LaSalle and Traditional will be at home for the holidays -- in their spots atop The Buffalo News Polls.
The 1989-90 poll champions head into holiday tournament week with a combined 11-1 record and earned 12 of this week's 16 first-place votes. LaSalle, which already has won three tournament titles this season, tops the large schools and is idle this week. Traditional meets Burgard Thursday night in the first round of the Wilson Tournament.
Traditional took the No. 1 small-school slot thanks to Yale Cup rival South Park's 75-61 win at No. 1 Olean Friday. That loss dropped the Huskies to fifth. John F. Kennedy is now No. 2 among small schools, while Akron is third and Southwestern fourth.
Niagara Falls is No. 2 among large schools. The Power Cats (6-2) have suffered both their losses to LaSalle and have dropped 18 straight decisions to their crosstown rivals in the last five years.
The big story among large schools is the fact all four teams in League AA of the Msgr. Martin Association -- co-No. 3 St. Joe's, No. 8 St. Francis and co-No. 10s Canisius and Timon -- have cracked the top 10.
There will be no poll next week in deference to the holidays. The next ranking will appear Jan. 8.
Lady Quaker tops tourneys
Girls basketball will not be exempt from the holiday hoop hysteria. Perhaps the best event will be the sixth annual Lady Quaker Invitational at Orchard Park.
Thursday night's first-round matchups are Niagara Falls vs. Clarence (6:30) and Dunkirk vs. Orchard Park (8:00). Consolation and championships are Friday.
If Orchard Park and Niagara Falls advance to the final, it would be a rematch of last week's fourth-round game in the Niagara Frontier League Kickoff Invitational, won by Orchard Park, 67-63, behind 19 points from Ellen Yemma and a school record-tying 10 steals by Larissa Smith.
The Cattaraugus County Officials Tournament at St. Bonaventure's Reilly Center has a premier matchup between unbeatens slated for Thursday morning. The 11 a.m. game pits Portville and Allegany, both of whom should be in the running for the Section VI Class C title. Allegany returns four starters from last year's team that went to the state public school final.
Awards dinner honors many
Santa Claus made an appearance and more than 100 gifts . . . er awards . . . were passed out Saturday as the fourth annual Football Awards Dinner was held at the Pellamwood House in West Seneca.
Among the award winners were members of The Buffalo News All-Western New York Team, outstanding players in the Rich Stadium playoffs and Harvard Cup championship games, and offensive and defensive players of the year of all of the area's 14 leagues.
Other major individual award winners included:
Don Majkowski Award (best quarterback): Ed Mahoney, North Tonawanda.
Jim Dombrowski Award (offensive lineman): Gene Oyer, Salamanca.
Jim Burt Award (defensive lineman): Mike Mamula, Lackawanna.
Shane Conlan Award (linebacker): Dave Grable, St. Joe's.
Tom Sestak Award (lineman): Det Betti, Albion.
Ron Pitts Award (defensive back): Ray Callicutt, Albion; and Frank Robinson, Turner/Carroll.
Joe Foyle Award (coaches) Clarence's Glenn Faust, Hinsdale's Rod Rohl and Salamanca's George Whitcher.
Frank Constantino Award (JV coach): Lee Wallace, Niagara-Wheatfield.
Phil McConkey Award (scholar-athlete): Grable.
Jerry Butler Award (sportsmanship/scholarship): Mike Przybylski, North Tonawanda.
Unsung Heroes: Chris Casheba, St. Joe's; Jim Egan, Williamsville South; Scott Larson, Jamestown; Brad Pritchard, Albion; Aaron Vanderlip, Cheektowaga.
Also honored was the All-Western New York Academic Team, whose first-team members receive $1,000 scholarships from the NYNEX Yellow Pages. The 11 second-teamers serve as alternates.
Making the first team were Jason Beckman, Gowanda; Daniel Carlson, Randolph; William Carney, Niagara-Wheatfield; Michael Casey, Orchard Park; Todd Chitester, Frewsburg; Ronald Cicero, West Seneca West; Michael Cooper, West Seneca East; Chris Donley, Williamsville North; Cory Emory, Sherman; Grable; Brian Lynch, Williamsville South.
Also, Kevin Maney, Clarence; Steve McHugh, Springville; Dorian Moss, Hutch-Tech; Sal Pacella, St. Francis; Nathan Pascarella, Salamanca; Chris Poe, Hinsdale; Tim Reilly, Timon; John Rizzo, Niagara Falls; Jose Rodriguez, Timon; Robert Smith, Brocton; Richard Weindel, Depew.
Locals dominate volleyball
One-third of the members of the first-ever all-state girls volleyball team are players from Section VI's three state champions.
Sweet Home placed four players on the 18-player team. The Lady Panthers' contingent is led by sophomore Gretchen Gegenfurtner, who was named the state's most valuable player. Others honorees from the Class A champions are sophomore Michele Ebert, junior Alicia Bergmann and senior Jessica Andrasko.
City Honors, which took the Class C title, placed seniors Gwen McCullough and Dawn Zmuda on the team. Junior Jill Bornand represented Class D winner Mayville.
Akron's Ford honored
Akron junior Meredith Ford was the only Section VI runner named to the all-state girls cross country team, announced in a recent State Sportswriters Association newsletter.
Ford, who took both the Section VI and state Class C titles, is one of three juniors on the seven-member first team.
Other Western New York runners cited were Lake Shore's Stacey Strothmann (fourth team), Allegany's Molly Finn (ninth team) and Grand Island's Valentine Stumpf (10th team). Honorable mention choices were Dawn Bak (West Seneca West), Katie Finn and Amy Kupinski (Allegany) and Sue Ford (Akron).
Among boys, Frontier's Nick LaRosa was named state freshman of the year and Amherst's Kevin Wiley was named state co-junior of the year. There were no class picks for girls.
In all-state selections, Wiley was named to the third team. His chief rivals this season, Grand Island's Joe Dunlop and Albion's Geoff Sidari, were named to the fourth and fifth teams, respectively. Also named were LaRosa and Franklinville's Bill Chase (sixth team), and Franklinville's Rick LaVelle (eighth team).