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LASALLE, TRADITIONAL NO. 1 IN FINAL NEWS POLLS

There are no more doubts. LaSalle is number one.

The Explorers earned yet another Buffalo News Large Schools Poll championship in the final vote taken by a panel of coaches and referees.

Meanwhile, Traditional edged Nichols for The News' Small Schools title.

The debate over the top large school spot raged throughout the 1994-95 season. Although LaSalle held No. 1 from beginning to end, there were many who felt St. Joe's was more deserving based on wins over Turner/Carroll, Traditional and Rochester-area powers McQuaid and Pittsford Sutherland.

However, LaSalle laid all arguments to rest after rolling to its eighth straight Section VI crown and winning the New York State public school Class A championship in the school's third consecutive appearance at Glens Falls.

The Explorers' 26 wins are one shy of the Western New York record they set while going 27-0 and winning the state and Federation Class B titles in 1988. They have finished No. 1 in The News Poll three straight seasons and seven of the last eight.

"It's been a great season for these kids," coach Pat Monti said. "When you look at how small we are, I don't think a lot of people would have given us a chance to win a state title. But these kids played with a lot of heart."

Traditional coach Joe Cardinal feels the same about his team finishing ahead of Nichols, even though the Vikings brought home the Class C Federation title.

Traditional (23-4), the runner-up in the state public school Class C final, finished with five first-place votes and 93 points for its third poll title and first since 1987. Nichols (22-4), which last finished No. 1 in 1985, got four votes and 91 points.

Nichols beat the team that eliminated Traditional (Peekskill) in the state tournament, but voters might have been swayed by Traditional's 88-73 win over Nichols in the regular season.

"I guess you can say that they (Nichols) won the state title, but we weathered the most storms," said Cardinal, who also finished No. 1 in 1990 and 1987. "When people play us, they come at us like crazy, like it's their biggest game of the year. It's flattering that the voters recognized that."

Class D public school champion Maple Grove got the other vote and finished third.

No surprises in girls

The Lockport and Pine Valley teams were unanimous selections in the large and small school coaches poll.

The Lady Lions finished as the New York State Class A runner-up and won their third Niagara Frontier League title in five years.

Lockport also has won four Section VI championships in that five-year span, including the last three Class A crowns.

Pine Valley, despite graduating seven players from last year, won its third Class D state title in five years and shared the CCIAC III crown with Clymer. The poll championship is the Lady Panthers' second in a row.

"Any time your peers consider you the best school it's an honor," said Pine Valley coach Tim Nobles. "It's a great honor because there a lot of good schools in there."

FINAL BASKETBALL POLLS
THE NEWS BOYS
LARGE SCHOOLS SMALL SCHOOLS
1. LaSalle (10) ....26-1 100 1. Traditional (5) ....23-4 93
2. St. Joe's ....25-1 90 2. Nichols (4) ....22-4 91
3. Bennett ....19-3 69 3. Maple Grove (1) ....26-1 75
4. Hutch-Tech ....15-7 63 4. Olean ....21-5 74
5. Depew ....17-7 58 5. Lackawanna ....20-3 60
6. Niagara Falls ....12-8 51 6. Turner/Carroll ....17-8 56
7. Wmsv. South ....19-3 40 7. Alden ....20-3 40
8. Wmsv. North ....13-1024 8. John F. Kennedy ....18-6 20
9. Sweet Home ....15-6 22 9. Ellicottville ....21-3 17
10. Hamburg ....17-7 19 10. O'Hara ....15-8 16
Also receiving votes (listed alphabetically) -- Large schools: North Tonawanda, South Park, Timon/St. Jude. Small schools: Cheektowaga, Medina, Wilson.
The top 10 teams in each division of The Buffalo News High School Basketball Poll are determined by a panel of area high school coaches and officials. First-place votes are in parentheses, followed by overall records and total points. Points are awarded on a scale of 10-1, with 10 for a first-place vote, continuing in descending order.
GIRLS COACHES
LARGE SCHOOLS SMALL SCHOOLS
1. Lockport (6) ....24-2 60 1. Pine Valley (6)....26-2 60
2. Kenmore East ....24-5 54 2. Clymer ....21-3 50
3. Sweet Home ....17-5 42 3. Randolph ....21-4 48
4. Clarence ....18-6 41 4. Mt. Mercy ....22-5 40
4. Holy Angels ....16-8 36 5. Starpoint ....20-5 37
6. North Tonawanda....15-7 31 6. Medina ....18-5 26
7. Lake Shore ....14-6 21 7. Alden ....20-1 21
7. Hamburg ....15-7 21 8. Sacred Heart ....17-6 19
9. Amherst ....16-4 10 9. Nichols ....15-5 14
10. Kenmore West ....14-9 6 10. Olean ....16-6 10
Also receiving votes (listed alphabetically): Large Schools: Depew, Pioneer. Small Schools: Falconer, Cassadaga Valley.
The top 10 teams are determined by a panel of high school coaches and based on last week's games. First-place votes are in parentheses, followed by overall record and total points.

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