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.
This year, we’ll see Kenmore bragging rights on the line with Kenmore West taking on St. Joe’s. A pair of top-ten small schools will face off when East battles St. Mary’s. Last year’s Class A1 champion, McKinley, will matchup with Bishop Timon/St. Jude for the first time in several years. There will even be an appearance from David Cooper’s alma mater, Williamsville East, as the Flames take on Class C state finalist, OTC/MEC. The most significant game will take place between a pair of ECIC III schools. Depew and Amherst have agreed to play a league game at the showcase. Head coaches Larry Jones and Chris Kensy found a creative way to accept the invitation to the showcase without losing one of four precious nonleague games. The coaches agreed to a coin toss to determine which school would lose its home game. Amherst won the toss, meaning Depew will be considered the home team at the event.
Tuesday, December 4th
Girls 5:15 pm – Holy Angels vs. Olmsted
Boys 7:00 pm – St. Joe’s vs. Kenmore West
Boys 8:30 pm – Hutch-Tech vs. Cardinal O’Hara
Wednesday, December 5th
Girls 5:15 pm – Sacred Heart vs. Iroquois
Boys 7:00 pm – Williamsville East vs. OTC/MEC
Boys 8:30 pm – Amherst vs. Depew
Thursday, December 6th
Girls 5:15 pm – Grand Island vs. Cardinal O’Hara
Boys 7:00 pm – East vs. St. Mary’s
Boys 8:30 pm – McKinley vs. Bishop Timon/St. Jude
(Chad Andrews has been a member to the Buffalo Sports Daily writing staff. He’ll contribute some high school hoops stuff to us from time to time… at others we’ll just steal his content from his own blog.
Speaking of, Chad has a superb blog focused solely on high school hoops titled The View From CenterCourt. It’s a must-read for any fan of the sport. Check it out right here.)