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McShea discusses Westfield/Brocton canceling its football season on NPR's All Things Considered

Keith McShea appeared on National Public Radio's All Things Considered program this afternoon to discuss the decision by Westfield/Brocton to cancel its football season.

Westfield/Brocton decided to cancel its season following the death of Brocton's Damon Janes after he suffered injuries in the team's Sept. 13 game.

Listen to the full interview below:

Here is the link to the interview.

Westfield/Brocton cancels remainder of football season

By Keith McShea

The Westfield/Brocton football team will not return to the field for the rest of this season. 

The Westfield Board of Education Monday night approved the cancellation of the football season following the death of junior football player Damon Janes a week ago today.

Janes, a junior from Brocton, died three days after suffering injuries in Westfield/Brocton's Sept. 13 game at Portville.  

"The Westfield Academy and Central School Board of Education unanimously approved a recommendation by the superintendent to cancel the remaining 2013 Varsity Football season during their September 23, 2013 meeting," reads a statement on the district's website.

The statement, continued in its entirety:

Continue reading "Westfield/Brocton cancels remainder of football season" »

Countdown to Friday Night Lights: Class D

By Keith McShea

Who’s who: The six-team division consists of the Cassadaga Valley Cougars, Ellicottville/West Valley Eagles, Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake Red Dragons, Portville Panthers, Randolph Cardinals and Westfield/Brocton Wolverines.

Continue reading "Countdown to Friday Night Lights: Class D" »

Far West Regional softball: Clarence, Olean win, Amherst falls

Today's three Far West Regional softball games at Niagara Falls begin at 4 p.m. with the Class A game between Amherst and Pittsford-Mendon; the Class B game is at 5 (Olean vs. Mynderse) on an adjacent field with the AA tilt between Clarence and Fairport at 6.

The D (Panama vs. Bolivar-Richburg at 4 p.m.) and C (Westfield-Gananda at 6 p.m.) softball regionals are being held at Scio, about 35 miles east of Olean. We'll pass on results of those games as soon as we hear anything.

* * *

Updates from Reporter Jay Skurski at Niagara Falls:

5:24 p.m. Amherst falls in the Class A game, 6-1.

6:55 p.m. Olean wins in Class B, 4-0, behind a three-hitter and 11 strikeouts by Chelsea Calabro.

8:09 p.m. Clarence wins in AA, 4-0.

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/highschool     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

Live from Far West Regional boys lacrosse: Irondequoit beats Hamburg, 8-4; Aquinas edges Silver Creek, 14-11; Fairport routs OP, 10-5

I'll be live at today's Far West Regionals in boys lacrosse at Canisius College, while Reporter Jay Skurski will be updating me with the results of the regional games at Niagara Falls High School. Here's my story from today taking a look at the games.

The lacrosse action begins at 3:30 p.m. with the Class B game between Hamburg and Irondequoit; that's followed by Silver Creek vs. Aquinas in Class C at 5:30 and Orchard Park against Fairport in Class A at 8.

Live from Demski. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News) The three softball games at Niagara Falls begin at 4 p.m. with the Class A game between Amherst and Pittsford-Mendon; the Class B game is at 5 (Olean vs. Mynderse) on an adjacent field with the AA tilt between Clarence and Fairport at 6.

The D (Panama vs. Bolivar-Richburg at 4 p.m.) and C (Westfield-Gananda at 6 p.m.) softball regionals are being held at Scio, about 35 miles east of Olean. We'll pass on results of those games as soon as we hear anything.

We'll provide updates as soon as we can -- just hit that refresh button.

* * *

For anyone headed to the lacrosse games, I will have raffle tickets that benefit the Tom Borrelli Memorial Fund. Just yell at me when I'm running around after I do interviews or come up to the press box. Tickets are $5 each and your three-digit number gives you an entry in a daily drawing for the entire month of July. 

* * *

3:37 p.m. We're underway with the Class B game at Canisius College - scoreless through the first four minutes. 

3:38 p.m. Two back-to-back big saves early by Hamburg goalie James Maxwell about 4:30 in.

3:41 p.m. Irondequoit's Greg Coholan hits a post -- Hamburg gets a ground ball, recovers after a dropped ball and takes a timeout with 5:32 left in the first.

3:45 p.m. Our first goal of the game is a man-up goal by Irondequoit, as senior Mike Utz slams in a line drive from the left side off a behind-the-cage feed from sophomore Nick Doktor. Irondequoit leads,1-0, with 3:46 left in the first. 

3:50 p.m. Irondequoit has several more chances, but Hamburg checks help send a few of them wide and Maxwell makes a couple of saves, including a one-on-one stop on Utz.

3:51 p.m. At the END OF THE FIRST QUARTER, Irondequoit leads Hamburg, 1-0.

3:57 p.m. Irondequoit calls a timeout with 8:12 left in the second quarter -- Hamburg turned the ball over but the Bulldogs have played solid defense and Irondequoit hardly has had any shots. Utz is down on the sideline, lying face-first and getting treatment to a hamstring I believe. He gets back up after the treatment and his helmet is back on.

4 p.m. Irondequoit goes up, 2-0, on an unassisted goal by Doktor, who came from behind the right side of the cage, wheeled around and fired past Maxwell.

4:05 p.m. Hamburg's first goal is a cool one as longstick Shawn Needham clears the ball, then takes advantage of the defense failing to come to him, so he speeds in on goal and scores on the near side past sophomore goalie Ryan Jurek for a 2-1 game with 3:34 left.

4:06 p.m. Irondequoit wins the faceoff behind senior Justin Buonomo and calls a timeout with 3:25 left in the second quarter.

4:08 p.m. Maxwell makes a great save, feeds senior defensive middie Patrick Eagen for a clear and Hamburg calls a timeout with 2:30 left in the second quarter. 

4:15 p.m. We are at HALFTIME and Hamburg and Irondequoit are tied at 2-2

Hamburg tied the game with 1:13 left after it had a two-man advantage following two 1-minute slash calls. Senior Adam Dings, on the right side, took a pass from senior Ryan Feuerstein and Dings whipped the ball into the left side of the cage. 

Irondequoit had a good chance after winning the next faceoff but Doktor's shot from the right side went off the near pipe.

A high quality game in which the teams seemed to feel each out early in long, patient offensive sets, and key possessions prompting good timeouts from coaches as they try to best manage the game.

4:24 p.m. Ryan Feuerstein wins the opening faceoff of the second half and has a bounce shot from the right side carom up off the far post.

4:28 p.m. On a man-up opportunity that Hamburg was very upset with after a technical push call, Utz rips a shot from the left side after a skip pass (basketball term) from Greg Coholan, a junior middie, with 9:53 left in the third quarter.

4:29 p.m. Hamburg strikes right back to tie the game at 3-3 with 9:01 left as Ryan Feuerstein charges up the center and scores unassisted.

4:31 p.m. Irondequoit takes advantage of a Hamburg turnover and calls a timeout in transition with 7:36 left in the third. Really early to take a timeout in a close game, thinks the press box.

4:33 p.m. Irondequoit takes a 4-3 lead on a great goal by Utz, who scores on a low shot while falling to the turf afer some hard work. 7:14 left in the third.

4:37 p.m. Hamburg ties it at 4-4 with 4:31 left when sophomore middie Ryan Jurek picked up an errant pass through the middle by senior attack Josh Kerr -- right-place, right-time for a one-on-one goal.

4:44 p.m. Irondequoit goes up again, 5-4, with 33.7 seconds left as sophomore middie Ian Brooks scores from the left side off a pass by Coholan, who ran right and passed across to the left.

4:46 p.m. At the END OF THE THIRD QUARTER, Irondequoit leads Hamburg, 5-4.

4:54 p.m. Big-time goal by Utz, who runs around the restraining box and whips a laser in for a 6-4 lead with 7:39 left in the game.

4:54 p.m. Utz with another laser. Big time stuff here. This one is from the left side off an assist by big junior Emmy Poccia from behind the left side of the cage. Irondequoit leads, 7-4, with 7:12 remaining.

4:57 p.m. The lead is 8-4 after Nick Doktor walks in on an open goal as Hamburg goes to a ride in which Maxwell is out of the goal defending. Big decision there to go to that ride, maybe a game-ender. Timeout, Hamburg with 5:41 left. Hamburg took an earlier timeout -- with 8:48 left in the fourth -- so they are done for the game. 

5:03 p.m. Irondequoit calls a timeout with 2:16 left in the game and the lead appears secure. Hamburg had a man-up opportunity, but a blocked shot helped give possession to Irondequoit and it cleared the ball.

5:08 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Irondequoit 8, Hamburg 4.

* * *

5:43 p.m. We're about to start the Class C game.

5:49 p.m. Silver Creek scores on a strong move to the cage by Cam Seneca, who surged in from the left side for a dip-and-dunk and a 1-0 lead -- which might mark the first time Section VI has held a lead in the Class C regional round. 

5:50 p.m. Aquinas ties it at 1-1 on a goal by senior middie Brendan Hall off a pass by senior attack Austin Gorman from behind the cage with 6:35 left in the first. 

5:52 p.m. Silver Creek up, 2-1, after a nice fast-break finish by Zack Williams off a seal and a pass from Zed Williams.

5:55 p.m. Gorman scores to tie it at 2-2 with 4:34 left in the first. 

5:57 p.m. Silver Creek takes the lead again on a slick sidearm bounce shot by Zed Williams off an assist from Zack Williams with 3:05 left.

5:59 p.m. Aquinas ties it again at 3-3 after a Gorman goal off a feed from Klay Heston with 2:15 left; it adds a goal 16 seconds later when Heston scored off a Gorman feed right off a won faceoff for the Little Irish. Aquinas leads Silver Creek, 4-3, with 1:59 left in the first.

6:05 p.m. At the END OF THE FIRST QUARTER, Aquinas leads Silver Creek, 5-3. Anthony Bianchi finished a behind-the-cage feed from Gorman with 34.6 seconds left. 

6:28 p.m. My apologies on the lack of updates -- been taking care of a bunch of things. We are at HALFTIME and Silver Creek leads Aquinas, 7-5. 

A super finish for Aquinas, which got a literal last-second shot from Zed Williams to gain a two-goal lead. He picked up a loose ball about 15 yards out and released it with 0.4 seconds left -- the goal beat the horn in an outstanding play for the Black Knights. I just checked the Time Warner Cable SportsNet monitors and the goal was good. Great play for Silver Creek.

Silver Creek owned the quarter, 4-0. Zack Williams scored an unassisted goal with 10:55 left; Levi Jones scored on a solo rush 45 seconds later. With 5:24 left, Zack Williams scored on a great quick-stick catch-and-shoot in traffic right in front of the cage off a pass from John Jimerson, who was behind the cage to the right. That gave the Black Knights a 6-5 lead that it appeared would be it for the half before the horn-beater by Zed Williams.

6:37 p.m. We have started the second half in what is already the best performance by a Section VI team in the history of the Class C regionals. This round has always seen a powerful Penn Yan program toy with the Section VI team.

6:41 p.m. Aquinas quickly ties it up with two goals 33 seconds apart -- first it was Jake Vogl scoring off a feed from Klay Heston; then Heston scored unassisted to tied it at 7-7 with 8:21 left in the third.

6:43 p.m. Silver Creek scores on an unassisted goal by Zack Williams right off the face off with 8:12 left; Aquinas ties it at 8-8 with a Anthony Bianchi goal off another Gorman assist.

6:48 p.m. Two nice plays by Silver Creek give it a 10-8 lead. First, John Jimerson picks off a pass just inside midfield with Aquinas goalie Erich Wischmeyer well out of the goal on a clearing attempt -- Jimerson then finds Cam Seneca, who fired it in the an empty cage with 5:47 left. With 5:15 left, SC scored on an extra-man opportunity as Zed Williams scored on the right doorstep after a fantastic pass zinged through the defense by Zack Williams. 

6:52 p.m. Aquinas cuts it to 10-9 on an unassisted line drive straight out from Heston with 2:21 left in the third.

6:56 p.m. At the END OF THE THIRD QUARTER, we are tied at 10-10. Gotta love it. Aquinas tied it with 46.7 seconds left on a goal by Heston from Vogl.

7:01 p.m. We're tied at 11-11 as Cam Seneca scored off a pretty Zed Williams feed with 10:12 left; Aquinas had taken its first lead since the first quarter on a goal by Heston with 10:27 left.

7:02 p.m. Aquinas up 12-11 after Bianchi finishes a Gorman assist in front of the cage with 9:17 left. 

7:03 p.m. Aquinas gets a ground ball in its own end after a nice save by Wischmeyer against Zed Williams -- 8:48 left in the game.

7:06 p.m. Heston scores his sixth goal of the game with 8:06 left -- Aquinas has a two-goal lead for the first time since the first quarter as they lead 13-11.

7:09 p.m. Gorman extends the lead to 14-11 with a goal off a pass from Heston -- there is 5:40 to go. 

7:14 p.m. Aquinas survived an EMO by Silver Creek, which just picked up a ground ball and called a timeout with 2:35 left in the game.

7:17 p.m. A save by Wischmeyer sends Aquinas to the Silver Creek end, where the Little Irish play keep away and their fans shake their milk cartons full of crud to make some noise. We're under a minute left.

7:19 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Aquinas beats Silver Creek, 14-11. Great job by the Black Knights for a best-ever Class C game from Section VI.

* * *

7:57 p.m. We're about to start our final game of the day -- player introductions are going on for the A game.

8:01 p.m. OP starts quickly as senior middie Matt Wilson won the opening faceoff, then put in a rebound for a 1-0 lead less than a minute into the game. Fairport scores on a rebound to tie it when Tim Modesti batted in a ball that he had dropped with 8:04 left in the first quarter.

8:09 p.m. Fairport and goalie Blaze Riorden are staring into the sun, which is setting right behind the OP goal. OP has taken a couple of long-ish shots but Riorden has stopped them.

8:17 p.m. At the END OF THE FIRST QUARTER, Fairport leads Orchard Park, 2-1. The Red Raiders scored with 6.3 seconds left when they took advantage of a poor clearing attempt and Brendan Saylor came around from the left side of the cage to score. 

8:21 p.m. Fairport went up, 3-1, with 10:38 left in the second after Saylor goes up-and-under on Owens after a great fast-break clear and long pass from Brian Martin. OP cut it to 3-2 with Wilson's second goal of the game, a bounce shot off a burst down the left side with 9:37 left.

8:26 p.m. James Manilla scores an unassisted goal on the left side with 6:55 left in the second quarter and Fairport is up, 4-2.

8:32 p.m. Fairport takes a timeout with 3:23 left in the second owning a 4-2 lead and most of the play. The sun has gone down and the lights have begun to come on here at the Demske Sports Complex.

8:35 p.m. Fairport goes up, 5-2, on a nice play by Martin Manilla, who dodges in front and scores with 2:49 left in the half. That goal sends a Red Raider mascot up and down the sideline here waving a big red flag with a big white 'F' on it. Nice job in the mascot department by Fairport. I don't see any Opie from OP here.

8:37 p.m. OP calls a timeout with 45.6 seconds left -- a call that is being disputed by the Fairport sideline.

8:41 p.m. We are at HALFTIME and Fairport leads Orchard Park, 5-2. 

8:53 p.m. Back to the action. OP needs to change the way it is playing if it wants to win this game. I have some typing to do for my story for the paper so the updates might be a little more sporadic. 

9:02 p.m. Fairport up 7-2 with 3:06 left in the third quarter, prompting a timeout by OP. Chris Button scored on an assist by Saylor with 4:45 left; Martin scored as he ran in from the right side off a feed from Martin Manilla. That possession was set up by a nice save by Riorden and a super cleary by Chris Benza to Martin.

Definitely writing my story now. Looks like the first sweep for Section V over Section VI since 2007 and just the second sweep in the last 12 years. 

9:12 p.m. At the END OF THE THIRD QUARTER, Fairport has an 8-3 lead on Orchard Park. Ben Johnson scored of an assist from Sean Purtill for OP's goal with 1:24 left in the third. 

9:23 p.m. With 5:03 left in the game, Fairport is up, 10-3, and Orchard Park is getting being called for a steady stream of penalties as the Quakers are definitely frustrated with having its season come to and end. 

9:31 p.m. Mass substitutions for Fairport, which is up, 10-4, with 1:24 left after a goal by OP's Trevor Vargo.

9:32 p.m. Fairport doing the St. Joe's "I believe that we have won" chant. Doesn't have the same charm when a bunch of parents do it. Just saying. 

9:33 p.m. Ben Johnson scores for OP with 1 second on the clock. 

9:34 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Fairport 10, Orchard Park 5. Gotta write. 

* * *

Here are some additional quotes from Tuesday's games:

Irondequoit coach Craig Whipple:

"We felt good about the way things were going, and we hit so many pipes … I told the guys to keep shooting. We thought we could get that two- three-goal spurt, and we did.

"We are very proud to be the Western Region champions and it's something our program is very proud of, but our focus has been on a three-game tournament. We're glad to get this first step, we're on to the second and hopefully we can get to that third."

Silver Creek coach Bill Brennan:

"It was a blessing in disguise with that loss (17-6 in last year's regionals to Penn Yan) because we at least had our feet wet and we knew what to expect. We didn't want to take anything lightly to get here. Getting was tough, Eden (in the sectional final) was tough."

Aquinas senior Austin Gorman:

"[Silver Creek is] definitely a lot different from the teams we've been playing in Rochester. They're definitely a box [lacrosse-style] team, with box picks … our defense did an unbelievable job with the picks. Their [zone] defense is a little bit different. It was a high scoring game on both ends … we just had a couple more than they did, but they played great."

* * *

If you attend any of the games, let us know how it went and what you thought of the action.

We'll talk about all the regionals and the Section VI representatives' chances at states this weekend during Wednesday evening's live chat at 9:45.

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/highschool     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

Olean, Westfield, Panama win softball titles; Timon lax loses, Silver Creek repeats; Section VI girls lax goes 0 for 3

Some updates from today's high school action -- review it all, as well as the Section VI track and field championships at the buffalonews.com high school home page:

Panama beat Pine Valley, 7-2, in the Class D softball final.

Westfield beat Randolph, 4-3, in the Class C softball final thanks to a walkoff RBI single by Rachel Quagliana.

Olean beat Depew, 4-0, in the Class B final for the Huskies' first sectional title.

In the boys lacrosse state Catholic final downstate, Bishop Timon-St. Jude loses, 10-9, at Iona Prep.

Silver Creek held off a furious Raiders' rally to win its second straight Section VI Class C title, 17-16. The game was suspended Friday night due to lightning with Silver Creek leading, 13-9, late in the third quarter.

In the girls lacrosse Far West Regionals at Amherst, Lancaster got off to a quick, 4-1 start in the A game before Pittsford surged back, scoring 12 unanswered goals in a 16-6 victory over the Red Devils. 

In Class B, superpower Canandaigua dominated West Seneca East, 23-4.

Amherst fell in the Class C game to Honeoye Falls-Lima, 18-6.

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






Vote for the four Section VI wrestling class tournament champions

Football schedule updates after the dropout fallout

These are the updates to the football schedule we have received, almost all a result of the dropout fall out caused by Brocton, Hinsdale and Walsh pulling the plug on their seasons:

Week One
Sherman vs. Forestville at Silver Creek - Friday, Sept. 4, 7:30 p.m.
Clymer at West Valley - Saturday, Sept. 5, 1:30 p.m.
Week Two
Portville at Silver Creek - Friday, Sept. 11, 7:30 p.m.
Falconer at Randolph - Friday, Sept. 11, 7:30 p.m.
Pine Valley at Westfield - Friday, Sept. 11, 7:30 p.m.
Week Three
West Valley at Pine Valley - Friday, Sept. 18, 7:30 p.m.
V-Charles Finney at Salamanca - Saturday, Sept. 19, 7:30 p.m.
Bishop Timon-St. Jude has a bye week (after being scheduled against Walsh)
Week Four
Cattaraugus-Little Valley vs. Forestville at Silver Creek - Friday, Sept. 25, 7:30 p.m.
Week Five
Randolph at Portville - Friday, Oct. 2, 7:30 p.m.
Week Six
Silver Creek at Franklinville - Friday, Oct. 9, 7:30 p.m.
Week Seven
Frewsburg at Ellicottville - Friday, Oct. 16, 7:30 p.m.
Niagara Catholic at Allegany-Limestone - Friday, Oct. 16, 7:30 p.m.

All of the changes have been made to the 2009 week-by-week schedule accessible via the high school home page.

---Keith McShea

Maple Grove hoops goes independent

Maple Grove basketball has a great game plan, and it's months before the season will start.

The Red Dragons applied and were approved for an independent schedule, and they've put together a great lineup for a team that is expected to challenge for its third straight trip to the state final four in Glens Falls.

Here's a link to Scott Kindberg's excellent Jamestown Post-Journal story about Maple Grove going independent this year, and here are some specifics for your calendar:

"The Red Dragons open their season Dec. 4-5 at the Olean Tip-Off Tournament, play at Jamestown's United Way Tip-Off Tournament the next weekend and travel to St. Mary's of Lancaster on Dec. 15. The Dunkirk (Dec. 18-19) and St. Bonaventure (Dec. 29-30) tournaments close out 2009. Maple Grove will open with Newark in the Jamestown Tournament.

"Maple Grove's first home game isn't until Jan. 7 when it entertains Southwestern. Three games on the Dutch Hollow Road follow against Randolph (Jan. 11), C.G. Finney (Jan. 20) and Westfield (Jan. 29). After a game at Southwestern on Feb. 5, the Red Dragons entertain St. Joe's (Feb. 9) before closing out the regular season with road contests at Finney (Feb. 12), at Randolph (Feb. 16) and at North Tonawanda (Feb. 18)."

This is just an outstanding move by Maple Grove as it eschews league games that were extremely noncompetitive for top-notch tests that should help them prepare for the postseason. That benefits both the Red Dragons and the CCAA teams that took a pounding twice in league games last year. It also gives high school hoop fans throughout Western New York (and the rest of the state) some great games to watch. 

Niagara Falls went independent a few years ago for similar reasons, which was also a fine move. The Wolverines returned to the Niagara Frontier League the last few seasons; I wasn't in favor of their return and I still think Falls should go it alone when it comes to boys hoops.

---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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