(Cardinal O'Hara is playing its best basketball in nearly a decade)
1. Park (MMA) - Quite a week in the books for the Pioneers. After knocking off the best team in WNY over that last five years (Canisius), who now sits at #4, they defeated the second best team in WNY this year (South). They also own wins this season over #3 (Timon) and #9 (Niagara Falls). On Wednesday, they'll look to make it a clean sweep of the top four contenders in the area when St. Francis visits.
2. Williamsville South (A1) - Retired Mark Coppola's #21 in a ceremony prior to tip against Sweet Home on Friday night, who remains one of my favorite players I've ever watched play high school basketball. The Billies put their unbeaten record in ECIC II on the line in the 'Game of the Week' on Friday.
3. Timon (MMA) - After trailing at halftime, the Tigers exploded for a 27-9 third quarter and outscored St. Joe's by 25 points in the second half. Joe Harrison is one smooth sniper from the perimeter. Niagara Catholic is the only game for Timon this week.
4. Canisius (MMA) - Rebounded from the Park loss on Tuesday to hang for the victory on in a wild one against St. Francis. Speaking of smooth snipers, Nick MacDonald cannot be trusted to miss open looks from downtown!
5. St. Francis (MMA) - Fell behind early against Health Sciences, but came back to win the next three quarters and earn a 12-point win over the #1 small school. Followed the same model at Canisius, except they weren't able to make up enough points over thee final three quarters to pull it out. After an MLK Tournament at Bishop Grimes finishes up Monday, the Red Raiders are at Park on Wednesday night and host St. Joe's on Friday.
6. Amherst (A1) - Followed a 31-point win over Hamburg with a 22-point win over McKinley at the MLK Classic on Saturday. The Tigers have won seven straight games and will look to avenge a December loss to Williamsville South this Friday night, after hosting Iroquois on Tuesday.
7. Jamestown (AA) - Collected a pair of ECIC I wins over Williamsville North & West Seneca West this week to stay unbeaten in league play. The Red Raiders have a nonleague game at McKinley on Tuesday, before playing their two games with Frontier to finish the week.
8. North Tonawanda (A1) - Earned a 12-point win over Grand Island on Friday night to move back into sole possession of first place in the NFL. The Jacks face two more important games this week and both are on the road - Kenmore West & Niagara Falls.
9. Niagara Falls (AA) - Since the loss to Grand Island, the Wolverines seem to have their game faces back on. They took a 21-point win home from a trip to Lockport and then followed that up by rolling CSAT by 58 points. They can move back into a tie for first place in the NFL with a win over North Tonawanda on Friday.
10. Lancaster (AA) - The Legends have won their last three games in ECIC I over Orchard Park, Frontier, & Williamsville North by an average margin of 19 points. On Saturday afternoon, they visit St. Mary's for a local Lancaster rivalry game that earns one team bragging rights for a year.
1. Health Sciences (B2) - Bounced back from a loss at St. Francis with solid wins over Burgard and Tapestry. The Falcons look to continue to soar at Global Concepts on Wednesday.
2. East Aurora (B1) - The Blue Devils seem very focused on earning a league title this season in ECIC III. They've knocked off two of their top contenders for the prize by double figures, large schools Cheektowaga & Maryvale. The rematch with the Warriors is Tuesday night.
3. Chautauqua Lake (C1) - Anyone who thought the Thunderbirds beating Olean was a fluke had to second guess themselves after Friday night. Chautauqua Lake knocked off Dunkirk to take sole possession of first place in CCAA I West and stay unbeaten in a league with larger schools. The real test comes on Thursday night in Olean, where the Huskies haven't lost a game since 2011.
4. Cardinal O'Hara (MMA) - It's time to salute the Hawks. They are now on a most impressive four-game win streak that began with a 22-point win over St. Mary's. They followed it with wins of 29 & 19 over Niagara Catholic & CCA. Then on Saturday, O'Hara overcame a nine-point deficit in the last 1:28 of the game to defeat East.
5. East (C2) - The Panthers lit the scoreboard up again with a 90-point outing against South Park last week, before dropping late lead to O'Hara on Saturday. When you're taking 3-pointers with a lead, under one minute to play, and over 10 seconds left on the shot clock, it's as if you actually want to learn the hard way. Situational basketball in tight games can make or break you.
6. Walsh (MMA) - Followed a narrow loss at Nichols with a 10-point win over Frewsburg. The Eagles face Nigara Catholic this week, before a big date on Friday night at first place Cardinal O'Hara.
7. Ellicottville (D) - Stayed unbeaten in CCAA II East with a 15-point win over North Collins in their only action last week.
8. Franklinville (D) - Won a pair of league games by 30 & 31 points to remain one game back of the Eagles in league play.
9. Dunkirk (B1) - After the Marauders lost to Chautauqua Lake on Friday, I moved them behind Franklinville, who handily beat the Thunderbirds by 18 points just three weeks ago.
10. Depew (B1) - The Wildcats are just one game out of first place in ECIC III behind East Aurora, thanks to a thrilling win over Maryvale on Tuesday night. They will look to improve to 11-1 on the season this week, with rematches against Pioneer & Lake Shore on tap.