShea

Live from the Catholic A state final: Nichols heads to Glens Falls with 66-62 victory over Stepinac

Hello from the second game of our championship doubleheader at Canisius College.

---Keith McShea

Nichols wins on Long Island, will play at Canisius College next Sunday

Nichols made its trip to Long Island a productive one as it beat Long Island diocese champion St. Mary's, 67-49.

Nichols, which was up, 33-16 at halftime, will play for the state Catholic Class A championship at Canisius College next Sunday, March 14. Nichols will play Stepinac of White Plains at 3 p.m.

St. Mary's will play Salesian of New Rochelle for the Class B title at 1 p.m. at Niagara. Salesian beat Blessed Sacrament on Friday.  

---Keith McShea

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" »

Video: PrepTalkTV's Manhattan Cup show is dominated by Nichols

The latest episode of PrepTalkTV is all about Nichols completing its Manhattan Cup mission.

The video is accessible at the home page or via our video player page

Reporter/videographer/producer Lauren Mariacher and I will be back with Section VI final four action this week.

Let us know what you think.

* * *

Here's your own PrepTalkTV DVR loaded with our previous episodes:

* Section VI quarterfinals (Feb. 27): Clarence and North Tonawanda have big wins and we look ahead to the final fours at Buffalo State and Jamestown Community College. 

* Manhattan Cup semifinals (Feb. 23): Nichols-Canisius showdown set after both win big.

* Scarcello's buzzer-beater helps Timon to final four (Feb. 21): Bishop Timon-St. Jude got past St. Joe's in a Manhattan Cup quarterfinal thriller to join Nichols, Canisius and St. Mary's in the semifinals.

* Last day of the regular season (Feb. 19): Middle College wins the Yale Cup, Lancaster beats Depew.

* Big wins for Nichols, East (Feb. 17): Nichols clobbers Canisius, East tops Grover Cleveland.

* Nowak's buzzer-beater stuns Jamestown (Feb. 12): Orchard Park's thrilling win, plus action from Nichols and Lackawanna.

Super Tuesday (Feb. 9): North Tonawanda sweeps Niagara Falls; Maryvale and McKinley win on the busiest night of the year.

Sweet Home is ShellStrong (Feb. 5): Panthers basketball hosts a great fundraising night.

---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 | [email protected]