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How The News voted: 11 days to Selection Saturday

Throughout the season, 10 voters will rate Western New York's best teams from 1 to 10 in the large and small school polls.

The News has one vote in each poll, which are published in the Sidelines each Tuesday in The News' Scholastic Spotlight. Here's The News' ballot for the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh polls.

With 11 days until the Section VI tournament seedings and schedule are announced, here's the elitist eighth:

Large schools

1. Niagara Falls (16-0) [last week: 1] -- Catching them against NT tonight should be a good show.  

2. Nichols (19-1) [2] -- Game two of their home-and-home with St. Mary's is tonight, the Primetime Shootout is Sunday. The Vikings join Falls as the only teams to be invited to the scout-tastic showcase.

3. Sweet Home (15-1) [3] -- Sweep of Coppola-less South followed by nice nonleague win over Canisius.

4. East (14-2) [4] -- Dominated Middle College like an elite team should and did a nice lockdown job on Riverside in the third quarter. Next up is today at Lafayette and its junior gym then Thursday home for McKinley. After Feb. 18 at Hutch-Tech, thank goodness I'm back in town for Feb. 20 finale at Grover. They keep playing like they did last week and they'll regain a claim on No. 3. 

5. Williamsville North (15-1) [6] -- Wouldn't have affected this vote, but a mini-eyebrow-raiser Monday night: 71-65 win at Lancaster. 

6. Jamestown (14-4) [7] -- The Red Raiders may be finding themselves: since the overtime loss at North, they are just killing people -- by 46 (at Hamburg), 36 (vs. Frontier), 29 (vs. Lancaster), 35 (at Clarence), 43 (vs. West Seneca West). See you at Buff State.

7. McKinley (13-3) [5] -- The Macks team that lost at Grover wasn't the same squad I saw go down to the wire against Sweet Home and win at Riverside. Who will show up at East Thursday? (I wish I could find out!)

8. Canisius (11-8) [9] -- 2009 wins over Grover and Riverside keep them ... ahead of Grover and Riverside.

9. Riverside (10-5) [10] -- See No. 7: Another Yale Cup team that I've seen play much better.

10. Grover Cleveland (13-3) [NR] -- Presidents get re-inaugurated thanks to home win over McKinley, stepping into a spot vacated by South, which you just can't vote for right now. Grover's losses at home to Riverside and at Canisius.

Small schools

1. Olean (12-4) [1] -- Huskies home for Fredonia tonight after beating them by one earlier this season. Nice finish: at Dunkirk Friday, at Southwestern Feb. 18, at Pioneer Feb. 19.

2. East Aurora (12-5) [9] -- Only loss this year was in triple-OT to a very good Depew team. Other losses: St. Francis, Depew, Grover Cleveland and Alden (by four in the second game of season).

3. St. Mary's (11-6) [2] -- As mind-boggling as the Niagara Catholic loss was, the Lancers come back and almost beat Nichols, so they slide just one spot.

4. Akron (13-3) [4] -- Playing well heading into some perfect postseason preperation: this weekend's excellent Niagara-Orleans/Genesee Region showdown.

5. Lackawanna (11-6) [5] -- (Another) high-quality loss to Bishop Kearney, but I'm keeping them here for now -- our top four deserve their spots.

6. Medina (12-4) [6] -- This spot depends on ...   

7. Wilson (12-4) [7] -- ... tonight's game at Medina.

8. Randolph (14-2) [8] -- I would consider Westfield at Randolph tonight but I've gotta pack. I'm expecting some quality reports from down South.

9. Alden (12-3) [3] -- Down 20 at half in a 29-point loss at another top 10 school (EA) will make you drop in a hurry, especially in a year when the small schools are packed so tightly.

10. Maple Grove (16-3) [10] -- Speaking of reports from down south, how are the Red Dragons looking down there? Have they improved since early on?

Don't like what you're reading here, or in the overall poll? The comments section is below. Or join me in a live chat here Wednesday night at 10 p.m.

---Keith McShea

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