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The Buffalo News reports that an inner city star high school athlete has been arrested and charged with murder. This is the second major crime involving a notable city of Buffalo high school athlete in less than four months.
The News reports that 17-year old Maurice Howie is being charged with the murder of taxicab driver Mazen Abdallah. Abdallash was on duty in the early hours of March 6 and was allegedly murdered and found in the back of his cab on Norwalk avenue in Buffalo.
According to the News another arrest in this crime may soon be coming.
Howe was a standout quarterback at South Park high school and made the second-team Buffalo News All-WNY football team last year after finishing his 2012 campaign with 2,052 passing yards and 23 touchdowns. In doing so Howe became just the third quarterback in Western New York history to pass for at least 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons.
For a complete report on Howie’s arrest, click here.
Earlier in January, Riverside high school basketball star Justice Feggans was arrested and charged with several crimes, including robbery and battery of 96-year old Levi Clayton in the elder’s home.
After winning back-to-back Manhattan Cup championships last season, Canisius made the trip to Long Island, where its season was abruptly ended with a loss to St. John the Baptist.
Despite the graduation of First Team All-Centercourt guard Matt Hart, the Crusaders returned a bevy of talent and came back this season with expectations higher than ever and goals they were determined to accomplish.
It began with sweeping MMA rival St. Joe’s and finishing league play with no losses. Following that, Canisius set its sights on becoming the first team since the powerful Canisius squads of the mid 1990’s to win a third straight Manhattan Cup. The next goal was to get out of the semifinal round and become just the third team since 2006 to represent the MMA in the Class A CHSAA state championship.
Canisius played a complete game and won all four quarters against Chaminade of Mineola, advancing to the CHSAA state championship with a resounding 84-66 victory at the Bernard J.Kennedy Field House on Saturday afternoon.
Losing three of the last four Class AA finals played against Niagara Falls seemed to have Jamestown on the defensive, which was not good news for the Wolverines. The Red Raiders used a 2-3 zone against Niagara Falls and held the defending Class AA champs under 40 points, to win their third sectional title in the last four seasons.
Falls got off to a hot start against the zone and knocked down five of seven attempts from downtown in the opening quarter, including three straight to end the stanza on a 9-0 run to take an early 15-11 lead. However, Jamestown stuck with its plan and became much more active in the zone for the remainder of the game. The top of the zone came out farther to contest perimeter shots, made possible from the interior effort of the Jamestown bigs. Quinn Lee Yaw, Branden Kellam, Steve Carlson, and Jacob McBride were simply outstanding and kept the ball from even entering the post on many Falls possesions throughout the title game.
Last season, St. Mary’s closed out its season by avenging a league loss from earlier in the season against Walsh. The Lancers took their MMA counterparts apart at the seams in the rematch and looked like a completely different team than they had in the first meeting. That momentum carried into the Manhattan Cup playoffs, where St. Mary’s made a run all the way to the Manhattan Cup final for the first time in program history.
Following a major roster turnover and the graduation of all five starters, the Lancers were not expected to be major contenders again this season. They’ve even spent the entire season ranked behind fellow MMA small school Nichols, who they fell to in the first matchup between the two. However in the rematch this past Friday, St. Mary’s played its most inspired ball of the season, and routed the Vikings. With one more game on tap prior to the postseason against another small school ranked in front of the Lancers all season, Cleveland Hill, we’d find out if St. Mary’s had turned the corner or just found the perfect storm on Friday. By halftime, the answer had already been revealed – St. Mary’s is playing for keeps right now, so if you’re not, you’d best get out of their way.
Cory Kiebzak scored a game-high 15 points to lead St. Mary’s past Cleveland Hill, 65-53, in a postseason-prepping nonleague matchup. The Lancers next face Nichols in the quarterfinals of the Manhattan Cup playoffs this Thursday night at Canisius High School.
Talk to head coach Rob Genco and he’ll tell you. Speak with any of the players and they all say the same. They don’t care who does the scoring, that’s Silver Creek’s mantra. Get out in transition, move the ball with passes, and knock down shots. The result is often a different leader in the box score each night. It’s also not unusual to see all five starters in double figures. That’s what we saw last night – a hot hand being fed by four other generous hands, and the hot hand feeding back. As long as the rim gets filled, it’s all good.
Steve Marcey led Silver Creek’s balanced attack with a game-high 20 points, in a 66-40 win against Randolph. With the victory, the Black Knights improve to 17-0 on the year and complete an unbeaten season in CCAA II.
In the early going, it was clear that Silver Creek’s focus was to contain Cardinals’ sophomore Bryce Morrison, who had gotten loose for 39 points on nine 3-pointers in the first meeting between the two. Zed Williams began the game guarding him and sure enough, the first time he found any space, he popped a ‘3′. Randolph was a focused team in the opening quarter, moving the ball well and getting back defensively. Despite a pair of treys from Marcey and three blocks from Black Knight’s 6-7 sophomore Bill Brooks, the Cardinals trailed just 14-10 after one quarter.
Imagine being the Olean Huskies. After starting four sophomores and falling in the Class B state semifinal game last season, winning it all became the expectation this season. High hopes for a team that still rolls out four underclassmen in the starting lineup, but even greater when you consider what they get to do to prepare. Besides the 12 lopsided contests the Huskies are forced to endure (also known as the CCAA I league games), they had three competitive games on the season slate, spaced out from beginning-to middle-to end of the season.
We all know how the first two went – they hung on to claim a thrilling win over Canisius to start and lost to Nichols in a wakeup call without Sam Eckstrom over the holiday break. The polish-up-for-sectionals game was a long roadie to face Section V’s perenial Class AA power, East. Despite multiple schools around them postponing games due to weather, Olean wasn’t missing that game. You see, Huskies love snow, and they also love winning.
Olean found the competitive game they were after last weekend, as they defeated Rochester’s East High, 70-65, in a back-and-forth affair that headlined the first night of the annual RAP (Rochester Area Players) Invitational. The win was the second in as many tries this season for the Huskies, against large schools that were defending champions (Canisius 2012 Manhattan Cup & V-East 2012 Class AA 1 champs).
The first 60 seconds couldn’t have gone any better for the Spartans. Junior sensation Sterling Taplin blocks the opening shot attempt of the game taken by Jamestown’s Tommy Campion. David Berkun streaks the other way and Taplin delivers a pass in stride for the assist. After a stop, BANG, Taplin bombs a ‘3′, and it’s 5-0 North. Would this be another dominant showing from the Spartans? Not if the Jamestown bigs had anything to say about it…and they had a lot to say.
The Red Raiders looked inside early, stayed with a good thing, and eventually pulled away from the Spartans, winning the highly anticipated rematch of ECIC I foes, 55-46. If Jamestown wins the remainder of its league games, they would capture a third straight ECIC I title, lock up the top seed in Class AA, and avoid a potential semifinal game against top ranked Niagara Falls.
After the quick start from North, the Red Raiders scored eight straight in response, taking the lead and forcing a momentum squelching timeout. By the end of the first quarter, the teams were locked at 13. Williamsville North sank three treys in the quarter (Taplin 2, Berkun), while Jamestown got 11 of its 13 points from the towering tandem of sophomore Brandan Kellam and junior Quinn Lee Yaw.
Aman Washington drained a pair from downtown for the Spartans in the second quarter, to offset another six points from Kellam. The teams were still llocked in a tie, 21-21, until Tommy Campion scored his first points of the evening, a 3-pointer with just two seconds left in the half, to give Jamestown a 24-21 advantage at intermission.
After getting off to a great early season start and collecting a record of 9-1, including the attention-grabbing win over Olean, the Vikings were ready to find out where they stood in the Monsignor Martin Association. Having already survived the trip to Walsh, Nichols entered what is probably the toughest place to play in all of WNY, Timon/St. Jude. The Vikings left with their first resounding loss of the season, and a reminder of just how difficult winning in the MMA was going to be, especially against the big dogs.
Timon bettered its record to 4-5 on the season and showed continued improvement, as they disposed of Nichols, 82-59, to open league play with a win. The Tigers only losses to WNY teams this season have come against McKinley in the season opener, and at Jamestown.
After a competitive start to the game yielded a 15-11 score after one quarter, the Tigers dialed up some defensive pressure and broke the game open. During a five minute stretch in the second quarter, the Tigers went on a 16-3 run to and held Nichols without a field goal, to push the score to 33-16. Donte Williams and Manny Welch scored all of Timon’s points during the run and combined for 20 of the Tiger’s 22 points in the quarter. Williams, who finished with a game-high 24 points, did not play in Timon’s two-point loss at Jamestown two weeks earlier.
Less than a month ago, Williamsville North visited Clarence and left with a resounding 67-44 win in its ECIC I opener. Four days later, the Red Devils suffered a 17-point loss at Jamestown. However, since beginning 0-2 in ECIC I, Clarence has won four straight, evened its league record to 2-2, and got even with the Spartans in Williamsville before a packed gymnasium.
Ryan Funk sank one of his four 3-pointers from the corner with 53 seconds remaining in the game to break a 74-74 tie and Tanner Schmidt insured a Red Devils’ victory with a blocked shot, as Clarence won a thriller over Williamsville North, 77-76.
An exciting and closely contested fourth quarter saw 13 lead changes and three ties over the final 5:41. After a basket from Sterling Taplin put the Spartans up 71-69 with 3:03 to go, Bryan Jost answered from long distance to make it 72-71 Clarence. North freshman Maceo Jack then converted a traditional three-point play, putting his team back in front, 74-72.
Lancaster Redskins forward Manny Manns scored an empty-net goal at the 14:54 mark of the third period, securing a 5-3 victory over the Williamsville North Spartans in a Western New York Varsity Hockey Federation matchup at the Northtowns Center at Amherst.
The Redskins (9-0-1) had a 4-0 lead at one point in the third period, but the Spartans (3-7) took the game down to the wire.
After scoring three third-period goals, the Spartans had a power-play opportunity – for which goaltender Matthew Ladd retreated to the bench – with less than two minutes remaining, but Manns derailed the would-be comeback with his third point of the contest.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of what the boys accomplished tonight,” said Redskins coach Kevin Miller. “But certainly the third period is not what we expected, and it’s something that we’ve reiterated, so we’re fortunate to have pulled it out.”
This past November one of the more deplorable crimes in recent years took place when three teenagers severely beat and robbed a 96-year old man on the east side of Buffalo. There was an arrest today and as things turn out, an accused perpetrator is one of Western New York’s biggest high school basketball stars.
As the Buffalo News reports, police have arrested 18-year old Justice Feggans in connection with the crime. Multiple sources tell me the accused Feggans is the same standout senior basketball star at Riverside High School.
Levi Clayton, the 96- year old victim was beaten this past November by multiple teenagers, who also ran roughshod through the house in ruining parts of the structure and the majority of furniture, including two flat-screen televisions before taking a number items of value upon retreating.
Clayton is still in the hospital recovering from a broken jaw, among other injuries suffered in the attack.
The Buffalo News writes that according to police, Feggans may be a distant relative of the victim and knows the family. Also according to police Feggans has a history of criminal behavior, including an arrest for robbery the month before.
“Sadly, we all tried to help that kid,” said a former coach at Riverside. “He, like so many before him think they got it all under control.”
As a junior last year, Feggans averaged over 22 points per game for Riverside and was named to the Buffalo Sports Daily All-Star Fourth Team. This year Feggans played as recently as December 27, scoring 16 points in a 61-56 loss to Cheektowaga. He was averaging 22.7 points in three games this season.
I’ll refrain from further comment without knowing more facts on the case, but to say this is sending negative shockwaves through the WNY high school sports scene is an understatement.
The best high school basketball doubleheader that WNY will see this December, took place last night on Day Two of the AdPro ECIC/Monsignor Martin Challenge at St. Mary’s High School in Lancaster. It ended up being a huge night for Chautauqua County, as its top two schools, Olean and Jamestown, registered big wins over the duo of top catholic schools in Buffalo, Canisius and St. Joe’s.
Below is a sequential recap of the Olean’s win versus Canisius, followed by a brief summary of Jamestown’s victory over St. Joe’s.
End of 1st Quarter: Olean 22, Canisius 5
Olean’s Sam Eckstrom and Canisius’ Adam Weir traded baskets immediately, and it looked like an intense, wild affair was about to unfold. Instead, the Huskies jumped into a 16-1 run and held the Crusaders without another field goal until freshman reserve, Howard Washington, scored with 1:28 remaining in the quarter. The immediate impressions after the first eight minutes were that Eckstrom had greatly improved upon his already superior post moves and that the Huskies’ ball movement in transition showed a chemistry that only comes with years of playing together. Also, Bathurst showed off his all-around game by swatting away shots, securing rebounds, and moving seamlessly in transition. Eckstrom scored nine points in the quarter.
For over 25 years, the high school basketball season in WNY has begun with a prestigious memorial event. It began as a remembrance of Al and Rose Pastor. The Al and Rose Pastor Memorial Tournament as it was formerly named, recently became the Pastor-Cooper Memorial Tournament, as a tribute to the life of Jerry Cooper as well. Last year, the event’s format changed to a three-night showcase as a way to continue a tradition, while accomodating NYSPHSAA teams that saw their non-league schedules reduced by two games.
Sadly, this year’s Pastor-Cooper Showcase will be honoring another member of the family. The event’s organizer and chairman, David Cooper, died unexpectedy on August 9th at the age of 43. He was committed to, and succeeded in, putting on a first-class event that always included some of the areas top programs. The final event that Cooper organized will be no exception, as once again, a stellar lineup of games is set to unfold over the course of three nights at Daemen College.
As always, the lineup is full of teams that finished the prior season in the Buffalo News large & small school polls. However, this year, there seems to be even more compelling storylines and matchups than normal, including a game with potential playoff and league title implications.
Playing college basketball for Syracuse is close to being as good as it gets for many of the best high school athletes in the nation. For one nearby star, that dream will become a reality next fall and for hoops fans in the Western New York area, you’ll get plenty of chances to see why he’ll be an Orangemen.
Chinonso Obokoh, a 6-foot-9 star center out of Bishop Kearney in Rochester has committed to playing basketball for head coach Jim Boeheim and the national powerhouse Syracuse program.
“I would say that I felt at home at Syracuse,” Obokoh told Scout.com upon his decision. “Just everything when I got there. It was all positive. The coaches and the players. It felt right.”
A native of Nigeria, Obokoh averaged 14.9 points, 9.8 rebounds and 4.9 assists as a junior at Kearney last year as Kings won the Section V Class A championship and advanced to the State Class A semifinals before falling to Harborfields.
It was a memorable start the high school football season in Western New and for Bishop Timon St. Jude in particular. The Tigers earned one of their biggest wins in several years by defeating Williamsville South, but the victory came with a very heavy price.
On Friday evening Timon jumped out to a 21-0 halftime lead over the Billies and held on to win, 21-14. However, the mood in the Timon locker room afterward was anything but celebratory after it was learned starting quarterback Ryan Dougherty torn his ACL and will be out for six months. Primary receiver Bryant Fulton also suffered a major injury as well, a broken fibula bone in his leg and is out for the year too. Tough break for the Tigers, who obviously looked they can compete with anyone on Friday night.
It’s also a tough break for the Timon hoops team. Both seniors are important players and Dougherty will definitely miss the basketball season. Timon is hopeful Fulton can come back in time for basketbal.
Other Friday highlights include Sweet Home’s Kahlil Humphrey score three rushing touchdowns as the Panthers broke away from North Tonawanda to hand them a 46-19 loss and spoil Tony Truilizio’s head coaching debut.
It’s with sadness we report this afternoon that a legend of Harvard Cup high school football passed away this past Monday following a shooting over the weekend. James Henley was shot and killed in a parking lot on Elmwood Avenue and Johnson Park early Sunday morning.
Henley was just 27-years old.
One of the best running backs ever in Buffalo’s Harvard Cup league, Henley’s biggest claim to fame is being the only player in Western New York high school football history to rush for over 1,000 four consecutive seasons (2000-03.)
At South Park high school, he was the MVP of the Harvard Cup as a junior and senior in 2002-03 as the Sparks won the coveted city championship both years.
He recently played for the South Buffalo Celtics of the semi-pro Elite Mid Continental Football League.
Last year, Celtics team co-owner Ron Anderson had some glowing remarks regarding his start running back and close friend.
“He is the greatest player I have ever seen outside of NFL players,” Celtics team co-owner Ron Anderson said. “He is one of those physical freaks that is so big, strong and fast that you just don’t think it’s fair.”
Henley leaves behind three children ages four, three and one. His funeral will take place Saturday—such a tragic story.
**Here are some post-high school highlights of Henley running wild on defenses at the semi-pro level. It’s easy to see how talented he truly was.**
Chad Kelly and Akeel Lynch got the majority of high school football headlines last season, and with good reason. The duo are headed to Clemson and Penn State (presumably) soon to continue their playing careers. However, there was far more talent in Western New York few gave much hype to—and one of its best was prominently on display Wednesday evening.
Former Sweet Home quarterback/running back r Jordan Johnson was downright dominant in the 37th Annual Kensington Lions Club High School Football All-Star Game. The University at Buffalo bound star completed 9-of-12 passes for 86 yards and a touchdown.
That was nothing compared to what he did with his legs.
Johnson had a boisterous crowd on their feet much of the second half, particularly on a 14-yard touchdown run after bulldozing his way into the end zone, and soon after on a 76-yard scamper after seeming destined to lose yardage.
The 37th Annual Kensington Lions All-Star Football Classicwill be played at 7 pm Wednesday at Depew High School. Sweet Home coach John Faller will lead the North while St. Maryʼs coach Dave
Hersey will head the South squad. The two coaches could not be more different. Faller, a longtime veteran, will be coaching the All-Star game for the 5th time.
“Iʼve also been an assistant coach quite a few times,” Faller said. “My first time was in 1984 when Joe Shifflet asked me to be on his staff and help out.” Faller says that, while he does not feel the same excitement that he felt almost 30 years ago, he still enjoys being a part of the all-star game.
Buffalo Sports Daily has learned that St. Mary’s High School Athletic Director and Basketball Coach Dan Gill has accepted a position at the University School at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Gill will serve as the school’s Associate Athletic Director and will relocate to Florida to begin his new tenure in early August.
Hired by St. Mary’s as the school’s Athletic Director in February 2007, Gill has spent the past five and a half years as A.D. and the last four as boy’s varsity basketball coach. In 2011-12 under Gill’s leadership, the Lancers went 19-8 and spent much of the season near the top of Western New York’s small school rankings. Their season culminated with a dominating upset of St. Joe’s in the Monsignor Martin Association playoff semifinals and a berth in the Manhattan Cup final against Canisius for the first time in school history. For his efforts Gill was named the 2011-12 Buffalo Sports Daily Coach of the Year.
When reached by telephone for comment, Gill said the decision to leave was hard but ultimately one he had to make.
Last night was the inaugural Buffalo News/BCANY boys basketball banquet in Blasdell and while the dinner was delicious and the awards ceremony gratifying, I was in attendance partially to do a little digging.
Through my tireless work ethic, or being a flat-out pest, I was able to come away with a few notable tidbits regarding the boys high school circuit.
♦ The buzz around the high school community centers on rumors that Williamsville North sophomore Sterling Taplin will transfer to a Catholic school next year… with Canisius, Bishop-Timon, Nichols and even St. Mary’s being mentioned heavily. I spoke to multiple sources close to Taplin and that’s not going to happen. From what I’m told, Taplin likes being at North, enjoys his friends and more than anything is having fun being a student at North and has no plans to leave for another school.
Celebrating the best in boys high school basketball was the theme Monday evening at Ilio DiPaolo’s restaurant in Blasdell as the Buffalo News and Buffalo Coaches Association of New York teamed up for the Inaugural Prep Talk/BCANY Boys Basketball Awards.
Student athletes, family members, coaches and officials comprised a crowd of a few hundred as guests were pampered to a scrumptious sit down dinner before an extensive but swift moving awards ceremony emceed by the voice of the Buffalo Bills, John Murphy.
The biggest award of the night was the presentation of the Buffalo News Player of the Year, fittingly changed to the Allen Wilson Award in memory of the immensely talented and cherished Buffalo News reporter who sadly passed away last year after a battle with Leukemia.
If I can be entirely candid, this wasn’t the most exhilarating year of high school basketball I’ve ever seen or covered in Western New York. There were some magnificent teams this past season, but none that will rank among the all-time or even best in recent memory. Sure, there were a number of marvelous players, but probably not any we’ll be looking back at years from now and remembering where we were the last time they played in a high school gymnasium.
However, this was one of those years that offered a massive dose of parity and if you’re the type that enjoys excitement and unpredictability, then this was as good as it gets.
It felt like anytime a team took the floor in the role as underdog they were capable of pulling an upset and often this year—they did. With the exception of Olean dominating the area small school scene wire to wire, there was heavy movement up and down the poll rankings almost every week.
Because of that… and I’ll probably say this every year, the task to select the 20 kids that form our four All-Star teams was more arduous than I could’ve imagined. I kept a notebook with my first-team picks and updated it weekly for nearly the entire season. I’m not embellishing the truth why saying no less than 13 different kids at one time or another appeared on said list.
This year, it genuinely was that challenging to come up with a top five, let alone a 20 before honorable mention, which even that ultimately leaves off a handful of deserving athletes.
Stan Wier has been regarded as arguably the best high school basketball player in Western New York this year. Over the past week at Buffalo State College, the University at Buffalo bound senior showed exactly why.
Despite seeing double and triple teams for much of the game, Wier scored a team-high 17 points as East Aurora stunned heavily favored McKinley, 55-41 to win the Section VI Class A overall title Tuesday night in the finale of a triple-header.
The Macks (19-3) entered the game with losses to only Canisius and St. Joe’s this year and blew through the Yale Cup undefeated and Class A1 playoffs unscathed before running into a hot East Aurora squad that surprised many by making it this far. The third-seed when the Class A2 playoffs began, they upset second-seeded Riverside last Wednesday before beating top-ranked Amherst this past Saturday.
The boy’s high school basketball Section VI championships were decided Saturday at Buffalo State College, and none of the five games contested disappointed.
In the marquee game, Taijay Williams drained a three-pointer with just 13 seconds left to play as Niagara Falls avenged last year’s defeat to Jamestown, 48-45 to capture Class-AA honors. Close to 3,000 fans were on hand as Williams scored 14 points and junior Jermaine Crumpton netted a team-best 16 points as the Wolverines held off Jamestown in the eighth meeting between the teams at Buffalo State since the turn of the century. Adam Cecchini led Jamestown with a game-high 18 points.
In the Class-A1 final, McKinley held off a furious late Williamsville East rally to win, 59-56 behind 17 points for Marcus Morris. East tailed by 12 after three quarters before starting the final frame on a 9-0 run to stay within striking distance. Connor Kennan paced East with 13 points.