The division championship droughts at Cheektowaga and South Park are history as the two Class A-2 schools head into the Section VI boys basketball tournament on triumphant rolls.
The Warriors of Cheektowaga earned a share of their first division title since 1963 by crushing Depew, 94-40, in ECIC III. They share the title with East Aurora. Both split regular-season meetings to finish with 11-1 league marks.
Cheektowaga senior Dominick Welch dropped a career-high 51 points on the Wildcats, as he's now just 49 away from breaking the Western New York career points mark of 2,355 set by 1990 News Player of the Year Ritchie Campbell.
In his last five games, Welch is averaging 37.6 points. He scored 41 during Wednesday night's win over Lake Shore.
"We knew coming in what was at stake tonight," winning coach Pat Cullinan said. "We've been close a few times, knocking on the door (for winning the division). This year we came through. We're clicking really good. It's nice to see we have some chemistry. .... Everyone's stepping up, doing their job."
That includes Welch, who scored 29 points in the first half en route to setting the school record for most points in a single game by a player.
"He's in rhythm," Cullinan said. "It's tough to guard him. They tried different things. He's pretty locked in. It's pretty cool to watch."
Welch also had 16 rebounds and six assists, while Stephan Parker finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Cheektowaga's next game will likely be next Friday in a Section VI Class A-2 quarterfinal at home against a still to be determined opponent.
Sparks take Yale Cup I
Elsewhere, the Sparks of South Park captured their first Yale Cup I championship in more than three decades Thursday by holding off East, 72-67, at South Park High School.
Energy proved to be a valuable weapon for the Sparks as they overcame a two-point halftime deficit – taking the lead after three quarters.
Freshman Anthony Mack helped provide a jolt by draining two three pointers and making two steals for South Park (15-4, 13-1) after the intermission. Senior Shakur Harris finished 25 points and 10 steals. He went 14 for 16 at the line as the Sparks captured their first Yale Cup since 1986.
A win by East would have meant the teams would have shared the title. The two were tied for first at the start of the week but the Panthers (13-7, 11-3) dropped a decision at McKinley while South Park edged Middle College.
"I'm just happy for our kids," second-year Sparks coach Peter Hudecki said. "They've worked really hard. We had a couple tough losses in the beginning. We just found an identity and came together. We jelled together as a team."
Jeremy Jackson finished with 15 rebounds, grabbing a key offensive board on a missed free throw and scoring via putback to seal South Park's 10th win in a row. Elijah Lewis finished with 10 rebounds.
The Sparks' makeup game slated for Friday has been canceled. They return to action in a Section VI quarterfinal contest next week at South Park.
Willard Anderson led East with 31 points and has now surpassed 1,000 points for his career.
MST Seneca earns its title share
MST Seneca earned a split of the Yale Cup II crown with an 83-50 win over I-Prep/Grover. Dominic Prince had 13 points, 13 rebounds and seven steals in the win, while Earl Howard had 14 points, 10 assists and David Anderson 16 rebounds.
Seneca, winners of 10 straight, shared the division title with Olmsted. The teams split their regular-season series.
Deamonte Riley scored a career-high 41 points en route to a triple-double that included 13 rebounds and 10 assists for Burgard in a 71-56 win over Hutch-Tech in the Yale Cup.
Nathan Luckman scored more than the nine points he needed to hit the 1,000 for his career milestone, pouring in a game-high 25 points to lead Barker to a 55-45 win over Roy-Hart in the Niagara-Orleans League. Luckman now has 1,016 points for his career.
In a girls basketball contest, Randolph's MacKenzie Marsh scored 21 points during the Cardinals' 63-58 loss to Southwestern in a nonleague game. She now has 1,003 for her caree. Sydney Burk scored a game-high 35 points to lead Southwestern.
Arts earns its share of the Canisius Cup
Buffalo Arts earned a share of the Canisius Cup title by beating Hutch-Tech 73-36. Alexis Campbell led the winners with 25 points, seven assists and six rebounds as Arts shared the title with Olmsted.
Williamsville vs. FLOP in Fed girls hockey final
Williamsville's quest to win a Section VI girls hockey championship did not come to fruition last week but it still has a chance at a championship.
Williamsville advanced to the Western New York Girls Varsity Hockey Federation championship game with a 4-3 overtime win over Clarence/Amherst/Sweet Home at Northtown Center in Amherst.
Holly Schmelzer scored on a breakaway 94 seconds into overtime, scoring high glove side, to help her team reach the Feb. 26 championship game at HarborCenter.
Schmelzer scored the game winner in triple overtime in last year's Fed semifinal round.
"She has a knack for scoring overtime winners," coach Rick Hopkins said.
Julia Mings scored twice for CASH. She finished her scholastic career with 104 goals, second all-time in WNY Federation history.
Williamsville played its first game since suffering its first loss of the season during the Section VI semifinals to old friend Kenmore/Grand Island.
Williamsville will face state runner-up Frontier/Lake Shore/Orchard Park for the Fed title as FLOP beat last year's champion, Monsignor Martin, 2-0. Frangelica Bautz and Mary Kromer scored for FLOP. Maggie Spyche made 20 saves for the shutout.