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January 24, 2013 - 11:22pm
posted by Andrew Crofts in basketball, GCC, sports.

The Genesee Community College men's basketball team put their five-game losing streak behind them with a win on Tuesday night and followed it up with another Western New York Athletic Conference win on Thursday night, defeating visiting Jamestown Community College, 74-70.

Vaughn Boler helped Genesee to a first half lead with 15 points in the opening period. The Cougars shot better than 55% from the floor in the opening twenty-minutes and were 9/10 from the free-throw line. Jamestown hung around with four 3-pt baskets in the opening half, however, and GCC led 43-35 at the break.

(Vaughn Boler (white) scores two of his game-high 32 points in win over Jamestown CC)


Genesee extended their lead to double-digits in the early part of the second half after Boler converted on one of two free-throws and Terryl Coombs added a layup to give the Cougars a 46-35 advantage. The Jayhawks battled back, however, and took their first lead of the game at 63-62 with under eight minutes to play. After a back-and-forth final few minutes, Genesee took the lead back with under a minute to play after a Boler basket. They led 71-70. Coombs added a late free-throw and Boler iced the game with a last second layup to give Genesee the win.

Boler finished with a game-high 32 points. Coombs added 16 points and 12 rebounds, Denzel Thomas and E.J. Blackwell each added eight points. Blackwell also added eight assists.

The win improves Genesee to 11-10 overall on the season and 2-3 in conference play. They will return to action on Saturday when they travel to Mercyhurst North East for a 3pm start.



After falling behind by as many as 20 points, the Genesee Community College women’s basketball team came up just short on Thursday night, falling to visiting Jamestown Community College in one of their best efforts of the year.

The Lady Cougars battled in an even start to the first half. With the game tied 25-25, the GCC offense went cold and the Lady Jayhawks made a 15-0 run to end the half and take a 40-25 lead into the break.

Jamestown continued their run to start the second half and jumped out to a 45-25 lead just two minutes in.

After a Genesee timeout, the Lady Cougars put together a ten-minute stretch that saw them eventually cut the JCC lead down to four at 57-53. That was as close as they would get, however, as Jamestown converted late and time ran out on GCC. A late three-pointer from Dominique Davis got GCC to within five at 67-62, but the Lady Jayhawks held on to win, 68-63.

Dashawna Jenifer led the way for GCC with a game-high 22 points and also a game-high 16 rebounds. Davis added 20 points and Nanase Akagami chipped in 14 points. Jackie Janes grabbed 11 rebounds.

Genesee falls to 1-15 on the year and 0-5 in conference play. They will travel to Mercyhurst North East on Saturday for a 1pm start.

January 24, 2013 - 9:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports, Notre Dame.

This was e-mailed to Notre Dame alumni this evening:

Longtime ND Fighting Irish Boys Basketball Coach Mike Rapone ('71) currently stands at 598 total wins as a result of an 81 – 41 victory over the Pembroke Dragons on January 18, 2013.

We travel to Holley on Friday, January 25, 2013 to take on the Hawks. A victory at Holley sets up the possibility of a potential 600th victory at home on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 with the visiting Kendall Eagles. The Varsity game will begin at approximately 7 p.m. This game is sure to be a sellout, so get here early!

Our Varsity Boys Basketball team is also in action – at home -- on Thursday, January 31, 2013 vs. GR rival Elba Lancers.

Coach Rapone currently holds the Section V record for most Varsity Boys Basketball victories, yet he will be the first to reach the 600 plateau win mark in Section V Boys Basketball!

January 22, 2013 - 10:53pm
posted by Andrew Crofts in basketball, GCC, sports.

The Genesee Community College men's basketball team snapped a five-game losing streak, which included their first three Western New York Athletic Conference games of the year, by defeating visiting Alfred State College, 76-47 on Tuesday night.

Joe Gray set the tone with a first half double-double, collecting ten rebounds and scoring ten points for Genesee.

The Cougars cashed in five times from three-point range in the opening half and led the entire night.

Vaughn Boler returned from injury to score 15 points on six-of-nine shooting and grab seven rebounds in just over fifteen minutes of work.

The GCC defense stymied the Pioneers to just 24% shooting in the second half and Donte Meredith scored a game-high 18 points,  which included five 3-pt baskets. Genesee ended the night with 12 baskets from long-range.

Gray finished with ten points and 14 rebounds, Malik Brown chipped in 13 points and Terryl Coombs put together another strong effort, scoring nine points and grabbing eight boards.

The win is the tenth (10-10) on the season for GCC and their first in conference (1-3) this year. The Cougars will host Jamestown Community College this Thursday night at 8pm.



The Genesee Community College women's basketball team will have to keep searching for their first conference win of the season after falling to visiting Alfred State College, 81-35 on Tuesday night.

Genesee battled in a close first half that separated the two teams by just ten points. The Lady Cougars jumped out to an early six-point advantage before Alfred State responded at took back the lead for good halfway through the opening period.

Dashawna Jenifer and Nanase Akagami combined to score 14 of GCC's 20 first half points.

In the second half, Genesee was held to just 15 points on 4-of-30 shooting from the field.

Akagami finished the night with 15 points and Jenifer chipped in nine. Sarah Scarborough and Jackie Janes each grabbed eight rebounds in the losing effort.

Genesee falls to 0-4 in conference play and are now 1-14 on the year. They will return to action on Thursday night when they host Jamestown Community College.

January 19, 2013 - 9:13pm
posted by Andrew Crofts in basketball, GCC, sports.

The Genesee Community College men's and women's basketball programs are still winless in conference play this season, after falling to Niagara County Community College on the road on Saturday afternoon.

In the women's game, the Lady Cougars overcame an early eight-point hole to take a lead late in the first half. A Dominique Davis three-point basket gave Genesee a 17-15 lead with a little over five minutes remaining in the opening period. The Lady Thunderwolves responded and closed the half on a 7-3 run and took back the lead for good, leading 22-20 at the break.

In the second half, Niagara held Genesee to just eight field goals and outscored the visitors, 35-18, ending the afternoon with a 57-38 win.

Davis converted on two of her six three-point attempts in the game and led GCC in scoring with 12 points. Paige Hennings chipped in ten points and Dashawna Jenifer added six points and seven rebounds.

Genesee falls to 0-3 in conference play and are now 1-13 on the year. They will return home and host Alfred State on Tuesday night at 6pm.


In the men's game, Genesee held only one lead throughout the afternoon. E.J. Blackwell hit a first-possession three-pointer for the Cougars, who went up 3-0 just fifteen-seconds into the contest. The Thunderwolves quickly responded and took a 5-3 lead just two minutes later and did not look back.

Niagara out-rebounded Genesee 27-14 in the opening half and took advantage with ten second-chance points. They led 41-28 at halftime.

The Thunderwolves held the Cougars to under 22% shooting from the field in the second half and did not see their lead drop below ten. Their largest advantage came in the closing seconds when they took a 86-58 lead, which proved to be the final.

Despite their scoring troubles, Genesee saw three scorers reach double-figures. Terryl Coombs led the way with 15 points, Donte Meredith added 13 points and Joe Gray chipped in 12 points. Blackwell finished with seven points and also grabbed eight rebounds.

Genesee is now 0-3 in conference play and 9-10 overall on the season. They will host Alfred State on Tuesday night at 8pm.

January 17, 2013 - 12:10am
posted by Nick Sabato in basketball, sports, elba, byron, bergen.

In a meeting of cross-town rivals, Elba took down Byron-Bergen, 55-43.

The visiting Lancers used a 15-1 run, 11-1 to end the first half, to pull away from the Bees in a Genesee Region League matchup.

Elba, missing some players, was forced to insert new pieces into the starting lineup. One of those players was Dan Scott, who had a huge game, finishing with a career-high 25 points in the victory.

“It was a good time for him to step up,” said Elba Head Coach Mark Beehler. “Dan, not having a ton of starts this year, he really came through. I knew he was a good ball player, but he really took charge tonight.”

Byron-Bergen, who was also missing a few key players, found their offense when Ranjit Singh hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to single digits with two minutes to play in the third quarter, but Elba responded quickly to end the quarter with six straight points and would never look back.

“We were getting stops on defense and some steals, but we were getting anxious on offense and not taking our time,” Beehler said. “We just needed to slow down and run some offense, when we did that we started to get back on a roll.”

The matchup between schools 10 miles apart is also intriguing because they have merged in several other sports, including football. In fact, eight members of the football team were also members of the basketball team at each school.

“I think it’s fun for the kids to come here, and see their fellow football players and see familiar faces, but when it gets to the court, it’s game time and it’s cutthroat,” Beehler said. “It’s always good sportsmanship between the two schools and good camaraderie.”

One of those players, Nate Jonathan, helped pace Elba (7-5) with seven points and 10 rebounds. Meanwhile, Jesse Pflaumer added 15 points and eight rebounds for the Lancers, who currently own a three-game winning streak. 

Jeff Maskell had a team-high 11 points for Byron-Bergen, who falls to 2-9 on the season.

January 16, 2013 - 9:20am
posted by Andrew Crofts in basketball, GCC, sports.

Riding a three-game losing skid, the Genesee Community College men's basketball schedule did not get any easier on Tuesday night. The Monroe Community College Tribunes, the second-ranked team in the NJCAA Division II, came to town sporting a 14-2 record and proved why they are off to such a fast start this season.

MCC began the night on an 8-0 run and built a twenty-five point lead behind John Velez-Rivera's five first half three-pointers. He was a perfect 5-5 from beyond the arc in the opening half.

The Cougars were within four about ten minutes into the game before a Velez-Rivera layup sparked a 16-4 run to give the Tribunes control. MCC converted on ten first half three-pointers and led 54-29 at the break.

The second half was more of the same as Monroe cashed in five more times from long-range, upping their lead into the 40's for the later part of the game. The Tribunes would cruise to a 106-58 win.

E.J. Blackwell scored 18 points in the losing effort for GCC and Terryl Coombs added 16 points and nine rebounds.

Velez-Rivera finished with 23 points for MCC.

Genesee now drops to 0-2 in the conference and are 9-9 on the season. They will return to action on Saturday when they travel to Niagara County Community College for a 3pm start.



The Genesee Community College women's basketball team fell to conference rival and Division I opponent Monroe Community College on Tuesday night, 88-27.

Paige Hennings scored eleven points and also grabbed nine rebounds for GCC, but turnovers were once again an issue with the Lady Cougars. Monroe forced 31 turnovers on the night and capitalized with 49 points off of takeaways.

GCC was held to just nine points in the second half.

(#15 Dashawna Jenifer tries to work by an MCC defender)


Dashawna Jenifer chipped in nine points for Genesee, who falls to 0-2 in conference play and 1-12 on the season.

The Lady Cougars will return to conference action on Saturday afternoon when they travel to Niagara County Community College for a 1pm start.




January 4, 2013 - 2:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, elba, alexander.

With a record of 7-0, Alexander's girls were riding the high of a good start to a season.

Then they hit the brick wall of a team that hadn't lost its previous 31 games and are defending state champions, the Lady Lancers of Elba.

Keyed by McKenzie Bezon's 18 points, the Lancers, now 7-0 themselves, notched a decisive 57-31 at home.

Alexander Head Coach Marcia Hirsch wasn't too happy with her team's performance.

"We were playing a tough team," Hirsch said. "I expected my team to step up a little better. Our defense is the not the defense we’ve seen. They shut down all my scorers."

Her girls can expect to drill more on defense in the coming days and weeks, Hirsch said.

Elba's head coach, Tom Nowak, said in preparation for the game, his girls drilled on pressuring Alexander with an aggressive defense, forcing turnovers and limiting scoring, which is what they did Thursday.

And the team will continue to work on defense, he said.

"Hopefully, we can polish things up a bit," Nowak said. "You just keep playing. You never know where it's going to take you."

To go with her 18 points, McKenzie had six rebounds.

Kelsey Bezon had five rebounds and 11 points. Jamie Marshall had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Anna Dorman had seven points and five rebounds.

For Alexander, Sarah Loranty led the way with 13 points.

Next up, Elba hosts Bergen on Monday and Alexander plays in the Rotary Tournament at Genesee Community College on Tuesday.

December 18, 2012 - 7:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, Batavia Rotary Club, sports, alexander.

The Rotary Club of Batavia hosted its annual lunch kicking off its basketball tournament.

The 24th annual tournament will be Jan. 8 and 10 at GCC, game times of 6 and 7 p.m.

Photo above: Riley Norton, Notre Dame, senior, forward; Kaleigh Cicero, Perry, senior, guard; Tatyana Wayne, Batavia, senior, guard; and, Sarah Loranty, Alexander, senior, guard.

Below, Santa asks attendees to applaud for the coach with the best "do-rag." From left, Brent Gillette, Perry, Marcia Hirsch, Alexander, Dave Pero, Notre Dame, and Bill Wade, Batavia.

December 9, 2012 - 7:26pm
posted by Andrew Crofts in basketball, GCC, sports.


The Genesee Community College men's basketball team blew a 16-point second half lead, but came back to defeat visiting Community College of Rhode Island on Saturday night, 90-89 in overtime.

The Cougars held a 59-43 lead with fifteen minutes to play in the second half before CCRI went on a 32-15 run to take a 75-74 lead with three minutes left. Malik Brown then gave Genesee a 79-77 lead with a basket and a converted free-throw after a foul, but with 19 seconds left, Isaac Medeiros tied the game at 79 and sent it into an extra session.

In overtime, CCRI jumped out early but GCC reclaimed the lead on an EJ Blackwell three-pointer. Tied at 88 a piece with under a minute to go after a Donte Meredith three-pointer, the Knights grabbed a one-point advantage at the free-throw line, taking an 89-88 lead. The Cougars were able to tie the game at 89 on a Meredith free-throw, and with under one-second to play, Stanley Peacock gave Genesee a 90-89 lead after making one of two free-throws. A last second heave for CCRI went begging, and GCC escaped with the win.

(Stanley Peacock hits the game-winning free throw for GCC on Saturday night)


Blackwell finished the night with 20 points and nine assists, Meredith added 18 points, Vaughn Boler chipped in 15 points, Brown ended with 14 points and Terryl Coombs grabbed ten rebounds and added seven points.

The win improves Genesee to 6-4 on the season and the Cougars will take on ASA College tomorrow at 5pm in the final game of the Cougar Holiday Classic Tournament.



The Genesee Community College women's basketball team fell to ASA College on Saturday afternoon, in their first matchup of the Cougar Holiday Classic Tournament.

Dashawna Jenifer was the only Lady Cougar to reach double figures in scoring, finishing with 11 points and adding six rebounds.

Genesee trailed by ten at the break, 35-25. ASA held GCC to just 14 second half points and cruised to an 81-39 victory.

Paige Hennings finished with seven points and seven rebounds, Nanase Akagami added six points and Dominique Davis chipped in five points.

The loss drops Genesee to 0-7 on the season and the Lady Cougars will take on the Community College of Rhode Island tomorrow at 11am in their final game of the Cougar Holiday Classic Tournament.




Coming off of an overtime win against the Community College of Rhode Island last night, the Genesee Community College men’s basketball team again went to the final possession against ASA College on Sunday in the Cougar Holiday Classic, but this time came out on the losing end.

Vaugn Boler scored 18 first half points but the Cougars trailed by ten, 46-36 at the break.

GCC trailed by as many as 13 in the second half, but the Cougars battled and Donte Meredith sparked an 8-3 run with a three-pointer to get Genesee to within five at 61-56 with about ten minutes remaining.

GCC hung around and got to within one at 68-67 after a layup and free throw from E.J. Blackwell with five minutes left. The Cougars then took their first lead since the early part of the first half after Boler converted two free throws to put Genesee on top 71-70. Blackwell extended the lead to three with a jumper seconds later, but ASA answered with a three pointer to tie the game at 73.

Genesee had a 77-75 lead after two Denzel Thomas free throws, but the Avengers went on a 7-2 run in the final minute and a half and held an 82-79 lead with under ten seconds left.

The Cougars had one last chance coming out of a timeout, but could not find a look and fell to the visiting Avengers, 82-79.

(#11 Vaughn Boler scores two of his game-high 37 points in Sunday's loss to ASA)


Boler finished with a game-high and career-high 37 points. He also grabbed ten rebounds. Meredith tallied 16 points and was three of five from three-point range and Blackwell added 13 points.

The loss drops Genesee to 6-5 on the year and the Cougars will close out the first part of their season next Saturday, December 15th at home against St. John Fisher JV at 1pm.



The Genesee Community College women's basketball team fell to 0-8 on the season after falling to the Community College of Rhode Island, 105-47 on Sunday.

The Lady Knights took an early lead and did not trail in the game.

Nanase Akagami led the way for Genesee with 15 points and went four-of-seven from three-point range. Becky James added 11 points and Paige Hennings chipped in six points and also grabbed ten rebounds.

Genesee will not return to action until after the winter break when they travel to Cayuga Community College on January 4th.

December 7, 2012 - 12:54am
posted by Andrew Crofts in basketball, GCC, sports.

Vaughn Boler scored 30 points and grabbed ten rebounds for the first double-double of his collegiate career, but it was not enough on Thursday night as the Genesee Community College men’s basketball team fell to visiting Niagara College (Canada), 73-70.

Genesee faced a ten-point, 42-32 halftime deficit and could not draw much closer throughout the second period. They trailed at one point by as many as 18 when they were down 56-38 with about 15 minutes to play. It wasn’t until late in the half that the Cougars were able to apply pressure and cut into the Niagara lead. Having to put Niagara at the line, GCC capitalized on a couple of missed free throws and drew within three with less than thirty-seconds left. After two Knights missed free throws with less than twenty-seconds to go and trailing, 73-70, the Cougars had one last possession but could not get off a good shot, dropping their fourth game of the season and first at home.

(#11 Vaughn Boler goes up strong against three Niagara defenders on Thursday night)


Malik Brown finished the night with eleven points, Terryl Coombs added nine points and ten rebounds and Donte Meredith chipped in seven points and five assists.

The loss drops Genesee to 5-4 on the season and the Cougars will return to action in their holiday tournament, which begins on Saturday. They will host the Community College of Rhode Island at 8pm.



The Genesee Community College women’s basketball team struggled at home on Thursday night against visiting Niagara College of Canada, falling 73-40.

The Lady Cougars were led by Dashawna Jenifer who scored 16 points and collected 13 rebounds, but balanced scoring from the visitors was too much. Four Lady Knights reached double figures and Niagara held GCC to under 27% shooting on the night.

Dominique Davis added seven points for Genesee, Falesha Moultrie chipped in six and Becky James grabbed seven rebounds.

GCC falls to 0-6 on the season and will return to action on Saturday, in the Cougar Holiday Classic Tournament when they host ASA College at 4pm.

December 3, 2012 - 11:16am
posted by Nick Sabato in basketball, sports.

Alexander Trojans
Last Season: 8-11 (Lost in the first round of the Class C1 Playoffs)
Head Coach: Wayne Hanley

Alexander is coming off a losing season, but they have reason to be optimistic about the upcoming year. In particular, because they return 6-foot-5 forward Travis Schmeider.

Schmeider made his mark as possibly the top big man in the Genesee Region League last year, averaging 17 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. He was also an inside-out threat, connecting on 17 three-point field goals. Being so multidimensional, makes him difficult for opposing forwards to guard him.

The Trojans will miss Stef Krna’s 10 points and 7 rebounds per game, but they do return several other players who played significant minutes last winter. Guard Mark Farnsworth returns after averaging 7.8 points and 3.8 assists per game, and will run the offense for Wayne Hanley’s team. Also look for guard Louis Breton to take a bigger role this season.

Batavia Blue Devils
Last Season: 14-6 (Lost in the Class A Quarterfinals)
Head Coach: Buddy Brasky

After being ousted in the second round of the Class A playoffs last year, Batavia has strong reason to be optimistic about the upcoming season. They return four out of five starters, including leading scorers Justin Washington and Jalen Smith.

Washington was an All-Monroe County selection last year after posting 18 points per game and 8 rebounds per game. He is a do-it-all forward that can score inside and out, rebound and handle the ball in space. Meanwhile, Smith was a second-team All-County pick and is capable of playing both guard positions and has a soft touch from beyond the three-point arc. He gives them a solid one-two punch after scoring 17 per game a year ago.

Jamesson Etienne gives Buddy Brasky’s team a solid inside presence that allowed Washington to play on the perimeter at times last year, while Jake Brasky returns to run the offense at the point guard position. Malachi Chenault gave the Blue Devils a solid backup in the post after being called up from JV as an eighth-grader near the end of the season, and expect him to continue to grow as a full-time varsity player this year. Justice Fagan will provide more depth at guard after leading Batavia’s JV team in scoring last winter.

Byron-Bergen Bees
Last Season: 5-14 (Lost in the first round of the Class C1 Playoffs)
Head Coach: Pat McGee

Byron-Bergen faced hard times last season, winning only five games. However, this year they return the majority of their players, and Head Coach Pat McGee feels that his team has the potential to be the best that the school has had since winning the Genesee Region League in 2005.

Jeff and Jamie Maskell, who combined to average 9 assists per game a year ago, return to run the offense for the Bees and will share time at the point guard position. Austin Richardson returns as the leading scorer from the 2011-12 squad, averaging 14 points per contest. Zach DuBois, who was one of the top football players in the GR League this season, will be called upon to guard the opposing team’s best player once again this season.

The key player for Byron-Bergen will be junior Dajuandrick Gardner. The 6-foot-6 center has the potential to be a force in the middle for the Bees. Last season he averaged 12 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks per game as a sophomore. Gardner could be one of the top big men in the league if he continues to build on his success from a year ago. 

“We have gotten off to a great start and our expectations are high this year,” McGee said. “We think we can win our side of the league this year.” 

Elba Lancers
Last Season: 18-3 (Lost in the Class D1 Championship Game)
Head Coach: Mark Beehler

The Elba Lancers are coming off a superb 2011-12 season, as they reached the Class D1 Championship Game for the first time since 2005. However, Head Coach Mark Beehler will have to replace his top four scorers from a year ago, including the Ramsey triplets. One of the Ramsey’s led the Lancers in almost every statistical category, including Dan, who was a career 1,000-point scorer.

Nate Jonathan is the lone returning starter for Elba, but he has a chance to be one of the top post players in the Genesee Region League. At 6-foot-2, 240 pounds, Jonathan was able to carve out space in the paint at times this year and will be called upon to do so more often this season.

Zac Gillard and Andy Boyce saw solid playing time a season ago, while Jesse Pflaumer, Brandon Naylor and Dan Scott got significant minutes as sophomores. Each player will be expected to take a bigger role this season.

“If we want to compete in against the top teams this year, we will need to battle on defense and limit our opponent’s scoring,” Beehler said.

Each of Elba’s three losses came at the hands of Notre Dame last year.

Le Roy Oatkan Knights
Last Season: 2-18 (Lost in the Class C1 Quarterfinals)
Head Coach: John King

Le Roy went through some growing pains last season, managing only one win during the regular season. However, the Knights showed solid improvement as the season went along, upsetting Alexander in the first round of sectionals and coming up one point short in the Class C1 quarterfinals to Pembroke. This season, John King’s squad returns nine players, including four starters from last year’s team. They will be a senior-laden team that has a chance to make some noise in the Livingston County League. 

Eric Witkowski returns after leading the Knights in scoring a year ago. The 6-foot-3 senior forward averaged 12.7 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks per game last season and should be a force in the middle. Marcus Mistersaro also returns to play alongside Witkowski in the frontcourt. Mistersaro led Le Roy in rebounding at 8 per game and also added 2.1 steals per contest. The backcourt will be led by junior Zach Moore, who was second on the team in scoring a year ago with 8 points per game. He will play alongside freshman Ethan Witkowski. 

“We have a great group of young men who have been working very hard,” said King, who is in his eleventh season as head coach. “With senior leadership and additions from JV’s, the team has made a commitment to working together and sacrificing individual success for team success.”

Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Last Season: 22-2 (Lost in the Class D State Semi-finals)
Head Coach: Mike Rapone

Last season Notre Dame won sectionals for the first time since their state championship team of 2001. However, the Fighting Irish return only two starters from their team that reached the New York State Class D Semi-finals, but both of those players (Tim McCulley and Jared Thornton) were not only all-league selections, but all-state picks as well. They will both need to be big contributors as ND moves up to Class C1 this season.

McCulley and Thornton were also Mike Rapone’s leading scorers last year. McCulley, a junior, is a superb all-around player who averaged 16.1 points, 5.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game. Thornton, also a solid well-rounded player, averaged 16.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.3 steals per game, while connecting on 61 3-point field goals last year.  

Replacing three starters will be the key this year for Notre Dame, but they have some talented players to do so. Tommy Prospero, a transfer from Batavia, is an extremely versatile player who provides length and is a strong 3-point shooter. Ryan Bender will attempt to replace Sectional MVP Zach Hotze in the middle, and displayed great potential as the team’s sixth man a season ago. Bender will be an important asset, as Rapone listed how well his team plays against teams with strong inside players as a key to his team’s success. Vincent Misiti rounds out the starting five, and will provide a luxury as he can play both guard positions.

“This group has the talent to be both a GR pision 2, as well as a Class C1 title contender,” Rapone said. “If they develop a consistent work ethic, continue to grow and improve as individuals and as a team, we will be able to make big plays at the right time.”

Oakfield-Alabama Hornets
Last Season: 6-13 (Lost in the First Round of the Class C2 Playoffs)
Head Coach: Gary Kurkowski

While Oakfield-Alabama finished with a 6-13 record last season, they did have some moments to build off of. The Hornets played Elba, who had only two losses in the league, to a 10-point margin. While their signature win came early in the season, as they trounced Pembroke on the road, 71 to 29. 

This season, Gary Kurkowski’s team returns only two players with experience a year. Austin Hamm and Nate Nodlinksi will be called upon for their experience and leadership on a roster that features only two seniors (one being Hamm). Oakfield has seven juniors and a sophomore, Ryan Emery, that will play major roles in the upcoming year. Chris Nanni and Chase Manzella are coming off of stellar football seasons and should provide the Hornets with some toughness. 

“The G-R League will be highly competitive in both divisions,” Kurkowski said. “It is our hope that through hard work and game experience we will improve daily and be a formidable opponent for all on a nightly basis.”

Pembroke Dragons
Last Season: 14-7 (Lost in the Class C1 Championship Game)
Head Coach: Ron Funke

Pembroke surprised many people last season by reaching the Class C1 title game, and even having an opportunity to win the game. Coach Ron Funke’s team last year was extremely senior-laden, with 8 of 11 players on the roster graduating last summer. 

This season’s Dragons will only return two players who received significant playing time a year ago. Point Guard Colin Lewis started nine games and guard Dan Hill saw spot minutes behind Caleb Lang and Wyatt Chittenden. This year both players will be forced to be key contributors for Pembroke to have any success. 

“Duplicating last season’s success will be a stretch,” Funke said. “We will be scrappy and attempt to be competitive in our division, but we are a work in progress.” 

Austin Cansdale moves up from JV and will see extensive action, as well as sophomore Abe Lang, brother of Caleb. The Dragons also have several players who haven’t played basketball since modified.

June 22, 2012 - 12:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports.

Former Batavia High School basketball player Jerry Smith is bringing blacktop basketball back to Williams Park with a 3-on-3 tournament June 30.

Williams said it's been a few years since the park hosted such tournaments, but he remembers them from his youth and thinks area players should get the same opportunity.

As many as 35 teams, or more, are expected to participate, coming from not just Batavia, Elba and Le Roy, but also Buffalo, Lockport, Perry, Medina and other towns in the region.

"It's some of the best competition around," Smith said.

The cost is $50 per team and teams can consist of as many as five players.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. and play begins at 9 a.m.

For more information, call Smith at (585) 993- 3342 or email him at [email protected]

Proceeds will benefit Franchise Basketball of Rochester, an Amateur Athletic Union team and help send the team to Las Vegas in July for a tournament. Local team members include Jalen Smith, Tommy Prospero, Justin Washington and Jered Thornton.

Photo: Jalen Smith, Justice Fagan and Josh Johnson.

March 20, 2012 - 8:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports.

2012 March Madness 8TH Grade Champions
White team standing from left to right: Greg Mruczeck, Mike Rose, Matt Roach, Coach Alex Brasky, Xavier Green, Nashiem Harris, Coach Cam McDonald
Kneeling from Left to Right. Andrew Mruczek, Alex Candy, Tyler Prospero, Adonis Davis.

2012 Rochester Bash Tourney 8th Grade Champions
Blue team standing from left to right: Xavier Green, Terrell Mapes, Coach Alex Brasky, Jacob Schrider, Greg Mruczeck, Nashiem Harris
Kneeling from Left to Right. Mike Rose, Alex Candy, Tyler Prospero, Adonis Davis. Andrew Mruczek

Info and photos submitted by Joseph Prospero.

March 19, 2012 - 9:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, elba.

Cheering, chanting, hugs and tears of joy were all part of a big celebration in Elba last night as the Lady Lancers brought home their Class D State Champions trophy.

"It’s amazing," said Meg Stucko. "It’s like  the best day of my life. I never thought the whole community would come together like this. It’s really awesome."

The whole community could celebrate together because the community won together.

Head Coach Tom Nowak praised dozens of volunteers, from scorekeepers to parents who traveled the state to videotape potential opponents in tournament games, along with all the fans who turned out to support the girls.

“They say it takes a whole community to raise a child,” Nowak said. “It takes a whole community to raise a state champion.”

The celebration in the gym followed a lights and sirens escort by the Elba Volunteer Fire Department through the village.

MacKenzie Bezon, who was Most Valuable Player of the title game, was amazed by the public's response.

"I can’t believe our community did this," Bezon said. "It’s not like just we won the championship. It’s the whole town. I just can’t believe it happened. We’ve been working so hard. I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was a dream."

Nowak said he was exceptionally proud that the Lady Lancers, who knew what to do, executed the game plan and their plays, and stayed in control.

"This is the most composed group of young ladies I've ever been associated with," Nowak said. "I was able to relax because I knew what they could do on the court."

After explaining the story because somebody told him recently "Coach, nobody is perfect," Nowak ended his remarks to thunderous applause when he said, "Right now and forever, these girls are a perfect 25-0."

If you're unable to view the slide show, click here. To purchase photos, click here.

March 18, 2012 - 1:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, elba.

The Elba Lady Lancers finish out 2012 with a perfect 25-0 season and a state championship after a win at Hudson Valley Community College today.

Elba beat Argyle High School 48--34 to take the team's first-ever state title.

Yesterday, Elba beat #1 seed South Kortright in the Class D semi-final to move on to today's final game.

McKenzie Bezon was named MVP and Meg Stucko was named to the All-Star Team. Kelsey Bezon won the Sportsmanship Award.

March 16, 2012 - 1:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, Notre Dame.

Sackets Harbor beat Notre Dame today in the semi-finals of the boys basketball tournament in Glens Falls.

The final score: 50 to 40.

It's only the second loss of the season for the Fighting Irish, who won their first Section V title since 2001 and the Western Regional title.

March 11, 2012 - 1:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, elba.

The plan against Clymer, Elba Head Coach Tom Nowak said, was to play a fast-paced game and wear down the Clymer girls.

"We felt with them not having a lot of depth -- they didn't use a lot of depth during the season -- that we thought we would just try to up-tempo the game a little bit," Nowak said. "We thought that might create some turnovers and down the stretch maybe not be as effective on offense."

The strategy paid off and Clymer was just 3-14 from the floor in the final quarter, allowing the Lady Lancers to pull away with a 53-37 victory and a slot in the state Class D championship final four.

Clymer features some height and athleticism down front, and center Meg Stucko said the Lancers prepared well for what they were going to face.

"We practiced a lot all week for their forwards," Stucko said. "We kind of knew what they were going to do and what we were going to do, so we were ready for it."

Forced turnovers kind of told the story of the game, with Elba's defense taking the ball away a number of times, especially on transitions.

Nowak said, "that's kind of our bread and butter."

Elba is now 23-0 on the season and will face South Kortright (22-0), the state's top-ranked Class D team at 9 a.m. March 17 at Hudson Valley Community College.

"We’re all really excited because we all really want to go to state so bad," Stucko said. "That’s what we’re most excited about, just the chance to be in the state final four is really awesome."

Prints of photos from the game can be purchase by clicking here.

If you can't view the slide show below, click here.

March 11, 2012 - 10:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, Notre Dame.

Sparked by Tim McCulley, who scored 21 points, and Doane McCulley, who added 16, the Fighting Irish advanced to the state semi-finals Saturday with a win over Panama in a Western Regional Championship match in Buffalo.

Notre Dame won 62-51.

On Friday, the Irish will face Sackets Harbor in a state semi-finals match at the Glens Falls Civic Center.

Photos from the game by Bare Antolos.

Top photo is of Doane McCulley.

Tim McCulley

Jared Thornton

Jared Midwick

Zach Hotze

March 10, 2012 - 1:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, Notre Dame.

The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame beat the Section VI champion, Panama, on Saturday by a score of 62-51 and will now advance to the state championship semi-final round.

Doane McCulley was named player of the game.

We anticipate having some pictures from the game to publish later.

March 4, 2012 - 8:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports, elba, Notre Dame.

For the third time in three meetings in 2012, Notre Dame beat Elba in boys basketball, but this time the game determined the Class D1 Section V champion.

It's the first sectional win for Notre Dame since 2001.

"They all laugh at me because I always say, 'you gotta dance with the girl you brought,' " said Coach Mike Rapone. "That's an old-timers saying, but we're not going to change anything. We're going to do what got us here."

After two previous meetings, both teams had to make adjustments, Rapone said.

"I give Elba a lot of credit," Rapone said. "They knew what we wanted to do and took a lot away from us."

Notre Dame (20-1) took a lead early, and though Elba (18-3) was often nipping at their lead, it wasn't until 3:42 left in the game that the Lancers held a 40-39 lead.

But after Doane McCulley hit a lay up and Zach Hotze sunk a three-pointer, Notre Dame didn't look back, holding on for a 50-45 point victory.

Zach Hotze and Tim McCulley had 16 points each for the Fighting Irish. Jared Thornton added 12 points.

"We're fortunate we hit our big shots when we had to," Rapone said.

One of the goals of the Irish, Rapone said, was to take the three-point play away from Dan Ramsey, whom Rapone said is one of the most consistent three-point shooters in the section.

Dan Ramsey was held to eight points for the game.

For the Lancers, Matt Ramsey had 14 points, Mike Ramsey nine. Mike Ramsey added nine rebounds.

The historic back-to-back championship match-ups between Elba and Notre Dame, with the Elba girls defeating the Notre Dame girls Friday night, was big for both schools.

"I don’t think it gets any better in small-school basketball than Notre Dame and Elba," Rapone said.

It's been a fun season at Notre Dame, according to Rapone, between the two basketball teams and the hockey team winning its Section V championship last week (the Irish skaters lost a regional playoff game Saturday night).

"We have a lot of school spirit and it’s been the most amazing winter ever," Rapone said. "I mean, the girls play for a championship, the boys make that miraculous run in hockey, everybody’s on cloud nine."

The Irish will face DeSales in a regional playoff game on Tuesday night.

If you have trouble viewing the slide show, click here.

To purchase prints of the photos, click here.


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