Schools may be off on break, but we're up and ready to go. Get yourself ready for today's #PrepTalkLive action with everything you need to know about the day ahead in high school sports.
What to watch for Thursday
1. Boys basketball - I-90 Holiday Showcase at Villa Maria
South Park (4-2) and V-Leadership Academy kick off the two-day, eight-game showcase at 3 p.m. The last time the Sparks were on the court, they handed McKinley its first Yale Cup loss in two seasons with a 65-64 win on McKinley's home court. Shakur Harris, who averages a team-high 19.3 points per game, dropped 40 points, had 10 steals and grabbed 10 rebounds against the Macks.
CSAT (2-5) takes on V-Newark in the next game at 4:45 p.m. The Eagles are looking to snap at four-game losing streak. Junior Jayden Gulledge, senior Ricky Smith and sophomore Dayvion Johnson have been the top offensive threats for CSAT.
No. 5 large school St. Francis (4-1) plays Pennsylvania power Cathedral Prep (5-1) in the next matchup at 6:30 p.m. The big three of Bo Sireika (14.2 ppg), Roburt Welch (12.2 ppg) and Juice Cunningham (12.2 ppg) have led the Red Raiders offensively. The Ramblers topped No. 2 large school Canisius, 79-59, last Friday.
Thursday's headliner features No. 1 small school Health Sciences (8-1) and V-Rochester Early College at 8:15 p.m. The Falcons have won five straight since a 70-64 loss to North Tonawanda on Dec. 6. Four players average double figures for Health Sciences: Tyron Lott (21.3 ppg), human highlight reel (seriously, take a look) Davonte Gaines (16.4 ppg), Kameron Briggs (15.3 ppg) and Wize Threat (11.3 ppg).
2. Girls Basketball - Art Dobson Memorial Tournament at Sacred Heart
No. 4 Sacred Heart (4-0) hosts No. 7 Clarence (6-0) in a matchup of unbeaten large schools at 6:30 p.m. for the tournament title.
The Sharks opened play Wednesday with a 42-23 win against Starpoint. Junior Micaela Ryan was the top scorer with 15 points, nine coming from beyond the arc. Sophomore Makenzie Sees scored eight points and grabbed 14 rebounds.
Nine Red Devils scored in their 58-23 over Nardin. Senior Lauren Cullinan led the way with a game-high 14 points. Junior Carly Reynolds added 11.
3. Boys basketball - IAABO Holiday Classic at St. Bonaventure
While the I-90 Showcase is the top boys basketball attraction in the Northtowns, the annual IAABO Holiday Classic dominates basketball action in the Southtowns.
Small Schools Division
Honorable mention small school Franklinville (2-2) and Allegany-Limestone (0-3) play in the first game at 2:30 p.m. Panthers senior Sam Erickson averages an impressive 27.8 points and 13 rebounds per game. Senior Zach Hemphill leads the Gators in pursuit of their first win of the season.
No. 6 small school Chautauqua Lake (6-0) looks to stay undefeated against Portville (3-4) in the next game at 4:15 p.m. The Thunderbirds are coming off a huge league win over Olean. Devin Pope's the leading scorer at 27.2 ppg, while Aaron Swan averages 12 ppg. Colin Kloc (12.7 ppg) and Nick Stein (11.3 ppg) are the top offensive players for the Panthers.
Winners play Friday at 4:15 p.m.
Large Schools Division
Honorable mention small school Nichols (2-4) and Bradford (Pa.) start large schools play at 6 p.m. The Vikings are on a three-game losing streak, most recently a 58-55 overtime loss to No. 6 large school Maryvale in the Public/Private Challenge. Senior Will Johnson, one of the top shooters in the area, scored 21 of his 23 points against the Flyers from three-point range.
Honorable mention large school Olean (5-2) and Warren (Pa.) cap Thursday's action at 7:45 p.m. Senior Monty Shoemaker (20.1 ppg) is the top offensive threat for the Huskies. Sophomore Mike Schmidt (11.1 ppg) and senior Tristen Snyder (11 ppg) also average double figures.
Winners play Friday at 7:45 p.m.
4. Boys hockey - 31st Nichols-Belmont Hill Holiday Tournament
The second day of round-robin play begins at 9 a.m. at Dann Memorial Rink.
St. Francis, which went 0-2 yesterday against Nichols and Kimball Union (N.H.), takes on Millbrook in its lone game of the day at 1 p.m.
Nichols went 2-0 Wednesday with wins over St. Francis and Millbrook, and plays its game against Kimball Union at 3 p.m.
The top two finishers in each division meet in the semifinals tomorrow, with the championship slated for 6:30 p.m.
Today's schedule can be found at our high school scoreboard.
#PrepTalkLive updates: While we follow ALL the high school action via our Prep Talk team, we encourage YOU to also tweet updates from the games you are attending with the hashtag #PrepTalkLive attached.
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High School Extra (Dec. 29): Park advances, Canisius loses in Elmira Tournament, plus much more
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- As always, we'll monitor today's action in our #PrepTalkLive post