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A TRADITIONAL CHANGE IN HOOPS; PLAYOFF SPOTS ON THE LINE IN FOOTBALL

Basketball season is more than a month off, but Section VI Class C boys teams already have something that's worth chest-bumping about:

Say goodbye to Traditional.

Traditional, which won Class C state titles the past three years, has seen an increase in enrollment numbers that has bounced it up to Class B-2. For the last three postseasons, the Bulls dominated teams by near-obscene point totals, thanks to their very competitive Yale Cup schedule and the Fab Four of Daryl Jacobs, Terry George, Greg French (all first-team All-Western New Yorkers last season) and Aaron Marshall (All-WNY fourth-team).

"This makes it a tournament in Class C again -- for the last two years it hasn't been a tournament," said Akron coach Dave Butler, whose Tigers have been among Traditional's many postseason victims. "You would talk to coaches that were having good seasons, and they'd shrug because the best you could do is come in second.

"Last year, at the end of the regular season, what I was playing for was not to be in the 8-9 game," added Butler, referring to the fact that the winner of the game between the eighth- and ninth-seeded teams would have to go up against top-seeded Traditional.

The Fab Four has graduated, so hoop fans can only wonder about the potential matchups for Traditional that might have been over the last two postseasons. Justin Miller and Southwestern? Lawrence Maroney, Jacob Steck and Iroquois? Twins Jeremy and Justin Konst and Williamsville East?

"It probably would have been better if we were a B last year," said Traditional coach Starling Bryant. "I felt pretty good with those kids, A school or B or C."

The Fab Four may be gone, and the Bulls will be in the B-2 bracket that East Aurora has won for two straight seasons, but they'll still be Traditional.

"People are probably licking their chops, but that might be premature," said Bryant. "We'll be OK. I think we're going to surprise a lot of people."

Football playoff scenarios, AA to D

As the Section VI Football Federation heads into its final weekend, some playoff brackets are locked up while some are up for grabs. The Bowl Game playoffs will also provide a postseason for four teams per class.

Class AA: Lancaster and Orchard Park have clinched the top two spots and home-field playoff advantage in the only class that qualifies its top four teams regardless of division. The winner of Saturday's game of Jamestown (4-2 AA record) at Clarence (4-2) will advance, while Kenmore East (4-2) can move on with a win Saturday at rival Kenmore West. If both Clarence and Kenmore East lose, a tiebreaker of point differential will determine who advances. The first tiebreaker is head-to-head play, but Clarence and Kenmore East did not play this season. The four next-best AA teams will participate in the Bowl Game playoffs (in all other classes, the third- and fourth-place teams earn Bowl Game playoff bids).

Class A: It's all set -- North champion Grand Island will host Iroquois; South champion Pioneer will host Sweet Home.

Class B: One of the section's toughest divisions will be decided when four 5-1 teams pair off Friday night. The winners of Springville at Southwestern and Olean at Alden will advance out of the South. Albion has clinched the North title while Depew is second.

Class C: Top-ranked small school Salamanca (5-0) can claim the South crown with a win at Allegany-Limestone (4-1) Friday night, which would also put in Portville (4-1). In from the North are Cleveland Hill and Eden, who square off Saturday for the division title and home-field playoff advantage.

Class D: East champion Ellicottville will host Maple Grove, while West champ Clymer hosts Randolph.

Around the halls

Nick Martone scored five touchdowns and rushed for 225 yards Saturday in Williamsville South football team's 43-35 loss to Amherst. . . . Three Section VI playoff schedules will be announced this week: field hockey Thursday, girls volleyball Friday and boys volleyball Saturday. . . . Canisius will induct eight into its Sports Hall of Fame in ceremonies Thursday night at the school: Lou DePerro (1930 graduate; football, basketball and baseball), James McKinnon ('55; baseball, basketball), Kevin White ('67; track, cross country), Carl Emerling ('73; football, track and basketball), Jeffrey Schratz ('75; hockey); Mike Ahern ('78; wrestling), Marty White ('84; track, football); and the 1971 school record-holding mile relay (Greg Thomas, Guy Wagner, John Lankes, Gary Witek). . . . The address for the Jamestown girls soccer Web site was incorrect last week. The address is: jhsladyraiders.com.
e-mail: kmcshea@buffnews.com

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