Get yourself ready for today's #PrepTalkLive action with everything you need to know about the day ahead in high school sports.
What to watch for Thursday
1. Boys basketball - McKinley at South Park, 6 p.m.
South Park (10-4, 8-1) hosts Yale Cup I rival No. 8 large school McKinley (10-5, 6-3) in the top game on Thursday's high school slate.
The Sparks are tied atop the division with East, which handed South Park its only league loss this season. South Park made a statement on Monday with a 92-67 over No. 3 small school Middle College (7-2). Shakur Harris had a huge game with 33 points, 10 assists, six rebounds and six steals, while David Stroud recorded a triple-double with 16 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocks. After tonight, the Sparks close out the season against Burgard, Emerson, Middle College and East, three of the top five teams in Yale Cup I.
This is pretty much a must-win for the Macks if they want any shot at ending the regular season with their third consecutive Yale Cup I title. South Park handed McKinley its first Yale Cup loss in two seasons in a 65-64 game back on Dec. 22. The Macks had a chance to pull closer to the top of the division standings on Monday but lost a close 63-58 game at East.
2. Boys hockey - Canisius vs. St. Joe's, 9 p.m.
Catholic rivals St. Joe's (11-1-1) and Canisius (6-5-2) face off for the second time this season on the Northtown Center Feature Rink. St. Joe's shut out Canisius in the first meeting, 4-0.
After a loss to Orchard Park in December, the reigning state champ Marauders are looking like their dominant selves again. They've won 15 straight, including games outside Federation competition. Nathan Berke and Jeremy Ienco lead the team with 14 assists and 17 points a piece. Ethan Louisos has a team-high 10 goals. Goaltenders Benjamin Weppner and Donovan Boshier have combined for only 16 goals against, the second least in the entire Federation.
The Crusaders are 4-1-1 in their last six games, including that loss to St. Joe's and most recently a 2-0 win over Williamsville North from Jan. 22. Logan Gare leads the team with 10 assists and 16 points, while Joe Cooley has a team-high seven goals. Netminder Ryan O'Donnell has played in every game this season, has two shutouts and a 2.50 goals against average.
3. Boys basketball - Olean at Dunkirk, 7:30 p.m.
No. 8 large school Olean (14-2, 8-1) topped CCAA West I foe Dunkirk (9-7, 6-2) in an ultra-competitive 54-52 game in Olean last Monday. The two renew acquaintances at Dunkirk tonight.
The Huskies are rolling having won their last 10 in a row following a 58-57 loss at No. 4 small school Chautauqua Lake in December. Olean avenged that loss two weeks ago when Monty Shoemaker hit a buzzer-beating three for a 68-66 win. Shoemaker leads the team in scoring at 18.4 points per game.
Dunkirk's other league loss came by six points at Chautauqua Lake, who it hosts next Thursday in a game that could determine the league title. The Marauders are a high-scoring bunch that started the season with an impressive 75-73 win over Class AA Lancaster.
4. Girls basketball - Olmsted at Buffalo Arts, 6 p.m.
Honorable mention small school Olmsted (10-2, 9-0) visits Buffalo Arts (11-4, 8-1) for a rematch between the top two teams in the Canisius Cup. Olmsted won a 51-47 game last Friday.
While the Owls have obviously won every game against Buffalo Public Schools, it's notable that they hung with and lost by 10 points to both No. 3 small school Depew and Newfane. Olmsted's led by freshman Gabrielle McDuffie and sophomore Eliza Conyers, who both had double-doubles against Arts the first time around.
On the top of the Cavaliers' resume this season is a 48-42 win at Mount St. Mary, the same team that snapped a 20-plus year losing streak against Sacred Heart on Monday. They also have a 13-point win over honorable mention small school Tapestry. Fourth-year senior Alexis Campbell is one of the top scorers in Section VI.
5. Girls hockey - Section VI quarterfinals
The Section VI girls hockey playoffs get underway at Northtown Center on Wednesday.
Action starts with 3-Amherst/Sweet Home/Clarence against 6-Lancaster/Iroquois/Depew at 4 p.m. CASH won all three regular season meetings in high-scoring games: 9-5, 10-5 and 5-3.
Then 4-Kenmore/Grand Island and 5-West Seneca/Hamburg/Eden play at 5:30 p.m. Kenmore also won all three games in the regular season: 7-0, 4-3 in overtime and 6-1.
The teams re-seed for Monday's semifinals back at Northtown Center. The lowest-remaining seed takes on 1-Williamsville at 4 p.m., while the other faces 2-Orchard Park/Frontier/Lake Shore at 5:30 p.m.
- Boys basketball: V-Aquinas at Williamsville South, 7:30 p.m.
- Boys hockey: Lew-Port vs. West Seneca West, 5 p.m. at Hyde Park Ice Pavilion
Today's schedule can be found at our high school scoreboard.
#PrepTalkLive updates: While we follow ALL the high school action via our Prep Talk team, we encourage YOU to also tweet updates from the games you are attending with the hashtag #PrepTalkLive attached.
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Signing Day coverage
- McDuffie, Emer and Haubeil headline list of Division I football signings
- McDuffie signing with Boston College highlights great day for Bennett athletics
- Haubeil, Burniston among Canisius athletes to make college commitments official
- Birzon's commitment to Ohio State headlines big day for WNY soccer
High School Extra (Feb. 2): Ranked teams get routine wins, plus much more
Girls basketball photo gallery: Kenmore East 49, Wmsv. East 42
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- As always, we'll monitor today's action in our #PrepTalkLive post