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Battle at the Border returns to Niagara Falls

Fri, Jan 19th 2018 03:35 pm
One-day showcase features American and Canadian HS b-ball teams squaring off
By David Yarger
Tribune Editor
The Battle at the Border is back at Niagara Falls High School. The one-day showcase on Saturday, Feb. 3, will feature four American high school basketball teams taking on four Canadian high school basketball teams. Some of the best talent, locally and nationally, will show off their skills at the Wolvarena.
The action starts at noon and is slated to finish with the headline game at 6 p.m.
The noon game will feature two American junior varsity teams, Niagara Falls versus Aquinas from Rochester.
Following the JV game, the Aquinas' varsity squad will battle St. Francis from St. Catharines at 1:30 p.m. Both teams participated in last year's Battle at the Border, and both came out with wins. Aquinas is in the midst of a down season, after always being a regular powerhouse in Section V. They're led by sophomore Kidtrell Blocker, who averages 13.2 points per game. Meanwhile, St. Francis is off to a good year, defeating numerous opponents in Canada by high margins.
The Phoenix return nine player from last year's team, including their player of the game from last year, Jack Riddell. Riddell had 29 points in last year's game versus Niagara-Wheatfield, including seven 3-pointers.
Next, at 3 p.m., North Tonawanda will take on St. Paul from Niagara Falls, Ontario. NT will make their Battle at the Border debut, while St. Paul will look to rebound after last year's BATB loss to Aquinas. North Tonawanda is currently in second place in the Niagara Frontier League and led by senior Trevor Book. Recently, Book just eclipsed 1,000 career points versus Lewiston-Porter. The team's overall record is 8-2.
For St. Paul, the team is led by Richard Werner who averages around 17 points per game. The team also returned Victor Kariuki, last year's player of the game for St. Paul. The team is young, with three seniors, six juniors and one sophomore.
Next, St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute will battle Sir Allan MacNab from Hamilton, Ontario. Both teams were in last year's classic, as St. Joseph's defeated the Notre Dame Irish, and Sir Allan MacNab was defeated by Niagara Falls in the headline game.
St. Joe's has had an up and down year, as, to date, their record stands at 5-7. They're led by senior Jack Capen who averages 26.8 points per game. For Sir Allan MacNab, they've been rolling to start the season. To date, MacNab has won all of its league matchups in the Hamilton-Wentworth district, most by high margins of victory.
In the nightcap, host Niagara Falls will take on St. Michaels from Niagara Falls, Ontario. The Falls has won all NFL games, but have struggled against non-league opponents, as they've lost three of four non-league matchups. The Wolverines are led by senior guards Tazaun Rose and Qaran Dubois, as well as junior Josiah Harris and eighth-grader Roddy Gayle. For St. Michaels, they come in as the No. 2 team in Canada according to Niagara Falls coach Sal Constantino, and they will be tough.
The games will give each team a chance to get exposure playing squads from a different country and also facing highly talented players.
Concessions will be available. The cost of admission for the games is $5.

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