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January 8, 2009 - 12:25pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in sports, wrestling.

 The Section 5 rankings were just released and we have several local individuals that are ranked high in their perspective weight classes.

Batavia's Ryan Darch is the top ranked grappler at 160 pounds and Pembroke's Graham Jensen is tops at 189 pounds.

There are many others ranked in the top five in Section 5 through the different weight classes, which can be checked out here

January 8, 2009 - 11:00am
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, sports, wrestling.

 Batavia wrestling coach Rick Stewart figured the school uniforms were coming for state competition. But he thinks the possible $300 charge for Empire State Games participants is going to kill the event.

"It is what it is, but I think there must be another way the state can raise money," Stewart said. "As a coach, if my kid were to make Empires, and it cost $300 to get uniforms and stuff when it was free before, I would still encourage him to do it."

Stewart agrees with most that the hefty cost will deter many athletes from even trying out for the games, but has a good idea on how to keep the numbers up for the scholastic grapplers.

" There is an adult (open) and kids (scholastic) competition," Stewart said. "I would be more than willing to say that the state should furnish the kids, but once you are an adult and have your own job and make money, you can pay to participate - split it in half rather than everybody paying for it. When you are an adult, it is a hobby for you."

As far as schools wearing their own singlets for the state competition and the possibility of having just one champion, Stewart believes New York State is the only one that still has team uniforms for each section - and that small school wrestlers can compete with the big schools.

"Back when I was in school, that's how it was," Stewart said of having a single state champion in each weight class. "I don't think it makes that big of a deal in wrestling. It makes all the difference in the world, but it matters in dual meets. A school like Spencerport or Fairport has twice the number of kids to fill their weight classes."

The Blue Devils are 14-5 and have several potential sectional champions that could contend for a state title.

January 8, 2009 - 12:05am
posted by Brian Hillabush in basketball, sports.

The Batavia girls basketball team won the Rotary Tournament with a 49-36 win over Pavilion in the finals.

It is the third tournament title for the Blue Devils this season.

Jaycee Shirk won the MVP, dropping in 12 points with eight rebounds and six blocks. 

Stacey Hein had four points and seven blocks and Brittany Mazurkiewiecz made the all-tournament team with six points.

Brittany Wormley had 10 points.

-----------------------------------------------------

The Batavia boys crushed Kenmore West 65-36 as Dakota Irvin scored the first 10 points of the game and finished with 10 points.

Robert Hoy and Joe Schlossel had 12 points each with Adam Pettinella scoring 11 and Andrew Hoy getting 10.

Marcus Hoy had two points and seven assists for Batavia (7-1).

 

Typically I would give more highlights, but check out http://www.democratandchronicle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?Category=SPORTS08 

for other results tonight

January 7, 2009 - 2:17pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in football, LeRoy, sports, Oakfield.

The New York State Sportswriters Association announced its all-state football team today and we have several players making the team.  

All-Greater Rochester first-team selection Mike Humphrey is a first-team wide receiver in Class C. Humphrey caught 63 passes for 892 yards and 15 touchdowns to help lead Le Roy to the Class C title.

Chris Williams had 60 tackles and three sacks and made the first-team on defense for Class C.

Travis Fenstermaker - the Class C Offensive Player of the Year - was named the second-team quarterback for Class C.

Tim Smith was a third-team running back for Class C. The Oakfield-Alabama senior rushed for 771 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. The only loss by the Hornets came against Le Roy in the sectional finals.

Attica wide receiver Shawn Dupuis made third-team all-state in Class B after catching 26 passes for 530 yards and six touchdowns.

January 7, 2009 - 1:15pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in basketball, football, sports, track.

 There was a conference call this morning between the leaders of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, and there could be some very bad changes coming in the near future for New York State athletics.

 NYSPHSAA President began the meeting by asking members of different sections for suggestions as the state is having financial problems, like the Empire State Games, which we wrote about yesterday.

Jen Simmons of Section 1 simply noted that the section has changed the number of contests that will be held in Westchester County and will be using higher seeds to cut down the number of teams that play in the sectional tournaments.

Fred Gula of Section 2 and Dawn Field of Section 3 both had a lot of suggestions.

According to the minutes of the meeting:

Fred Gula - Expressed the need to look at quality and not quantity in the NYSPHSAA Championship events.

He had may suggestions, that many will find disturbing.

His first suggestion was that instead of the four-team format for state tournaments, only two teams should be playing for the championship.

Only the elite should be going to the Championships. Possibly restructure brackets so in team sports only two teams in each class go to the Championships.

This basically puts an emphasis on sectional tournaments and instead of teams from all over New York State going to PAETEC Park for the football semifinals, games would be more regionalized. Currently the final four teams play in Rochester and the finals are played at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.

He also suggested using conference calls for NYSPHSAA meetings and eliminating allowing the Executive and Assistant Directors to travel to state events, to save on travel costs.

Individual sports would take the biggest hits.

Gula suggested getting rid of competitor t-shirts for track and cross country athletes and using numbers to go along with their school outfits.

Wrestling teams have worn singlets for each section for years, and Gula has proposed that in order to save money for the sections, wrestlers should wear their own school uniforms. He also says "individual sports" like skiing, swimming, wrestling and track should no longer be competing against schools their own size.

He sees no difference in a small school vs. a large school. For example, a track athlete from a Class D school like Notre Dame should be competing against an athlete from a Class A school like Rush-Henrietta.

He is also against increasing officials but does suggest that there should be investigations by each section.

Field suggested approving cheerleading as a sport, a move which I fully support. In fact, I'm pretty sure we already consider cheerleading a sport in Section 5.

My problem with Field's suggestion is eliminating the open sectional policy. Instead of all-inclusive tournaments for basketball, baseball and softball, she believes the top 40-percent should only be allowed to compete in the sectional tournaments.

Field is also for cutting down on split class tournaments (Class C1 vs. C2), putting a travel cap for teams playing during sectional competition and sharing bus opportunities for longer trips.

Julie Maney of Section 4's main concern was travel costs for officials while Section 5's Rick Admunson suggested the NYSPHSAA take a leadership role and work with school districts to reduce costs. Mark Ward of Section 6 had similar suggestions as Admunson.

Karen Lopez of Section 7 thinks there should be less NYSPHSAA meetings to reduce costs.

Section 8's Mike Mahoney speaks about a tax cap and a cut in preseason scrimmages. He also says that the state should look into reducing the amount of games each team is allowed to play during a season.

Ed Cinelli of Section 11 would like to see the number of classes in the state tournaments reduced to one. That would mean schools like Elba or Oakfield-Alabama would have no shot to beat teams like Aquinas for state titles. He also wants to reduce the number of athletes participating in individual sports and centralizing sites for state championships.

The financial problems are bad enough that Bob Munn, who is in charge of budget and finance, suggests asking congress for a bail out. He would like to see no changes in the state tournaments over the next two years and believes NYSPHSAA meetings should be done via telephone conference calls or web cam meetings.

Others have similar suggestions to ones already mentioned, but Executive Director Nina Van Erk would like to see a reduction in the number of contestants. 

Sports with 24 would be reduced to 20; 20 would go down to 18; 18 would go down to 16.

Wrestling and football tournaments would also see reductions in participation.

The committee very much supports a significant reduction in the NYSPHSAA budget.

Committee members will be seeking imput from local sections and looking for more ways to reduce spending. 

The next meeting is scheduled for January 20 at 9 a.m., and will be done via conference call.

January 7, 2009 - 12:11pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in basketball, sports, Oakfield.

Andrew Hoy had a remarkable Batavia Lions Club Tournament, and he earned Monroe County League Division III Player of the Week for that performance.

Hoy had 24 points with seven rebounds in a 76-40 win over Albion in the first round, then followed it up with a 19-point game against Notre Dame in a 59-33 title game victory.

Just a sophomore, Hoy has already been selected to the all-tournament team and now has an MVP. It was Batavia's fifth-straight title.

Oakfield-Alabama's Noah Seward won the honor for Genesee Region League Division 1.

Seward nearly had two double-doubles at the Caledonia-Mumford Tournament. He scored 14 points with nine rebounds in a two-point loss to Marion in the first round and followed it up with a 21-point, 12-board performance in the consolation game, a 68-49 thumping of York. Seward earned all-tournament honors.

Lyndonville's Erick VanWycke is the GR Division II Player of the Week, even though he had two big games in losses.

The 6-foot-5 forward had 28 points and 11 rebounds in a loss to Lima Christian, then dropped in 13 points with 16 boards in a loss to Webster Christian. 

Byron-Bergen's Mary Cocking is the girls GR Division I PoW after scoring 20 points with 17 boards in an opening round win over Greece Odyssey, and she added 14 points in a loss to Notre Dame in the finals of the Byron-Bergen Tournament.

ND's Nichole Hart wound up winning the honor for Division II after leading the Fighting Irish to the victory.

She combined for 44 points in wins over Le Roy and Byron-Bergen and was named MVP of the tournament.

January 7, 2009 - 1:48am
posted by Brian Hillabush in basketball, sports, wrestling.

 How close is Genesee Region League girls basketball?

Pretty close.

Both Pembroke and Byron-Bergen have solid squads, but the Bees improve to 5-4 with a 49-47 win over the Dragons, who fall to 5-3.

The game was within five points the entire way, with Pembroke missing a pair of shots to win at the end.

Mary Cocking led Byron-Bergen with 16 points with Rory Partridge chipping in eight

Nicole Sharick led the Dragons with 10 points, six boards and four steals. Kelsey Lewis also had 10 points and Jackie Dubois dished out five dimes.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Geneseo flat out shocked Elba 40-36.

The Lancers are highly ranked in the state and came into the game 7-1. But it was Geneseo that jumped out to a 5-2 first quarter lead and held on the rest of the way.

Kat Olverd scored 14 points with five dimes and hit the critical shot, a 3-pointer with two minutes left that gave Geneseo an eight point advantage.

Katie Dewar had three points with eight rebounds.

Nobody took over the scoring for the Lancers, with Sarah Schwartzmeyer leading the way with just nine points. Cassy Engle and Julie Webster had seven points apiece.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Julie Brooks had a huge game for the Hawks as Holley beat Attica 38-23.

Brooks dropped in 20 points with 16 rebounds and four steals. Sh was helped out by Emily Troupe, who had 10 points.

Margaret LaFleur had 10 points for the Blue Devils.

Holley is now 2-5.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Batavia wrestling continues to win.

The Blue Devils thumped East Irondquoit/Eastridge 72-6 and are now 14-5.

Scott Shea, Troy Ireland, Ryan Darch, Anthony D'Aurizio, Josh Mase, Will Ely, Trey Hendersonm Matt Leaton and Joe Muoio all had wins for  Batavia.

 

January 6, 2009 - 11:52am
posted by Brian Hillabush in sports, byron, volleyball.

Alyssa D'Errico has always been a star on the volleyball court. She has won state titles, club titles and two national championships at Penn State.

But one of her favorite volleyball memories is the 2006 Empire State Games when she was chosen to kick off the ceremony by lighting the torch that kicked off the opening ceremony.  

D'Errico has three gold medals in the scholastic competition and picked up a silver in the open division last year.

With the news that athletes may have to pay up to $300 to play in the games, she isn't positive she will be back for another ESG.

"It doesn't really bother me right now because I'm so far removed," D'Errico said. "If I was still in high school, it would bother me. But right now I'm not as big a part of the team and I would be playing open. But as a college student, I don't know if I could play if they charged $300. I think it would make it a lot less fun because I've always looked forward to playing for and representing Western New York."

Alyssa made an excellent point when the idea of having to pay to play in the ESG came up. She believes it is an honor to represent your region, but a player would be better off spending the money to pay to play club volleyball, where she will be noticed by college recruiters.

D'Errico won three state titles at Byron-Bergen while reaching the 1,879 kills and 1,521 digs in her career.

But a big reason why she landed a Division I scholarship to play with Penn State is because of her years with the VolleyFX Magic Club. She helped lead that team to four regional titles and a 17th-place finish in the 2006 nationals.

"For $300, you can go to a camp and get training, rather than just play," D'Errico said. "It was a great experience, but I guess it depends on who (the ESG team) is trying to attract. It is definitely going to deter people from trying out because of the cost."

Alyssa's mother Cindy was a member of the 1977 volleyball national A2 team and is still heavily involved in the sport. She coached the Bees while Alyssa was in high school and still attends all of her home matches at Penn State.

She helps scholastic coach Rob Werkmeister with player selection and runs the masters division, which could be one of the sports eliminated if there are cut-backs.

She thinks a charge would make things very difficult for a lot of players.

"It's going to be tough," Cindy said. "There are going to be families and parents that are going to have to decide if going to Empires is going to benefit their sons or daughters."

January 6, 2009 - 9:49am
posted by Brian Hillabush in basketball, sports, volleyball, wrestling.

This very well could be the beginning of the end of the Empire State Games.

It was announced by The Buffalo News this morning that the Empire State Games might be downsizing, and in fact starting to charge athletes up to $300 each to participate in the summer games.

"I would say that this is a very unfortunate thing because it would keep a lot of scholastic athletes that are trying to play in Empires out," said Batavia coach Buddy Brasky, who has coached the last three Western squads. "There are a lot of kids that couldn't afford to pay that feed. It could lead to the end of the Scholastic Empire State Games." 

Western Regional director Lou Reuter also doesn't feel very good about the future of the games.

“I can understand that everyone is having to take a hit,” he told Buffalo News reporter Niki Cervantes, because of the weak economy and state budget crisis. “But it’s almost like the demise of the Empire State Games.”

Reports are that some sports - assuming the non-spectator sports - could flat out be eliminated, but without help from the state, this year's games in the Hudson River Valley could be in serious trouble.

Brasky can only keep 10 players on his scholastic boys basketball team, but can see where it will be a problem for him to attract quality players that are from lower income families.

"(If I were going to recommend) that a player tries out for the games, I would leave it up to the individual athlete," Brasky said. "I still think it is a worthwhile experience, but they have to see if it is worth a $300 experience. With all the AAU basketball out there, I don't know if kids would pay that kind of money to play in the Empire State Games."

Brasky has 10 roster spots to worry about. Imagine what the track & field coaches and wrestling coaches would have to worry about if those larger squads. 

As somebody that has covered these games before, I know that there is funding by the New York State Office of Parks and other organizations, but I have never noticed a lack of corporate sponsorships. It really is never a problem to get a $6 hot dog or $4 bottle of water either.

Times are tough for everybody as we are dealing with this economic downswing, but having a chance to get the best athletes in the state together during the summer time for a chance to compete is something worth fighting for. 

And it might not be just athletes that would feel the frustration if the student athletes are charged to participate. Some coaches just don't know if the extra effort of trying to get good enough talent to compete will be possible, or even worth it.

"I'd have to think about (coming back to coach this summer," Brasky said. "This is the first time I've heard about this, so I'm going to get in touch with director Lou Reuter. This is something I'm going to have to think about, if I want to keep going under these circumstances."

January 6, 2009 - 9:05am
posted by Brian Hillabush in basketball, sports, elba.

 There is only one area team ranked in the state for girls basketball at this point.

Elba is 7-1 and playing some fantastic basketball, and because of that the Lancers are ranked fifth in the state in Class D by the New York State Sportswriters poll. 

Elba's only loss came against Class A Batavia - also 7-1 - in the second game of the season.

January 5, 2009 - 10:34pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, basketball, sports, Oakfield, Notre Dame.

 The Batavia girls basketball team got a 17 point, 13 rebound, six block performance from senior center Jaycee Shirk and will be moving on to play Pavilion in the finals of the Batavia Rotary Tournament at Genesee Community College.

The Blue Devils improve to 7-1 and got plenty of help in beating Oakfield-Alabama 45-32 as Stacey Hein had seven points and nine assists with Brittany Mazurkiewicz adding nine points.

Hillary Bates scored 10 points to lead the Hornets (4-5).

Pavilion knocked off Notre Dame 40-36 in the other opening round game. O-A and Notre Dame will play in the 6 p.m. consolation game on Wednesday with Batavia and Pavilion going at it in the finals at 7:45 p.m.

January 5, 2009 - 10:00pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in basketball, sports.

 Notre Dame coach Mike Rapone and Prattsburgh coach Jim Burke have been around for a while, and have had amazing careers. Both have over 500 career wins, which is amazing.

But while looking around, I found somebody that makes those two look like rookies.

Back on Dec. 5, Archbishop Malloy beat Monsignor Scanlan and Jack Curran won his 900th career game.

Malloy plays in New York City and Curran has been named city coach of the year 22 times, was the national coach of the year in 1990, was the coach of the decade in the 80s and has been named coach of the century by Scholastic Coach Magazine. Curran has five city championships and has had seven players make it to the National Basketball Association.

He also coaches baseball, where his teams have won 68 straight league games with 17 city championships. Curran is 77 years old and still very active, throwing batting practice to his baseball team. 

January 5, 2009 - 9:29pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in sports, wrestling.

 The newest team rankings are out for the New York Sportswriters Association and there are some intriguing choices. 

While Section 5 is well represented, Warsaw is 15-3 and ranked eighth while Waverly of Section 4 is the top small school with a 7-4 record.

Attica is 16th at 9-9, Letchworth is 21st (13-5) and Holley comes in at 25th (17-5). I would think that the history Holley has would get the squad a higher ranking.

And how does Batavia get just an honorable mention? The Blue Devils are loaded with sectional contenders and just went 6-3 in the Brett D. Dixon Memorial.

January 5, 2009 - 4:37pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, Attica, basketball, sports, Lions Club.

Many thanks to Sean Feeney for sending along this remembrance:

I remember playing in what I think was the original Batavia Lions Club tournament in December 1975 while playing for Attica. We played Batavia in the opener losing by a point or two to Batavia led by now coach Buddy Brasky and Jimmy Orosco. Kevin Kellogg and Doug Miller were our leading scorers. We played Notre Dame in the consolation game. ... I do not remember who Batavia played in the final. I believe Buddy Brasky was the tournament MVP.  Myself and I think Jimmy Orosco were on the all tourney team with someone from ND and the other team in the tourney. Batavia warmed up to the Ohio players "Love Rollercoaster".

The Batavian is great. I love catching up on high school sports back in WNY!

Sean Feeney
Alpharetta, GA

I wanted to post this to the site to see if it sparked any other memories in our readers. Was this the original Lions Club tournament in 1975? Or did it start later on, in 1982, as we had believed? Do you remember? Did you play?

January 5, 2009 - 7:51am

A story in the Democrat & Chronicle yesterday features Batavia Notre Dame graduate Tim Sullivan, now one of the country's best basketball shooting coaches. Sullivan, who graduated in 1978, then "walked onto the team at Canisius College in Buffalo," now puts on some 400 shooting clinics across the country each year.

This article, by John Boccacino, is a fun read, and there are more than a few great tips for any amateur basketball enthusiast looking to beef up his or her shot. It's clear that Sullivan knows his stuff.

After every shot attempt Sullivan preached that, as part of their follow through, the participants kiss the shoulder of their shooting side to guarantee a complete, accurate shot.

His wise words were met with confusion. "When he started talking about that, my friend Matt Noto and I looked at each other and said, 'OK, that won't work,'" said Steven Ciotti, 13, a seventh-grader at Greece Athena Middle School who plays for Greece Basketball Association's seventh-grade house team. "But then he started shooting and he just wasn't missing. I think he made almost 95 percent of his 200 shots and we were all amazed."

January 3, 2009 - 6:36pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in football, sports, pembroke.

 Pembroke grad Chris Lauzze and the University at Buffalo football team had a dream season, winning the MAC title.

But that's where it ends.

The Bulls played in a Bowl Game for the first time in school history, but lost to Connecticut 38-21 in the International Bowl this afternoon.

Connecticut's Donald Brown was an animal, rushing for a career-high 261 yards and said after the game that he was entering the National Football League draft.

That performance put the junior over 2,000 yards for the year.

Buffalo won the Mid-American championship and had an 8-6 record under coach Turner Gill, who had been rumored to get a job at a larger school but signed an extension with UB.

 

It is the first winning season for UB since 1996 and the Bulls were 10-69 in seven seasons before Gill showed up.

I also found an interesting link on Lauzze, where he is the 72nd ranked center in Division I football.  I have a brilliant idea for the Buffalo Bills, pick him with your last round pick and have a local boy at least on the practice squad.

 

December 31, 2008 - 11:12am
posted by Brian Hillabush in basketball, sports, pembroke.

Pembroke's Nicole Sharick was named Player of the Week for the Genesee Region League this week.

The senior guard scored five of her nine points against Oakfield-Alabama in an overtime win. She also had a 20-point, six rebound game against Holley this week. 

There were no nominations for the boys.

 

December 30, 2008 - 8:37pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, basketball, sports, Notre Dame.

The Batavia boys basketball team won the Batavia Lions Club Championship for the fifth consecutive year, and did it in convincing fashion. The Blue Devils thumped Notre Dame 59-33.

Andrew Hoy earned MVP honors, following in his older brother's footsteps, by scoring 43 points in the tournament, which easily made him the highest scorer in the tournament.

After four straight Blue Devil championships, this was a tournament where many area fans figured the Fighting Irish had a serious chance.

And ND came out red hot.

Batavia had a 4-0 lead before Greg Barr scored five consecutive points to put Notre Dame ahead 5-4.

Matt Thompson hit a 3-pointer and then added another bucket and the Fighting Irish had a quick 10-4 lead.

Marcus Hoy hit one of two free throw attempts with an Andrew Hoy 3-pointer tossed in the mix to get Batavia within a point.

Marcus and Adam Pettinella scored back-to-back buckets and the Blue Devils had a 13-10 lead after the opening period of play.

Batavia went on a tear in the second quarter and opened up a huge halftime lead.

Pettinella had five points, Andrew scored six and Rob Hoy pitched in five as the Blue Devils were up 34-17 at intermission.

Joe Schlossel had eight quick points in the third quarter and Andrew Hoy added eight points in the third quarter to give Batavia a 52-26 third quarter lead.

Notre Dame coach Mike Rapone received his first technical foul in three years near the end of the third period when he asked an official "How do you play 24 minutes against Batavia and not get a foul shot?". It was his first technical foul call since he received one against Prattsburgh a few years back.

Batavia did attempt just two free throw attempts over the first three quarters.

But in the end, it was the effort of Andrew Hoy and a ton of support from his supporting cast that gave the Blue Devils the trophy.

Schlossel finished with eight points and eight rebounds with Marcus Hoy getting eight points with five dimes. Pettinella had seven points.

Batavia's defense did an excellent job of limiting Notre Dame star Kevin Francis, who scored nine points and did make the all-tournament team. Vinny Zambito was held to three points, but made the all-tournament squad based on his 18-point opening round performance.

Thompson had eight points.

Rob Hoy made the all-tournament team with five points and Marcus made it for his scoring and passing efforts. Andrew, of course, was the MVP after making the all-tournament team as a freshman last season.

 Albion defeated Perry 53-39 in the consolation game, with Russell Craft leading the way with 19 points. He made the all-tournament team.

Notre Dame won the jayvee tournament, beating Batavia 62-43 in the finals. Perry beat Albion in the consolation game 61-49.

 

 

 

 

December 30, 2008 - 4:46pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in sports, Warsaw, wrestling.

 We don't do a lot on Warsaw here at The Batavian, but I must congratulate one of the most classy athletes I've covered in my years of local sports journalism.

Warsaw's Ian Paddock pinned Spencerport's Roy Daniels in just 50 seconds in the second round of the Teike-Bernabi Tournament, making some serious history.

The three-time state champion tied the state's all-time record for wins. He jumped one ahead of Webster Schroeder's Gregor Gillespie - another stud grappler - for career wins at  No. 239. That is the largest amount of victories anybody has had in Section 5.

"It's a pretty good feeling, and it's a nice record to hold because there were a bunch of good wrestlers before me who held the mark," Paddock told the Democrat & Chronicle

Paddock has gone 25-0 so far this year, was 53-1 last year and has compiled an insanely impressive 239-6 record seventh-grade.

Ian broke the school record of 235 earlier in the year, a mark that was originally set by his brother Paul.

Ian will be wrestling for Division I powerhouse Ohio State next year on a full ride.

He is continuing his run in the Teike-Bernabi Tournament at Spencerport today. Paddock will be honored in a ceremony before the final round today.

December 29, 2008 - 10:58pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in basketball, sports, Notre Dame.

 With Notre Dame leading just 22-20 at the half against Perry in the opening round of the Batavia Lions Club Tournament, coach Mike Rapone needed somebody to step up and score.

He looked in Vinny Zambito's direction and the sophomore - who led the jayvee team in scoring last year - stepped up to score a game-high 18 points and lead his team to a 60-45 victory.

Perry's pressure defense forced ND star Kevin Francis into a distribution role and other players had to step up, even though Francis did finish with 14 points.

Tommy Rapone started a third quarter run and by the time it was over, the Fighting Irish had outscored the Yellowjackets 22-10 in the frame.

Zambito popped the second of his 3-pointers and Rapone added another bucket to give ND a 30-26 lead.

Zambito scored with an and-1, Francis scored, Zambito scored and then Francis dropped in another one to make it a double-digit lead, 40-29. Nick Wetherwax and Francis each had baskets to wrap up the third quarter scoring to give Notre Dame a 44-30 lead.

Zambito hit another trey in the fourth quarter along with a pair of free throws.

After Zambito and Francis' big games, the scoring was spread out for the Fighting Irish (5-0).

Rick Lair had seven points, Wetherwax six and Rapone had five. 

Derick Cicero, Wes Cox and Alex Syberg had nine points apiece for Perry, which falls to 2-6.

Notre Dame will now be facing Batavia in the finals for the second consecutive year. The Blue Devils won 63-34 last year. The teams played each other in 2000 and 2002, with Batavia winning 62-58 in 2000 and 58-36 in 2002. 

The Blue Devils also beat the Fighting Irish 70-39 in 1997.

You have to go all the way back to 1996 for the last time Notre Dame won the Lions Club Tournament. The Fighting Irish beat Batavia 56-49, with Mike Redick earning MVP honors.

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