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March 2, 2014 - 11:30am
posted by Nick Sabato in basketball, sports, high school sports, Notre Dame.

What more can Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Rapone accomplish in his career?

He became the first coach in Section V history to reach 600 wins. He’s won two state championships, 30 Genesee Region League championships, and after a 62-37 victory over Jasper-Troupsburg in the Class D1 final, he tied the Section V record for most sectional titles with nine.

“It’s all about the kids,” Rapone said. “The kids are the ones who earn it. We’re just along for the ride. It’s fun coaching these kids. It’s fun coming to practice every day. It’s the small reward I have for the great opportunity I have.”

Things looked bleak early for Notre Dame, as they found themselves down by 7 after the first quarter and as many as 10 at one point. But then they got some instant offense from perhaps an unlikely source.

Senior reserve Jason Hart (and Rapone’s neighbor) came off the bench to knock down four three-pointers in the first half to help propel the Irish back in front.

Hart would finish 5-for-5 from long range for the game and finished with a season-high 15 points.

“I was nervous coming into the game,” Hart said. “Coach made me the sixth man this year. He told me my role was to come off the bench and be a spark. Everybody knows their roles on this team and I filled mine today.”

The Fighting Irish outscored Jasper-Troupsburg 19-8 in the second quarter and were able to take a 30-26 lead into halftime and never looked back.

“We made a couple of changes on defense,” Rapone said. “That’s the way we’ve been playing all year. We’ve been playing good defense all year. And we have a few players that can make shots if they’re left open.”

The second half was all Notre Dame.

The Irish came out on fire to start the third quarter, opening on an 18-3 run.

Senior Alec Covel was a huge part of the surge, as he scored all 11 of his points on that streak, knocking down his first four shots of the second half.

If you are wondering why Tim McCulley hasn’t been mentioned, don’t worry.

McCulley had another monster game, scoring 16 of his game-high 24 points in the first half, while pulling down nine rebounds, dishing out four assists and making four steals.

“Tim is so steady, you don’t even notice what he’s doing,” Rapone said. “He kept chipping away and getting some baskets. Then Covel got hot to start the second half and broke it open.”

McCulley’s effort earned him tournament MVP honors, making him just the third player in school history to be selected to three sectional all-tournament teams.

“We’re on a big stage,” McCulley said. “Everyone was just so excited to be there. It’s just something so special. These are like my best friends, it means a lot.”

With his 9th sectional title in 18 championship game appearances, Rapone ties former Lyons Head Coach Dean Schott for most championships in the open tournament era (1975). It is quite remarkable, considering that Notre Dame had lost two out of three and was just 4-2 when the New Year began.

“We have seven or eight kids that are really good players, who don’t have every aspect of their game,” Rapone said. “We have a lot of good role players, and that showed tonight. I’m just so proud of these guys, because at the beginning of the year I didn’t know if we’d get there. We were struggling with people accepting their roles, but since January I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”

Covel and Hart joined McCulley on the all-tournament team, as they combined to go 8-of-10 from beyond the three-point arc.

Bryan Guild led the way for Jasper-Troupsburg (18-3) with 11 points and five rebounds, while Dalton Cady added 10 points and seven rebounds.

Notre Dame (18-3) will next take on Houghton Academy (12-10), who defeated RCMCS in the Class D1 title game 75-55.

The game will be played Tuesday at Letchworth High School, with tip-off at 7 p.m. The winner will represent Section V in the Far West Regional next Saturday at Buffalo State College.

Photos by Howard Owens.

To purchase photos, click here.

March 2, 2014 - 9:14am
posted by Nick Sabato in basketball, sports, high school sports, pembroke.

The historic run by the Pembroke Girls Basketball Team came to an end just one victory shy of their goal…to win the first sectional championship in school history.

The Lady Dragons were out-muscled all night long, as they fell to Lyons, 50-36, in the Class C2 championship game.

It became apparent very early in the contest that Lyons would have the upper hand on the glass, as they out-rebounded Pembroke 30 to 9 in the first half, with 17 of them coming on the offensive boards.

“We knew that rebounding was going to be the key,” said Pembroke Head Coach Mike Wilson. “We planned for it. We tried to take some of their bigger kids out of it, but we weren’t able to do that. They just out-rebounded us.”

Despite the massive advantage on the boards, the Lady Dragons kept things close, trailing by just three at halftime after a pair of back-to-back three-pointers from Breanna Johnson to end the second quarter.

Pembroke got off to a strong start coming out of halftime as senior Chance Alexyn scored four quick points, but things quickly slid down hill.

Lyons would hold Pembroke to one point in the final 7:07 of the third quarter as they used a 12-1, to pull away for good, as turnovers doomed the Dragons.

“We’ve been turning the ball over 15 times or less per game for the last month,” Wilson said. “But we probably had 15 in that quarter. We were sloppy with the basketball. We gave them too many second-chance opportunities.”

Tournament MVP Abbie Shields dominated all night for the Lions, as she scored 17 points, grabbed 23 rebounds (12 offensive), and three blocks.

Meanwhile, Pembroke star Breanna Johnson struggled to find her shot throughout the match.

The senior class valedictorian managed just three points in the second half and was held without a field goal.

“We didn’t make enough baskets,” Wilson said. “We just didn’t finish. We’ve been finishing shots; we’ve been playing well down the stretch. Unfortunately we came up short.”

Despite the loss, the Dragons had one of their most successful seasons in school history and perhaps the best player to play in the program has played her final game.

Johnson finished with 11 points and four assists in her final high school game and her performance was good enough to earn her all-tournament team honors alongside her sister, Aralyse, and Alexyn.

“All of my seniors are very special to me,” Wilson said. “Bre and I definitely have a special connection. We’ve spent a lot of time developing her game. She has been nothing but dedicated to what we have wanted to do.”

Alexyn had a solid outing in her last game, scoring 10 points, pulling down four rebounds and three steals for Pembroke (15-6).

Lyons out-rebounded the Dragons 54-21 for the game, with 28 of those coming on the offensive boards.

Taniqua Johnson was also named to the all-tournament team for Lyons, as she scored a game-high 18 points and added 15 rebounds.

Photos by Howard Owens.

To purchase prints, click here.

March 1, 2014 - 7:43pm
posted by Andrew Crofts in basketball, GCC, sports.

The Genesee Community College men's basketball team will play for the Division II Region III title on Sunday for the first time since the 2002-03 season. The third-seeded Cougars knocked off no. 2 Erie Community College on Saturday afternoon in the semifinals at Monroe Community College.

Genesee grabbed an early lead after Da'Shawn Suber scored four early points to put the Cougars in front 6-4 just three minutes in. GCC kept the lead the entire half with help from Ervin Mitchell, who scored 16 first half points.

Ahead 39-35 with 3:10 to play in the opening period, Naquil Jones extended the lead for Genesee by closing the half on a 7-2 run on his own, including the only 3-point basket of the first 20-minutes for GCC, to put the Cougars in front by nine at the break.

Genesee extended its lead to 11 early in the second half after Alastair Cole hit back-to-back threes to give GCC a 53-42 advantage.

Erie responded by going on an 8-0 run to cut the lead down to three before Suber ended the Genesee scoring drought with a layup to give the Cougars a 55-49 lead with 15:45 to play.

GCC kept its distance and with under four-minutes to go held an 83-75 lead after Jones delivered eight straight points for the Cougars. 

The Kats hung around and fought back, using a 10-2 run in a two-minute span to tie the game at 85 apiece with 1:27 left.

Both teams would exchanged empty possessions and after a second straight missed opportunity from GCC, the Kats had a chance for the last look with possession of the ball with 12-seconds left.

After an Erie timeout, the Kats were able to inbound on their offensive end but GCC's Redell Freeman came up with a steal for the Cougars and hit a streaking Suber, who went the length of the floor and laid in the eventual game-winning basket with 6.3-seconds to play. Erie had a last-second opportunity but the Kats came up empty and Genesee survived, 87-85.

Jones led five GCC scorers in double-figures with 25 points. Mitchell finished with 20 points and seven rebounds, Jason Perry-Murray delivered his second straight double-double with 13 points and 11 boards, Cole ended the game with 12 points and Suber added 11 points and seven assists.

In the two previous meetings against ECC this year, GCC was a combined -30 in rebounding. Both teams collected 38 total rebounds apiece on Saturday.

The Cougars will take on top-seed Monroe Community College on Sunday at MCC. The Tribunes escaped their semifinal game against Mercyhurst North East, 77-75. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.

March 1, 2014 - 4:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, high school sports, Notre Dame.

The way Head Coach Dave Peru figured it, if his Fighting Irish girls could hold Bishop Kearney to 60 or fewer points, Notre Dame could walk away with the Section V Class B2 title.

While ND held Kearney to 55, what Pero didn't count on was his team hitting less than 15 percent of its shots from the field.

"I don't think it was a case of nerves," Pero said of his team, which won a Class D state championship last season. "It's just a matter of us not being able to put the ball in the basket. You're going to have games like that."

Kearney took the title with a 55-31 win.

In all, the Irish missed 55 shots.

Pero thought Notre Dame had a good plan for dealing with Kearney's press and the Irish even seemed to have the Kings winded at the half.

The Irish got some great opportunities to score as a result of breaking through the press, Pero said, but the ball just wouldn't drop through the hoop.

"They've got a great team over there," Pero said. "I'm very proud of what we brought to the table. Our kids played hard. I think if we could have gotten a few shots knocked down for us, who knows what could have happened."

This was the final game for five Notre Dame seniors, and coming out with two minutes to play was clearly an emotional moment for team leaders Laurie Call and Mel Taylor.

"I'm so proud of (the team)," Pero said. "They're a great group of girls. I'd take these girls anywhere. For the seniors, we're going to miss them, but for next season, we start working again tomorrow."

Taylor finished with eight points, as did Shea Norton. Taylor and Norton where named to the tournament's all-star team. Emma Francis scored six.

For Kearney, BriAsia Mason scored 15, Emmanuella Edoka, 11, and Arianne Smith, 10. Mason hit three threes.

To purchase prints of photos, click here.

February 27, 2014 - 1:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, high school sports, Notre Dame.

It's probably the outcome Section V officials predicted when they moved Notre Dame girls up three classes and Bishop Kearney up one to put both teams in Class B2.

The two private Catholic schools will face each other Saturday in the B2 Section V Championship. One team will eliminate the other and Section V officials can rest assured only one private-school squad gets to advance toward a possible State Championship.

The Fighting Irish enter the Section V Championship game with a 19-1 record after a close-call, overtime win against Bath-Haverling, 50-49. Bishop Kearney is 17-2 after having a much easier time of it against Le Roy last night, winning 75-47.

For ND last night, the Lady Rams, who entered the game with five losses, proved to be a handful.

"We knew they were a very good team," said ND Head Coach Dave Pero. "The thing we didn't know coming into the game is how quick they were. We had trouble defensively getting stops. We missed a few easy baskets underneath, but I think the thing that helped is that they (the ND girls) had the will to finish."

Bath's Mackenzie Smith proved a challenging opponent. She's tall, fast and can shoot. It was Laurie Call's job to defend her.

"Laurie had a tough time of it in her match-up with number three," Pero said. "Number three probably had six inches on Laurie and I think we finally found a girl that is almost as quick as Laurie and that's dangerous."

It turned out, the Lady Rams were a lot harder to play than they looked on film, said senior guard Mel Taylor.

"We knew three was going to be athletic, but I didn't think she was going to be jumping three foot higher than what we were playing defense on," Taylor said. "It was intimidating, it was adjusting to what we're not used to playing in regular season, but we did pretty well."

Smith scored 20 points, snagged 10 rebounds and had five assists.

Call, who typically doesn't get into foul trouble, was tagged with four.

"It was physical game," Call said. "It was really physical at both ends of the court. I caught myself reaching and so did the refs."

Taylor scored 14 points to lead the Irish. Emma Francis, nine, Rebecca Krenzer, eight, Shea Norton, seven, and Call, six.

Helping Smith out on offense for the Rams was Angelo Binkowski with 15 points, including two threes.

One of the side stories of the game was how quickly the refs, particularly one of them, were to call jump balls. A jump ball is supposed to be called when two players share possession of the ball, but often it looked like a player had possession while an opponent was merely reaching.

One such called came in the final 15 seconds of regulation when Norton grabbed an offensive rebound and Bath's Brooke Buckley was reaching in while Norton was trying to shoot. Rather than a shooting foul, it was called a jump ball.

A shooting foul there, with the scored knotted at 41, could have ended the game in regulation.

The Section V refs have reportedly been instructed to be quicker on the jump ball calls to cut down on foul calls.

Pero said them are the breaks of game.

"It did seem a little quick, but they see what they see and they're not going to change their minds," Pero said. "You've got to live with it. I learned a long time ago if you want to argue with them (the refs), you're going to lose. They've got the final say and overall the officials do a great job. They're the officials and the coaches are the coaches and we're supposed to coach and they're supposed to officiate. Sometimes you do get those calls."

In the night cap at Honeoye Falls-Lima, Bishop Kearney dominated Le Roy, but with a 10-8 record.

Kearney and Notre Dame could match up well. Both teams have five players who scored at least 100 points on the season and could match up on height.

Both teams are coming off State Championship seasons so they both have big game experience.

"All of our big games in past, all of our big elba games, this game today, it gets you ready for the big stage," Call said.

Before we knew for sure Kearney would be Saturday's opponent, Call said she was ready to face whoever came out on top of the semi-final game.

"Saturday's another basketball game," Call said. "It's senior year, so it's pretty emotional., but we're just going to play. it's a faceless opponent. Hopefully we come out with a patch."

To purchase prints, click here.

February 26, 2014 - 10:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports, high school sports.

Memo to Brian Miller, head coach of the Geneva Panthers: If you want to beat Batavia in Sunday's Section V Class A2 Finals, you better figure out how to stop Justice Fagan and Jeff Redband.

Good luck with that.

Teams have been trying all year and stopping the Blue Devil's two standouts just gets harder and harder.

The Newark Reds tried Tuesday night at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester and found themselves on the losing end of Fagan's biggest game of the year.

The senior captain scored 28 points as the Blue Devils punched their ticket for the finals with a 45-41 win over the #2 seed.

And by all accounts, Redband had an off night, with defenders constantly in his face, but he still managed 15 points.

"That's been happening all year (tight defensive coverage)," Redband said. "I didn't do the best with it this game. We had plays to get me the ball, I just wasn't making shots. I'll make them other games. We rode Justice because he was having the greatest game of his season tonight."

Fagan just took the game over in the closing minutes and with under two minutes left, the Blue Devils grabbed the lead and the Reds' fate seemed sealed.

As important as Fagan's big game was, it was really Batavia's defense that secured the victory.

Head Coach Buddy Brasky teaches his players, hold the opponent to less than 52 points and you will always have a chance to win.

The Blue Devils opened sectional play with a 56-37 win over Honeoye Falls-Lima three days ago, and against a Reds team that has put at least 60 points on the board nine times this season, Batavia pinned Newark down at only 41, holding them to 13 in the second half.

Brasky's team switched to a 3-2 zone defense and the Reds never got a handle on how to penetrate it.

"We've hardly played a 3-2 all year," Brasky said. "They (the Blue Devils) just picked it up on the fly and executed it well."

With the Reds left with few inside scoring opportunities, it also meant there were fewer opportunities for Batavia to draw fouls.

In the closing minute and a half, Batavia was shooting bonus free throws and had only committed four second-half fouls themselves. 

"We went to the zone and they didn't attacked it," Brasky said. "There was a lot of pass on the perimeter. They stopped going to the basket, so there wasn't a lot of opportunity for us to foul. They took a lot of outside shots. That's what the zone forced them to do. Justice started attacking. Jeff started attacking. We were going to the basket where they stopped going to the basket. That's the foul differential right there."

Redband went to the line twice and hit all four shots, while neither late-game foul by Batavia resulted in free throws for the Reds and Fagan made a crucial free throw to take away any hope of a three-pointer to tie the game.

"Jeff and Justice are 70-, 80-percent foul shooters," Brasky said. "They come to the school every morning before class and shoot 50 free throws. Every morning. When we've got them at the foul line at the end of games, I'm very confident."

The foul differential was a huge strategic advantage, especially when Batavia could afford another foul with 4.5 seconds left. In that situation, a quick three-pointer would have given Newark a slim hope for a steal and another score. Instead, two seconds were lost and Newark had to inbound the ball again. A desperation three missed the basket wide and short by three feet and went out of bounds with 0.8 seconds left. A simple Batavia inbound and the game was over.

Brasky said Fagan's confidence has been soaring since a big game against Lockport on Senior Night, and Tuesday night, he just took the team on his back and carried it to victory.

Fagan said that's his job.

"I'm the senior captain," Fagan said. "I didn't want this to be my last game of the year, or ever, actually. I just wanted to win this game. I kind of figured I needed to take over a little bit through the game because we were struggling a little bit offensively. Somebody's got to take over."

The only other Blue Devil to score against the Reds (who don't wear red, but maroon) was Jerret Lasket, who had two points.

A low-scoring affair is exactly the kind of game the Blue Devils like to play -- battle for 30 minutes and close it out at the end.

"In our games, we never do get down by a lot, usually, because we play good defense," Brasky said. "We've been in close games all year, so they have confidence in close games."

For Newark, Jaymee Rosser had 17 points. Tyler Collins, an outside shooting threat, tried, but was 1-6 from beyond the arc and was held to 10 points. Rosser was the top rebounder for the game with nine.

For Redband, Tuesday's visit to Blue Cross was his first since a season ago when he sent his team to the State's Final Four with a three-point buzzer beater.

The junior guard walked out to the same spot during warm ups and admitted taking a moment to reflect on the shot and later hit a practice shot from the same spot. He said he likes playing in the big gym.

"I'm comfortable playing here," Redband said. "With a lot of the new people, I just said it's a normal game. It doesn't matter that it's in this big stadium. You've just got to play basketball."

He also wasn't surprised his team is about to play for the Class A2 championship. The Blue Devils are where they're supposed to be.

"We've beat good teams all year so we knew all year we could be right here at sectionals in the finals," Redband said.

Game time Sunday at Blue Cross is 5 p.m.

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February 26, 2014 - 9:29am
posted by Nick Sabato in basketball, sports, high school sports, pembroke.

It has been a long time since Pembroke was a factor in Section V girls basketball.

The Lady Dragons can now say that they are, as they punched their ticket to the Class C2 finals for the first time since 1987 after defeating Clyde-Savannah, 45-39.

“We’ve put in a lot of time these last four years,” said Pembroke Head Coach Mike Wilson. “We’ve spent a lot of long hours in the gym. For a group of kids to step up and play the way they are playing right now is extremely special.”

One of the biggest reasons for Pembroke’s success is senior Breanna Johnson, the school’s all-time leader in points, rebounds, assists and steals.

Johnson came out fast, scoring 16 of the Lady Dragons’ 23 points in the first half for a seven-point lead at the break.

However, Clyde-Savannah threw a wrench into the plan, as they switched from a man-to-man defense to a zone in the second half, causing Pembroke to go cold in the third quarter.

Pembroke would only manage to connect on one shot from the field in the frame, and the Lady Eagles would hold Johnson without a point in the third.

“We didn’t really move the ball as much as we should have,” Johnson said. “We weren’t cutting and we weren’t getting to the basket.”

While Johnson was unable to get anything going, Clyde-Savannah was taking it to the Dragons on the glass, out-rebounding them 38-25 for the game.

In particular, Ally Fenton had a monster game for the Lady Eagles taking advantage of Pembroke’s 2-3 zone, scoring 17 points and grabbing 15 rebounds (six offensive).

“We wanted to keep our girls out of foul trouble,” Wilson said. “We tend to play too aggressive in man-to-man and zone preserves our players.”

Leading just 27-24 going into the fourth quarter, Johnson came back to life. She made her first basket of the second half with on a three-pointer with just 1:58 left in the game.

In total, she scored 12 points in the last frame, racking up nine from the foul line to guarantee the victory.

“To have a kid like [her] play as well as she is,” continued Wilson. “Mel Taylor and Kelsey Bezon get a lot of press in the league, and they deserve it, but tonight Breanna Johnson showed that she deserves to be in the conversation. She does everything she can to help the team.”

Clyde-Savannah (12-6) was unable to answer the call, and the Lady Dragons escaped with the win.

Pembroke (15-5) already garnered their first sectional win since 2007, and now they return to the sectional finals for the first time in 27 years. The school has never won a sectional championship in girls basketball.

The Lady Dragons will take on top-seeded Lyons on Saturday at Rush-Henrietta High School. Tip-off will be 5 p.m.

February 20, 2014 - 11:00pm
posted by Andrew Crofts in basketball, GCC, sports.

Alex Morris was the hero on Thursday night, converting two free-throws with 2.2 seconds left in the game to send the Genesee Community College men's basketball team past visiting #10 Monroe Community College, 87-86.

Up two at the start of the second half, GCC gave up an 18-4 Tribunes run and fell behind 56-43 five-minutes in.

The Cougars clawed back and got to within five after Morris converted a basket and a free-throw with 6:30 remaining.

Redell Freeman kept GCC close, answering an MCC three-point basket with an old school three-point play of his own to make it 77-72 Monroe with under five-minutes to play.

After a Morris layup, Ervin Mitchell tied the game at 81 apiece with a three-point play with 3:00 left. GCC then came up with a defensive stop and with under 2:30 to go, Morris hit one of two free-throws to give Genesee an 82-81 lead.

Monroe answered and went on a 5-1 run in a span of a minute to take back the lead.

Down 86-85 with less than 30-seconds to play, Genesee came up with the defensive rebound after a missed MCC free-throw and turned it over to Morris, who drove to the basket and was fouled with 2.2 seconds left. The sophomore hit both free-throws and a last second MCC attempt from mid-court was unsuccessful, giving Genesee its 21st win of the season.

Morris ended the night with a game high 24 points and he also collected nine rebounds. Mitchell added 21 points and four assists, Alastair Cole chipped in 17 points, Naquil Jones finished with 11 and Freeman added eight points and four rebounds.

With the win, Genesee (21-7, 6-4) locks up the number three seed for the Region III playoffs and will host Jamestown Community College next Tuesday night at a time to be announced.

 

 

Thursday night marked the final game of the regular season for the Genesee Community College women's basketball team and the Cougars ended the season on a losing note, falling to Monroe Community College, 82-28.

Genesee grabbed an early lead after Breana Gleaton converted a three-point play and Hillary Rivera scored two of her five points in the first half to put GCC in front, 5-2.

MCC would then use a 30-6 run to take the lead for good and went into the locker room at the half up 44-20.

Genesee managed just eight points, all coming from Dashawna Jenifer, and three field goals in the second half, and the Tribunes outscored the Cougars 38-8 in the final period.

Jenifer's eight points were a team high and she also collected 11 rebounds. Gleaton finished with seven points and eight boards, Shanell Glover chipped in six points, Rivera finished with five and Macey McCulley added two points.

Genesee ends the regular season 5-21. The Cougars will take the court in the Region III play-in round next Wednesday night at a time and place to be determined.

February 19, 2014 - 6:42am
posted by Nick Sabato in basketball, sports, high school sports, alexander, pembroke.

Sectional play is under way and it is now win or go home for local area high school teams.

Alexander got off to a strong start, defeating Marion 59 to 27 in the first round of the Class C2 bracket.

The sixth-seeded Trojans overwhelmed 11th-seeded Marion, who only brought five players to the contest.

“We prepared for a few more players,” said Alexander Head Coach Josh Bender. “Before the game started we found out that they were shorthanded, but it was business as usual for us. We brought the right intensity from the start and it was a good overall team victory.”

The Black Knights kept things within striking distance until midway through the second quarter as Alexander was just too much and too deep.

They took a 33-14 lead into halftime and never looked back, extending that lead to 25 at the end of the third quarter before the starters exited for the final time.

Seniors Johnny George and Zach Laird had strong nights in the last home games of their careers, scoring 12 points apiece. Another senior, Zach Dunbar pitched in nine points.

Preston Crego scored a game-high 14 points for Marion (4-15).

Alexander (12-7) will travel to third-seeded Cuba-Rushford on Friday evening in hopes to advance to the Class C2 semifinals.

The Rebels are 15-2 on the season and boast two star guards.

Carl Holmes is averaging 24 points per game on the season, while Caleb Edwards is averaging 20 points per game and both are lethal beyond the three-point arc. In their last contest, Cuba-Rushford made 17 three-point field goals as a team.

“They’re a tough team,” Bender said. “They run and gun; they look to shoot the three. It should be a good battle. They’re a good offensive team and I consider us one of the best defensive teams in the G-R League. It should be a good matchup for us.”

Tip-off will be 7 p.m. Friday at Cuba-Rushford.

February 16, 2014 - 1:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, high school sports, Notre Dame.

The Notre Dame Boys Basketball Team was honored last night in Rochester at the Section V banquet. The award was for finishing the season as the #1 seed in Class D1. The Fighting Irish open their sectional play at home Saturday. Game time is 7 p.m. and ND will play the winner of a round one match between Elba and Finney.

Photo submitted by Shelley Falitico.

February 14, 2014 - 7:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, high school sports, Notre Dame.

We were remiss earlier this week in not posting about Laurie Call of Notre Dame reaching a significant basketball career milestone -- her 400th steal. She's the first player in Notre Dame history -- boys or girls -- to reach 400 steals. Pictured with Laurie are her parents Tim and Dawn.

Photo submitted by Tim Call.

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.

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