A glance at the winningest schools in the state Federation basketball tournament reads like a who's who of the best boys basketball programs in the state: Rice has six, Long Island Lutheran has five while tied at four are Mount Vernon, Lincoln . . . and Nichols.
As this year's Vikings head to Glens Falls for this year's Federation event, they are aiming to put the ultimate finishing touch on one of the finest seasons Western New York has seen in the past decade.
"We point and look up at those Class C Federation championships on the gym wall," said Nichols coach Greg Plumb, who was a player on the last Nichols team to win a Federation title in 1995. "We're proud of the tradition of Nichols basketball and the great names that have played before us, and want to put a Federation banner next to the rest of them.
"These seniors are definitely really proud of the legacy that they are going to leave behind. The team will never forget this weekend -- hopefully it's also one that Western New York will never forget."
The Federation determines the overall championship of New York State in classes AA, A and B. Last week's boys champions from the state public school tournament return to the Glens Falls Civic Center, this time joined by the winners of the state Catholic and independent associations, as well as New York City's Public School Athletic League.
Nichols, as well as the St. Mary's boys and girls teams, earned trips to Glens Falls by winning state Catholic titles. All three teams will play semifinals on Friday with hopes of advancing to Saturday's title games.
While its current membership in the Monsignor Martin Association funnels Nichols into the state Catholic playoffs, the private school's four previous titles came as a member of the Association of Independent Schools. The Vikings won titles in 1985, '86, '90 and '95.
For St. Mary's, it has been quite a couple of weeks of preparation after its boys and girls teams both won Catholic state titles.
"We have such a good support net in the St. Mary's community and everyone is very happy for the kids and the school," said boys coach and Athletic Director Dan Gill. "We were joking that we'd have to cancel the school day Friday because so many teachers wanted to go to the games. The running line is that St. Mary's is invading Glens Falls."
>On the Web
Go to the Prep Talk blog at buffalonews.com/highschool for:
* Additional notes on Nichols' history in the Federation tournament and both St. Mary's teams;
* Vote in polls and let us know who you think will go all the way.
* The News' Keith McShea will be live blogging all the games from Glens Falls.