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2017-18 Boys basketball preview: Returning All-WNYers, key dates & what's new?

2016-17 champions: Section VI – Niagara Falls (Class AA), North Tonawanda (Class A), Amherst (Class A2), Health Sciences (Class B), East Aurora (Class B1), Chautauqua Lake (Class C), Randolph (Class C2), Franklinville (Class D). Manhattan Cup: Canisius (Class A), St. Mary's (Class B).

Returning All-Western New York selections: First team: Greg Dolan-12 (Williamsville South). Second team: Devin Pope-12 (Chautauqua Lake), Willard Anderson-12 (East), Davonte Gaines-12 (Health Sciences). Third team: Trevor Book-12 (North Tonawanda), Julian Cunningham-11 (Bishop Timon-St. Jude), Bo Sireika-12 (St. Francis). Fourth team: Jayce Johnson-12 (Canisius), Jalin Cooper-12 (Medina), Dan Scott-11 (Park). Honorable mention: Latrell Butler-Kemp-12 (Archbishop Walsh), Ryan Bradley-12 (Canisius), Justin Hemphill-11 (Cardinal O’Hara), Chad Biersbach-12 (Depew), Darnell Butts-12 (Dunkirk), Elliot Bowen-12 (Ellicottville), Sam Erickson-12 (Franklinville), Darren Clark-12 (Franklinville), Nate Brawdy-12 (Gowanda), Cam Sionko-11 (Grand Island), Ray Blackwell-12 (Maryvale), Hakeem Dobbins-12 (Middle Early College), Max Weber-12 (Newfane), Tazaun Rose-12 (Niagara Falls), Noah Hutchins-11 (Park), Tyler Hind-10 (Randolph), Christian Szablewski-12 (St. Mary’s), Ray Mushat-12 (South Park), Mason Goodridge-11 (Springville).

What's new? The Niagara Frontier League will be split into two divisions (Niagara and Frontier). The Niagara Division consists of Niagara Falls, North Tonawanda, Lockport, Niagara Wheatfield and Kenmore West. The Frontier Division features Kenmore East, Lewiston-Porter, Grand Island and CSAT. The division winners will meet in a crossover game to determine the league champion.

Class C will be one bracket for the Section VI Tournament instead of two. There are 17 teams in the classification this year.

East moves from Class C-2 to Class D – which figures to be difficult classification to win once the postseason starts. Contenders include last year's state semifinalist Franklinville, which returns most of its key players, and Ellicottville.

Lafayette now plays its home games at Grabiarz School of Excellence on Lawn Avenue off Military Road in the Black Rock section of Buffalo.

That every other year thing of Olean bouncing between Class A-2 and B-1 continues as the Huskies, the 2015 state Class B champions, are back in B-1 after moving up and playing in A-2 last year.

Key in-season tournaments: A new one on the docket: The Centercourt Classic is set for Saturday, Feb 3 at Williamsville South. The event features four games involving top 10 teams. It is being organized by News pollster Chad Andrews, who runs the View from Centercourt website.

Others include the Harvey Austin at McKinley (Dec. 28-29), Interstate-90 Showcase at Villa Maria (Dec. 29-30), the IAABO at Allegany-Limestone (Dec. 29-30) and annual MLK Classic at City Honors (Jan. 12-13).

Key dates: Section VI seeding meeting Feb. 17. Section VI Tournament starts Feb. 20. Championship Week at Buffalo State and Jamestown Community College, Feb. 26-March 3. Overall Class A and B finals at Buffalo State, March 6. Far West Regionals at Buffalo State, March 10. NYSPHSAA Final Four in Binghamton, March 16-18. New York State Federation Tournament of Championship in Glens Falls, March 23-25. Manhattan Cup playoffs begin, TBA.

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2017-18 Boys basketball preview: A look at Section VI from the Yale Cup to CCAA's best

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