LOCKPORT — No matter which basketball teams end up representing the Niagara Frontier League's Frontier Division in next week's championship game, be rest assured that it's teams that earned their way there on the court and not by the flip of a coin.
Niagara Frontier League President and Executive Director Patrick M. Burke has announced that in the event of what's shaping up to be a likely tie between the Frontier Divisions top two teams, Grand Island and Lewiston-Porter, the division winner will absolutely not be determined by a coin flip.
That's great news for head coach Kristin Wegrzyn and the GI Lady Vikings, as well as head coach Richard Lindamer and his Lew-Port Lady Lancers, two teams which split their head-to-head meetings in 2019-20 and went identical routes when it came to several tiebreaker scenarios.
Last week's GI win over the visiting Lady Lancers had everyone lamenting openly that the team destined to play Niagara Division champion Lockport for the NFL title this season would likely be settled by just a handful of people in a room choosing heads or tails.
Burke, the retired long-time Lockport athletics director, said Monday that move is made possible by rules already in place.
“I was alerted by someone in the Section office that we might be able to play that game and that it doesn't count against your maximum number of games allowed,” Burke said.
“The maximum number of games teams are allowed is 20. The New State Public High School Athletic Association hand book that refers to the maximum number of games teams can play in the regular season, ‘indicates maximum plus section, state championships and games necessary to break divisional or league ties,’ " Burke said.
“I contacted one of the assistant directors at the NYSPHSAA to confirm that we could play this game and it would not count in the maximum game total for either school and he confirmed that it would not.”
Burke said if GI and Lew-Port are still tied at the end of the season, a special game has been set up at a neutral site to determine the division champ. That game is slated for 2 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 17, at Kenmore West High School.
The winner of that game advances to play Lockport at 6 p.m. on Wednesday back at Ken West.
GI head coach Kristin Wegrzyn said she's heard the news “through the grapevine,” calling it, “great,” but adding that her team needs to concentrate on winning its final games before any tiebreakers come into play.
“We still have two league games left this week (Tuesday versus Ken East and Wednesday vs CSAT),” coach Wegrzyn said. “We have to focus on that right now.”
And if you think the girls' division races are tight, Burke noted that CSAT and Lew-Port almost created an identical situation in the boys' division race. The boys NFL title game crossover is slated to follow the girls' championship game on Feb. 19 at Ken West (about 8 p.m.).
Follow veteran Lockport sports reporter John D'Onofrio on Twitter at @JohnD'Onofrio7.