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February 13, 2014 - 10:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, high school sports, Le Roy.

Le Roy almost pulled off an upset against archrival Cal-Mum on Wednesday night.

But there's no almost in basketball. And there are no moral victories.

"They played good," said Rick Rapone, Le Roy's first-year head coach. "But you've got to play 32 minutes. You can't play 31 minutes and 50 seconds. You've got to play it the whole way out."

With the score knotted at 57, the Red Raiders took possession of the ball with less than 20 seconds left on the game clock.

It only took a couple of passes to get the ball to a wide open Chris Wilson just beyond the arch. His three-point swoosh gave Cal-Mum the lead with only 4.8 seconds left.

Three points is a big deficit to erase with only a few ticks to go and the Oatkan Knights were forced to settle -- no matter how well the game was played for 31 minutes and 50 seconds -- with a 60-57 loss.

"I told the kids I'll feel good when we finish one of these games off," Rapone said. "We've got to play 32 minutes."

Le Roy finishes the regular season with a 7-11 record and will open sectional play Feb. 18 against Bath-Haverling (8-10).

An upset over the 17-1 Red Raiders would have given Rapone's program a nice boost, but he still feels good about his team heading into the championship rounds.

The Oatkan Knights under Rapone play a fast-paced offense and pressure defense that should give a lot of teams fits.

"You really don't want to play us," Rapone said.

"Our program is going in the right direction," Rapone said. "We have gotten better every single week since I started and we're hoping now this catapults us into the tournament."

The Knights certainly had Cal-Mum's Dan Dickens pulling at his collar in the second quarter and the Raider's fans on the visitors' side of the bleachers grumbling, "we're better than this."

With the Raiders down by a dozen points in the second period, Dickens called a time out, sat his starters down and gave them a good tongue lashing.

A Raider's fan told another, "they deserve it."

But it's hard to stop a hot hand and Knights certainly had that going for them in the first half, dropping six three-point shots (compared to none in the second half).

As the second quarter wound down, Cal-Mum cut Le Roy's lead to two points and the second half would be a battle with neither team gaining a clear advantage until those fateful closing seconds.

"We held them to 60 points," Rapone said. "I don't think they've been held to 60 points very many times this season."

Zack Moore led the Knights with 20 points, including two threes, and going four of six from the foul line. Nick Egling had 10 points, including a pair of threes in the first quarter. Mike McCullen was four of five from the foul line and finished with six points. Ethan Witkowski and Kody Lamkin had seven points each.

Kurtis Haut and Will Van Auken had 18 points each for Cal-Mum and Chris Wilson scored 13.

For Le Roy, Lamkin had eight rebounds and Moore had seven. Steve Cappotelli and Moore each had three assists.

For Cal-Mum, Van Auken was a monster on the boards with 13 rebounds. He also blocked four shots.

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February 13, 2014 - 9:32am
posted by Nick Sabato in basketball, sports, high school sports, Notre Dame.

Around Christmastime, things were looking bleak for the Notre Dame basketball team.

In a span of 10 days, the Fighting Irish had their 70-game Genesee Region League winning streak snapped by Wheatland-Chili, and then they were beaten by Batavia in the Lions Club Tournament final.

Chances of winning their eighth consecutive G-R League title looked to be slipping away. But since the new year, Notre Dame has gone 9-1 and a win on Senior Night against the very same Wildcat team that had pounded them earlier in the season would give them a share of the league championship.

Just like in the past 10 games, Notre Dame responded to adversity and defeated Wheatland-Chili to tie them for the league crown, 74-57.

“We are playing better now,” said Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Rapone of his team’s progress. “At that time we were still struggling as a team, but now I think we have found our identity.”

The first quarter was marred by fouls, as both teams struggled to find a rhythm offensively.

Wildcats star guard Rodney Roberts managed 11 points in the first quarter, nine of which came from the foul line, but it was Notre Dame who led 17-15.

The Fighting Irish came out hot to start the second quarter, scoring the first seven points of the frame.

Tim McCulley began to go to work at that time, scoring eight Notre Dame points in a row.

“He just takes what’s there,” said Rapone of McCulley. “If you give it to him he takes it, if not he gives it to somebody else. He just does so many things well.”

Wheatland-Chili managed stay close, using the three-point line to their advantage and knocking down four triples in the quarter to cut the deficit to five at halftime.

The third quarter started as a shoot-out between stars.

McCulley scored 13 of his game-high 36 points in the quarter, while Roberts matched him with 13 of his 30 points on the night.

Then toward the end of the quarter McCulley got some help from his friends.

The Fighting Irish finished the quarter on a 10-2 run to pull away. A big factor was senior Alec Covel, who scored eight of his 13 points in the second half to give the Irish a second scoring punch.

“Alec is real good ball player,” Rapone said. “In the last couple of games he’s really found himself. That’s what we need going forward.”

One factor in the early season win by Wheatland-Chili was the play of forward Andre’ Gulley, who dominated with 18 points and 24 rebounds.

Notre Dame also played without big man Caleb Nellis in that contest, and first-year senior Charlie Herbert had little experience at the time.

Two months seemed to do the trick, as Nellis scored nine points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Herbert added four points and nine rebounds.

Meanwhile, Gulley was held in check all evening, managing only four points and six rebounds before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter.

McCulley was also superb in every aspect of the game, adding 12 rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks to go with his 36 points as Notre Dame (15-3) appears to peaking as they head into sectionals.

“I told them before the game that starting tonight, it’s about winning,” Rapone said. “The rest of the time it’s about getting better, but now it’s about winning. We needed to win to win the league tonight. Now we need to win to keep playing.”

Roberts added six rebounds to go along with his 30 points, while cousin Tyler Roberts connected on four three-pointers and scored 16 points for Wheatland-Chili (15-3).

February 12, 2014 - 7:23am
posted by Nick Sabato in basketball, sports, high school sports, Le Roy.

It’s a game every athlete dreams of.

It’s senior night on the road against your big rival, with sectional implications on the line.

That’s what Le Roy was facing against Cal-Mum…and Montana Vescovi responded by pouring in a career-high 37 points and leading the Oatkan Knights to a comeback victory, avenging an earlier defeat to the Lady Raiders, 62-45.

In their first contest this season, freshman Gillian Flint went off for 25 points in a 5-point Cal-Mum win, and the start of this game appeared as if she was picking up where she left off.

Flint, who has been averaging 20 points per game over her last four contests, scored 11 points in the first quarter as Cal-Mum raced out to a 9-point lead.

Every aspect of Le Roy’s game seemed to be sputtering, as Vescovi only attempted one field goal from the field (a miss) and went 5-of-12 from the foul line in the first frame.

The second quarter was a different story however, as the Knights scored the first nine points to tie the game at 17.

Vescovi also came alive, scoring 10 points in the period, including eight in a row at one point.

“It was a hostile crowd, I told them to just settle down and relax,” said Le Roy Head Coach Brian Herdlein. “I just told my girls that they were going to have a run and they needed to just keep doing what they were doing.”

The Knights clamped down on Flint, holding her scoreless in the quarter, but Cal-Mum junior Hannah Anderson took charge, scoring six points in a row, and Adrianna Molisani buried a three-pointer at the buzzer to take a 28-25 lead into halftime.

But, Vescovi came out firing in the third quarter, scoring 11 points in the frame.

“She’s an exceptional player,” Herdlein said of Vescovi. “She’s always been a scorer, but she’s added to her game. I tell her all the time that there aren’t a lot of people that can stop her. Mentally she came to play and she didn’t want to lose tonight.”

The Knights took a 39-37 lead with 2:39 remaining in the quarter and never relinquished it.

Le Roy held Cal-Mum just four points, and Vescovi scored 11 more points to vanquish their rivals eight miles up Route 5.

Even more impressive, Flint was held to just seven points after her monster first quarter.

“Flint came out on fire,” Herdlein said. “We really needed to have a girl stay on her the whole time and deny her the ball. I think we did a better job of that as the game went along.”

The Knights also got a strong game from senior Alicia Conte, who finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds and three steals.

Vescovi’s 37 points puts her just 32 shy of 1,000 for her career, but she was solid in every facet of this game, adding nine rebounds and three steals to her stat line.

This win was not just important because of the rivalry, but because the win guarantees Le Roy (9-8) the fourth seed in Class B2 and one more home game.

“This was huge for us,” Herdlein said. “Any time you can play in this kind of environment, it gets you ready for that sectional environment. It’s always rough, you have to play four quarters and that’s what we had to do tonight.”

Flint finished with 18 points and six rebounds for Cal-Mum (11-7), while Anderson added 14 points and nine rebounds.

February 4, 2014 - 11:58pm
posted by Nick Sabato in basketball, sports, elba, high school sports, Notre Dame.

The Notre Dame girls are just one win away from clinching their 11th Genesee Region League title in school history after pounding Elba, 69-37.

The resounding victory also marks the first time that the Lady Irish have swept Elba in league play since the 2010-2011 season.

The Lady Lancers kept things close in the first quarter, but Notre Dame blew the game open in the second, led by Mel Taylor.

Taylor scored 12 of her game-high 24 points in the second quarter as the Irish increased their  seven-point lead after the first quarter to 23 at half time.

“It’s getting down near crunch time,” said Notre Dame Head Coach Dave Pero. “We’re trying to stress that you have to be more aggressive on whatever you do [well]. Mel is a scorer and we want her to try and score as much as possible.”

In the third quarter, junior Emma Francis picked up where Taylor left off, scoring 10 of her 15 points in the frame to put the contest out of reach.

“Emma’s got potential,” Pero said. “She’s starting to believe in herself and it’s a great time to believe. If we have Emma Francis at full-go come sectional time, we’ll be a tough team to beat.”

Taylor was not as terrific scoring the ball, but she had a splendid game overall, adding 11 rebounds, six steals and four assists.

Shea Norton also played strong underneath, scoring 13 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Laurie Call chipped in with seven steals, six assists and five rebounds for Notre Dame (15-1).

Kelsey Bezon had another solid game in defeat, scoring 14 points and grabbing four rebounds. Haley Brown chipped in with 10 points for Elba (12-4).

Photos by Howard Owens

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February 2, 2014 - 4:31pm
posted by Andrew Crofts in basketball, GCC, sports.

Ervin Mitchell put back the game-winning basket with three seconds remaining on Sunday afternoon, to help the Genesee Community College men's basketball team defeat Herkimer County Community College, 93-92.

Both squads played at a back-and-forth pace in the first half, with neither team holding a lead larger than seven points.

Naquil Jones converted on 4 of 6 three-point baskets for GCC in the opening period and led all scorers with 22 points at the break.

Jones hit his fifth three-pointer of the game to cut the Generals lead down to one early in the second half, and then Genesee used a 6-0 run in a span of just 20 seconds to take a 60-57 lead with 14 minutes to play.

Alastair Cole hit back-to-back threes to give the Cougars a 79-76 lead with six minutes remaining, and Redell Freeman scored five-straight points to keep GCC in front, 89-84 with under three-minutes to play.

Trailing 91-89, Herkimer converted on a 3pt basket with 20 seconds left to grab a 92-91 lead. After a GCC timeout, the Cougars looked to Jones for a game-winning three, but his shot was off the mark. Mitchell was able to elevate for the rebound and with three-seconds remaining, stuck back the game-winner to give Genesee its 18th victory of the season.

Jones finished with a game-high 29 points, Mitchell scored 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds, Cole ended with 14 points, Jason Perry-Murray added 13 points and nine rebounds and Dashawn Suber dished out 10 assists and added seven points.

Genesee (18-6, 3-3) will return to action at home on Tuesday night against Jamestown Community College-Olean at 6 p.m.

(Ervin Mitchell (#0 white) sticks back the game-winner)

 

 

In the final game of a four-game homestand, the Genesee Community College women's basketball team dropped a 63-49 decision to Herkimer County Community College on Sunday afternoon.

Genesee committed 16 first half turnovers and fell behind early.

Terra Clanton and Breana Gleaton delivered seven points each in the first half, but GCC trailed Herkimer by as much as 20 in the opening period.

Gleaton completed a three-point play to cut the Generals lead down to 30-19, but Herkimer ended the first half on a 19-4 run.

The Cougars got to within 14 in the second half, but could not draw closer as Herkimer extended its lead to as much as 21 in the final period.

GCC had four scorers in double figures, led by Dashawna Jenifer who finished with 13 points. She also grabbed 10 rebounds. Clanton and Gleaton each added 11 points and Shanell Glover recorded a double-double, collecting 12 rebounds and scoring 10 points.

Genesee (5-16, 0-6) will return to action on Tuesday night at Finger Lakes Community College. Tip-off time is scheduled for 7 p.m.

January 31, 2014 - 11:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, Le Roy, Harlem Wizards.

No doubt, a good time was had by all in Le Roy last night as the Harlem Wizards came to town for a charity game (for the PTSO) against Le Roy Central Schools faculty and staff.

The final score? Does it matter? Especially with the Wizards stopping the Le Roy team 10 points here and there (hint: the Wizards won). 

Above, Timothy Stukes, a.k.a., Tomahawk jumps into a picture with some young fans.

Space Jam, Leon Sewell, does what he does best.

Athletic Director Brian Moran tackles the Oatkan Knights' mascot.

Space Jam hoists a young fan.

A-Train, Arnold Bernard, left, stopped the game and yelled, "hey, photographer, photographer, take our picture," and pulled Eric "Broadway" Jones to his side.

A fan gets her purse back for the price of a kiss on the cheek.

Brian Moran shooting a three-pointer. He was given three tries to make it, but later in the half, Moran sunk a shot at the buzzer from half court.

There were lots of Harlem Wizard souvenir basketballs in the crowd.

Brian Herdlein and Tomahawk battle for a loose ball.

Space Jam during a break in the game when all of the children were invited onto the floor to dance with the team.

Space Jam throwing out souvenirs.

A fan gets a Wizards ball autographed by Tomahawk.

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January 26, 2014 - 12:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, high school sports, Notre Dame.

At times, last night, it seemed almost impossible for Notre Dame's Tim McCulley to miss a shot from beyond the arc.

The senior standout hit six three-pointers on his way to a career high 35 points for the game and a 82-63 victory for the Fighting Irish (11-3).

"He had a big game," Head Coach Mike Rapone said. "He shot the ball well, but he also passed the ball well. He kept everybody involved. He moved the ball around. That's what he's capable of doing. He's really a multidimensional player. He sets up a lot of guys, too."

McCulley is closing in on a career 1,000 points.

Prattsburg never really threatened Notre Dame and the Irish pretty much closed the game out in the third period, outscoring the Vikings 29-21.

With a little more support around point guard Isaiah King, the Vikings (now 7-8) might have made more of a game of it.

King scored 22 points, but also created numerous scoring opportunities for his teammates with smart, on-target passing and a few key steals. He gave the Irish fits until he fouled out late in the fourth quarter.

"We gave up too much dribble penetration for my liking," Rapone said. "Thirteen (King) hurt us on the dribble penetration. He's a good ball player, but we've got to stop that better than we did tonight.

"He's quick and he's strong," Rapone added. "He's left-handed and you don't see a lot of left handers so kids have trouble adjusting. He caused us quite a few problems."

Rapone said the Irish are maturing as a team and he likes what he's seeing. Even in the loss earlier this week to University Prep, Rapone said he thought the team played well.

"We're starting to come together as a team," Rapone said.

In addition to his 35 points, McCulley 10 rebounds, eight assists and four steals. Josh Johnson scored 14 points, including a pair of threes. Alec Covel had nine points as did Jason Hart. Caleb Nellis had eight. Dylan Fix, coming off the bench in the closing minutes, scored on a layup, bringing a big cheer from the home crowd.

For Prattsburgh, Baird Cameron was the only other player, besides King, in double digits scoring, with 11.

In the stands for the game was Jim Burke, a Section V Hall of Fame coach who amassed 517 wins leading the Prattsburgh boys for a number of years (Burke also had 177 victories coaching girls varsity). The only coach in the room last night with more boys varsity wins was Mike Rapone, who has 617 wins and counting.

Josh Johnson

Isaiah King and Charlie Herbert

Prattsburgh Head Coach Brian Putnam had a few disputes with the refs in the 4th quarter, eventually getting a technical foul after complaining about the foul call (which could have gone either way) that was King's fifth, causing him to foul out.

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January 23, 2014 - 11:58pm

An estimated 220,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, and every 1 out of 8 women will be diagnosed in their lifetime.

Tonight Pembroke High School took a big step in helping to find a cure with its third annual Shoot for a Cure game against Oakfield-Alabama.

No admission was charged all evening, while all concession sales and donations were directly given to the Roswell Cancer Institute in Buffalo.

Not only were the gymnasium and hallways decked out in pink, but so were the Pembroke players, who wore all pink uniforms in honor of breast cancer awareness. They even played with a pink basketball.

Pembroke Head Coach Michael Wilson spearheaded the event after Athletic Director Ron Funke’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago. A few players suggested a “pink game” and it took off from there. Most importantly, several women in the Pembroke community and school district were honored at halftime for surviving their fight with the disease.

Between the junior varsity and varsity contests, several people even donated their hair for “Bald for Bucks.” The Buffalo Bisons also displayed their support as mascot Buster T. Bison attended the contest.

“These kids have been all over Rochester, Buffalo and Batavia promoting this event and collecting donations,” Wilson said. “I’ve got an incredibly compassionate group of kids and they love it. You could see that in the way they played tonight. They were definitely shooting for a cure.”

The Lady Dragons certainly played with a purpose, as they routed Oakfield-Alabama 52-18.

Pembroke pulled away in the second quarter and never looked back as they outscored the Hornets 14-1 in the frame.

Rylee Moser led the way, scoring a game-high 13 points, while Aralyse Johnson scored 11 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, and Breanna Johnson chipped in with 11 points, seven rebounds and three steals for Pembroke (10-3).

“Getting a win on the court means a lot, but tonight was about recognizing women in the district who are currently battling breast cancer or who have won their battle or those that we have lost,” Wilson said. “It’s more about these kids coming together, showing that they’re civic-minded and showing that they are compassionate.”

In total, the night yielded nearly $10,000 that will be donated directly to Roswell by the entire Pembroke girl’s basketball team.

Photos by Howard Owens.

Sherie Grande was among the local breast cancer survivors who received a rose from a Pembroke player at half time.

January 18, 2014 - 10:12am
posted by Nick Sabato in batavia, basketball, sports, high school sports, blue devils.

They say you can’t teach size, and that was evident as Greece Arcadia out-muscled Batavia en route to a 61-56 win in Monroe County League play.

The Blue Devils got off to a slow start in the first quarter, as the Titans imposed their will inside and raced out to a 20-7 lead after the first frame.

“[Arcadia] is a physically tough team,” said Batavia Head Coach Buddy Brasky. “They’re the most talented team in the division. But, I was disappointed with our lack of toughness to start. We’re not big, we’re not strong, but we’re usually pretty scrappy. For some reason we didn’t bring that toughness to start the first quarter.”

Batavia scrapped their way back throughout the game, cutting the lead to as few as six in the second half after switching defenses and getting back-to-back three-pointers from Jerrett Laskett.

“I thought their size was hurting us in man-to-man,” Brasky said. “We switch on screens and we got some bad mismatches. We were hoping that the zone would get them a little more stationary. I thought it worked well, it helped get us back in the game.”

The leading scorers for the Blue Devils, Jeff Redband and Justice Fagan, struggled to find room to breathe all night and were smothered by the Arcadia defense.

Laskett stepped up in the second half while the defense was keyed in on Redband and Fagan. The junior reserve knocked down three three-point field goals in the second half and finished with 14 points.

“Everybody is taking Redband and Justice out of the game,” Brasky said. “Until someone else starts scoring consistently, it’s going to be difficult to be good teams. The tough thing is, the guys we’re asking to score are young guys.”

The Blue Devils, however, struggled all night to find an answer for Arcadia’s big men.

6-foot-6 senior Josh McFarland dominated inside all night, scoring 15 points, pulling 18 rebounds, blocking two shots and making two steals.

Jimmie Eddington, a 6-foot-5 senior, chipped in 14 points and grabbed five rebounds for Arcadia (7-4).

Fagan finished with a team-high 15 points, while Redband chipped in with 14, and Malachi Chenault added 11 points and eight rebounds for Batavia (7-4).

Top Photo: Jeff Redband attracted a crowd everywhere he went last night. A foul was called on the defense.

Photos by Howard Owens.

To purchase prints of photos, click here.

Jeff Redband, again in a sea of maroon jerseys.

Jerrett Laskett driving for the basket.

Greg Mruczek awaits a rebound opportunity during a free-throw attempt.

Jerrett Laskett scores on a layup in the fourth quarter.

January 11, 2014 - 10:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports, high school sports, blue devils.

It's an established pattern for the Blue Devils so far this season: doldrums in the fourth quarter make it hard for Batavia close out a game.

Last night against Odyssey, the home squad turned a double-digit lead into a one-point deficit with 56 seconds left in the final period.

Clutch free throws in those closing seconds sealed a 57-55 victory for Batavia, but not without a few fingernails getting whittled down among the faithful.

"It's what happens every game," said Head Coach Buddy Brasky. "In the fourth quarters we can't score. We had a number of easy opportunities in that fourth quarter in the first four minutes or so, so we can maintain that lead or extend it and we missed them."

Fatigue late in the game for Jeff Redband and Justice Fagan, and defenses designed to thwart the two most consistent scores on the team, are the issues. Typically, the two standouts play nearly every minute of the game. Defenses run either a box and one (putting a man, typically, on Redband combined with an otherwise zone defense) or triangle and two(man on both Fagan and Redband and a three-defender zone).

It's a challenging puzzle for Brasky to solve.

"It's kind of hard because I can't afford to take Jeff and Justice out of the game for very long," Brasky said. "I don't have an answer to that, quite honestly. Other guys have to step up. They keep playing that triangle and two, and other guys are getting opportunities and they have to knock down some shots. That's the answer."

Batavia scored 17 in the first quarter, 20 in the second, 13 in the third and a miniscule seven in the fourth.

Last night, it was Jarrett Laskett who stepped up and took advantage of a lax defense in his vicinity. Laskett finished with 15 points, one more than Fagan's 14.

"Jarrett's capable of scoring," Brasky said. "He hadn't done it much, but he's starting to get a little bit of an opportunity now."

Redband led Batavia with 21 points, including three threes and eight free throws. He and Malachi Chenault had eight rebounds.

As the seconds ticketed away with the Blue Devils down a point, it was Redband the team turned to once again to sink the winning shots.

This time, the offense set Redband up on the near-side wing with a look at a three-point jumper. As he got the shot off he was fouled by an Odyssey player, sending him to the line with three opportunities to at least tie the game, if not give Batavia the lead.

Redband missed the first shot.

Were you nervous? Brasky was asked after the game. He smiled. "Yes," he said, "of course."

But with the game on the line, the ball in Redband's hands is never a bad thing. His shooting stroke as sweet and smooth as honey from the comb consistently delivers results.

"Jeff's clutch," Brasky said. "I really anticipated he would make all three. I would have been shocked if he didn't make at least two out of the three. Yeah, I was nervous, but he's clutch, so I didn't really doubt he would make two out of the three."

Two shots made and Batavia is up by one with 18 seconds left in the game. Odyssey fails to score on its possession and then Tyler Crawford is fouled.

Crawford came through at the line.

"Crawford's free throw, that was a big one, too," Brasky said. "That put us up two. All they could do was tie it. We're weren't going to give them a three at that point, so worst case scenario, unless we took stupid pills, it was going to be an overtime game."

Odyssey got the ball back with seven seconds left on the clock. Plenty of time to score. A dash down the court, a scramble under the board, shoot and miss, shoot and miss, and the final buzzer blares and the Blue Devils jump for joy.

Brasky-coached teams are drilled on defense and taught to never give up more than 13 points in a quarter.

Odyssey scored 16 points in the second quarter, but those final three points came on a prayer of a jumper from 20 feet out that hit the backboard and banked into the basket. Braskey said it was almost like it didn't count from a 13-point and under calculation.

"We held them to six or eight in the third (it was eight)," Brasky said. "So it was 57-55. That's three points more than we want to give them, and that's that banked three in the second quarter, so I was happy with the defense."

For Odyssey, a player Brasky said hasn't gotten a lot of playing time this year and has done very little scoring, Jamie Magone, came through big for the visitors, leading his team with 20 points. The only other player in double figures for Odyssey was Jacob Dixon, who had 14.

The win puts Batavia at 6-3 on the year and 2-1 in league play. The Blue Devils next play Eastridge on the road and come home again Jan. 17 for a game against Greece-Arcadia. Game time is 7:45 p.m.

Top photo: Jeff Redband is fouled as he takes a three-point shot in the closing seconds of the game.

Jeff Redband drives to the basket in the first quarter.

Justice Fagan looking for a lane to the basket in the first half.

Tyler Crawford grabs a loose ball during the second quarter.

Cheerleaders during their routine at the half.

Jeff Redband Inbounding the ball in the fourth quarter to Malachi Chenault.

Jarrett Laskett

Victory celebration

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January 10, 2014 - 9:44am

The 25th edition of the Rotary Club of Batavia Basketball Tournament has certainly been eventful.

After the tournament was postponed because of the blizzard earlier this week, the teams finally took to the court at Genesee Community College and for the second straight season, Batavia and Notre Dame will meet in the finals.

The Lady Blue Devils were forced to play without leading scorer and rebounder Tiara Filbert due to injury, but they prevailed, defeating Alexander 44-36 in the first game of the night.

The two teams appeared evenly matched after two quarters of play, as Batavia took a four-point lead into halftime.

The Trojans came out hot in the second half, eventually tying the game at 23 midway through the third quarter.

The Blue Devils responded though, using a 14-2 run to end the frame, and at one point extended their lead to 14.

Batavia looked to miss Filbert in the fourth quarter though, as Alexander cut the lead to five with just under two minutes to play.

“To lose one of your top players, you’re not the same team,” said Batavia Head Coach Marty Hein. “But the defense shouldn’t have let down. I’m disappointed we didn’t play 32 minutes of defense.”

Madison McCulley came up big though, as she knocked down a three-pointer to extend the lead to eight  and the Blue Devils would not look back.

Sophomore Sam Cecere came up big all night for Batavia, as she scored a game-high 16 points on the night.

“I told Sam that this was a real big stepping stone game for her,” Hein said. “Tiara wasn’t here and it was time for her to step up, and she did that. The last three or four games she has been progressively getting better.”

McCulley pitched in 11 points for Batavia, which improves to 7-1.

Prior to this week’s snowstorm, Perry was scheduled to take on Notre Dame in the second game, but when the games were postponed, they had to drop out due to conflict. So, C.G. Finney stepped in to take on the Fighting Irish.

Unfortunately, they were overmatched by the defending state champions.

Notre Dame opened the game on a 34-0 run and continued onward, cruising to an 87-13 victory.

“I thought we got a lot of good minutes out of a lot girls,” said Notre Dame Head Coach Dave Pero. “Down the road, you never know. We might need some of those girls. We have been getting good bench play all year and this helps.”

Mel Taylor led the way for Notre Dame, scoring a game-high 16 points, grabbing five rebounds and adding seven steals.

Rebecca Krenzer chipped in 12 points and six rebounds, while Shea Norton added 10 points and six rebounds and Burgundy Bartlett scored 11 points for Notre Dame (7-0).

Batavia and Notre Dame will meet in the championship game for the second consecutive season, as the Lady Irish took home the title with a 41-38 victory.

“Batavia is going to give us all we want,” Pero said.

“They will be ready for us. We played them last year in the finals and had a three-point game, and I don’t see it any different this year. They have good shooters and rebounders. We have to come out to play if we are going to take home the title again.”

The Blue Devils won the title back in 2012.

Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Saturday at Genesee Community College.

Photos by Howard Owens.

To purchase prints, click here.

December 25, 2013 - 4:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports, youth sports.

The sixth-grade Batavia Blue Devils won the Community Youth Basketball Tournament in Rochester this past weekend.

Game summaries by Bryan Falitico:

Game 1: Starting off against the hometown team CYP in our first
game we came out sleepwalking. Strong efforts from our bigs inside on both
ends of the court we were able to fight our way back from being down 11
points. Alex Rood had six points, Andy Clark three, and Jake Humes four, with all
three having monster rebounding games we came up short in the end, losing
33-30.

Game 2 -- vs. Brighton: Building off the fire we started to play with in
the second half of the first game, we came out strong and pounded the ball
inside. Jake Humes led with 10 points, and Andy Clark had eight. The real
key to our win vs. Brighton was behind the leadership of our point guards,
who not only chipped in point wise, but also great ball protection and
finding the open man in transition. Max Rapone had four points, Bryce Reigle had six
and Luke Grammatico had four. Final score BHS 43, Brighton 34.

Game 3 -- HFL: Day 2 we were without one of our bigs inside so in order for
us to be successful other key guys needed to step up in the absence. Andy
Clark had eight points, and the White brothers, Cam and Caeden, came to play.
Cam had six points and Caeden had five, including a game-changing basket drive
that resulted in a (point) and one opportunity. He sealed the deal with the free throw.
Matt Beach and Alex Rood both came up big on the boards in Jake's absence to
help us get the win 35-30.

Game 4 -- vs. Eastside: All around contributions helped us seal the win. Big
game again from Caeden White with 11 points. Cam pitched in five points of
his own, and again Andy Clark, Alex Rood, and Matt Beach controlled the
boards, helping set up our guards to push the ball for some easy baskets. Luke
Grammatico had two points, Josh Weis had four, Bryce Reigle and Max Rapone
both had a number of great passes inside that set up our bigs for easy
baskets. Final score 37-25, tournament champions.

December 21, 2013 - 1:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, high school sports, alexander.

Kendall proved to be just a bit much for Alexander to handle Friday night as the Eagles took command of the game in the first period and were never in danger of losing their lead.

The final, 63-41.

Alexander is now 3-2 on the year.

"We definitely had Kendall marked on our calendar," said Head Coach Josh Bender. "I think they're one of the best teams in the GR. They've got all the right pieces. They've got a big guy, athletic guards, shooters, size. It's tough when you don't have a 6'5" guy to battle their center. They're a pretty experienced bunch. Good coach. They run a good system."

The Tigers did a good job of getting good looks for themselves throughout the first half, and a lot of those shots dropped for points.

By the half, the Trojans were already down 37-18.

Kendall almost let Alexander sneak back into the game in the third quarter, scoring only eight points, but the Trojans found their own little scoring slump late in the period and only added 13 points for the eight minutes.

"I told the guys if we want to make a real run at it, we can't trade baskets," Bender said. "We were getting good looks. The high post area was open all night. We had cutters slashing, but at the end of the day, if you're trading baskets with a team like this, you're going to come up short."

Bender, in his first year as varsity coach after three years leading the JV squad, said his team is young yet. Even though it includes seven seniors, none of his starters got many minutes last year, he said.

"I think you'll see down the road, the more games we get in, the more cohesive we'll be and the more effective we'll be in game situations," Bender said.

Nelson Burke led the Trojans with 10 points.

For Kendall, four players were in double digits scoring. D'Andre Nauden, 12, Devin Appleton, 11, Garret Love, 14, and Isaiah Brown, 11.

In other Genesee County hoops action, Friday:

  • Batavia beat Hilton in Hilton, 62-49. Jeff Redband scored 19 points and had 14 rebounds.
  • Wheatland-Chili 56, Batavia Notre Dame 42. The loss ended ND's 70-game league winning streak. Tim McCulley had 18 points.
  • Byron-Bergen 53, Pembroke 48. Dajuandrick Gardner scored 15 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Collin Lewis, 17 points. Nick Magin, 18 and Steele Truax 10.

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December 19, 2013 - 1:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, high school sports, Notre Dame.

The final score was as lopsided as the size differential between Notre Dame and Lyndonville in an early season basketball match on the home court of the Fighting Irish on Wednesday night.

The Irish notched the team's third win of the season 90-51.

While Notre Dame has some clear offensive firepower, the ability to grab rebounds at both ends of the court created more scoring opportunities.

"I thought the Lyndonville kids played hard," said ND's Head Coach Mike Rapone. "They got some good play off their guards, but they're undersized underneath and they had trouble with us off the boards."

The Tigers put only two 6'0" players on the court through all 32 minutes of play while the Irish could call on Jarrod Wall at 6'2", Josh Johnson at 6'1", Alec Covel at 6'2", Alex Domkowski at 6'3", Tim McCulley at 6'3" and Charlie Herbert at 6'5".

In some ways, Herbert was the story of the game.

Called upon to start at center after Caleb Nellis sprained his ankle in practice yesterday, Herbert, who never played basketball at all before this year, left Rapone wondering what could be if the school's star wide receiver listened to his peers begging him last year to fullfill their hoops dreams.

"I think had he played last year he'd really be a force this year because he gets better every day," Rapone said. "I think by the end of the season, he's going to be pretty solid."

Herbert, whose past athletic prowess was confined to the gridiron showed a strong sense of how to muscle opponents under the glass for points and rebounds.

With 10 rebounds, only he and McCulley (13) reached double digits. Herbert, with eight points, missed a double-double by one field goal.

McCulley also had 23 points and with three more assists would have had a triple-double.

Guard Josh Johnson was second on the team in scoring with 18, and had eight rebounds, but only two assists.

Covel and Domkowski each added eight points.

Lyndonville scored 18 points in the first half, but most of that came before more than a couple of minutes had passed in the second period as ND's full-court press cut off passing lanes, forced mistakes and eventually wore down the Tigers.

Even ND's bench, taking over much of the duties about half-way through the second period, kept the pressure on Lyndonville.

While Rapone put his starters back in the game to start the third period, he stopped using the press (because it was the right thing to do, he said), and the Tigers went on a little scoring run and got enough looks through the half to notch 31 points.

Pat Hinkson (15) and Evan Milleville (11) led the Tigers in scoring.

Even so, the play of the second team was impressive. They stayed calmed, stuck to the game plan and stayed aggressive through the final minute of play.

"They work us hard in practice every day," Rapone said. "What I like about them is they play basketball when they come in. They don't just see who can get a shot off first. They run our offense. They run our defense. They do what they're supposed to do. I'm really proud of them."

Ironically, perhaps, among the leaders on the second team was the shortest player to handle a ball Wednesday, 5'6" junior Dylan Fix. 

Fix was in control with a ball in his hands, making few mistakes, staying confident and calm and demonstrating an unmistakeable fearlessness. He shot laser-sharp passes between defenders, fought for rebounds against bigger players and fired three-pointers with every open look, even though it was an off night for his shooting stroke.

"He plays hard," Rapone said. "He knows they game. He shoots the ball very well. He didn't have one of his better shooting nights tonight, but normally he shoots the ball very well. The only thing that's ever held him back is he's a little undersized. He grew a little bit during this year and hopefully he grows a little more next year. He's definitely comes in and makes things happen."

Top photo: McCulley; bottom photo, Fix.

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December 12, 2013 - 11:59pm
posted by Alecia Kaus in basketball, elba, high school sports, Notre Dame. sports.

Notre Dame 83, Elba 39

Tim McCulley scored 25 points and had 10 rebounds to lead the Fighting Irish to their second win of the season.

The Elba Lancers opened up the scoring in the first quarter when John Hochmuth put up three points, but they quickly found themselves behind later in the second quarter.

The Lancers were not able to stop Tim McCulley as he scored 21 points on 18 shots in the first half. Notre Dame held a 37-15 lead at halftime.

In the third quarter Notre Dame went on a scoring streak. Scoring 29 points to Elba's 10. By the fourth quarter the game was out of reach.

Notre Dame's Josh Johnson and Elba's John Hochmuth each had 15 points.

Notre Dame's next game will be at home next Wednesday against Lyndonville.

Elba is 1-3 on the season.

December 7, 2013 - 3:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports, high school sports, Batavia HS, blue devils.

The Batavia Boys basketball team beat Williamsville South today in a game scheduled as part of the Niagara Falls Cataract City Classic, an invitational tournament for the top prep teams in WNY.

Jeff Redband led the Blue Devils to a 58-46 win with 18 points. Justice Fagan contributed 13 and Malachi Chenault added 11.

Batavia jumped out to an early 34-18 lead, but the game tightened in the 4th period with Williamsville closing in at 40-35. From there, Batavia pretty much controlled the game and put Williamsville away.

December 7, 2013 - 1:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports, high school sports, Lady Devils.

Mendon has always presented a challenge for the Batavia High School girls basketball team, often over the years snatching double-digit victories over the Lady Devils, which was why Head Coach Marty Hein put the Vikings on the schedule early in the season.

It was a chance for Hein to see where his team stood.

The verdict? Not really different from what he said about his team in the pre-season: The Lady Devils lack bench depth and until the younger players step up their game, Batavia will struggle against teams that can rotate seven or eight players.

"Some of the girls will understand that we've got to work hard and work our way to having a deep bench like Mendon does," Hein said. "Hopefully, we'll be there by mid-season."

To start the game, the Lady Devils looked like the dominate team and held a lead until just about a minute left in the second period, and even through most of the third period, Batavia kept the game within a basket or two.

Then the wheels came off. The plays didn't run as smoothly, the passes weren't as crisp, if not higher risk, and the steals came easier for the Vikings.

"Todd's (Todd Julien) a very smart coach," Hein said. "He didn't use any time-outs (in) quarters one, two and three because he didn't give any opportunity for my girls to get a rest. He knew the longer I kept my starters on the floor, the sooner they were going to wear out."

The final score: Mendon 43, Batavia 36.

Sam Cecere led Batavia in scoring with 14 points. Mendon's Darby Kreienberg presented a challenge for the Lady Devils. She scored 26 points.

Maddie McCulley, who hit a clutch three late in the second period just when it looked like the Vikings might be poised to pull away, suffered what appeared to be an ankle or foot injury early in the third period. She returned to the game a few minutes later and Hein said she'll be fine.

"When we play one-three-one she's down at the bottom with some giants so she takes a beating sometimes," Hein said.

Top photo: Essence Williams drives for a successful layup.

Maddie McCulley

McCulley and Alley Phillips scramble for a loose ball.

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December 5, 2013 - 10:25pm
posted by Andrew Crofts in basketball, GCC, sports.

Naquil Jones scored seven early points to spark a 15-5 start for the Genesee Community College men's basketball team on Thursday night, and the Cougars earned their fifth win in a row, 83-76.

The visiting Knights from Niagara College (Canada) erased a six-point GCC halftime lead and took a 46-45 lead three-minutes into the second half.

Redell Freeman came off the bench and hit two straight three-point baskets and Alastair Cole also hit consecutive three-pointers, sending GCC on a 12-0 run and giving Genesee the lead back for good.

Ervin Mitchell played to another double-double, scoring 24 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. Gabriel Burroughs finished the night with 13 points, Cole added 12 points, Freeman dished out seven assists and scored 11 points and Jones grabbed six boards to go along with 11 points.

Genesee improves to 6-2 with the win and will travel to Lakeland Community College on Friday night for a 7 p.m. start.

 

 

A six-minute scoring drought to start Thursday night's game set the Genesee Community College women's basketball team back against Niagara College (Canada), and the Lady Cougars fell to the visitors, 65-55.

Genesee was 0-14 from three-point range in the opening half and committed 13 turnovers to fall behind at the midway mark of the contest.

Despite the early struggles, GCC started the second half on a 13-5 run and got back to within three midway through the second. Niagara responded and went on a 7-0 run to extend the lead back to double-digits and never looked back.

Genesee was just 2-29 from beyond the arc and shot below 25% on the night.

Dashawna Jenifer led the way for Genesee with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Macey McCulley added nine points and grabbed five boards, Renetta Fordam chipped in eight points, Shanell Glover collected 11 rebounds and scored six points and Hillary Rivera added five points.

Genesee falls to 1-6 with the loss and the Lady Cougars will travel to Lakeland Community College on Friday for a 5 p.m. start.

 

 

(Picture: Renetta Fordam (#40/white) fires a shot over an outstretched Niagara College defender)

December 4, 2013 - 12:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, elba, high school sports.

A pair of 23-point performances by Jesse Pflaumer and Brandon Naylor wasn't enough to secure victory Tuesday night for the Elba Lancers in the team's season opener against Albion.

After Elba jumped to an early double-digit lead by pulling down defensive rebounds and getting easy baskets in transition, foul trouble in the first quarter and a rash of turnovers let the Purple Eagles grab a lead it never relinquished the rest of the night.

"When switched to zone, we gave up some defensive rebounds and they (Albion) ended up cashing in on them," said Head Coach Mark Beeler.

The Lancers battled back, erasing a 10-point deficit late in the fourth quarter and when Pflaumer hit all net on a three-point jumper from the top of the key with just 26 seconds left in the game, Elba trailed by only two points, 71-69.

"That's when I really had a feeling it was going to go our way, but give Albion credit, they executed down the stretch to close it out," Beeler said.

On the in-bound pass, the Lancers fouled Albion to kill the clock and then grabbed the rebound on the missed free throw. Chad Kowalik got behind the defense and had an open path to the basket, but the pass was just a little beyond his reach and traveled out of bounds.

Albion would inbound two more times in the game, drawing fouls each time, leading to more free throws, which lead to two more points and seal the victory for the Eagles.

"I was just really happy to be in it at the end after being down 10 in the fourth," Beeler said. "The guys showed a lot of character tonight, sticking with it."

As exciting as the game was, it was also sloppy. Both teams got into foul trouble early and Albion rang up a number of fouls early in the second half (Elba slowed the pace a bit for their fouls in the third period).

The Lancers had 30 turnovers, with more than a dozen of them coming on in-bound passes, while the Eagles coughed the ball up 27 times.

"I'd like to blame it on first game jitters, but we had four scrimages so we shouldn't be that nervous," Beeler said. "Thirty is a lot. They had 27, so I'm sure (Albion's head coach) is not happy either. The third and fourth quarters were helter skelter and the intensity was amped up, and when it gets to that pace and the kids aren't used to it, turnovers are going to happen. But, yeah, you're not going to win many games with 30 turnovers."

Despite the loss, Beeler likes what he sees of his team so far and thinks with five seniors in the starting line up, a run at a sectional title is not out of the question.

"I think as these guys play and the season goes on and we eliminate some of the errors, I think we'll be right there," Beeler said "We've got good size. We've got a lot of seniors. That's going to help us down the stretch."

Beeler also has a secret weapon on the bench -- Tom Nowak, the recently retired former coach of the girls team, the coach with eight sectional titles and a state championship to his credit.

Nowak has been filling in as a part-time assistant for Beeler, whose first coaching job was working for Nowak as a girls JV coach.

"He taught me lot and continues to teach me a lot," Beeler said. "It's been great to have him in practices and definately on the bench. It's like hitting the coaching jackpot as far as getting an assistant on the bench with you."

The team responds well to Nowak's presence, Beeler said.

"When I tell the kids he's coming to practice ahead of time and as soon as I tell them he's coming in, they get excited because they know they're going to get better that day," Beeler said.

Besides the 23 points apiece for Pflaumer and Naylor, Dan Scott had 14 points. For Albion, Dez Blackmon had 20 points and Manny Thompson had 15.

Top photo: Jesse Pflaumer driving for the basket.

Albion's Alex Bison.

Brandon Naylor at the free throw line.

Head Coach Mark Beeler

Naylor

To purchase prints of photos, click here.

December 3, 2013 - 11:03pm
posted by Andrew Crofts in basketball, GCC, sports.

The Genesee Community College men's basketball team has won its last four games and has scored 100 or more points in three out of the last four after a 113-69 win over visiting Medaille College (JV) on Tuesday night.

Ervin Mitchell extended his scoring streak of 20 or more points to seven games in a row after scoring 21 points on Tuesday night in limited action.

Genesee shot close to 60% and the Cougars' bench saw plenty of action, producing 45 points in the win.

Gaberiel Burroughs led the way for GCC with 26 points and six rebounds. Naquil Jones added 19 points, Redell Freeman and Alex Morris each finished with 13 points and Freeman dished out nine assists. Da'Shawn Suber chipped in nine points and Alastair Cole added eight points and six boards.

The Cougars held Medaille to just 32% shooting from the field and forced 24 turnovers, resulting in 26 fast-break points.

Genesee improves to 5-2 and will host Niagara College (Canada) on Thursday night for an 8 p.m. start.


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