Every week during the basketball season a panel of voters participates in The News' large and small school boys basketball polls.
And every week we let you know, like the title says ... how The News voted.
This is just one ballot -- there are nine voters in each poll -- and those final polls will be published in Saturday's All-Western New York issue.
Here is a link to previous ballots: Feb. 28 (penultimate poll; entering championship week), Feb. 21 (entering playoffs), Feb. 14, Feb. 7, Jan. 31 (New World Order), Jan. 24 (when I said I thought Canisius would win at St. Joe's), Jan. 17 (MLK edition), Jan. 10 (back from the break), Dec. 20, Dec. 13 (the tipoff).
1. Canisius (21-7) [last ballot: 1] -- In my final Power 10, I wrote that the Crusaders are a clear choice here and they are. I mentioned the disappointment on Long Island, and I don't use that word often in high school sports. However, this Canisius team was talented enough and scheduled tough enough that its stated goal from Day One was at the very least the state Catholic championship game. There's no other way to say that a loss -- especially to a Cinderella low-seeded team like St. John the Baptist -- at that point was a disappointment. There have been times when the Manhattan Cup champion has lost that state semifinal, but those teams were not as good as these Crusaders, and did not have the high goals of these Crusaders.
2. Niagara Falls (17-5)  -- The AA title erased the doubts raised during the regular season (Ken West loss at home caused most of those), and their toe-to-toe battle with Aquinas (Falls led deep into the fourth quarter) in a game in which Aq was the clear favorite made for an impressive finish.
3. Jamestown (18-3)  -- Buzzer-beaten by Falls and Taijay Williams so they have to stay tucked right behind the Wolverines.
4. East Aurora (20-3) [NR] -- The way they were playing at the end of the season, the Blue Devils totally deserve this spot.
5. McKinley (19-3)  -- We'll keep them behind EA after losing to them in the overall A final.
6. St. Joe's (20-5)  -- A whoa stat: Three of Marauders' losses all season came in their last four games (home vs. St. Francis, at Canisius, vs. St. Mary's in Manhattan Cup semifinals). As you can see, I had McKinley ranked ahead of Joe's in the penultimate poll. Despite their surprisingly strong regular season, the Marauders' not-so-strong finish has me going with the Macks (who lost to Joe's by one in the teams' season opener).
7. Bishop Timon-St. Jude (16-10)  -- Went down swinging against Canisius, deserve to be tucked right behind Joe's.
8. Riverside (15-5)  -- Ranked all year, lost to EA in A-2 semifinals, don't deserve to be passed although I could see a case for the ...
9. Frontier (16-4)  -- ... Falcons, who gave Jamestown quite a run. Will North gave Falls quite a run as well in the other AA semifinal, but Frontier beat Will North twice.
10. Hutch-Tech (13-7)  -- Loss to McKinley in A-1 semifinal ended a season that had them in this spot quite a bit. The Riverside/Frontier/Hutch-Tech/Will North toss-ups are fun to think about but we liked Tech's depth all season. Tech's massive quarterfinal blowout at Iroquois (a team that did beat Will East during the season) can't be ignored, either.
In the bonus:
11. Williamsville North [10 last poll]. 12. Kenmore West. 13. Williamsville East. 14. Amherst. 15. North Tonawanda/St. Francis (I hate when people split votes. But we're in the bonus. Normal rules don't apply).
1. Olean (22-2)  -- Huskies made state final four with four sophomores and a junior. Funny thing was, it was totally expected after we saw the young lineup last year.
2. St. Mary's (20-8)  -- They lost the Manhattan Cup final to the (probably) unanimous large school No. 1, and they did lose big. But they also routed St. Joe's in similar fashion two days prior. They deserve this spot, and they deserve the lofty status in the Power 10. Some of the very best team basketball I saw this year was played by the multiple-weapon-boasting Lancers, including in the semifinal win over St. Joe's.
3. OTC Middle College (21-4)  -- Not a bad year for small schools when a state runner-up (Class C) is third. Based on seeing the C final four, I think St. Mary's handles all of those teams.
4. Depew (15-7)  -- Great finish with OT win on road over Dunkirk, win over Tonawanda, good battle with Olean. ECIC III represented at Buffalo State.
5. Archbishop Walsh (17-6)  -- Going to keep them here just ahead of ...
6. Silver Creek (18-2)  -- ... the Black Knights, who were fun to watch as they took OTC to the wire following a C-2 title win in OT over ...
7. Maple Grove (17-4) [NR] -- ... the Red Dragons, who also had a great playoff run by beating sometimes-voted-for I-Prep/Grover and ...
8. MST Seneca (16-3)  -- ... the Indians, who were ranked all season.
9. East (12-10)  -- I repeat from the last poll: There were people moaning and groaning all season about how this team shouldn't be ranked despite losses to outstanding large schools (you know who you are -- fess up already and admit you were wrong! 🙂 ). This team made it to Buffalo State (again) and gave Olean a very tough battle in the semifinals.
10. CSAT (13-9) [NR] -- First Charter School champion showed they deserve a vote with B-2 title win over Wilson. Certainly would give Darnell Carson and his platoon of finishers the edge over the rest.
In the bonus:
11. Dunkirk (the regular season schedule stunk. For reals. But the OT loss to Depew is not the worst loss in the world by any means). 12. Tonawanda [7 last poll]. 13. Wilson. 14. City Honors [10 last poll]. 15. Newfane, 16. I-Prep. 17. Portville. 18. Cleveland Hill. 19. Randolph. 20. Cassadaga Valley.
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