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Niagara Frontier League: High school sectional playoff brackets revealed

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Mon, Feb 20th 2017 12:30 pm

Niagara Falls, Lockport to meet a third time

By David Yarger

The Niagara Frontier League has been the talk of high school basketball all season. The league was decided by a three-way tie between North Tonawanda, Kenmore West and Lockport. Two other top teams, Niagara Falls and Grand Island, also shared time in first place during the year.

Expectations are high for the teams in the league to make a splash in the sectional playoffs. With possibilities of rivals playing against each other in a win-or-go-home scenario, pressure and excitement will be at an all-time high.

Here is a preview of the NFL teams heading into the playoffs.

Lewiston-Porter Lancers (5-13)

The Lancers come into the class A2 playoffs as the No. 7 seed. They ended the regular season with a win over CSAT, 71-56. Their first opponent in the playoffs is the Kenmore East Bulldogs. Lew-Port has played the Bulldogs twice already and won both matchups by no less than 12 points.

This game will be played at Lewiston-Porter High School at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22. The winner will travel to Cheektowaga High School at 7 p.m. Feb. 24 to faceoff against the No. 1 player in Western New York, Dom Welch.

Kenmore East Bulldogs (4-16)

The Bulldogs find themselves stumbling into the playoffs after losing three consecutive games. Their last win came on Feb. 3 vs. Niagara-Wheatfield, 53-44. The road wasn't much easier, as they've lost both contests vs. Lew-Port and have only won two road games all year. Kenmore East will hope the third time's the charm as the No. 10 seed vs. the Lancers.

Niagara-Wheatfield Falcons (5-15)

Coach Erik O'Bryan's bunch heads into the class AA bracket as the No. 9 seed. The team is currently struggling, having lost its last six games. N-W's last win was an upset victory over Depew High School, 75-50, back in January.

Star eighth-grader Jalen Bradberry and crew will head to Clarence High School to face the No. 8-seeded Red Devils (10-10). That game will also be played at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The winner of that will play No. 1 seed Jamestown on the road.

Grand Island Vikings (14-6)

Cam Sionko and the Vikings will start the playoffs two days later than the prior teams, receiving a bye and the No. 3 seed in the class A1 bracket. Coach Ron Krysztof's team was in sole possession of first place with four games remaining, and looked to capture GI's first boys' basketball NFL title. But three losses in the last four games cracked the team's hopes. Grand Island did win its last game though, defeating Ken-East, 76-28.

They open the playoffs at home at 7 p.m. on Friday vs. Sweet Home (9-11). The Vikings played the Panthers early in the season and won the game 57-37. With a win, there is a chance Grand Island could play the North Tonawanda Lumberjacks in the semifinals.

North Tonawanda Lumberjacks (15-4)

Coach Ryan Mountain's team, led by junior Trevor Book, is red-hot heading into class A1 playoffs as the No. 2 seed. With five straight wins to end the season, the Jacks received a bye to start the playoffs. They will play the winner of the 7-10 matchup between Williamsville East and West Seneca West.

This game will be at North Tonawanda High School at 7 p.m. Friday. If the Jacks win, a rematch with the Grand Island Vikings could occur, with the winner reaching the A1 finals.

Grand Island beat the Vikings the one and only time they played, 63-51.

Kenmore West Blue Devils (14-6)

Arguably the hottest team in the NFL, the class AA, No. 3-seeded Blue Devils head into the playoffs winning their last eight games. Captains Tal James and Tyler Aquilina have the team rolling. They will face the No. 6 seed Williamsville North Spartans (10-10). The last time the teams faced off was in 2015, which resulted in a Spartans win. The times have changed, and Kenmore West is looking to make a run to the AA finals.

An all-NFL final can occur if Niagara Falls, Niagara-Wheatfield or Lockport wins the top of the bracket.

Niagara Falls Wolverines (12-8)

The No. 5 seed Wolverines come in as the defending AA champions. Winners of their last four games, Niagara Falls will look to reach its third straight AA sectional title game. Since 2000, there's only been two years the Wolverines haven't been in the AA title game (2010 and 2014). Their first opponent in the playoffs is a familiar foe, the No. 4 seed Lockport Lions.

This game has the most hype behind it, because of the action the teams brought during the regular season. They split two games, with a dramatic first matchup. Niagara Falls traveled to Lockport and handled the Lions with ease, 64-43. After the game, a brawl erupted between the fans, which caused their next contest to be moved to a Saturday afternoon at NFHS. Lockport won the second game, 56-53.

The Wolverines will head back to Lockport and face the Lions at 4 p.m. on Friday.

Lockport Lions (15-4)

The Lions come into the AA playoffs as the No. 4 seed and winners of their last six games. Coach David Gilson's team will look to take home its first sectional title since 1998. The Lions have had struggles against the Wolverines in past years, going 3-13 against them since 2010. But, the Lions were able to take the last battle at Niagara Falls High School. And the Lions have been good at home, winning six of their games at the "Lions Den."

The winner of Lockport vs. NF will play the winner of No. 1 Jamestown and either Clarence or Niagara-Wheatfield in the semifinals of the AA bracket.

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