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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

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Congratulations to Grand Island head coach Nate Beutel for winning his first playoff game tonight, 64-63 over visiting Lake Shore. To my knowledge, he's currently the only coach in WNY history to have a perfect career postseason record.

The Vikings trailed by 10 at halftime, but made a comeback in the second half. Senior Steve Vitello hit the game-winning jumper from about 12 feet with just seven seconds remaining in the game. Vitello finished with 33 points and 10 rebounds.

Thank you CC...Go Vikings...Best of luck to all coaches and teams the next few weeks!

That Beutel is quite a coach!

After what certainly seemed like a thrilling win for GI last night, I'll give my take on the remainder of the bracket.

Tonight's prequarters, to me, provide a very interesting game...Lafayette/WSE. To start off, I expect Iroquois to hold their home court tonight against Hamburg and to advance to the unenviable task of traveling to South on Friday. Iroquois has played closer games with some of the better teams in ECIC II.

I certainly will look for GI to build off the momentum of the big win last night, but Sweet Home is a much better team than Lake Shore, and they have improved throughout the year...they are a far cry from the team that I saw lose by 30 to KE in December. I expect a close first quarter but for the athleticism of SH to be too much for GI as the game progresses. There are better days to come for GI.

Ken East is a team that played one of their best games of the season in a six point loss to KW last week and I expect them to handle Starpoint fairly easily. The Bono/Blanch duo is a handful when both playing and if their forwards can finish at the rim and grab a few rebounds they have the ability to put a scare in a higher seed.

Lafayette/WSE is the most intriguing game in the bracket tonight. Lafayette only registered two wins in league, but the Yale Cup I is arguably the deepest league in the section. Lafayette defeated Lackawanna earlier(without Alexander) and recently played Lew-Port to within one shot. WSE has also been playing well down the stretch, knocking off SH in their final league game. I predict WSE will hold off the Violets in a tight affair, largely due to that I feel the speed of Lafayette will not come as a big shock to WSE.

In the quarters, a potential battle of Easts, WE and KE could be a potential upset, but I feel WE's big men would be too much of a factor. I do not see any of the top four seeds being overly troubled on Friday, setting up a very nice double-header at Buff St. I feel South/Tech could be one of those classic ECIC/Yale Cup battles at Buff St. South is certainly one of the elite in the section, but Tech has been battle tested and then some all season. South has been largely untested all season but the question is if that is a result of simply a weak league or South being a truly great team. I think it's somewhere in between, but leaning more towards the latter. I certainly see Tech making South work hard, but I feel South's toughness and defense will be something Tech hasn't seen all year. Thus, I like South to pull it out. The other potential semi, WE/Bennett, is a slightly different animal...this is a game where I could see Bennett's speed and explosiveness simply being too much for Wil East to cope with, especially on a full floor at Buff St. If the Bennett team is fully participative and they show the intensity they have at times, specifically against McKinley, I can not see East slowing them down. Miller has the ability to keep East in games from three and Stolzenburg can be good in the paint, but I do not feel East has the athletes to out run Bennett.

A South/Bennett final would certainly be a fun proposition...but it's not one I'm ready to make a prediction for just yet.

West Seneca East also took Will. East to OT in the last two weeks but I'll give Lafayette the slight edge tonight.

You called the WSE game right TML. Lafayette had a 3 pt. lead going into the 4th quar. but had poor shot selection and use of the clock during the quarter when they had the lead. They also, inexpicably threw up a long 3 after only a few seconds went by when they were down by 2 with 20 secs. left coming out of a timeout. The rebound went to WSE.

Yea...going 4-0 yesterday should cut me some slack later on...;-). Ken east's game was a little closer than I expected, considering they were down after three. I've seen them enough to know they are not a deep team at all and that is what I think will be their downfall on Friday...its extremely tough to rely on three or four guys to do almost everything in a game, especially against a solid, smart team like Wil east.

Im going with an upset tonight.. I like Sweet Home to upset Hutch Tech.

There is no chance that happens. Hutch Tech 68 Sweet Home 52

so much for that prediction, eh..

Tech easily handled Sweet Home. Outstanding job by the Engineers

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