Hello from Highland Parkway and Delaware Road as Kenmore West hosts Niagara Falls in a very highly anticipated matchup -- very highly anticipated since West played host Falls to a two-point game in mid-December.
Packed parking lot here -- which is probably the most contorted parking lot in Western New York high school sports. It's a rectangle, then it's a trapezoid, then you're in a corner looking for a spot like a mouse looking for cheese. Very exciting.
7:12 p.m. Game time here was scheduled for 7:15, but things will start later after a very exciting finish to the JV game. Falls got a buzzer-beating bank-shot three-pointer from Zack Walker (might be the first time we've mentioned a JV player on the blog, but hey, it was a big shot) to tie the game at 48-48 and force overtime. Falls JV is up, 58-52, with 9.4 seconds left. Also notable is that Falls JV coach Carlos Bradberry was ejected just before the end of regulation and Falls head coach Sal Constantino took over the coaching duties. Falls had trailed by at least five in the final minute before getting in position to tie it at the buzzer.
7:19 p.m. Falls JV wins, 60-52. Fifteen minutes counting down on the scoreboard clock.
7:33 p.m. Buzzer sounds. Pregame intros coming up.
Just a reminder to check out our scoreboard page, which includes short previews of some of tonight's (and every night's) top games, including this one.
7:39 p.m. Three-pointer by Ryan Grandits answered by great three-point play by Marcus Feagin. Martin Bailey drive for KW and 5-3 lead. Jordan Street with a great drive while being fouled. 5-5. Martin Bailey off to the races an a FAST fast break for a 7-5 lead.
Jaleo Wilkins gets a loose ball and swishes a short jumper. 7-7. Great pace to open this game.
7:42 p.m. Missed three by West tuns into a break, a miss and a follow by Street. Falls, 9-7.
Feagin stelas an inbounds and scores on a layup; Falls, 11-7. Marcus Lobdell elevates on a strong drive to the basket and drops it in. Falls, 11-9, with 4:12 left in the first quarter. Lobdell is hurt and walks off on his own power with a limp.
Mike Wilcox drains a three after a kickout from Grandits; Wilkins with a short jumper. Falls, 13-12. Nice pass and Andrew Cosme shields off a defender to give West a 14-13 lead with less than three minutes left in first.
7:46 p.m. Marcus Feagin grabs a rebound and scores but he's called for an offensive foul that Falls fans don't like and I can see why. Falls causes a turnover and Ramir Burton, No. 11, scores for a 15-14 Falls lead.
7:48 p.m. Grandits goes to the hoop and is fouled, Falls fans don't like that one either and I can see why. I didn't see the contact. Less than two minutes to go. One for two at the line; 15-15.
7:49 p.m. Wilkins is fouled on a fast break after a very nice pass by Burton; 1:18 left.
7:50 p.m. Street fouled after grabbing two rebounds in a row -- he is a force inside; 1:08 left in first. First free throw good; second good; Falls, 17-15.
7:51 p.m. Kenny Johnston scores on a floater for KW, Falls break ends with a nice basket by Crumpton. Falls thought they had a steal and were off and running but a whistle stops it.
Bailey scores on a drive through the lane after the teams exchange turnovers. 19-19. Falls' Taijay Williams misses a three at the buzzer.
7:52 p.m. At the END OF THE FIRST QUARTER, Niagara Falls and Kenmore West are tied at 19-19.
7:54 p.m. Wilkins fouled and hits one of two; Falls, 20-19, with 7:24 left in second. Bailey scores on a strong drive in which he lands on Wilkins and gets the block call. Free throw is good; Ken West, 22-20, with 7:12 left in second.
7:56 p.m. Feagin with a putback off a missed drive. Tied at 22-22. Burton gets bumped on a rebound but no foul is called; tieup goes to Falls.
7:58 p.m. Grandits with a smooth, strong drive. Ken West, 24-22. Burton travels on other end. Ken West nearly turns it over, recovers, Bailey misses a three but 6-4 Quinton Campbell is fouled with 5:32 left. He hits two; West, 26-22.
8 p.m. Feagin with a tough turnaround; 26-24. Street with a block; Falls with a miss. Lobdell grabs a rebound and scores on an easy layup for a 28-24 lead with about 4:30 left.
8:01 p.m. Lobdell drive is partially blocked by Crumpton; Crumpton hits a nice baseline soft shot; 28-26 Ken West. Grandits misses a pullup that was well challenged by Crumpton. Quick missed shots by Falls followed by a nice fast-break layup by Bailey.
8:02 p.m. Niagara Falls coach Sal Constantino calls a timeout with 3:01 left in the second quarter and Kenmore West leading, 30-26.
8:03 p.m. Wilkins called for a travel that press row didn't see. Ken West miss, Falls fast-break miss. Andrew Cosme from Nick Hersey on a nice bounce entry pass for West, which takes a 32-26 lead under two minutes.
Feagin gets a nice entry pass in the lane from Street and is fouled on the floor with 1:48 left.
Wilkins gets a nice pass from Pascucci on the baseline and gets some contact but misses the shot.
8:05 p.m. Street scores off a nice Pascucci pass; 32-28. Wild miss by Ken West. Feagin makes a great cut in the lane and Pascucci hits him for a layup; 32-30 Kenmore West and KW coach Mike Meetze calls a timeout with 1:04 left in the second.
8:07 p.m. Grandits misses a deep three with the shot clock running down; Cosme draws a charge on Pascucci.
8:08 p.m. At HALFTIME, Kenmore West leads Niagara Falls, 32-30.
Just had a visit from Prep Talk Hall of Famer TML1000, who noted that West could be up even more if it were not for Falls' offensive rebounding, and that's true. I think a large part of the battle in taking on Falls is being able to play fearless against them, and West is certainly doing that. They are running with them, moving the ball well on offense, taking it to Falls repeatedly. Falls has shown flashes of why it is the No. 1 team by causing turnovers, finishing, and being a big presence inside on both ends -- but they have looked out of sync on offense at times. Some possessions are good, some possessions look out of sorts.
8:19 p.m. Second half has started; West ball.
Street blocks Grandits' shot in the lane and it turns into a Wilkins layup; tied, 32-32.
Campbell rebounds a miss that was altered by Street and is fouled by Street, his second, with 7:18 left in third. Campbell hits first, misses second; 33-32 West.
8:21 p.m. Misses on both ends. Williams with a floater in the lane for Falls, which takes a 34-33 lead.
Grandits missed three is rebounded by Street; Wilkins travels.
Bailey with a missed drive, Feagin with a fast-break DUNK for a 36-33 lead for Falls.
8:23 p.m. Meetze calls a timeout for Kenmore West with 5:29 left in the third.
8:24 p.m. Grandits gets his hands into Williams to steal the ball and he's fouled by Williams with 4:54 left in the third.
Turnover by West taken by Pascucci, who runs the break well and gives to Street, who scores while being fouled for a 38-33 lead with 4:35 left. Free throw is good; Falls leads, 39-33.
8:25 p.m. West turns it over in inbounds; Falls' lob to Feagin doesn't fall but he is fouled. KW timeout with 4:31 left in the third and Falls with the ball and a 39-33 lead.
8:27 p.m. Feagin hits first; misses second. Falls, 40-33. David Pascucci tries to draw a charge at midcourt and is rightly called for the block.
8:28 p.m. Grandits with a nice jumper after Falls plyed very good defense in West's halfcourt set; Falls, 40-35. West gives Feagin the three and he nails it. Big one. Falls, 43-35.
8:30 p.m. Williams scores on a burst down the left side; Falls, 45-35. Grandits draws a foul by getting his defender in the air and hits but misses the free throw. Falls, 45-37. Under three minutes left in third.
8:31 p.m. Crumpton called for three seconds. Wilcox splits two defenders abut misses. Grandtis leads a break but Burton ends the possession with a strip
Feagin misses in close, gets rebounds, dribbles out, hits three under two minute; 48-37 Falls. Wilcox miss by West; Quinton scores inside; Falls, 48-39.
8:35 p.m. Bailey misses at the buzzer.
At the END OF THE THIRD QUARTER, Niagara Falls leads Kenmore West, 48-39.
Great third quarter for Falls, who played much better defense. Feagin's threes were very big. Might go to the iPhone to try for some highlights in fourth.
8:37 p.m. Crumpton on a drive and is called for a charge and Falls doesn't like it.
Street rebound, outlet, Williams layup: 50-39 Falls. Turnover Ken West.
8:38 p.m. Another travel on Falls.
8:39 p.m. Grandits scores for West, 50-41 Falls; another travel on Falls as the player is bumped by a defender.
8:40 p.m. Feagin makes a steal and is going in for a layup and he is wrapped up by Grandits, who is rightly called for an intentional foul. Feagin misses first, makes second, Falls gets ball back with 6:14 left in third, leading, 51-41.
8:41 p.m. Falls with another travel.
Campbell gets inside for a rebound and he draws a foul on Street with 5:48 left in the game. Misses first, makes second; Falls, 51-42.
8:42 p.m. Campbell fouls Feagin on a rebound on other end; Feagin misses first, misses second.
Feagin draws charge foul on Bailey with 5:30 left.
8:44 p.m. Feagin with a follow, Lobdell with a nice fast-break finish; Falls, 53-44, under five minutes.
Williams with a steal and a layup; Falls, 55-44. Ken West miss, Falls ball with 4:24 left in game and we have a timeout by Kenmore West.
8:47 p.m. Williams with a three off an offensive rebound for Falls, 58-44; Grandits inside for Ken West, 58-46. Feagin called for an offensive foul that Falls didn't like.
Ken West miss, Feagin fouled and he's to the line for a one-and-one with 3:34 left. Miss.
8:49 p.m. Feagin in the open court nearly put down a 360-degree jam but was fouled; 3:02 left. Feagin misses first. Misses second.
8:50 p.m. Street inside for a 60-46 lead for Falls.
8:51 p.m. Pascucci to the line with 2:24 left after a foul on Ken West, I believe a technical foul was called on a player. Pascucci misses first, makes second; Falls, 61-46.
8:52 p.m. Another three by Feagin. Falls, 64-46.
Under two minutes and West has cleared its bench.
Three-pointer by Marquis Siner, steal and layup by Wilkins, Falls, 69-46.
Three-pointer by Johnston for West.
8:55 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Niagara Falls 69, Kenmore West 49.
* * *
There might be some people who don't like what coach Constantino said, but it's true and I love it. Falls should be playing an independent schedule. It's one of the state's top programs. It should do what it needs to do to become the best it can be. That means playing an independent schedule, something I've been in favor of when Falls did it in the mid-2000s, including when it won the state Federation title in 2005 -- and something I think they should have been doing every season since.
His comments on the schedule became a significant part of my story in tomorrow's paper.
Here's Ken West coach Michael Meetze:
Some stuff that caught my eye on our scoreboard page: Tough one-point loss for West Seneca West, which nearly came up with a second straight big win in ECIC I against Frontier. ... As noted in the comments section on this post, Lackawanna seems to have Dondre Alexander and Christian Cheatom back as both went big in a win at Holland. ... Speaking of that interesting ECIC IV race, strong showing from Tonawanda tonight. ... Nice to see struggling Nichols hanging in there with St. Mary's. ... St. Joe's rolls along at St. Francis as it gets ready for Canisius on Saturday.
We're back at it tomorrow with a trip up to Wilson for the Niagara-Orleans showdown between the Lakemen and rival Newfane. On Saturday it's St. Joe's at Canisius at 5 p.m.