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Canisius and Health Sciences rise to the top of the final boys basketball polls

State classification in parentheses; first-place votes in brackets.

Team, Record, Points
1. Canisius [6] 18-10 86
2. North Tonawanda [3] (A1) 20-5 81
3. St. Francis 20-6 64
4. Williamsville South (A1) 19-4 62
5. Amherst (A2) 20-4 60
6. Park 17-6 53
7. Niagara Falls [1] (AA) 15-9 47
8. Timon-St. Jude 18-7 42
9. South Park (A2) 17-5 32
10. Lancaster (AA) 15-8 14

Others receiving votes: McKinley (A1) 6, Kenmore West (AA) 2, Olean (A2) 1.

Pollsters: Mark Simon (St. Joe’s coach), Kyle Husband (Canisius coach), Ben Drake (Jamestown coach), Zaire Dorsey (McKinley coach), Erik O’Bryan (Niagara-Wheatfield coach), Benji Bluman (official), Steve Allen (official), Dave Universal (New York State Sportswriters Poll), Chad Andrews (View from Centercourt blog), Miguel Rodriguez (Buffalo News).

Team, Record, Points
1. Health Sciences [9] (B2) 21-5 90
2. East Aurora (B1) 20-4 74
3. St. Mary’s 18-9 71
4. Franklinville (D) 20-5 65
5. Chautauqua Lake (C1) 21-4 58
6. Randolph (C2) 19-5 44
7. Medina (B2) 17-5 27
8. East (C2) 15-8 23
9. Nichols 14-14 18
10. Ellicottville (D) 16-4 7

Others receiving votes: Middle Early College (B2) 5, Cardinal O'Hara 4, Newfane (B1) 4, MST Seneca (B1) 3, Lackawanna (B2) 2.

Pollsters: Randall Rich (Middle Early College coach), Larry Jones (Depew coach/ECIC III), Tony Krupski (JFK coach/ECIC IV), Brian Koscielniak (Salamanca coach/CCAA II), Derek Hill (official), Tony Pulvirenti (Cardinal O’Hara coach), Brett Sippel (Wilson coach/Niagara-Orleans), Universal, Andrews, Rodriguez.


In a boys' basketball season in which several teams held the No. 1 ranking in the News' large school poll, the 2016-17 campaign ended like the previous two in the area – with Canisius on top.

The Crusaders are the poll champion for the third year in a row.

They earned their spot by capturing six first place votes after winning their third straight Manhattan Cup championship during a season in which the Monsignor Martin High School Athletic Association earned "the no nights off" moniker for its overall competitive depth.

The Crusaders nudged out Section VI Class A champion North Tonawanda, which received three first-place votes, by five for the top spot. Manhattan Cup runner-up and former in-season No. 1 St. Francis finished third in the poll whose voting members consists of coaches, officials and media members.  Niagara Falls, the Section VI Class AA champion, also rececived a first-place vote.

While Canisius' quest for a third straight New York State Catholic High Schools Athletic Association championship ended with a close loss to Chaminade, that doesn't change the fact that the Crusaders put it all together when it mattered most after earning a No. 4 seed for the playoffs.

They relied on solid team basketball along with their signature unrelenting defense to go from play-in game participant in the Manhattan Cup tournament to champion. Canisius took down regular-season co-champs Bishop Timon-St. Jude and St. Francis in succession to win its seventh Cup in nine years.

While Park, which spent time at No. 1 in the area and state, played one of the toughest schedules of any team in the area, it wound up No. 6 even though it lost three close decisions to St. Francis. The Pioneers also did not lose to any public schools on their schedule, did not lose to any team by more than six points (at Rochester's Bishop Kearney) and beat one team, Williamsville South, that finished ranked ahead of them.

Meanwhile, Health Sciences ended the year as it started – on top of the small school poll. The Falcons received all the first-place votes following a season in which they won their first Section VI title and reached the state final four in Class B.

Class B-1 champion and overall Section VI Class B runner-up East Aurora just edged Manhattan Cup Class B champion St. Mary's for the second spot in the poll by three points. State Class D semifinalist Franklinville took fourth with 65 points, followed by Section VI Class C champion Chautauqua Lake.

Perhaps a sign of things to come next season – four Southern Tier schools finished ranked in the top 10. That includes Ellicottville, which lost in the sectional semifinals to Franklinville and whose four losses during the season all came against teams that won sectional titles.

Cardinal O'Hara, Fredonia top final girls basketball polls

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