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December 5, 2014 - 3:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, elba, high school sports.

Lyndonville got a good taste Thursday night of the kind of team the Elba Lady Lancers hope to be in 2014-15: an aggressive defense that generates turnovers and a disciplined offense that uses spacing and passing to create open looks.

The result, Elba 64, Lyndonville 32.

"We try to share the ball," said Head Coach Tom Redband. "If we don't, we're not going to be very good. And we try to eliminate shot attempts."

Possession after possession Thursday, the Lancers swatted the balls from Tiger hands or snatched passes midflight.

The turnovers were often created by pure pressure on ball handlers.

The Lady Lancers are a team that will be looking to define itself early in the season following the graduation of last year's point guard Kelsey Bezon.

"She was our leader," Redband said. "She was our facilitator. We had to wait and see how everyone reacted to new roles and they're doing a great job of dealing with it. People have been filling roles. They step in and they step up."

Returning as starters are Alex Reigle, Alyssa Bogue, Jennifer Pedro and Haley Brown.

Redband is looking for big things from that core group to help Elba make another run at post-season play.

December 3, 2014 - 7:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, high school sports, Notre Dame.

The thing you'll notice about the Notre Dame Girls Basketball Team this year is they're going to have some big players crashing the boards.

Shea Norton is 6' 2". Rebecca Krenzer is 6' 1". Taylor DiMartino is 6' 2". Michelle Martinucci is 5' 11".

"This is the biggest team I've ever had," said Head Coach Dave Pero.

It's still a young team -- there are only three seniors on the squad and all of the bigs are juniors -- so the girls still have a lot to learn, but they're showing progress, Pero said. 

"I like what we have. We have a really, really nice group of girls. They're working very, very hard."

The goal, as always with Fighting Irish basketball, is to dominate on defense and make points on transitions.

"We always want to keep teams in 40s. If we can keep teams in the 40s, 45, we've got a chance to win."

The three seniors are Krysta Tomaszewski (currently injured), Emily McCracken and Emma Francis.

McCracken and Francis are both guards, team captains, and Pero said they are good shooters who should help score some points.

He said the team is eight or nine players deep. Also expected to contribute are Hannah Bowen and Callie McCulley.

McCulley is a familiar name, of course, to Notre Dame hoops fans and the youngest McCulley (who is 5' 10") to make a varsity roster. She shows a lot of promise, Pero said, even as an eighth-grader.

"When you bring up young players, you're going to live and die with the good things they do and the bad things they do, but we think she's ready and we expect her to come off the bench and give us a hand."

The Notre Dame roster, on paper, looks strong. When the team opens its season at 7 p.m., Dec. 10, in Oakfield, we'll get to see how all those big numbers translate to points on the board.

December 2, 2014 - 9:01pm
posted by Andrew Crofts in basketball, GCC, sports.

The Genesee Community College men's basketball team improved to 4-1 this season after cruising past visiting St. John Fisher JV on Tuesday night, 91-61.

Ervin Mitchell recorded a double-double and led the way with a game-high 26 points and 10 rebounds. Naquil Jones added 17 points and five assists and Devante Carolina finished with 12 points and nine rebounds.

GCC held a single-digit lead at half but outscored the Cardinals 53-32 in the final period and led by as much as 37.

The Cougars shot 50% from the floor in the game and were plus-27 in rebounding on the night.

Jason Perry Murray came off the bench to score 10 points and Didier Antoine added eight points and six rebounds.

Genesee will return to action on Wednesday at Elmira College (JV) at 7 p.m.

 

November 28, 2014 - 2:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports, high school sports, Batavia HS.

The Blue Devils will be a team in search of points when the squad hits the hardwood Dec. 10.

We know senior Jeff Redband can hit buckets full of baskets, but we'll have to see who is going to help him out.

It could be Jerrett Laskett, who showed a deft touch at times coming off the bench last season as a sixth man. Or Malachi Chenault, a big man in the front court who has been working on his offense. There's also Alex Canty, who was MVP of the JV team last year. Jake Schrider is developing well as a young big man. Ryan Hogan returns from a sojourn in Brockport and has shown potential. Trevor Sherwood is athletic and will compete for time at point guard. Greg Mruczek is a returning starter. Freshman TeeSean Ayala seems unstoppable from three-point range in practices and scrimmage, but he's yet unproven in a varsity game that counts.

"We've got a lot of returners," said Head Coach Buddy Brasky. "We've got experience and good leadership.  We'll be a pretty good defensive team, but time will tell how good we are offensively."

The team is getting a bit of a late start following the football team's team run in the post season. Among the starters, only Redband didn't play a fall sport and is in "good basketball shape," Brasky said.  There's some rust to scrape off with some of the other players, but "they're working hard at it," the coach said.

The team will look foremost to Laskett to replace the points of graduate Justice Fagan, but he showed flashes last year of scoring ability.

"When he gets it going, he can really get it going," Brasky said.

Chenault is a junior who is looking more athletic coming into the season and Brasky said he worked reallly hard at developing his offensive post presence over the summer.

Then there is Ayala (top photo with Brasky in the background), who can hit 10 or 12 three pointers in a row in practice and scored six times from beyond the arch in a scrimmage the other day.  He's just a freshman. He seems to have the touch, but there's still a lot he needs to learn about basketball, especially in Brasky's defensive scheme.

"We're trying to bring him along slowly, but he's got a skill that's hard to teach and hard to find," Brasky said. "He can really shoot the three."

Even with this looming question mark -- who will the consistent scorers be -- Brasky is feeling good enough about his squad to think a league title or even sectional title isn't out of the question.

"I'm pretty optimistic, but it's going to take some hard work and we're going to have to find some kids who can score a little bit to help Jeff out with the scoring load," Brasky said. "You know, last year everybody boxed-and-oned him and triangle-and-twoed with him and Justice. We need other guys to put the ball in the basket so it doesn't have to do it all himself."

Jeff Redband shooting.

Malachi Chenault with a slam.

Jerrett Laskett.

To purchase prints, click here.

November 27, 2014 - 9:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, high school sports, Le Roy.

These are familiar names: Kody Lamkin, Nick Egeling, Tom Kelso and Mike McMullen.

To anybody who followed Le Roy football during the Oatkan Knights' sectional title season, Lamkin, Egeling and Kelso and McMullen are no strangers.

And those four athletes will be important cogs in the up tempo, pressure defense, pressure offense Le Roy's second-year basketball Coach Rick Rapone plans to run.

"Defensively, we're always strong," Rapone said. "We have strong, physical, very athletic kids. Defense has never been an issue for us. We're challenged on offense a little bit, but defensively, we're in pretty good shape."

Just as he did for the football team, Lamkin anchors the defense.

"He's our defensive stopper," Rapone said. "He covers the middle. He's strong, physical and our number-one rebounder last year and our third leading scorer."

Egling is the team's most gifted basketball player, Rapone said.

Kelso is a "defensive juggernaut," according to the coach. 

"He sets the pace for our transition and he covers the other team's best player all the time."

And the field general for football is also is also the captain of the court: Mike McMullen, the point guard.

"He's the key to everything we do. Last year he was predominately a pass-first guy, but we're going to need him to score some points this year. Nobody worked harder than he did in the off season on his shots and we like what we see so far."

At a practice a few days ago, Rapone was putting his team through its paces. Every drill is about movement and speed. The key to Knights' success, Rapone said, is preventing baskets and forcing errors.

"It starts with the defense. We press hard, man-to-man, turn the other team's mistakes into opportunities going the other way."

A successful off season has boosted his team's confidence, he said.

"They know they've improved as players and as a team. I'm excited that they're excited that they've seen some improvement."

There are some kids coming up the ranks as well, who Rapone thinks can contribute this year. Tom Dunn is up from JV and Rapone likes what he sees in sophomores Ryan Boyce and Josh Lowery.

"A sneaky good kid is Dave Englerth. He's the most improved in the off season."

All of this adds up, Rapone thinks, to a run at some titles.

"We're excited about our schedule. We play Avon twice. We think we've grown enough this year to contend for our division title, and that's a team we're going to have to beat."

There's also the cross-county battle of the brothers this year when Le Roy travels to Batavia to play the Mike Rapone-coached Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

"We're very excited about going up there and taking on their 61-game home winning streak. The kids are excited."

Playing against his brother's team, he said, isn't a big deal, though it might lead to some bragging rights at the family Christmas dinner.

"It's a great opportunity for our kids. You've been there. You know the environment you get when you play there, so our kids get the opportunity to go in there and compete. It's going to be great. One thing you know, you've watched these kids play football as well, the one thing they do is compete. They play hard and they compete."

That game is Saturday Jan. 3 at 6:30 p.m.

Le Roy opens the season at home against York, 7 p.m., Wednesday.

November 25, 2014 - 7:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, high school sports, Notre Dame.

This is a first of a series of team previews for boys and girls basketball for the 2014-15 season. We'll get to as many teams as we can for previews before the start of the season.  

The triangle offense. The New York Knicks have been struggling to learn it, Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Rapone reminded his players at a recent practice, and they're a team of full-time, pro basketball players.

He doesn't expect his kids to master it, but a couple of key fundamentals could help a team that may not have a dominating scorer put a few more points on the board.

"We run just a small version of it," Rapone said. "High school students can't handle a real triangle. We don't have enough time to teach it. We concentrate on ball movement and body movement."

The triangle replaces traditional set plays. It relies on spacing and movement to create shot opportunities. With players spaced 10, 12, 15 feet apart and constant movement -- passes are preferred to dribbling, and every pass is accompanied by every offensive player changing their location on the floor -- the triangle tends to open holes and open players. (For more on the triangle, here's a recommended video).

Rapone thinks he has the talent on this team without a dominate big man to run a pretty lockdown defense. The key to winning is going to be transitions and getting open shooters.

"Defensively, we'll be fine, but we've got to make sure we score one more than the other guy, though," Rapone said.

One of Notre Dame's top scorers from last season, Josh Johnson, is back and Rapone hopes there are enough athletes on the team to step up and help distribute scoring opportunities. 

There are five seniors coming back from last season's Section V championship team and 11 juniors.

"Right now, we don't know who's going to start the first game," Rapone said. "Every day it looks like somebody different. We have 15 guys and I can make a case for any one of them."

Peter Daversa, Caleb Nellis, Dylan Fix, James Farmer, Tyler Prospero, C.J. Suozzi, Luca Zambito, Casey Midwick and Dakota Weidman all have the potential to make a difference on the squad.

Among them, however, isn't a kid more than 6' 3".

Size could be a problem, no matter who develops into a credible outside shooting threat.

"We're not going to be able to go inside for a lot of points, I don't think, but I hope I'm wrong, because the key to basketball is balance," Rapone said. "You want to establish one, then when they take that away, when they take the outside away, you go inside, when they take the inside away you go outside. You really need them both."

What Rapone sees as a tough schedule will include a home match against Le Roy, which will be the first time Mike Rapone has coached against brother and one-time assistant coach Rick Rapone.

"I hope he remembers that's his bench over there beause he's used to being on the otherside," Rapone said smiling.

The Le Roy game is at 6:30 p.m., Jan. 3. Rapone expects a full house.

The Fighting Irish kick off the season at home Dec. 11 against Oakfield-Alabama. Game time is 7 p.m.

 

October 15, 2014 - 9:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, elba.

The Harlem Wizards, a traveling basketball team that entertains through trick shots and comedy routines, visited Elba on Tuesday for a charity game against the Sherwood Shooters, a team comprised of community members, including teachers, administrators, pastors, doctors, coaches and family members.

The event was hosted by Batavia Assembly of God Church. Proceeds benefited the church's building fund and the Stan Sherwood Memorial Scholarship.

September 25, 2014 - 12:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, Batavia HS.

Batavia varsity basketball coach Buddy Brasky hosts his annual mini-camp starting Monday at Batavia HS.

The camp is for experienced and serious basketball players only in grades 7 through 12.

The program will emphasize offensive skill development.

The cost is $125.

It is sponsored by the Basketball Booster Club.

The sessions are two nights a week starting from 7 to 9 p.m., Sept. 29. Additional sessions are Oct. 2, 13, 16, 20, 23, 27 and 30.

For more information and to sign up, contact Coach Brasky at (585) 356-4050 or [email protected].

July 20, 2014 - 11:51pm

While at Darien Lake for the Gus Macker Tournament, I found out three members of the Harlem Globe Trotters were inside the park putting on a show. I got just the tail end.

Herschend Family Entertainment, owners of Darien Lake Theme Park, also own the Harlem Globetrotters.

July 20, 2014 - 11:12pm

For years, the Gus Macker Tournament has been played in Buffalo. This year, for the first time, it was played at Darien Lake Theme Park. The tournament was spread over Saturday and Sunday (some Saturday games were delayed to Sunday because of rain). I showed up in time for a portion of two games and the final championship game of the day (among various divisions). The team in the light gray tops won 20-6.

To purchase prints, click here.

July 13, 2014 - 12:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports, Williams Park, 3-on-3.

Dozens of teams across the spectrum of age groups competed today in the 3rd annual 3-on-3 tournament at Williams Park.

Here are pictures from two of the afternoon games.

The tournament was sponored this year, for the first time, by The Batavian.

To purchase prints of photos click here.

July 10, 2014 - 11:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports, Williams Park, 3-on-3 tournament.

Davon St. John drives for a layup during a bit of a practice session today at Williams Park in advance of Saturday's third annual 3-on-3 Tournament organized by Jerry Smith.

The tournament this year is sponsored for the first time by The Batavian.

Registration opens at 10 a.m. First game is at 11 a.m.

The cost is $50 per four-player team. Each team is guaranteed at least four games.

There are boys and girls divisions grades 5 through 12, an 18-19 year-old division, and a 30 and over division.

The winners will receive champion T-shirts.

Event supporters include Venue Entertainment, Big Pauly's Pizza, Southside Deli, Extreme Streetwear, Direct TV, Showtime Player Development, Buffalo 716ers, Erie Hurricanes, Ficarella's Pizzeria, and Genesee Clean-Out.

Thanks to Davon and his father, David, for the fun game of 21. It's the first time I've played basketball in at least 25 years.

Davon is entering his junior year at Bennett High School in Buffalo. He was part of the Pembroke program. His father hopes there might be a way he can return to Genesee County -- Batavia or Pembroke -- before the start of the high school basketball season.

July 10, 2014 - 4:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports.

Here are some pictures from today's basketball camp at John Kennedy School. This portion of the camp is for boys and girls going into the 7th and 8th grade.

From the small portion of the camp I watched, high school coaches in the county can anticipate getting some skillful young athletes with a lot of heart in a couple of years.

Coaching at John Kennedy were Tom Redband and Matt Shay.

Yesterday: Photos: Summer basketball camp under way in Batavia

July 9, 2014 - 2:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports.

Batavia's annual basketball camp opened this week with sessions at Batavia Middle School and John Kennedy School.

Conducted by Batavia High School head Coach Buddy Brasky and assistants, the camp provides instruction ball handling, shooting, defense and game-play situations, among other skills.

There were sessions today for high school boys at the middle school and younger players at JK. Tomorrow, the girls will have camp day.

The camp runs through Aug. 15.

July 8, 2014 - 2:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports, Jackson School.

Young, aspiring basketball players are invited to a youth basketball camp Aug. 11-15 at the Jackson School Gym in the City of Batavia.

The camp is sponsored by Batavia Boys Basketball Boosters and is open to boys and girls entering grades 3 through 7.

The cost is $65 and includes a camp T-shirt.

Coach Jim Fazio, youth director for Batavia Junior Blue Devils, will lead the camp, with assistance from other coaches and current Blue Devil basketball players.

The camp will focus on the offensive fundamentals of the game including shooting, passing, dribbling, and ball handling, with a major emphasis on shooting. There will be daily contests with full-court and half-court games.

For more information and the registration form, click here.

May 21, 2014 - 12:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports.

Any hoops players from grade 7 through college who are looking for an opportunity to improve their game are invited to sign up for a summer basketball training camp sponsored by the Batavia High School Boys Basketball Boosters.

The camp is open to both boys and girls.

It runs July 7 through Aug. 15 and the cost is $375. Participants need to bring their own basketballs.

Workouts will be held at Batavia HS under the guidence of head basketball Coach Buddy Brasky.

Players will practice, learn about and be drilled on:

  • ball handling, stationary and on the move
  • shooting, 200-500 shots per day
  • 1-on-1 moves, single direction, double direction, triple direction
  • on the move series, wrist roll series, change of direction series
  • post moves series
  • point guard instruction
  • full court and ½ court game situations. 

The registration deadline is June 15.

To download more information and the registration form, click here (pdf).

May 15, 2014 - 5:14pm

Press release:

City officials, Gus Macker organizers, Darien Lake executives, and members of the Police Athletic League joined together outside Buffalo City Hall this morning to announce that the Gus Macker tournament will be returning to Western New York this year. Genesee County's Darien Lake intervened to save the tournament, which would have otherwise been canceled this year.

“We’re excited to be able to bring the tournament back (here),” said Gus Macker organizer Scott McNeal. “Darien Lake offers the necessary space and infrastructure for the thousands of players and families that come to participate in and watch the games.”

This Gus Macker tournament is the second-largest out of 38 locations nationwide, with more than 3,000 players and spectators annually. The three-on-three tournament attracts both male and female players, 78 percent of whom are under the age of 24, and 47 percent of whom are under 17. 

“As Western New York’s family-fun destination, the Gus Macker Tournament is a perfect fit for us,” said Darien Lake spokesman Vince Nicoletti. “We’re very excited to be hosting the games this year and look forward to continuing this great ... tradition.”

This year’s tournament will take place on July 19th and 20th across Darien Lake’s sprawling parking lots, which will be converted into basketball courts with four to six featured games taking place inside the park itself. Darien Lake will also be keeping the Police Athletic League as the event’s charitable beneficiary.

May 11, 2014 - 12:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports, Williams Park.

Late this afternoon, there was a robust game of basketball at Williams Park. The players were Greg Solomonidis, Dustin Pilc, David Burr, Coty Patrizi, Manny Delrosayrio, Mike Jamil.

May 2, 2014 - 10:06pm

Members of the Buffalo 716ers, a professional basketball team in the American Basketball Association, made a personal appearance at T.F. Brown's tonight. Jerry Smith, proprietor of the Showtime Sports Academy in Batavia, organized the event. Smith is taking on several projects to promote basketball locally and throughout the region.

From left are, Darnell Boswell, Devon Dawson, Anthony Hodge, Tawan Slaughter (the team's owner and coach), Jerry Smith Donald Felice (media agent) and Mario Williams.

April 22, 2014 - 8:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports.

Press release:

The Showtime Sports Academy has partnered with the Buffalo 716ers (Buffalo, N.Y.) and Erie Hurricane (Erie, Pa.), who participate in the Premier Basketball League (PBL). The objective of the Showtime Sports Academy is to provide high quality AAU basketball programs, which service the youth in grades K-12, throughout Western New York.

Showtime Sports Academy is owned and operated by Batavia native, Jerry Smith, who is committed to providing opportunities for the youth in Batavia.

“I am thrilled to be working with professional organizations that are just as dedicated to helping the youth as we are,” Smith said.

The Buffalo 716ers and Erie Hurricane will be working to provide camps and clinics for the youth of Batavia this summer, tournaments, and assisting with Showtime Sports Academy events.

“We are excited about the opportunity to mentor, volunteer, and work with youth of the Showtime Sports Academy,” said Buffalo 716ers and Erie Hurricane team owner, Tawan Slaughter. 

For more information on the Showtime Sports Academy please visit www.showtimesa.com. Also, for more information on the Buffalo 716ers and Erie Hurricane, please visit www.buffalo716ers.net or www.eriehurricane.net.

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