Keith & Lauren welcome guests from Niagara Falls boys basketball and look back at the week in high school sports.
0:00 -- Opening, discussion of McShea's Prep Talk column on Oracle Charter.
3:40 -- Interview with Niagara Falls coach Sal Constantino and seniors J.J. Wilkins and Jermaine Crumpton
16:25 -- Wrestling (Clarence, Wednesday's matches, Mariacher's blog on the 'Pit' at Iroquois
27:20 -- Sacred Heart girls basketball (including coach Sister Maria Pares' pregame speech & a flashback to the Sharks' PTTV visit last week)
33:25 -- Amherst boys basketball (including coach Chris Kensy's postgame speech after the Tigers first win in Maryvale in 10 years, one that came over Maryvale coach Mark Kensy, Chris' dad)
37:45 -- Look at this week's boys basketball polls
39:10 -- PrepTalkTV Rewind (St. Joe's basketball, Lockport girls basketball coach Bill Shaw's halftime speech, Tonawanda girls basketball, Mount Mercy's "Mercy's Heroes")
43:15 -- A look ahead at ton of action from Thursday to Tuesday; closing.
For this week's PrepTalkTV Weekly -- which you can see right here tonight at 9 -- we'll welcome in Western New York's No. 1 large school boys basketball team has they head into a super weekend of matchups.
Niagara Falls coach Sal Constantino and seniors Jermaine Crumpton (who has signed with Canisius College) and Jaleo Wilkins will be our in-studio guests for what will be another loaded show of highlights from boys and girls hoops as well as wrestling. We'll also have more highlights in PrepTalkTV Rewind, our weekly look at the boys basketball polls and a look ahead to this weekend and beyond.
At first glance, it's a dungeon, a poorly-lit basement, a
storage area for the school's old junk.
While the “Pit" at Iroquois High School is a place for
rusted school desks and athletic equipment from as far back as 1968, it is
also a place that has soaked up more than 40 years of wrestling tradition.
I can't even begin to count the hours I spent in that wrestling
room underneath the gymnasium, while I waited after my basketball practices
for my father, the coach then, and my three brothers to wrap up their
It's not an exactly comfortable place for a young girl; it's
dark and smells like sweat. But when you spend
that much time down there you would begin to notice less the smell and more
the spirit of such a place.
It's a pretty huge night in high school sports -- and it's a pretty huge night at Clarence. That's where Lauren Mariacher and I will be for two big events.
Wrestling's seventh "Border Brawl" takes place as the Red Devils, ranked first in Western New York, host No. 3 Lancaster at 6:30 p.m. Next door (in the divided gym) at 7:30, the No. 9 large school Clarence boys basketball team hosts ECIC I rival Jamestown, which is ranked third.
Among the other top matchups tonight include No. 1 girls basketball large school Sacred Heart vs. No. 7 Holy Angels at Villa Maria College at 6:30; the father-son matchup of boys basketball coaches Chris (Amherst) and Mark (Maryvale) Kensy in their ECIC III matchup at Maryvale at 7:30; and a high-quality Monsignor Martin small school showdown as No. 7 St. Mary's visits No. 4 Nichols at 7:30.
I'll have updates from games in the live blog below and I'll also be providing #preptalkscores updates on Twitter, which will also appear in the blog.
For this week's PrepTalkTV Weekly -- which you can see right here tonight at 9 -- we'll welcome in a Hall of Famer in what we think is a loaded episode.
Legendary Sacred Heart girls basketball coach Sister Maria Pares, along with senior standouts La'Trice Hall and Hannah Rehbaum, will be our in-studio guests (the Sharks are coming straight from their game tonight with St. Mary's).
Susan Grieser is in her second season taking over the struggling program at Holland. She is the first female head wrestling coach in Section VI history.
She has two male volunteer assistants, which she said make her job a lot easier.
"The other coaches have treated me as if I belonged, many have seen me in youth wrestling, or following my son over the years," she said.
"Holland is a small school so the boys already know me, and know of my passion for wrestling. Holland wrestled against Springville for the years my son was there so they saw me at those matches. The boys understand I will do everything I can to see them succeed on the mat, as well as succeed in school."
Last year's team won two dual meets, all but one wrestler won a match and two wrestlers qualified for sectionals. Those two wrestlers return as seniors, Axl Jakubowski at 152 and Richie Evans at 160, who have both moved up this year. The team's dual meet win over East Aurora was the program's first over EA in 18 years.
Here's a look at the sizable Section VI team headed to the state championships Friday and Saturday at the Times-Union Center in Albany.
The pictures were taken at Saturday's Section VI team practice, where coaches from throughout Western New York come together to prepare the wrestlers for the big meet.
Our thanks to Western New York Wrestling Coaches Association president and Williamsville North coach Brian Swatland for sending the pictures along (our apologies that we can't match up the names, those weren't sent along). The wrestlers are sporting sweatshirts provided by the WNYWCA.
96: x-Anthony Orefice (Lockport), Austin Acquard (Iroquois). 103: Rocco Russo (Frontier). 112: Steve Michel (Lancaster). 119: Eric Lewandowski (Lancaster). 125: x-Dylan Caruana (Kenmore West), Dylan Cohen (Wmsv. East). 130: x-Tim Schaefer (Lancaster), Dan Reagan (Lew-Port). 135: x-Patrick Mix (Lake Shore), Jason Kromer (Lew-Port). 140: x-Mike Feeney (Lockport), Luke Falzone (Wmsv. South). 145: x-James Kloc (Iroquois), Joe Difrancesco (Niagara Falls). 152: x-Irvin Buck (Niagara Falls), Jacob Gullo (Jamestown). 160: Tyler Bruce (North Tonawanda). 171: x-Joe Amoia (Kenmore West), Nicholas Bannister (Frontier). 189: x-Jake Kelly (Niagara-Wheatfield), Rodney Offhaus (Iroquois). 215: Adam Donner (Niagara-Wheatfield). 285: Max Antone (Niagara-Wheatfield).
96: x-Cody McGregor (Tonawanda), Ryan Kromer (Lew-Port). 103: x-Majed Mohamed (Lackawanna), Zach Bickle (Roy-Hart), Steve Seibert (Cassadaga Valley). 112: x-Abdulgawi Mohamed (Lackawanna), Eddie Hutschenreuter (Alden). 119: Tom Page (Eden). 125: x-Kevin Strong (Frewsburg), David Ciaramella (Newfane), Alex Smythe (Eden). 130: x-Matt McCauley (Roy-Hart), Jordan McGregor (Tonawanda). 135: x-Drew Hull (Roy-Hart), Justin Hunt (Ripley). 140: x-Dylan Duncanson (Medina), Jesse Anderson (Falconer), Brandon Hassenbohler (Alden). 145: x-Ben Haas (Salamanca), Phil Czapla (East Aurora), Azel Tapia (Albion). 152: x-Tristian Hammer (Medina), Frank Sterlace (Silver Creek), Ameen Harhara (Lackawanna). 160: x-Nick Mitchell (Frewsburg), Jerrold Roosa (Randolph), Ryan Baer (Depew). 171: x-Tony Lock (Pioneer), Marcus Dwaileebe (Olean), Kris Schimek (Pine Valley). 189: x-John Mistretta (Southwestern), Thomas Cornell (Randolph), Joe Hill (Lew-Port). 215: x-Greg Burroughs (Fredonia), Bashar Srouji (Lew-Port). 285: x-Pat Langworthy (Southwestern), Mike Kasprzak (Depew).
Poor weather pushed the Division II Wrestling Sectional Championships back considerably Saturday --- the finals started three hours late. But once the meets got rolling, in rapid-fire succession, the gym came alive. The meet didn't disappoint.
In addition to today's story, here are some leftover notes from an exciting day of wrestling at East Aurora High School.
--- In the heavyweight division, everything is unraveling just the way Pat Langworthy envisioned. If the Southwestern wrestler wanted to win a state championship this year, he needed to bump up a weight class. After falling short at states in the 215 class a year ago as a junior, he knew it'd be smart to move up to 285.
Last year’s 215 state champ is back — Nick Gwiazdowski of Duanesburg in Section II. So this year, his swan song at Southwestern, Langworthy opted to wrestle up. After all, Gwiazdowski is ranked in the top five nationally.
Saturday was a heck of a start for Langworthy, who won a convincing 5-3 decision over Depew’s Mike Kasprzak.
“Last year, I went to states and didn’t do as well as I wanted,” Langworthy said. “Fortunately, I had another year.”
--- Speaking of Gwiazdowski, the Section VI representative that will try to knock him off is Fredonia’s Greg Burroughs. In one of the day's best matches, Burroughs took down Fredonia’s Bashar Srouji, 5-4. After losing 3-1 in the sectional finals a year ago, winning Saturday meant a little something extra to Burroughs.
“I’m hoping to place (at states),” he said. “There will be a tough kid there.”
Fredonia finished second in the team scoring Saturday behind Lew-Port.
“He’s been the reason we have won as a team,” added Fredonia coach Alex Conti. “We were 13-0 last year and 24-0 this year. And it’s because he keeps everybody light and having fun. To see him win that was special.”
--- Without a doubt it was the right call to name Roy-Hart’s Matt McCauley the meet's Most Outstanding Wrestler. As a four seed, McCauley ran the table. As you'd expect, he was in shock after his win over Lew-Port's Dan Reagan. Not just for winning --- but how he won. All season, through meets and practices, the junior never tried a “mat mixer.”
Hello from Lake Shore, site of the Section VI Division I wrestling championships.
Consolation bouts are winding down, after which the five-mat layout will be changed to one for the championships.
Below is the lineup of the finals, which I'll be updating as we go.
As you can see, all top seeds have reached the finals with only three upsets making it to the finals: two No. 3 seeds and one No. 7.
5:28 p.m. The gym has been cleared and reopened and fans are filing in while one green mat has been set up in the middle.
5:49 p.m. We're starting with the 96-pound final.
96: 1-Anthony Orefice (Lockport-8, 38-1) vs. 2-Austin Acquard (Iroquois-9, 48-3)
First period: Takedown and three back points for Orefice just over halfway through the period. Acquard tried to escape but no sale. Orefice, 5-0.
Second period: Orefice starts on top, remains in control through the first minute. Out of bounds with :37 left. Remains in control through end of period.
Third period: Orefice picks down. Quickly escapes for 6-0 lead. Takedown for 8-0 lead. Out of bounds with :33 left; Orefice warned for stalling. Acquard apparently has hurt his knee; :27 left. Acquard back up. Orefice wins by decision, 8-1.
103: 1-Rocco Russo (Frontier-9) vs. 2-Kellen Devlin (Amherst-7)
First period: Two-point takedown to Russo after some early scrambling. Devlin is undefeated on the year. Stalemate with :53 left. Escape by Devlin; 2-1 Russo. Russo takedown in final seconds of the period to go up, 4-1.
Second period: Russo starts on top; 1:35 restart. Stalemate with :54 left. Russo remains in control; Deviln tries to back out of the hold but he can't as time expires.
Third period: Russo, up, 4-1, starts on top. Devlin jumps early at the start, his third caution, which costs him a point. Russo, 5-1. Stalemate with Russo in control with 1:16 left. Devlin jumps out early again; Russo, 6-1. Russo wins by decision, 6-1.
112: 1-Steve Michel (Lancaster, 34-5, two-time Section VI champion) vs. 2-Jake Zaleski (Williamsville North-10, 29-8)
First period: Quick takedown less than 30 seconds in by Michel after grabbing a leg; 2-0 Michel. Michel starts on top on a restart with about 1:32 left. Michel lets Zaleski go for an escape and a 2-1 lead. Close to a takedown for Michel but he's out of bounds. Another takedown by Michel, now a 4-1 lead. Lets Zaleski escape again; 4-2 lead. Blood time for Zaleski with :33 left. Out of bounds with :18 left. Clinical takedown again by Michel with about 10 seconds left. Michel leads, 6-2.
Second period: Michel selects down. Uses some great leg strength to stand up and nearly escape. Out of bounds with 1:44 left. Michel quickly up again. Potentially dangerous position with :57 left. Michael spins around and completes a reversal for an 8-2 lead; allows another escape for 8-3; another takedown followed by an escape, 10-4. Out of bounds with :19 to go. Another takedown Michel and he leads, 12-4, in final seconds.
Third period. Michel promptly is after Zaleski to start the third and he pins him with 1:37 left. Michel wins by fall, 4:23.
119: 1-Eric Lewandowski (Lancaster-10) vs. 2-Ron Duguay (Kenmore West, 42-5)
First period: Lewandowski beat Duguay in last week's Class AAAA championships. Lewandowski takedown with about :45 to go.
Second period: Lewandowski on bottom. With both standing, Lewandowski escapes for a 3-0 lead. Takedown by Lewandkowski; followed by a two-point reversal for Duguay, 5-2. Reversal came with about 40 seconds left. End second period with Duguay bleeding from the nose.
Third period: Lewandowski on top and with a 5-2 lead. Blood time Duguay with 1:16 left. Lewandowski two back points for a 7-2 lead and remains in control the rest of the way. Lewandowski wins by decision, 7-2.
First period: Out of bounds, 1:39 to go. Caruana looking to go low but they continue to feel each other out it seems. :30 left. Nearly a takedown for Caruana but Cohen spun to avoid it as the period ends.
Second period: Cohen on top. Caruana escapes for a 1-0 lead less than 10 seconds in. Blood time Cohen with 1:25 left in second. Caruana drives Cohen forward and gets a takedown just inside the out-of-bounds; 3-0 Caruana. Caruana maintains a hold of Cohen's leg. Cohen with a very nice reversal to make it 3-2; out of bounds with :15 left. Cohen holds on to end the period. Caruana leads, 3-2.
Third period: Caruana starts on top, drives Cohen to mat. Stalemate with 1:16 left. Caruana on top. Caruana wins by fall with :40 left. Great scene as crowd got louder and then roared with the pin. Caruana wins by fall, 5:20.
Here's the big finish:
130: 1-Timothy Schafer (Lancaster-10, 35-3) vs. 7-Terrance Acker (Grand Island-10)
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.