We're live at Buffalo State for the last step of the Section VI championships -- the overall Class B and A championships.
First up is Class B game which pits Olean against Akron for the third straight year in the postseason -- Olean has won the last two. A preview
post has a poll in which Olean is a big favorite.
Follow along below through the live chat.
DISCLAIMER: I won't be able to answer many questions because it gets
pretty busy here, especially late in games, especially now that I've got
the iPhone video going. Also, please try and limit questions to this game, especially during crunch time. THANKS for your understanding.
As always, let us know why you voted the way you did in the comments
Here's a capsule look at the Class A game:
Williamsville South (18-3): Starters -- Mark Coppola (5-7 sr.), Joe Licata (6-3 jr.), Phil Stasiak (6-2 jr.), Erik Hansen (6-4 jr.), Kevin O'Connell (6-3 jr.). Key reserves -- Aaron Adams (6-4 jr.), Dan Schaus (6-3 jr.), Bob Divita (5-11 sr.).
Poll -- Ranked a season-high second in last week's final in-season large school poll, has been in the top 10 all season.
Win streak: 14.
Notable regular season wins & losses -- Lost to large school Top 10 teams Bishop Timon-St. Jude and Canisius (without point guard Mark Coppola) and St. Joe's, all before the New Year; opened season by beating X-Ogdensburg and III-Marcellus at Glens Falls Tournament, swept Sweet Home twice in ECIC II.
East (17-4): Starters -- Domonique Jackson (6-4 sr.), Deon Robinson (5-10 sr.), Tremmell Fisher (6-3 jr.), Jasen Oden (6-1 jr), Dale Gray (6-3 sr.). Key reserves -- Andre Jackson (5-10 jr.), Chris Boyd (5-11 jr.), Lonnie Taylor (6-3 fr.).
Poll -- Ranked eighth in last week's final in-season large school poll; has been in the top 10 all season and was ranked as high as a tie for No. 2 before late-season academic suspensions.
Win streak: Three.
Notable regular season wins & losses -- Lost to St. Mary's in first game of year, lost at East of Rochester in Dec., lost at McKinley on Feb. 9 with all of its starters suspended; lost to Middle College in Yale Cup finale without Jackson; beat Canisius at MLK Challenge at full strength, beat Grover without Jackson.
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The Far West Regionals are Saturday at Buffalo State. There are two sessions with the same times as Saturday's Section VI championships: D-noon, C-1:45, B-3:30 p.m.; A-6:30, AA-8:15 p.m.
The Section V (Rochester area) representatives for those games will be determined in overall title games Tuesday and Wednesday. See the outstanding sectionvbasketball.com for details (click sectional schedule for a handy-dandy calendar).
Championship week is here, and it starts with what could be the best semifinal day of the week at Buffalo State.
Three games, starting with CCAA I power and year-long top 10 resident Allegany-Limestone taking on ECIC IV upstart Cleveland HIll at 5:30 p.m. in a B-2 semifinal.
That's followed by the highly anticipated B-1 semifinals, a final four of top 10 small schools. At 7 p.m., three-time overall Class B champion and No. 1 small school Olean takes on a dangerous Grover Cleveland team that struggled late in the regular season but the Presidents got Ricky Alejandro back for the quarterfinals and he had eight(!) threes in a very nice win at Medina. The final game of the day is a terrific matchup as ECIC III runner-up Depew takes on ECIC IV champion Lackawanna in an 8:30 scheduled start.
I've seen 12 games in the last seven days, will see 17 in the next six. It's the best week of the year in Western New York high school sports, and it should get off to a great start.
5:22 p.m. We're courtside and ready for our first game. NOTE to ALL FANS to get here EARLY this week. Buffalo State's main large parking lot is now a construction site, so parking spots are at a premium.
5:28 p.m. Also a reminder to fans that Section VI likes starting games ahead of time. Teams have been announced and the tipoff is next.
I'm going with Allegany-Limestone big. They've been here before and have a lot of players back from last year, which is why they have have been ranked all year -- just destroying teams not named Olean, Jamestown and Bradford (Pa.). Cleveland Hill has had a great season but I'm not sure they'll be able to keep up.
5:41 p.m. At the end of the first quarter, Allegany-Limestone leads Cleveland Hill, 14-10. A-L is getting some good shots while Cleve Hill is taking some bad ones.
5:50 p.m. With 2:45 left in the second quarter, Cleve Hill calls a timeout having cut the lead to 24-22. Golden Eagles have stepped up the energy on defense.
5:52 p.m. A-L calls the timeout this time with 1:25 left in the second. Omar Ramadan hit a deep three from the right side just moments ago to give Cleve Hill a 25-24 lead, its first of the game.
5:55 p.m. A-L gets a timeout on a scramble with 5.6 seconds left and the score tied at 26-26.
5:57 p.m. Nice finish of the quarter for Cleve Hill as Darryl Spencer blocks an A-L shot before the buzzer. At halftime we are tied at 26-26.
Nice job by Cleve Hill. Spencer has had a lot of energy on both ends. I thought A-L would be able to execute a little better on offense and perhaps be able to put away Cleve Hill early, but the Golden Eagles can only get more confident as the game goes on. Should be an interesting second half.
6:15 p.m. With 2:17 left in the third quarter, Allegany-Limestone calls a timeout. Cleve Hill is up, 37-34.
6:19 p.m. At the end of the third quarter, Cleveland Hill has a 42-34 lead. A great tip in by Spencer and a late three by No. 10 (sorry, no rosters!) helped the Eagles to a 9-2 quarter-ending run.
6:22 p.m. Good timeout by Cleve Hill coach Jason Pryzbysz with 7:00 left and A-L having cut the lead to 42-38 on two consecutive strong drives by Marcus Aiello and Nate Keenan.
6:30 p.m. Some great action from Cleve Hill earned it a 12-point lead at 50-38, but A-L just got a three from Aiello to make it 50-42. Timeout, A-L with 3:28 left in the game.
6:33 p.m. A-L is turning up the defensive pressure and Cleve Hill calls a timeout while being trapped. Eagles lead, 50-43, with 3:08 left.
6:42 p.m. A-L with a timeout after a made basket; Cleve Hill leads, 55-50, with 57.6 seconds left.
6:47 p.m. Cleve Hill holding on in crunch time, just barely. One free throw by Aaron Sanders gives it a 57-52 lead with 22.2 seconds left -- timeout, Cleve Hill.
6:50 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE in B-2 semifinal: Cleveland Hill 59, Allegany-Limestone 54.
Huge win for the Golden Eagles, and they deserved it. Very well-played game, composed and under control in a big-time contest.
The Section VI playoffs aren't the only highly-anticipated tournament in February.
Sharing the spotlight is the Lockport Kiwanis Club Girls Basketball Tournament scheduled
for Friday and Saturday.
Here's some information that Lockport athletic director Pat Burke put together for the 28th
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The event tips off Friday when Olean plays Shenendehowa at 6 p.m. followed by Lockport and
Nichols. The losers play in the consolation Saturday at 6 p.m. while the winners meet for the
title at 7:45 p.m.
The event features Shenendehowa, a power from the Albany area, is currently ranked No. 5 in
the state in Class AA. Nichols is the No. 6 large school in Western New York. Olean is the No.
1 small school in WNY and the No. 4 Class B school in the state. Host Lockport is the No. 1
large school in WNY and ranked No. 11 in Class AA in the state.
Nichols (14-4) is tied for first place in the Monsignor Martin Association.
Lockport, the defending champions put on the court one of the tallest teams in the area.
They are the five-time defending Niagara Frontier League champion, having run through a 14-0
season. The Lions are also the defending Section VI Class AA champions. They will be hunting
for a 17th Section VI championship.
The Lions are led by 5-10 senior Lea Sobieraski, 5-8 junior guard Caroline Randall and
5-year starting point guard 5-8 senior Renee Schwartz.
Shenendehowa is one of the long time powers in the state, coming over from Section II.
Shen's coach, Ken Strube, has over 500 wins in his career. In their last trip to the Kiwanis
tournament, Shen was beaten in the finals by Nichols in one of the most entertaining games in
Olean, the defending Section VI Class B champions, will once again be considered the
favorite in the Sectionals. Coach Don Scholla's club plays an entertaining brand of up tempo
basketball also having one of the best big players in the state in Rachel Bantelman. Bantelman
will be headed to the University at Buffalo next season on a basketball scholarship.
Senior point guard Alicia Mikowicz also returns for her second year as a starter and will
give the team excellent experience at the guard position. Seniors Grace Williamson and
Brittney Lee move into starting positions after playing key reserve roles on last year's
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).
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.