One of the most compelling end-of-season boys basketball competitions ended ... in a tie.
McKinley, buoyed by its Class A public school state championship, and Canisius, which had owned the top spot for most of 2013, finished tied for the No. 1 spot in The News large school poll.
McKinley received six first-place votes to Canisius’ four, but both finished with 94 points.
The Macks’ case for the top spot certainly rests mostly with its New York State Public School Athletic Association Class A championship. McKinley won the title with three memorable postseason wins, the last two at Glens Falls, to earn the first state title in school history. It was the first time a Western New York large school from outside Niagara Falls won a state title since Sweet Home (A) and Bennett (B) did so in 1984.
Canisius’ case includes a 78-60 midseason nonleague victory over the Macks at the MLK Classic at City Honors on Jan. 19. The Crusaders’ season ended March 9 with a 46-40 loss to Nazareth of Brooklyn in the state Catholic Class A championship game at Fordham University.
Nazareth went on to the overall Federation championship, where it lost in the semifinals at the buzzer to independent representative Albany Academy. McKinley lost in the other Federation semifinal, 69-54, to New York City’s Public Schools Athletic League champion, John Adams. Albany Academy beat John Adams, 50-34, in the Federation final.
In the New York State Sportswriters final poll, Albany Academy took the top spot, Nazareth was second, Canisius third, John Adams fourth and McKinley fifth.
The large school pollsters were: Mark Simon (St. Joe’s of the Monsignor Martin Association), Kyle Husband (Canisius/Monsignor Martin), Bob Rumschik (Orchard Park/ECIC I), Al Monaco (Basketball Coaches Association of New York), Erik O’Bryan (Niagara-Wheatfield/Niagara Frontier League), Steve Allen (official), Benjy Bluman (official), Chad Andrews (View From Centercourt blog), Dave Universal (New York State Sportswriters Association poll), Keith McShea (The Buffalo News).
In the small school poll, where Olean went wire-to-wire, the pollsters were: Randall Rich (Middle Early College of the Yale Cup), Larry Jones (ECIC III/Depew), Tony Krupski (JFK/ECIC IV), Brett Sippel (Wilson/Niagara-Orleans), Brian Koscielniak (Salamanca/CCAA II), Derek Hill (official), Andrew Webster (Prep Talk blog contributor), Andrews, Universal, McShea.
Major postseason events
• Many of the boys celebrated on these pages will be honored at the second Prep Talk/BCANY Awards banquet April 15 at Ilio DiPaolo’s Restaurant. The event is supported by The Buffalo News, the Basketball Coaches Association of New York, ADPRO Sports, UNYTS and high school sports advocate Dick Gallagher. For those interested in tickets ($20; $18 for BCANY members) or sponsorships, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
• Tryouts for boys basketball’s Niagara PAL/ACE All-Star Classic will be held April 16 at Niagara Falls High School (5 p.m. freshmen/sophomores; 6:30 for juniors/seniors). The games are at Falls on April 18, starting with the freshman/sophomore game at 6. Underclassmen must have played varsity this season to try out. Contact Niagara Falls coach Sal Constantino at 228-7916.