We're live at the first of what should be two great boys basketball finales this evening.
The Yale Cup is on the line as East visits Grover Cleveland; afterward I'm headed to Canisius for its auditorium finale against Nichols.
5:36 p.m. The actual Yale Cup trophy, a silver cup atop a wooden base with plaques of previous winners, is sitting three spots to my left. Pretty cool. A plaque reads "The Yale Cup," below that, "Supremacy in Basketball," below that, "Buffalo, New York." There are smaller plates with each year's winner (or winners). This trophy dates back to the 1982-83 season; Kensington and South Park are both inscribed for shared the Cup.
5:48 p.m. Things are moving fast at Grover Cleveland, where the game has started on time and there is outstanding end-to-end action. Some serious athletes under the basket here. East took a 18-12 lead AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER and is up 23-18 with 5:48 left in the second quarter.
5:56 p.m. We're at HALFTIME and East has a 34-28 lead in a game of tremendous action. East took its biggest lead at 31-20 with 2:50 left in the second, but a Kenyon Edwards two-handed dunk in the lane sparked a mini-run by Grover to get it back into the game.
6:18 p.m. Earl Schunk takes a timeout for Grover with 1:27 left in the second quarter and East leading, 49-41. Dallas Gary just flushed a dunk on a fast-break finish created by Deon Robinson, who stole a Chris Holland pass upcourt and sent Gary in alone.
6:21 p.m. At the END OF THE THIRD QUARTER, East has a 51-41 lead.
6:29 p.m. With 4:33 left in the game, East has a 57-49 lead. Grover just called a timeout. East's last basket came on a whoaaaa of a dunk by Gary, who went baseline and threw it down with two hands when there was noone in his way.
6:34 p.m. East has a 60-54 lead with 2:20 left in the game and East calls a timeout.
6:36 p.m. East calls another timeout wth 1:19 left and a 62-54 lead. Tremmell Fisher converted a pass from Robinson after a great time-wasting set by East.
6:39 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: East wins the Yale Cup win and undefeated season, capped off with a 64-54 win at Grover. I'm off to Canisius as soon as possible.
* * *
7:08 p.m. I just showed up at Canisius, saw the score through a doorway as I headed towards the side aisle, and my jaw literally dropped: Nichols 36, Canisius 15. I saw a minute of action but the score hasn't changed -- it is now HALFTIME.
7:16 p.m. Just snuck a peek at the scorebook: Nichols led, 16-7, after the first quarter. Nichols is, not surprisingly, led by Will Regan's 20 points and Ron Canestro's 12. Canisius' leading scorer is Blair Helton with four.
This is almost fitting in that St. Joe's is sticking it to their rival in a way -- the Marauders hang a first Monsignor Martin loss on Nichols, which perhaps gets the Vikings' attention, and they march in here on an emotional night for the school and take it to the Crusaders.
7:26 p.m. Nichols' lead is now 45-23 with 4:19 left in the third quarter. Canisius just called a timeout. After a turnover on Canisius' first possession, coach Kyle Husband said he wanted "five new guys" and in they went.
I just checked out the live Web-television broadcast and it is pretty sweet. Nice job by Canisius -- just go to the school's home page.
7:37 p.m. At the END OF THE THIRD QUARTER, Nichols has a 53-31 lead.
7:43 p.m. A Canestro three-point play makes it 62-31 with 5:37 left. Whoa.
7:51 p.m. The auditiorium is well lit, presumably for the Web broadcast, but it looks good. There is a decent crowd here, but nothing like Canisius-Joe's. Talk about a tough way to close a beautiful gym for the Crusaders -- although I think they should have a first-round Manhattan Cup playoff game here. Nichols' backups are looking good as well.
7:54 p.m. Nichols' pack of fans starts up, "This is our house." Ouch. Not exactly a good prelude for the gym-closing ceremony they'll hold here with many alumni.
However, a reminder: Nichols is one of the best teams in Western New York,, and they came in angry.
7:56 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Nichols 68, Canisius 38.
8 p.m. The postgame ceremony was pretty well done -- especially when it took Class of 1947 graduate R.C. "Sharkey" Diebold, sank the free throw on the first shot. He hit the shot with this year's team gathered behind him and all the alumni -- I'm guessing 50 or so -- gathered behind the team. It got a great cheer from those on-hand, a nice moment, particularly after tonight's result. Should make a nice picture for the school.
Diebold said his team went 15-1 in his junior year -- the first played in the auditorium -- and 16-0 his senior season.
8:02 p.m. I'm heading back to the office to write up the East game and provide a few details from this one.
Remember, I'll be at the Section VI basketball seedings meetings tomorrow and I'll be posting information as soon as it is finalized.