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Sacred Heart missing from Lockport field

The fax arrived harmlessly enough from the athletic office at Lockport High School, but it included a bombshell -- Sacred Heart had withdrawn from the Lockport Girls Basketball Tournament. The Sharks are the No. 1 ranked team in The Buffalo News poll, No. 1 in New York State in Class A and have a 20-0 record.

The one-time fixture at the oldest girls basketball tournament in Western New York said, "Thanks but no thanks," after committing to the event months earlier.

A 20-minute phone conversation with Sacred Heart coach Sister Maria Pares on Sunday night produced more questions than answers. Athletic Director Pat Burke and Lockport coach Bill Shaw never got a definitive answer either. Sorting out this drama shouldn't be as complicated as the nation's stimulus bill.

The fact remains that the 27th annual tournament will go on void of any Shark attacks. It remains a top-notch event as four of the six teams are ranked among the area's top seven large schools.

On Friday, Kenmore West (14-3) meets Williamsville East (13-4) at 6 p.m. followed by Lockport (14-3) versus Nichols (13-4). On Saturday, Nichols plays North Tonawanda (2-15) at 6 p.m. and Lockport takes on Pioneer (17-2) at 7:45 p.m.

---Mary Jo Monnin

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