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December 31, 2015 - 3:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Lions Tournament, batavia, basketball, sports.

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A team coached by Buddy Brasky plays defense, but lockdown all you want, you've still got to score to win games.

The Blue Devils didn't do that very effectively Wednesday night in the Lions Tournament finale at Genesee Community College against University Prep.

The final score, 57-45 in U-Prep's favor.

"They're scoring 80 points a game and we held them in the 50s and we score 40 something," Brasky said. "You're not going to beat good teams scoring 40 something points."

There's no doubt, U-Prep is a good team. The Griffins' feature a 6'4" post player in Jeenathan Williams and an athletic guard in Isaiah Brinkley, and even with schemes designed to limit their scoring opportunities, Williams notched 23 points and Brinkley had 18.

Williams scored 14 points in the second half.

"We tried to lock him up," Brasky said. "Then Brinkley hit a couple of threes against the zone. That was another part of the game plan: Always know where he is, and close out hard on him, and make him put the ball on the ground. But you can't always find him."

For most of the first half, the game looked like it might be all Batavia.

The half ended with the Blue Devils up 12-4. Brasky thought the margin should have been bigger.

"We got that seven-nothing lead and then we missed three little easy chippies inside," Brasky said. "It could have been 15-4 or 18 to 4, so I thought that was a key part of the game right away."

The Griffins' rang up a surprising number of offensive fouls in the first quarter, which kept putting the ball back in Batavia's hands.

"That's one thing we take pride in," Brasky said. "We do take a lot of charges. But specifically for this game, yes, they look to put their head down and attack the paint. We really emphasize stepping in and taking charge and we did. We were hoping that would make them more tentative. I think it did that in the first quarter."

Brasky said he would need to review the game tape to see what changed either in the defense or U-Prep's offensive scheme to see why things turned around so dramatically in the second quarter when the Griffins' outscored Batavia 22-10.

Batavia's offense came primarily from Malachi Chenault, 13, Ryan Hogan, 10, Tee Sean Ayala, eight.

U-Prep's game plan seem to be to deny in the paint and let the Blue Devils fire away from beyond the arc. Batavia has gunners who can hit from that distance, but too few balls dropped in the bucket.

"I think the real story of the game is, we couldn't shoot," Brasky said. "Let's call a spade a spade. I mean, they packed the zone. They know Malachi and Jake are our two biggest weapons and they packed it in and didn't give us many looks. They gave us any shot we wanted on the perimeter and we couldn't hit many of them."

Batavia actually had five three-pointers compared to only two for U-Prep, but it wasn't enough.

In the paint, Chenault once again showed how much his grown since last season as a low post player, good footwork, fighting for position and attacking the glass. Several of his points came on offensive putbacks.

"He's a senior now," Brasky said. "That's number one. He's a three-year starter, and (Jeff) Redband's not here anymore and we need a go-to guy, so, yes, he's stepping up like a senior should. We talked about that in the off-season. He really worked hard on his game and he's really producing for us."

Batavia is now 7-1 and U-Prep is 7-3. Both are Class A2 teams, so a sectional meeting come postseason isn't out of the question. Brasky likes his team's chances against the Giffins if they work out the kinks with their shooting.

"We can play with them," Brasky said. "If we make some improvements, I think we can compete with them and I think we can beat them."

All-Tournament Team honors went to Tyler Prospero, Notre Dame, Tommy Mattison, Albion, Chenault, Batavia, Ayala, Batavia, and Brinkley, U-Prep. Williams, U-Prep, was named most valuable player.

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December 29, 2015 - 7:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, basketball, Lion's Tournament, Batavia HS, Notre Dame, batavia.

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University Prep and Batavia High School will vie for the Lions Tournament Championship on Wednesday following dominating victories in the opening round games Monday night at Genesee Community College.

U-Prep beat Notre Dame 80-36 behind Isaiah Brinkley's 20 points, with Joe McGrady adding 14 to go with 10 rebounds. For the Fighting Irish, Tyler Prospero had 13, Jordan Lyons had seven, and C.J. Suozzi, seven.

In the nightcap, the Blue Devils beat Albion 58-38. Off the bench, Tee Sean Ayala scored 15 points, all coming off of five three-pointers. Malachi Chenault scored 11, Adonis Davis, seven. For Albion, Tommy Mattison hit five three-pointers and scored 19 points.

Batavia is now 7-0 on the season.

U-Prep and Batavia will play at 8 p.m. Wednesday at GCC.

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December 23, 2015 - 12:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, oakfield-alabama, pembroke.

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In an effort to preserve its undefeated season, the Oakfield-Alabama Hornets twice battled back from double-digit deficits in the second half, and managed to briefly grab the lead with 1:11 left in the game. But missed free throws and two whiffs on easy layups proved to be O-A's undoing, allowing Pembroke to slip by with a 59-58 win.

"I told them this is one we let get away, but we learn from it," said Hornets Head Coach Ryan Stehlar. "You can't dwell on it. You learn from it and get better."

Both coaches were proud of how their teams stayed focused and played tough in the hard-fought contest.

The Dragons know O-A would play hard and fast, and they came prepared, said Dragon's Head Coach Matt Shay.

"They play a real intense style and I thought our guys faltered a little bit at times, but showed some resliance at the end," Shay said.

Junior guard Ryan Cansdale lead all scorers with 16 points for Pembroke; Zach Staebell had 15 and Dakota Dieter scored 14.

For O-A, Jake Mandel scored 13, Trey Nadolinski had 12 and Allen Chatt had eight.

The Hornets and Pembroke are both at the top of the Genesee Region standings with just one defeat each. They won't meet again until the final regular season game, Feb. 9.

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December 21, 2015 - 1:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports.

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Three members of Batavia's Section V championship team were honored with All-Greater-Rochester selections, including Dom Mogavero (above), who was named as a linebacker.

Second team honors went to QB Greg Mruczek and WR Ryan Hogan.

On defense this season, Mogavero had 125 tackles, four forced fumbles, a sack, an interception and one defensive TD. (He also rushed for 1,127 yards and scored 15 TDs.)

Mruczek (second picture) set several school records this season, including passing yards, touchdowns and total offensive yards. He completed 117 passes in 183 attempts for 2,101 yards and 32 TDs. He also carried the ball 39 times for 248 yards and two TDs, giving him 34 total touchdowns and 2,349 total yards. He's also the BHS career leader in passing yards (4,294), passing touchdowns (59), total yards of offensive (4,883) and total touchdowns (65).

Hogan (third picture)  had 31 catches for 707 yards in 2015. His 14 TDs are a school record and fourth all-time in Section V.

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Other Genesee County football players honored:

  • Noah Dobbertin (Batavia)
  • Anthony Gallo (Batavia)
  • Ray Leach (Batavia)
  • Addison Pitcher (Batavia)
  • Trevor Sherwood (Batavia)
  • Danny Williams (Batavia)
  • Nick Egeling (Le Roy)
  • Luke Hogle (Le Roy)
  • Josh Laurie (Le Roy)
  • Anthony Natrigo (Le Roy)
  • Allen Chatt (Oakfield-Alabama)
  • Richard Flores (Elba/Byron-Bergen)
  • Andrew Gottler (Elba/Byron-Bergen)
  • Dane Heberlein (Alexander)
  • John Hochmuth (Elba/Byron-Bergen)
  • Josh Hylkema (Alexander)
  • Riley Kusmierski (Alexander)
  • Thomas Lambert (Elba/Byron-Bergen)
  • Ethan Osborne (Notre Dame)
  • Dustin Schmeider (Alexander)
  • Ismile Smith (Oakfield-Alabama)
  • C.J. Suozzi (Notre Dame)
  • Jack Sutherland (Notre Dame)
  • Jack Thomas (Pembroke)
  • Dakota Weidman (Notre Dame)
  • Zach Von Kramer (Pembroke)
  • Adam Walter (Elba/Byron-Bergen)
  • Joe Weatherwax (Notre Dame)
  • Reice Woodward (Oakfield-Alabama)
  • Jacob Wozniak (Alexander)

Boys Cross Country

  • Thomas Berggren (Notre Dame)
  • Anderson Bradshaw (Alexander)
  • Nathaniel DiSalvo (Oakfield-Alabama/Elba)
  • Jacob Gualtieri (Notre Dame)
  • Justin Hannan (Byron-Bergen)
  • Josh Larmon (Oakfield-Alabama/Elba)
  • Maxim McKenzie (Le Roy)
  • Cole O'Donnell (Oakfield-Alabama/Elba)
  • Henry Pflaumer (Oakfield-Alabama/Elba)
  • Joseph Yaeger (Alexander)
  • Trevor Zauner (Alexander)

Boys Soccer

  • Kieran O'Halloran (Le Roy)
  • Nicholas Richardson (Le Roy)
  • Mason Muoio (Byron-Bergen)
  • Ryan Richardson (Byron-Bergen)
  • Alejandro Ocampo (Byron-Bergen)
  • Matt Foeller (Byron-Bergen)
  • Ryan Curtis (Pembroke)
  • Ryan Cansdale (Pembroke)

Girls Cross Country

  • Siomara Caballero (Byron-Bergen)
  • McKenna Cone (Le Roy)
  • Emily Dyson (Pembroke)
  • Emily Gonyea (Byron-Bergen)
  • Morgan Munger (Oakfield-Alabama/Elba)

Girls Soccer

  • Leah Thompson (Byron-Bergen)
  • Kelsey Maurer (Byron-Bergen)
  • Sarah Zakes (Oakfield-Alabama/Elba)
  • Stephany McBride (Alexander)
  • Callie McCulley (Notre Dame)
  • Grace Krizen (Pembroke)
  • Quinn Audsley (Pembroke)
  • Olivia Audsley (Byron-Bergen)
  • Hannah Duttweiler (Pembroke)
  • Jenna Amesbury (Byron-Bergen)
  • Jayna Wright (Alexander)
  • Jennifer Yuhnke (Pavilion)

Girls Swimming

  • Maiya Reinhart (Batavia)

Girls Tennis

  • Stephanie Hoy (Batavia)
  • Melissa Mountain (Batavia)
  • Lea Morgan (Batavia)
  • Ariana Ross (Batavia)
  • Alicia Scroger (Batavia)
  • Lauren Leone (Batavia)

Volleyball

  • Lydia Milligan (Pavilion)
  • Taylor Sherman (Le Roy)
  • Ava Vescovi (Le Roy)
  • Riley Pasquale (Le Roy)
  • Naomi Hyde (Le Roy)
  • Breton Stephens (Alexander)
  • Aralyse Johnson (Pembroke)
  • Sami Quaranto (Pembroke)
  • Shea Norton (Notre Dame)
  • Mary Kate Miceli (Notre Dame)
  • Nichol Salvador (Notre Dame)
  • Bryanna D’Agostino (Byron-Bergen)
  • Lauren Burke (Byron-Bergen)
  • Cora Ivison (Byron-Bergen)
December 19, 2015 - 12:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, Falleti Ice Arena, batavia, sports.

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Prior to the start of the David M. McCarthy Memorial Hockey Tournament at the Falleti Ice Arena, Assemblyman Steve Hawley donated a U.S. flag and a state flag to the arena to hang next to the scoreboard. The U.S. flag replaces the one that has hung in the area for years and has become worn with age.

Pictured are arena managers Alan Fitzsimmons and Adam Reach, Batavia players Bryce Polito and Riley Kusmicrski, Hawley, and players Bryce D'Alba and Jack Kasmarek.

December 18, 2015 - 2:57pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations:

The 69th live racing season at Batavia Downs wrapped up last Saturday (Dec. 12) much the same way it kicked off back in July; with a packed house of fans watching the best racing in Upstate New York.

The stellar calendar of stake races provided those in attendance a great opportunity to see some of the best horses in New York State and a fair number of Grand Circuit players as well.

The New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) produced three record performances. The first was on Sunday (Aug. 30) when 3-year-old pacing colt Betting Exchange (Bettor’s Delight-Cheeky Hanover) tied the track record of 1:51.2 for sex and gait in winning his division of the $120,400 NYSS event. This was the fastest pacing mile of the meet.

Then on Wednesday (Sept. 16), Dime A Dance (Roll With Joe-Hat Dance Hanover) took advantage of a lightning-fast track and 80 degree temperatures to set a new world’s record of 1:52.4 for 2-year-old pacing fillies in winning her division of the $109,000 NYSS race. It (obviously) was also a new track record for Batavia Downs, smashing the old standard of 1:54.2.

The 13th renewal of Batavia Downs signature event, the $50,000 Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace, took place on Saturday (Oct. 3) and one of the winningest horses in North America added his name to the roster of champions of that race. Seventeen-time winner in 2015, Atta Boy Dan (Western Terror-Dropitlikeitshot), paced his last quarter in :27.4 and pulled away to an easy win in 1:52.1.

The all-time pacing track record of 1:51.1 was not broken in that race, however track trotting history was made instead in the $12,500 Brian Schroeder Memorial the same night.

Top local trotting star Lutetium destroyed the field, at one point opening up a gap of as much as 15 lengths, before scooting home to a six-length victory in 1:55.2. The winning time broke the existing track record of 1:56 for aged trotting geldings set in 2014. This race was also the fastest trotting mile of the meet.

Kevin Cummings easily defended his driving title at the Downs by winning 134 times during the meet, far ahead of the rest of his competition. Those rounding oIut the top five included Dave McNeight III with 89 wins, Shawn McDonough with 82 wins, Jack Flanigen with 81 wins and Drew Monti with 73 wins.

JD Perrin also defended his training title by sending 57 horses to the Purple Haze Winner’s Circle. The competition behind him was decidedly closer and included James Clouser Jr. with 45 wins, Dave McNeight Jr. with 41 wins, Maria Rice with 34 wins and Kirk Desmond with 32 wins.

Cobble Beach (Artiscape-Mirmattculous 1:51.2 $176,867) was named pacer of the meet with six Open wins, $42,270 in earnings and a seasonal mark of 1:52.4.

Lutetium (Credit Winner-Luby 1:52.4 $356,617) was the trotter of the meet with six Open wins, $37,750 in earnings and a new track record of 1:55.2.

Memumsnotnice (Jereme’s Jet-Bunny Town 1:51.4 $308,343) was named distaff performer of the meet with four Mares Open wins, $32,942 in earnings and a personal season's mark of 1:55.

The top three winningest post positions for the meet were post 1 with 230 wins, post 2 with 131 wins and post 4 with 129 wins.

In 2015, the on-track handle took a dip of 5.4 percent, or $1263 a night. But the export handle was up a substantial 21.2 percent, or $13,220 per night. Combined, the total handle was up a healthy 9.6 percent, or $10,250 per night.

Batavia Downs paid out $5,438,400 in purses this year, up $208,400 over 2014.

There was no shortage of promotions for Batavia Downs customers this year as something special was going on during 31 nights of the season. Giveaways, contests and food specials dotted the schedule but the year featured four major happenings.

In August the Downs hosted the annual wiener dog races, to the delight of thousands who gathered at the rail to see them. September included the Drew Monti bobblehead night, the annual Labor Day driver’s bike race and a special fund raiser for the family of Brad Hanners.

Then on Sunday (Nov. 15), Batavia Downs hosted the USTA District 8 membership meeting, Director election and New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) year-end awards banquet, sponsored by the New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund.

"We couldn't be happier with the way things went this year" said Todd Haight, GM/director of Live Racing at Batavia Downs. "We had outstanding weather the whole year; not one flake of snow. That facilitated many opportunities for our live crowd to come out and that they did.

"The product on the track was as good as it's ever been and the export numbers confirm that. A lot of people were betting the action at Batavia Downs at all the simulcast facilities that took our signal. The meet ended very strong."

To watch video highlights of the 2015 racing season, click on this link: (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B54kiFXcdsHxM0kxcmQ1dVNxbGM/view?pli=1 )

Live racing will resume at Batavia Downs in July; dates pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commission.

December 18, 2015 - 2:39pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, pembroke, basketball, Roswell Cancer Institute.

Submitted photo of Pembroke High School Girls Basketball Team.

Press release:

During the last four seasons, the Pembroke High School Girls’ Basketball Team has focused on winning—not just league games, but the battle against breast cancer. They will host their fifth annual "Shooting For A Cure!" game at 7 p.m. on Jan. 5 in support of funding breast cancer research at Roswell Park.

To date, the Pembroke team has raised more than $30,000 for the cause and hopes to raise more than $10,000 in one night on Jan. 5.

It’s a cause that is personal to the team and their school district because of the number of faculty and family members who have been affected by the disease.

Yet according to senior captain Aralyse Johnson, this year’s fundraiseris particularly important, as it marks the final season this group of six seniors will be able to play in the event.

“I was only an eighth-grade when my older sister Breanna and her teammates came up with the idea to host the first 'Shooting For A Cure!' basketball game in support of Toni Funke’s battle with breast cancer,” Aralyse said.

The team spent that season seeking support from the community and local businesses in hopes of funding research efforts at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) in honor of Mrs. Funke.

“Impressive Marks donated pink uniforms and Walt Disney World donated park passes," Johnson said. "The support was overwhelming. That original team laid the foundation to what has become an annual event that we look forward to before the season even starts.

"This fundraiser means so much to our team and our community; we are all dedicated to supporting those in our community battling cancer and using our event to help fund research. This game has become the identity of Pembroke Girls’ Basketball and we take great pride in that."

The 2016 "Shooting For A Cure!" donors list numbers more than 80 merchants and individuals such as the Buffalo Bisons, Buffalo Sabres, Buffalo Bandits, GLOW YMCA of Batavia, Carly’s Club, Chestnut Hill Country Club, Darien Lake, Dry Creek Group, Fava Brothers Lawn Care, Insty-Prints, Kendall's Impressive Marks, Meinke Agency, Party City, Target, and Save-A-Lot to name a few.

Many of the product donations will become game night auction baskets and raffle prizes. Monies will also be raised from food and ticket sales with the generous support of local pizzerias and vending companies. Additionally, online donations are being accepted at the team’s online fundraising page: (https://www.crowdrise.com/shooting4acure).

The team hopes "Shooting For A Cure!" will continue its tradition of topping the previous years’ fundraising total. According to senior team member Emma Patterson, the event succeeds because of the format.

“Every penny that we raise goes to Roswell Park Cancer Institute to help fund cancer research,” Emma said. “It’s truly about service over self. As athletes we always put our team first. This game has the same guiding principle on a much larger scale.

"To think that this will be our team’s fifth 'Shooting For A Cure!' game is unbelievable to me. I can remember every single game vividly since I was in eighth grade, and it’s an honor to be a part of it. Each year our small community comes together to support this event, and it becomes more meaningful each season.”

RPCI has officially sanctioned "Shooting For A Cure!" as a Team Cure fundraiser and as a valuable example of the way that young people can make a difference.

“We continue to be impressed by the Pembroke Girls’ Basketball Team as they push themselves, not only on the court, but off the court as well," said Julia Harvey, Team Cure coordinator. "It’s inspirational to have a group of teens who are so passionate about raising critically needed funds for cancer research at Roswell Park. These girls continue to demonstrate an incredible amount of compassion.

"This team is special and their community is amazing. Although the players may change each season, 'Shooting For A Cure!' has remained constant, with the girls leading the charge, for five consecutive seasons. To me, it’s just remarkable.”

For more information go to the Shooting or A Cure Web site, Twitter, Pinterest

ABOUT PEMBROKE HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS’ VARSITY BASKETBALL TEAM: The Pembroke High School Girls’ Varsity Basketball Team is comprised of 11 outstanding girls, ages 15 to 18. Their 2015-2016 captains are Aralyse Johnson and Mandy-Jean Skeet. They are coached by Ron Funke. Team colors are green and black and their nickname is The Dragons. The team’s motto is Family-Hustle-Winning. The team began "Shooting For A Cure!" as an annual event in 2012 and they are committed to the hard work and dedication it will take to win the battle against breast cancer.

ABOUT ROSWELL PARK CANCER INSTITUTE: RPCI is among the first and only upstate New York facility to hold the National Cancer Institute designation of "comprehensive cancer center" and to serve as a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network. Many RPCI faculty serve on the NCCN panels that create the Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology™ — the internationally recognized standards for clinical policy in oncology, and the most comprehensive, most frequently updated clinical practice guidelines available in any area of medicine.

The RCPI campus spans 25 acres in Downtown Buffalo and consists of 15 buildings with about 1.6 million square feet of space. A new hospital building, completed in 1998, houses a comprehensive diagnostic and treatment center. In addition, the Institute built a new medical research complex and renovated existing education and research space to support its future growth and expansion.www.roswellpark.org

December 18, 2015 - 10:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, byron-bergen, Punt Pass and Kick.

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Melissa MacCowan, an eighth-grader at Byron-Bergen, won her division of the Buffalo Bills region for the NFL Punt, Pass and Kick Championship on Dec. 6 at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

MacCowan participates in varsity soccer, swimming and track at Byron-Bergen.

She was provided with hotel accommodations for the weekend, lunch in the Buffalo Bills cafeteria, tickets to the game, certificate, jersey, hat, football gloves, participated in opening ceremony/National Anthem on the field during the Dec. 6th game, and announcement of the winners on the Jumbotron as well as watching the game from the Bills' suite.

To reach the finals in Buffalo, MacCowan had to win a sectional tournament in Rochester. This year marked her third-straight year of posting a win at that event.

She is pictured with Aaron Williams of the Buffalo Bills.

Info and photo provided by Diane MacCowan.

December 16, 2015 - 9:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, basketball, Le Roy.

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Le Roy's basketball team ran into a talented and disciplined Perry team Tuesday night, resulting in a 71-47 loss.

Perry's Autin Croll led all scorers with 25 points, missing only two field goal attempts all night and hitting a trio of threes in the first half.

For Le Roy, Tom Dunn scored 12, Canyon Roster, nine, Holden Bonnell, eight, and Jason Doomling, six.

Also in double digits for Perry were Zach Lowery, 14, and Tyler Cowie, 10.

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To purchase prints, click here.

December 12, 2015 - 11:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, hockey, Notre Dame, batavia.

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Batavia/Alexander scored the first goal and the game looked like it would be a goal-trading shoot-out at the end of the first period, but Notre Dame pulled away for an 8-2 win to move to 5-0 on the season.

Notre Dame's Henrik Tolvianinen notched a hat trick.

Notre Dame had 35 shots on goal to 24 for the Ice Devils, but saves went to Batavia 27-22.

Scoring:

  • Batavia, Cameron Els, with assists for Josh Hylken and Bryce D'Alba, at 14:38, period 1
  • Notre Dame, Bryan Moscicki, assists Ryan Antinore and Ryan Webster, at 10:15, period 1
  • Batavia, Bryce Polito, assists Jake Kasmarek, 10:02, period 1
  • ND, Cameron Clark, name of player with assist not available, 8:38, period 1
  • ND, Henrik Tolvianinen, assists Webster and Clark, 0:52, period 1
  • ND, Clark, assists Moscicki, 4:52, period 2
  • ND Hayden Chamberlin, assists Tolvianinen and Webster, 4:00, period 2
  • ND, Tolvianinen, assists Webster and Clark, 11:05, period 3
  • ND, Tolvianinen, assists Clark and Webster, 5:55, period 3
  • ND Cole Hudson, assists Ethan Hutchins and Devin Grimshaw, 1:44, period 3

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December 12, 2015 - 1:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in harness racing, sports, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

The curtain comes down on another racing season at Batavia Downs tonight (Dec. 12).

This is closing night and once again features the free to play $500 Pick-6 contest. This final contest will be paid out to the player(s) that pick the most winners, if no one selects all six winners. 

And it’s also the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association’s annual “Night of Distinction” where awards will be distributed to both human and equine performance leaders throughout the evening in the Purple Haze Winner’s Circle. Post time is 6:15 p.m.
 
“It’s been an outstanding year and we’re capping it off with one more action-packed weekend of promotions and giveaways” said Todd Haight, director/general manager of Live Racing. “...I would also like to thank all the horsemen, fans, Downs employees and off-track locations for their support this entire racing season.”

December 12, 2015 - 8:57am
posted by James Burns in batavia, sports, basketball.

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The Batavia Blue Devils faced Charter School for Applied Tech (CSAT) Eagles Friday night at home to a gym filled with enthusiastic fans.

The first quarter was back and forth with CSAT out rebounding Batavia and landing a 3 to start the scoring. Coach Buddy Brasky straightened out the Blue Devils for the second quarter. From then on they controlled the ball well and out scored CSAT leading by as many as 20.

Three-point shots dropped well for both teams all night. Batavia had a hard time scoring in the paint but little problem shooting from the perimeter, defeating CSAT’s defense with good ball movement.

Ryan Hogan led the night with 21, T Sean Ayala had 10, Malachi Chenault and Jake Schrider both finished the night with eight.

The final score was Batavia 73 CSAT 56.

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To see more photos, or purchase photos, of the game follow this link. 

December 12, 2015 - 8:16am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, hockey, Notre Dame.

Press release:

Notre Dame High School congratulates varsity hockey Coach Marc Staley on setting a new all-time wins record of 73 with a win over Rush Henrietta on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2015.

Notre Dame High School varsity hockey team hosts Batavia High School today (Dec. 12) at Faletti Ice Arena. Puck drops at 3 p.m. and there will be a quick presentation prior to present Coach Staley with a plaque commemorating his achievement.

After the ’14 – ’15 season, Coach Staley had 69 overall wins since starting his coaching career at Notre Dame in 2008. The previous record of 72 was held by legendary Coach Jack Porter. So far this season the hockey team has won all three games, which gave Staley the record.

Marc attended Batavia High School and played varsity hockey there from 1988 – 1991 and was named captain in 1991. He went on to play college hockey at RIT in ’92 – ’93 and then played professionally overseas for two seasons in Italy and Switzerland. He began his coaching career at his alma mater RIT Tigers in 1999. He coached at SUNY Geneseo from 1999 to 2003 when he became an Assistant Coach at Notre Dame High School until 2006.

Marc started on this journey to the all time wins record for hockey at Notre Dame when he became the head coach in 2008 and has accomplished that record now in his eighth season. Marc lives in Batavia with his wife, Erin, daughter Helaina and son Luke.

“It has been a lot of years getting up very early and it has paid off. I love coaching at Notre Dame and it has truly enriched my life,” Staley said. “I also coach the Junior A Roc City Royals in Rochester and the Beginner Program here in Batavia and I have coached in the Genesee Amateur Hockey Association for over 15 years now!”

“We look forward to many more years of having Marc coach our varsity hockey program,” said Athletic Director Mike Rapone. “Marc has done an outstanding job of not only teaching our students how to play hockey, he has also guided them on how to be successful at the game of life. He had been an outstanding representative of both our school and its hockey program."

Notre Dame Principal Wade Bianco added “Coach Staley brings to life the Notre Dame mission statement in his work with our student athletes. Their families come first. They are expected to work to their potential in the classroom and conduct themselves in a dignified and respectful manner. As a result his players are strongly positioned for long term success in all phases of their lives."

December 11, 2015 - 11:03am
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, elba, Notre Dame.

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With size on the inside and guards who can hit from the perimeter, the Elba Lancers demonstrated some of what they might be able to accomplish in boys basketball in 2015-16.

The Lancers dominated archrival Notre Dame on Thursday, winning 52-40.

"The last time we came in here and beat these guys, I was a senior in high school," said new Elba's new head coach, Ciaci Zambito. "That was 10 years ago, so it means a lot to these kids. I think they've all kind of bought into the basketball program."

That program is one that uses a pressure defense to help create points on transition.

Anchored at center by 6'4", 225-pound senior Jack Hocmuth, the Lancers can dominate against most Class D teams in the paint. Scoring comes from Hocmuth, who 13 last night, and Henry Pflaumer, a junior point guard who scored 14. Senior guard Dakota Dillon added six on a pair of threes and Shane O'Halloran had seven.

"They made everything in the first quarter," said Mike Rapone, Notre Dame's head coach. "They're a good shooting team when they get their looks."

The Lancers were up 20-5 at the end of the first quarter and Notre Dame was in the midst of an 11-minute scoring drought that started when John Sutherland knocked out of the game with an ankle injury. He did not return and he's questionable over at least the next few games.

The Fighting Irish came out in the second half playing with a little more intensity and at a faster pace. They were able to pick up points in transition by getting to the basket before Elba could set its defense. That attack was slowed with C.J. Suozzi fouling out with five minutes left in the third quarter. That put the burden of being the big man leader on the floor on Nico Zambito.

"Nico did a great job, but physically he is just not as tall or as strong as John," Rapone said.

Even with the lopsided loss, there are several positives for his team, Rapone said. The team's season will depend on making shots, Rapone said. He believes the scoring will come, but Thursday's game was an example of what can happen to the Irish when the baskets don't fall.

"We just couldn't make a shot," Rapone said. "Some of these guys are pretty good perimeter shooters, but they weren't hitting tonight. Maybe it was their defense, or maybe it wasn't our night. I'm just proud how they competed for the whole game. Down 20-5, you could just pack it in, but they never did."

Zambito and Tyler Prospero each had six points for Notre Dame, with Casey Midwick and Evan Bender adding five more apiece.

Rapone describes his team this year as athletic, but small. They've got to shoot to win, getting points in transition, which will be harder if Sutherland is out for any length of time. The Irish have a team bench, with eight seniors and eight juniors on the squad.

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December 10, 2015 - 11:57am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, batavia, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

Submitted photo of Ken Ball.

By Tim Bojarski, president, UNY-USHWA

Scores of horsemen and women have come and gone over the years at Batavia Downs, but the ever changing look of the local driving colony has had a single, steady constant in its midst that still sends horses postward after 49 years in the business. His name is Ken Ball.

Ball got started in harness racing in 1966 as a second trainer for Eldon Harner. But it wasn’t long before he departed to start his own stable.

The first and probably best owners he ever had were Morris and Betty Miller. They bred and raced a string of horses that bore the “Whiz” name. These horses were stalwarts of his stable for thirty years.

During his time in the business, his most successful horse was Missile T (1:57.2 $313,644). The Master of Style colt was one of the best 2- and 3-year-old male trotters in New York State in 2006 and 2007. The largest purse Ball ever won was the $100,000 Elitist Cup at the Syracuse Mile with Brass Target Sam ($1:56.2 $74,793) in 1990. And the fastest race he ever drove was a 1:56.2 mile with his good Open trotter, Derby Tex Whiz (1:56.2 $125,941), also at the Syracuse Mile.

But the hits didn’t stop there. Ball was also responsible for the careers of Major T Collins (1:59.2 $221,804), PJ Whiz (2:00.2 $161,696), Super Whiz (1:59.4 $142,879), Crescent T Collins (2:02.2 $94,178), Gantry T (1:57.2 $69,923), Tempest Lobell (2:03.2 $63,411), BJ Grattan (2:02.4 $60,035), Chip Rebel (2:02.3 $58,474) and of course, the local legend Mr. Tizwhiz (1:59.3 $48,633).

For his career, Ken Ball drove 1,143 winners that accounted for $3.1 million in purses. On the training side, Ball started 2,337 horses posting 263 wins, 311 seconds and 324 thirds (40 percent in the money) and earned another $1.1 million for those starts.

Ball is still actively training today, but limits his driving to county fairs and an occasional qualifying race. He defers the pari-mutuel lines to his son, Keith, who is continuing the family tradition. Keith Ball is also a Monroe County Sheriff.

Ken Ball still lives in Batavia with his longtime companion Patricia Arnold. But he’s more likely to be found shipping his horses to the track or a fair than at his house. But that’s the only way one could ever put together such an impressive body of work.

Ken Ball will receive his award in the Purple Haze Winner’s Circle at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Dec. 12) during UNY-USHWA’s Night of Distinction.

December 9, 2015 - 11:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, Batavia HS.

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After making runs at sectional titles each of the past four years, the three girls who helped make those teams contenders -- Tiara Filbert, Sam Cecere and Maddie McCulley -- are all seniors, and if they are going to turn 2015-16 into a championship season, Head Coach Marty Hein knows they can't turn it alone.

That's where sisters Taylor Stefaniak, a sophomore, and Ryann Stefanik, a freshman, come in. They're young for starters, but Taylor brings confidence and maturity gleaned from half-season as a starter last year, and Ryann is simply fearless.

"The seniors have those girls' backs," Hein said. "We know that if we want to make a deep run this year that those two sisters are a big key to it."

The Lady Devils are 2-1 on the young season after a 56-36 win over Brighton at home Tuesday night. McCulley led the way with 17 points, including sinking a trio of threes, Cecere had 15 and Filbert scored 14. Ryann Stefaniak added eight.

Any championship trail probably runs through Mendon, and it was in Mendon that Batavia suffered its lone defeat last year 50-63. There, Hein said, the team showed it still has some work to do coming together as a unit.

Ryann's youth showed a bit, he said, but that's no different than what it was for Taylor early last year and McCulley when she was a freshman.  

"It's a building process, so hopefully we'll get in the right spot by the end of the year," Hein said.

Ryann won a starting job coming out of preseason because that fearlessness is what enables her to compete at this level.

"That's why she's here," Hein said. "She's a ninth-grader. She can handle the ball. She can shoot the ball. She's not afraid to go up, so this was a huge game for her to bounce back from the Mendon game."

Still, what makes this team is that very special trio of seniors, whom Hein has coached since they were young girls. Even at this point of the year, Hein admits to getting a little misty-eyed realizing this is the last run he'll have with Filbert, Cecere and McCulley.

"I've had them for so many games through summer, spring, the regular season, the whole cohesiveness between them and the rest of the girls, they're the glue," Hein said. "They hold it all together."

Filbert plays at a whole other level, with skill and basketball IQ to create scoring opportunities and disrupt the offensive flow of opponents, and as Hein noted, "she's a highlight reel at any given point."

Filbert, Cecere, McCulley and the two Stefanik sisters -- five girls in Batavia who are likely to make the 2015-16 pretty entertaining.

The next play at home at 7 p.m. tomorrow.

In photos: Ryan, #3; Filbert, #22; Taylor #23; Cecere, #30; McCulley, #42.

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December 7, 2015 - 12:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Submitted photo of Kevin Cummings, the leading dash driver of the 2015 season.

By Tim Bojarski, president, UNY-USHWA

The Batavia Downs meet isn’t over, but the competition for the winningest driver and trainer certainly is. Kevin Cummings and JD Perrin are the leading dash driver and trainer for the 2015 season, repeating their dominance from last year and they will be honored by the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness writers Association (UNY-USHWA).

Cummings currently has 131 victories during the meet, which total 49 more than his nearest competitor. And his $683,838 in purses won is at least a quarter-million dollars more than anyone else.

For the year, Cummings has already posted career numbers with 334 wins, $1.77 million in earnings and a UDR of .367. That UDR ranks him tenth in North America among all drivers. Cummings seasonal totals only pile onto his career statics that include 3,304 wins and $13.7 million in earnings.

Perrin posted 56 wins for the meet and his horses earned $236,822 for his efforts. He is also firing at a lofty .376 UTR.

As far as the entire year is concerned, Perrin has 125 wins, $633,747 in earnings and a UTR of .353. That UTR ranks him 10th as well among all trainers in North America to this point in 2015. Perrin’s career numbers include 569 wins and $2.4 million in purses.

UNY-USHWA has also named James Clouser Jr. their recipient of the 2015 Rising Star Award.

Since relocating his base of operations to Upstate New York early last summer, James Clouser Jr. has been on a tear. After only making minimal starts as a conditioner from 2008 until 2013, Clouser made some noise in 2014 winning 42 races from 191 outings and banked $229,887 in earnings. But this year he’s more than doubled all those numbers.

With only days of live racing left this year, Clouser has won 86 races and earned $454,359 in prizes on the strength of 286 starts. He is also boasting a gaudy .439 UTR. The 86 wins make him the top dash winning trainer in North America for conditioners with fewer than 300 starts.

For the current Batavia Downs meet, Clouser is the second leading trainer (behind JD Perrin) with 42 wins from 140 starts, $207,894 in earnings and a .431 UTR.

Kevin Cummings, JD Perrin and James Clouser Jr. will receive their awards in the Purple Haze Winner’s Circle at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Dec. 12) during UNY-USHWA’s Night of Distinction.

Submitted photo below of JD Perrin, the leading trainer of the 2015 season.

December 6, 2015 - 1:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Photo of Lucky Nadotremblay out in front (reinsman Shawn McDonough), courtesy of Paul White.

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

Lucky Nadotremblay was pushed every step of the way Saturday night (Dec. 5), but the performance of a lifetime got him across first in the $10,000 Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs.

Leaving from post one, Lucky Nadotremblay (Shawn McDonough) was immediately greeted by Adversary Seelster (Ron Beback Jr.) and Jokerman (Jim McNeight) as the race rounded the first turn. The treble cavalry charge ferociously continued up the backside and to the quarter in :27.1 before Jokerman pulled off from three-high and dropped in second-over behind Adversary Seelster.

Adversary Seelster continued to pace side by side with Lucky Nadotremblay past the half in :56 but started to do the backstroke by the three-quarters in 1:24.4. At that station Cobble Beach (Dave McNeight III) who had been tracking from fifth, tipped three-wide around the fading competition to move alongside Lucky Nadotremblay, which started a two-horse competition that pulled away from the field. Cobble Beach inched closer and closer but Lucky Nadotremblay refused to lose and hung on to win by a neck in 1:53.4, which was a new lifetime mark for the victor.

It was the eighth win of the year for Lucky Nadotremblay ($7.20) and it boosted his 2015 earnings to $65,320 for owners Paul Viele and Ronald Louis Viele. Alex Giuliani trains the 5-year-old son of Blissful Hall.

Veteran reinsman Jack Flanigen put on a show, winning five races on the card that included the first four straight events. He scored with Big Dutch ($2.60), Bondy N ($2.10), Boots N Bourbon ($4.90), China Dream ($7) and Keystone Dalton ($2.50). Dave McNeight III won three and Ron Beback Jr. scored a double. James Clouser Jr. had a training hat trick while Jim Graham and Maria Rice conditioned two winners each. 

The final week of racing kicks off on Wednesday night (Dec. 9) with post time set for 6:15. The meet is down to the final three nights of live racing for 2015.

December 5, 2015 - 1:15pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

It’s not too often a horse gets passed at the head of the lane and comes back on to win, but that is exactly what Justgottogetthere did in Friday night’s (Dec. 4) $9,500 trotting feature at Batavia Downs.

Leaving from post four, Justgottogetthere (Ron Beback Jr.) left quickly to take the lead and provide pylon-starter Leave Your Mark (Kevin Cummings) with a perfect trip. The rest of the field struggled to keep up as the leading pair went to the half in :59.3.

After that second station, it became two separate races; Justgottogetthere and Leave Your Mark broke away from the pack by four lengths. Cummings pulled Leave Your Mark at the three-quarter pole and drew alongside of Justgottogetthere before taking a length lead at the top of the stretch. Looking well on his way to victory, Leave Your Mark was quickly rebuffed when Beback urged Justgottogetthere on and the game trotter responded; retaking the lead and eventually winning the race by a length in 1:58.3.

The win was the 10th of the year for Justgottogetthere ($7.50), but the first since Aug. 28. The winner’s share of the purse pushed his 2015 earnings to $63,402 for owners Antonietta Landi and North Creek Racing, LLC. Jerry Nugent Jr. trains the 6-year-old gelded son of Valley Victor.

Shawn McDonough had the hot hands on Friday, winning four races driving as well as one as trainer. Drew Monti was right behind with a hat-trick and Ron Beback Jr. doubled up. Trainers Russell Bratt and Alex Giuliani both sent two winners to get their pictures taken.

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday tonight (Dec. 5) at 6:15. There are only four cards of racing left in the 2015 meet.

December 3, 2015 - 3:35pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Photo of Mach This Way with driver Ron Beback Jr., courtesy of Paul White.

By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations

It was round two of the heavyweight fight between Mach This Way and Memumsnotnice in the $9,500 distaff pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Dec. 2) and when the race was run, Mach This Way avenged last week's result. 

In a complete role reversal from a week ago, Memumsnotnice (Ray Fisher Jr.) was forced to sit in second as Mach This Way (Ron Beback Jr.) forced her way to the lead and made it clear that no one else would head her. Then over a rain-soaked track, they proceeded to splash to the half in :57.3.

As the girls made their way past three-quarters, Mach This Way and Memumsnotnice separated themselves from the rest of the field and it became a two-horse race at the top of the lane. From there, Memumsnotnice pulled and tried to overtake, but Mach This Way dug in and toughed-out a solid length victory in 1:57.

It was the seventh win of the year for Mach This Way ($3.30), including four wins in six consecutive Batavia Downs starts and the winners share enhanced her financial situation to $55,130 for owner William Emmons. James Clouser Jr. trains the 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three.

Several horsemen had multi-win evenings. Ron Beback Jr. scored a driving triple while Kevin Cummings registered a double. Trainers Kirk Desmond, James Clouser Jr. and Russell Bratt all sent two winners to post.

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Dec. 4) with post time at 6:15 p.m.

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