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SWEET HOME TOURNEY DRAWS TOP WRESTLERS

The Section VI Wrestling Championships are less than a month away and the final big tournament test of the regular season comes up this weekend at Sweet Home High School.

The Sweet Home Tournament, which begins at 4 p.m. Friday, is considered one of the most prestigious in-season events held for Section VI wrestlers. The others are the Southern Tier and Niagara Officials tournaments.

A field of 17 teams is expected, many of them ranked in the Wrestling News of Western New York poll. Among the entrants are Tonawanda, Lancaster and Niagara-Wheatfield, the top three large schools.

Niagara-Wheatfield was an impressive winner in the Niagara Officials Tournament Jan. 13 at Niagara County Community College.

Among other schools scheduled to participate are No. 5 Pioneer, No. 6 Orchard Park and Southwestern, the fourth-ranked small school.

Other tournaments are being held this weekend at West Seneca West and Depew.

Falls at Nichols for showdown

Niagara Falls plays at Nichols Friday night in a Niagara Frontier League boys basketball game that should determine Grand Island's chief competitor for the league crown.

Nichols (10-2, 3-0) is ranked fifth among large schools in The News Poll, while Niagara Falls (9-4, 4-1) is ninth. Nichols has won eight straight games since losing, 66-64, to Niagara Falls in the Dec. 20 consolation game of the NFL Kickoff Invitational. Nichols is second in the league, a half-game behind Grand Island (4-0).

The Southern Tier's game of the season should be Friday when Sherman travels to Westfield in Division III of the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Interscholastic Athletic Conference. Both teams are 12-0 overall and 7-0 in league play.

Westfield, ranked eighth among small schools, upset Fredonia in the Dunkirk Monnies Tournament in early December to earn a spot in the year's first top 10 poll, where it has remained. Sherman has compiled a similarly impressive record, but yet to crack the ranking.

Ken Robinson reaches 1,000

Review of game summaries by The News shows Grover Cleveland junior Ken Robinson passed the 1,000-point mark for his career with his 26-point output Jan. 16 at Traditional. The 6-foot-6 Robinson added 29 in Monday's win over McKinley and now has 1,043 career points.

Robinson, the brother of Grover Cleveland and Notre Dame star Keith Robinson, is sixth on the area's active scoring list. Ahead of him are Burgard's Ritchie Campbell (2,088), LaSalle's Duke Davis (1,459), Grand Island's Carlin Hartman (1,241), Hamburg's Bill Zoeller (1,101) and Traditional's Chris Williams (1,061).

Robinson is averaging 24.5 points per game this season. A similar performance next year would make him Western New York's fifth 2,000-point player.

Three other New York State players have joined Campbell in the 2,000-point club this season. Through Monday, North Carolina-bound Derrick Phelps of Brooklyn Nazareth has 2,136 points, Chris Ciaccio of Gloversville (Albany area) has 2,066 and Bernard Blunt of Jamesville-DeWitt (Syracuse area) has 2,034.

Grand Island stays No. 2

Grand Island has retained its No. 2 ranking among Class B schools in the most recent State Sportswriters Association basketball rankings. The Vikings are behind Syracuse Nottingham. Buffalo Arts is 20th and Olean 24th, while Clarence, Lackawanna and Springville earned honorable mention.

In Class A, St. Joe's is 19th, while St. Francis, Kensington and LaSalle earned honorable mention. In Class C-D, Olean Walsh is fifth, Westfield seventh and Burgard 13th. Nichols, Franklinville and Sherman earned honorable mention.

In girls basketball, Niagara Falls is ninth in Class A, Newfane is ninth in Class B and Holy Angels earned honorable mention in C-D.

The new rankings in all sports are scheduled to be announced tonight.

Smolinski holds off Lockport

Maryvale goaltender Greg Smolinski made 40 saves as the No. 8 Flyers tipped No. 2 Lockport, 5-4, late Monday night in a Western New York League club hockey game. John Mathisen had two goals and three assists, Jack Logan two goals for Maryvale (12-5-1).

Lockport (13-3-3), which had a 44-20 bulge in shots, got goals from Matt Gardepe, Eric Richards, Mike Krueger and Mike Dziama.

In Msgr. Martin Association action, Timon plays Canisius (2-1-1) at 7 tonight at Holiday Twin Rinks.

The Tigers (0-3-1) earned their first point of the season Monday night with a 5-5 tie against St. Joe's.

Canisius plays first-place St. Francis (3-0) at 6 p.m. Saturday at Leisure Rinks.

Heater was hot -- 30 years ago

Friday is the 30th anniversary of one of the greatest feats in the history of American high school basketball.

On Jan. 26, 1960 -- long before the creation of the three-point goal -- Danny Heater of Burnsville (W. Va.) High scored 135 points in a 173-43 victory over Widen.

Heater hit 53 of 70 field-goal attempts and 29 of 41 free throws. For good measure, he added 32 rebounds and seven assists.

Of more recent vintage, Rolling Meadows (Ill.) senior Mike Lipnisky missed a free throw Saturday to break his string of 71 straight successes, the third-longest string in U.S. history.

The record is 126, set in 1978-79 by Daryl Moreau of New Orleans De La Salle. Brad Niemann of Glenbrook South (Ill.) hit 76 in a row in 1986-87.

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