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Monday, February 03, 2014


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Just curious, what's your thought process for putting Park ahead of East? Aside from East losing 3 games, 2 of which I believe would beat Park, can't say what Franklin would do. Park's quality loss against Canisius?

Ever since the Panthers went to the locker room at halftime of the McKinley game, they haven't seemed the same. Since that point...

They blew a 12-point lead on the Macks in the 2nd half.

The loss to Franklin wasn't exactly a "good loss". Wilson Magnet just beat Franklin , its only win in the last seven games.

Then they're held to 49 points against Middle College and once again, collapse against a Yale Cup team over the last 12 minutes. They needed that game, and instead, they're two games back in league.

I don't like the way they are playing right now. I watched the same group that's taking the court right now, beat Aquinas. That bunch had the heart of a champion. Lately, not even close! I know they'd be better with Tyson playing, but he's not. He's says he's coming back. I'm not quite as optimistic. Meniscus doesn't heal itself - we'll see.

Park beat St. Joe's, who beat Middle College. I felt like they were in a better place than East at this moment, having won five of its last six, with the loss coming at Timon.

Agree with u State Champs no way East should be lower than 3rd. CC has a bit of a 'love affair' with Park and has gone a bit over the deep end because of a home win against a 'decent' St Joe's team. Clearly East should b no lower than #3. They beat Aquanis on the road no? Crushed Timon? Those don't out-way a home win over Joe's? C'mon.

Haha. Yeah CC, you've gone over the deep end now.

Anyone see what is happening with the Niagara Falls HS girls team? If they played the boys team at NF they would most likely be favored by 5-7 points. That team is coached by Mike Esposito who was passed over for the boys job despite clearly being a more established and better coach than Sal who go the job. The NF girls were terrible until Mike took over and now he has them poised to win the sectional title, while the once proud boys team is losing to the likes of Grand Island. The fact that the boys team has only won 1 state title in the 15 years they have been a combined school is bad enough, but where Sal has the program now is beyond disgraceful. You have the most kids of any school in WNY, most of whom come from an inner city background where basketball is played day and night and you are going to finish 4-14?

You can't 'hang out' with the kids at the local Y then try and coach them as well. Since Guilo was let go what has Sal done with them? In 4 seasons now 1 sectional title. Chan Gaily didn't even last a 4th season.

Mike is an excellent coach to be able to take the Niagara Falls girls team and turn them into a power. He was also Guilo's right hand man when NF actually made it Glen Falls for 2 straight finals in 08-09. Falls has been allergic to Glens Falls since then. Despite the fact Sal is best friends with the people who pick the coach, he should do the right thing and resign at the end of the season, and suggest to his buddies that Mike be named coach for the 2014-15 season and beyond.

Am I losing sleep at night over this? No. But it was nice as a life long resident to have a program we were proud of. Do the right thing and give Mike a chance to turn this thing around like he has with the Niagara Falls girls team.

Mike does indeed have a very good thing going with the girls team, so why mess with success? I say keep him with the girls and build another NFL power. They are certainly amongst the AA favs and have improved consistently over the past few seasons.

The problem with the NF guys team is largely youth, inexperience and the lack of any size whatsoever. When you lose your top seven players from a team that was top-5 in the area last season, it is not easy to be competitive the next season. At most any other school but the Falls, it would not be as big a deal, but the Falls doesn't rebuild, they just re-strock the talent cabinet...until this season.

I think the Falls will be just fine in the coming seasons. They have no senior impact players and many of their players seeing time are 10th and 9th graders. Their JV team is again very strong, so do not be surprised if they are amongst the area's best teams in the next year or two. It is not fair to judge Sal on this season...now if they continue with mediocre results as this crop of players matures into 11th and 12th graders, then I would think the questions would be valid.

Bradberry is next in line

Raiders Clinch At Least A Tie For League Title

BARKER -- Congratulations to the Boys' Varsity Basketball team on a 42-39 victory over the Medina Mustangs. With the win, the 15-0 Raiders secured at least part of the Niagara-Orleans Championship. This is the first Boys Basketball championship since 1978. Jacob Haight was the high scorer for the Raiders with 19 points. Also scoring was Mitchell Luckman, Hayden Gooding, Bryce Moeller, and Jarid Worthington.

42-39...Defense must've been stifling.

After watching the wolverines underachieve the past three years with teams laden in div 1,2,3 and jr college talent and seing this years young,athletic team flounder miserably,it is obvious the blame falls with its head coach.Lets take a look at what has transpired this year,they currently stand at an embarassing 5-10,as the year goes on there is no improvement since their first game.I will start with the offense,when is the last or for that fact the first time you have seen a player catch the ball and be in tripple threat position?Have you seen any jump stops or a two handed bounce pass?Do you see any spacing and lanes being filled properly on transition fast breaks?When have you seen forwards use drop steps or up and unders for power layups?Have you seen any layups off the glass after offensive rebounds?Have you seen screens being set at all the proper way?The answer is a resounding no!Now lets talk defense,the BASIC principals of man to man defense is simple,when you are guarding the ball you are an arms length away forcing the ball away from the middle,if your man is one pass away,you are denying that pass,and if your man is more than one pass away,you have at least one foot in the paint in help defense.Do you see this or 5 players boxing out when a shot goes up?Again the answer is no.All of these inadequacys are not caused because of the players age,grade or talent level,they are caused by the lack of knowledge of their HEAD COACH.But to be fair to the head coach he is not entirely to blame,most of the blame goes to the NF administrators and board members who put him in the job.They to should be held accountable for the steady decline and demise of a once proud and dominant hs basketball program.The first thing those who created this mess should do is apologise to the familys of this years players for letting them and their children down.Secondly,find a coach who can teach the game as it was meant to be played,that is what the kids deserve,isnt it?Remember you cant teach what you dont know!!!!!

RE: Barker-Medina game. Both teams' best outside shooters were completely shutout in the game. Barker junior Chris Sweeney and Medina sophomore Dylan Lewis were obviously focal points of the defensive game plans after they both had good games in the first matchup. The game was a great battle between Jake Haight and Munjie Brown though, the N-O's two best players.

Both Dan & Jake are products of the Buffalo Storm NO AAU team that Coach Hellwig formed a few years back and it shows. I'd like to take this time to thank Eric for asking Jake to join his team in 8th grade, it help to develop him into the player he is today. If you have a son or daughter who plays ball seek out a AAU team to play with. Some of the other players that were on that team you might recognize are Colin, Ryan, Moziah (lockport) Julian (Starpoint)all great players in there leagues. Thanks again Coach Hellwig!!!

Shouldnt we teach our successful kids and dads to be humble? This Barker thing is out of control. A true winning program wins more than one year. This year they happen to have a couple good players. Be humble, it will go further when end of season awards come around. Then you will flip out about that when it doesnt go your way. Enough about Barker !

Someone's mad ^

I don't think that From The North or anyone else for that matter claimed that Barker was a "true winning program". They are a good team this year with good players. Let them enjoy it. This is a high school basketball blog so I don't understand why people get sick of hearing about teams whether it's Barker or even more often Canisius. Instead why not make a comment about another team of your choice and start a conversation involving them?

Where is 'Barker' anyway? Do they sell Mountain Dew at their games? Sell good pizza slices with 1 crust? Have plain M&M's?

The more I think about it I think Sherman would beat Canisius by 20.

Programs the only true program we have at Barker is Field Hockey they have a developed feeder program. All other teams depend on who comes out that year. Yes we are a little excited her in case you hadn't notice 36 years is a long time. Remember also we are the only "C" school in the NO League and the last time we won the NO was in 1945. Do I have allusions of winning states no, but anything can happen. For now we are just enjoying it one game at a time. To answer you rant about awards I have a room full of them one more or less won't make a difference. Besides I've been giving the best award of all Jake as a son and Chris my nephew!!!

Despite being a huge CC supporter, I don't usually comment on here however when I read the comments from idiots ie: Sammybeck...a few thoughts came to my mind...

Ken West Starters: Returning-3
Price (SR) Fron (SR) Wahlen (SR) Ford (SO)

Lockport Starters: Returning-5
Bronson (SR) Dougherty (SR) Lawrence (SR) Townzend (SR) Sobierski (SR)
first off Bench- Guyton (SR)

NT Starters: Returning- 4
Piotrowski (SR) Awad (SR) Billie (SR) Stone (JR) Woodard (JR)
first off Bench Book&McNeill (JR)-who played up as SO

GI and LewPort have pretty experienced teams, and Lew-Port got a great transfer from Niagara Catholic so...

Falls Starters: Returning-0
If I recall correctly, they graduated 4 seniors 3 of which are playing college basketball from a 17-4 team and lost possibly their best back court player in Rawlins...and this year they start 4 Freshmen/Sophomores and 1 senior...

I mean what did you expect? They are young in a very experienced league. His team plays hard and improves every time they are out there, they are just young. And your talking about skills and fundamentals that take time to develop and the confidence to use at a Varsity Level. We are talking about 14 and 15 year olds like its the NBA...and the key word is 14 and 15 year olds...playing against 16,17 and now most likely into February some 18 year olds.

There is a mental side of sports that you clearly never understood growing up and I am sorry to hear that, and that yes Fundamentals become second nature, however when you are facing pressure and playing at a speed you are just learning, it doesn't always materialize as your bodies trigger muscles and reactionary time is still developing at the age of 14, you apparently claim to know alot about basketball however I am surprised you did not know that. Rebounds off the glass off of offensive rebounds? Their front court is 6'1 and under...Lockport is 6'3, 6'4, 6'2...West is 6'3, 6'1, NT is 6'9 6'4 6'3...think about it. Im pretty sure that when they get an offensive rebound they are looking to kick out for a reason...You sound like an idiot and to take a shot at a successful high school coach's name who puts in countless hours away from his family for the betterment of our youth not to mention his hard work and contributions for the Western New York Community as a whole. It sounds like you think you should be running the program, which judging by how you sound and how invalid and non lucid your points are...it would crush the still proud tradition of Niagara Falls Basketball if you ever coached there.

If the Falls girls teams makes the finals it would be more than a shock, the NFL doesn't have a team that will win a playoff game other then them and that is even in questions. With Bill leaving Lockport there just isn't talent in the league on the court and on the bench. Falls cannot matchup with any of the top 4 teams in ecic, while I am sure the coach is doing a great job when they lose in the semifinals will he then be judged like Sal.

"Programs the only true program we have at Barker is Field Hockey they have a developed feeder program."

- A strong, well-written and carefully edited sentence to start the paragraph. Nice.

"Do I have allusions of winning states no, but anything can happen."

- I don't think you know what an allusion is.

"To answer you rant about awards I have a room full of them one more or less won't make a difference."

- The "I" is telling.

I'm sure there is a blog out there for English teachers because I can't see what you bring to a blog about basketball.

N F girls have already beaten a very well coached Lockport Lady Lions team. Girls' AA wide open. Whichever team brings their "A" game will win. Lady Wolverines very athletic! Four ECIC I teams and two NFL teams all are legit candidates.

Sean, great comment, you nailed it !

Mary Annette Mack's Shah Day View. Some things never change!

ZING!! You got me.

It's ironic you of all people feel that way.

Go shine your awards. They're in the award room. It has awards in it.

Sean Bruso do everyone a favor and continue not to comment on here. YOU are the 'idiot'

This is a BLOG Sean relax. Sal coaches what used to be the best program in the area and isn't above being called out. He seems to be taking it better than you. Falls for years has lost 4-5 starters with other coaches and still won the Section and even States. You fail to mention they have the most kids of any school in Section 6 to choose from, and well - let's just say a lot of them play basketball. So yes Sean 4-11 is a disgrace. How did U Prep with a bunch of 14-15 year olds make the State Finals last year in Class D? Playing all those 18 year olds? How come 14 Sophomores have made All WNY teams? A few Player of the Years. Suddenly 14 and 15 year olds can't play basketball? Falls/LaSalle for years laughed at teams like Grand Island, Lew Port, and NT. How do you explain the Lew Port loss Sean? Last time Falls/LaSalle lost to them was 1981. That's right 1981!!!!

Look, we will all get up tomorrow and get on with our days I assume but don't call people idiots for expressing their opinions on here with what is a total valid point. So Sean, again, support CC which is fine, but stay off his blog and do us all a favor.

Sean if you can take time out of your busy schedule to answer this - how did LaSalle in 1995 and 1996 win back to back State titles in the largest class with a 6'1 Center? In fact they won 11 straight sectional titles in the largest class and maybe once had a kid over 6'1. How is that possible Sean? With a 'frontcourt 6'1 and under?

Can you let all us idiots know how that happened? We await your brilliance to enlighten us...

It will NOT be a shock if the Falls girls reach the finals for 2 reasons...first being how the seedings will shake out. If they defeat Lockport, they will be the 2 seed, if they lose to Lockport, those two those teams will coin flip for the 2/3 seeds. The six and seven seeds will be two of KW, NW and OP, all teams the Falls SHOULD beat. That would then bring up a semifinal with either Lockport or Frontier. They are a much faster team than Lockport and I feel they would match up fairly evenly with Frontier. Both teams are guard driven and posses strong athleticism...not much between the sides. To say that the top 4 teams in ECIC(I presume you mean ECIC 1) are far and away better than the Falls is just false. There is not even a clear top 4 to begin with...you have J'town on top, Frontier 2nd, North 3rd...beyond that OP, Lancaster and Clarence are all fairly even...no pushovers but I would not describe any of those three anywhere close to top teams.

Beyond J'town, none of the ECIC teams have more than 1 or 2 established scoring threats and the Falls ability to push the ball and apply pressure defense will keep them in any game even on a bad shooting night against any team besides J'town.

Sammybeck, unfortunately hits on some very true aspects of the state of basketball in WNY. Most coaches in WNY don't teach the game and simply rely on pure talent and motivating the players to give their best effort. There is not a lot of "coaching" going on. The talent of years past and the "All the way without a play" mentality doesnt work for everyone. Yes, there are multiple aspects to coaching. However, most coaches can't figure out how to beat a simple zone or trap. Sit back and watch the coaches at the next game you are at. Do they call plays? do the help players make adjustments? do they use the game as a teaching opportunity? or do they just yell at the players with no sense of direction.
There are plenty exceptions. I beleive those are the teams that are regularly at Buff St. yes some of them have talent and good feeder programs, but don't tell me talent gets them there alone. It is a huge result of what is done in practice and the fundamentals that Sammybeck referenced. I don't know what is going on at the Falls and don't know if that is the case there. If you disagree with me, you may be part of the problem and being defensive or just haven't taken the time to sit back and watch more than what is going on on the court. LAstly, why are some of these players talented? is it a result of good coaching? or is the coach good as a result of good talent? We all wish our teams could have both. but at the end of the day it is just High School basketball. Not D! or the NBA.

The Raiders won the NO League out right by defeating Wilson 64 -34. Great job Raiders!!!

I hope Taplin nailed down player of the year last night. North has been on a tear lately. They already avenged the 1 point home loss 2 Clarence, the Timon OT loss a week after football ended we can throw out at this point, the McKinley loss on the road was a tough one, but I really hope they win AA this year.

Obviously a 2 man race 4 Player of the Year between him and Bathurst, I just think Taplin is SUCH a better passer - that unless North somehow losses in the AA Semis and Will leads Olean 2 a State title - it's Taplin's award 2 lose

If North does not win AA there is no way Taplin should get POY. He isn't Johnny Flynn. Lets have some standards for the award. If Bathurst leads Olean to a State Title and Taplin can't even win the Section, giving Taplin POY would just be stupid.

Why is that stupid? Olean has a tremendous supporting cast. The kids have played together for four years. I hope and expect them to win a state title. Kudos to Coach Anastasia for putting together such a formidable schedule. POY should be based on the player's talent, the quality of that player's season and the contributions he's made towards a successful season. Certainly Taplin is most worthy on all accounts. And based on that standard you could make a good argument for Bathurst too, so don't get your hackles up because one person believes Taplin is having a POY type season. I happen to agree, so make that two people.

It's fun reading this stuff. The more things change the more they stay the same. In fact, the only thing that has changed are the names. The good, bad and outlandish all continue, which makes it great fun to read, even more so when you know the kids, players and coaches.

A couple thoughts.

1. AAU is great, but don't leave behind the instruction. Unfortunately, all many kids, parents, AAU coaches want are to play games. Games are great, but an emphasis on them over skill development is a HUGE mistake. I've seen way too many neglect instruction and skill development sadly. Find some camps to attend or a coach who is willing to work individually with you and knowledgeable where the emphasis is placed on instruction/skill development. Plus there is no substitute to spending time at the local playground or gym working on your shot, handle, fitness, etc. Some are naturally gifted and can ignore a lot of this and do well. But it are the ones who have the work ethic, drive and motivation is this regard that turn out to be the best players and get the most out of their ability. The other thing about AAU that's important imo is to challenge yourself/team by playing superior competition. Get out if the area. Play something other than the usual tournaments with the same teams. In addition to seeing some great teams/players it is a blast to travel and see different cities and tournaments.

Secondly, I have great and ever-lasting respect for Sal. He is someone who cares deeply about kids and does what he can to help them. I've seen him volunteer his time for many kids who benefitted greatly from his time and talent. In my opinion, the Falls need more people like him and not less. And to Sal I say thank you for every kid you've helped. I've been a believer for a long time.

Its stupid because hes saying all Taplin had to do was win the semi-finals in Buff to counter a state title from Olean led by Bathurst. You can talk about his cast all day but it dont change that Bathurst is the man for them and will be the one that leads them. He goes to cornell next year...Div 1. where is Taplin going? No body seems to know. I aint even saying that Taplin cant be POY but cmon lets have some standards already. If you saw olean play any game this year besides Canisius when nobody looked good you might feel different about Bathurst. He is LEGIT. One more thing about this whole Sal saga. I think its funny that all Hoopster can say in support is nice guy who helps. Please someone tell me about how well he manages games or draws up plays or plays any defense beside man which obviously aint working. just ask GI.

I've felt that with all the parity in the area this season, the race for P.O.Y. was wide open. Past history tells us that team success has much to do with that award. I'm curious as to why Eckstrum wouldn't be part of the discussion. I realize he was a no show at Canisius this season and looked out of place against athletic aggressive big men, but he has enjoyed some big games against other competition and Bathurst benefits more than anyone from having him in the middle. That said, I haven't watched them play aside from that game at Canisius, so I may be out of line suggesting Eckstrum. Still would like to hear what others think.

I agree that Taplin and Bathurst is having a good season, but don't forget about Donte Williams from Bishop Timon. He is also having a great season, and his team is playing the top WNY teams. Donte Williams has to be consider for POY.

Fat chance FLY.

Do you really think Niagara Falls has overachieved in the last 4 years? This high school won the NATIONAL TITLE just 9 years ago. This program has totally fallen apart under Sal. Here is the worst part... Sal says publicly "we suck because we don't have any Seniors"
Now he is teaching these kids how to have excuses. If that is what you teach them now then You give them permission to have excuses the rest of their lives. Not to mention the fact that these kids now have 16 games of experience. Why do they keep getting worse?
Actually, Why should they get better? Their coach already provides them with excuses not to get better.

SammyBeck,Just a fan and Sal fan have all hit it on the head.If you have watched the wolverines early in the season and have had the displeasure of watching them recently,it is painfully obvious that they havent gotten any better.They are young,athletic and play hard,what they lack is fundamentals and direction,that is not the fault of age or grade its the fault of the coaching for not teaching fundamentals or giving positive direction.Their coach knew last March that they would be graduating 7 seniors and losing one junior to academic ineligibility,he was actually a senior basketball eligibility wise.So the team you see playing in feb actually have been together since the summer.They have played together in summer camps and summer league games,they have played together in pre-season workouts,and scrimmages,and have played together in 15 hs varsity games.So the excuse of being young and not having any varsity experience in exlaining loss after loss is getting stale.The reason they arent getting any better is their lack of basic basketball fundamentals,and that falls strictly on the head coach.SammyBeck explained it perfectly,"You can't teach what you dont know"!

Reading the discussion on the situation in Niagara Falls. I must say , i have seen this team twice and this is simply a down year it happens. With that being said, being a former basketball player at the High School and d3 level .Experience does not make up for playing kids 3 years older than you .The Falls bigs which is three freshman and a sophomore are physically unable to hold up against stronger teams when I saw them play. I think the Falls would be better served playing the Juniors they have while mixing in one of those young guys at a time. They physically are not able to keep up with the play they are against. I wonder if those kids would have been better served playing ayear of JV ball. Maybe they simply did not have the numbers in the program , but you have to go with your upper classmen unless your young guys are exceptional, and falls young guys are not exceptional at this point. Also I think Williams is player of the year if we are going on just this year and not career impact.

Are there even guys lining up for the NFalls job??? I mean I remember everyone calling for Gulio head back in the day. Unless you winning titles dont even bother I guess. Just cause Lasalle had a great coach dont mean everybody got to be that good cause then he wouldnt be so good then would he??? I aint saying Sal is some coaching guru. I know he aint. but he dont deserve some the beat down he gets here either.

I'm not sure what's going on in the Falls, but I find it hard to believe it falls at the doorstep of the coach. Things go through cycles and unfortunately for the Falls it is a down cycle for great basketball.

It used to be you could just throw the balls out and Falls would dominate, not because of coaching, but because of extraordinary numbers, hugely talented and deep rosters. The latter two are no longer happening.

It wasn't too long ago that Canisius partisans were calling for Kyle's head and to promote Joe Zera. Well fast forward 5 years or so and no one hears a peep about this anymore. I trust it will be the same with the Falls before long.

The Falls is very young and inexperienced. The teams in the NFL need to get their win over the Falls this season because they would be down for long. People need to leave Sal alone, he will right the ship in no time.

Why is it that after every painfull,embarassing NFHS loss,it is mentioned that NFHS has no players that had any varsity minutes the year before? Or none of the players who scored were seniors.What does that mean?

Guilo was 88-11 and got fired so Sal could take over. Now Sal has lost 12 games in this season alone and he'll have 13 losses by the end of the season. So why is he still the coach?

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