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

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

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

The program will emphasize offensive skill development.

The cost is $125.

It is sponsored by the Basketball Booster Club.

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

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

July 20, 2014 - 11:51pm

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

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

July 20, 2014 - 11:12pm

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

To purchase prints, click here.

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

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

Here are pictures from two of the afternoon games.

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

To purchase prints of photos click here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The winners will receive champion T-shirts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coaching at John Kennedy were Tom Redband and Matt Shay.

Yesterday: Photos: Summer basketball camp under way in Batavia

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

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

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

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

The camp runs through Aug. 15.

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information and the registration form, click here.

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

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

The camp is open to both boys and girls.

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

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

Players will practice, learn about and be drilled on:

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

The registration deadline is June 15.

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

May 15, 2014 - 5:14pm

Press release:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 2, 2014 - 10:06pm

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

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

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

Press release:

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 18, 2014 - 9:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports.

A group of fifth- and sixth-grade girls are about to embark on a new adventure -- playing in a basketball tournament in another state for the first time.

The Thunder are a new girls basketball team aimed at giving the young players off-season experience and practice.

Coach Otis Thomas said the girls are really dedicated to the sport.

"We look pretty good," he said. "They work hard. Very enthusiastic. Great bunch of girls. Very disciplined. Just to have them in the gym now when it's softball season and baseball season shows how dedicated they are."

The nucleus of the Thunder is the Batavia Middle School team.

They will play in the King James Shooting Stars Classic (sponsored by Lebron James) in Ohio next week.

Pictured, from left, first row: Nya Thomas, Morgan Rohdes, Mckenzie Riegle, Brynn Wormley, Emily Janes, Kennedy Kolb, Destiny Griffin. Not pictured are Mia Rhinehart, Bella Phillips, Hailey Thornley, Nashiya Rhimm.

The team's sponsors are Big Pauly's Pizza and NYSCOPBA.

March 18, 2014 - 3:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports, weather, Williams Park.

It almost felt like a spring day today, with a high 40, but the cold and snow isn't necessarily over for March.

Still, the weather was good enough to entice Ray Williams and Joe Watts to Williams Park.

"We wanted to the first to hoop at Williams," Watts said. "We've been playing here since we were little."

It's NCAA Tournament time, March Madness, and neither Williams nor Watts are wedded to any teams as potential champions, but Williams went with Syracuse and Watts picked Louisville to take the national title.

March 7, 2014 - 7:09pm
posted by Nick Sabato in basketball, sports, high school sports, Notre Dame.

Saturday’s New York State Class D Far West Regional contest will feature two programs that are no stranger to the magnitude of the game.

Notre Dame is appearing in the Far West Regional for the sixth time in school history, and the second in three years. Meanwhile, Sherman will be representing Section VI for the second-straight year.

While Sherman returns their top three scorers from the team that fell to University Prep a year ago, Notre Dame has a vastly different look from the team that advanced to the state semifinals in 2012.

Tim McCulley started in 2012 as a sophomore, but he is the lone returning player from that team. But, the Fighting Irish may not need to rely on his experience too heavily.

“They’re always talking to him about this and that,” said Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Rapone. “They’re going to use him, but they are experienced enough now that they should be ready to go.”

The Wildcats will look to continue to rely on their hot play over the course of the season, along with their experience from a year ago.

“We lost to U-Prep last year in this game,” said Sherman Head Coach Cory Emory. “But we returned pretty much our whole team, and we worked hard in the off-season. We had a lot of games that were close and then we had a run and were able to stretch the lead.”

Both teams come in on a roll, as the Fighting Irish have won 10 straight games, and 15 out of 16 since the New Year, while the Wildcats come in 20-1 on the season and are winners of nine in a row.

Notre Dame will undoubtedly be led by McCulley, who is averaging 23.7 points per game, 8.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.8 steals and two blocks per game this season, but as of late he is getting some help from his teammates.

While McCulley has reached 20 points in each of the last 12 games, senior Alec Covel has been in double figures in six straight to give the Irish another scoring threat.

“[McCulley] scores points so many ways,” Rapone said. “With Covel stepping up and becoming more assertive on the offensive end, it takes away those junk defenses that teams play against us.”

Unlike Notre Dame, Sherman will not rely on their interior play, but with the play of their guards.

Senior guards Andrew Graham and Ryan Robson are the team’s leading scorers for the second-straight year, with Graham averaging 14.8 points per game and Robson averaging 12.8.

“We could be a little contrasting in playing style to Notre Dame,” Emory said. “We aren’t very tall and we like to press in order to take advantage of our quickness.”

Their top inside player, Jake Card, only stands 6-foot-2 and comes in averaging 9.5 points per game and 9.1 rebounds per game.

Many people may remember Sherman from a season ago, as their girl’s squad fell to Notre Dame in the Far West Regional.

They also may remember some controversial comments from Sherman girls' coach and athletic director Mel Swanson, who expressed his displeasure with private schools playing public schools following the game.

''It is tough. It's an inequality,” said Swanson of Notre Dame. “Their players played hard and they were very good players and they did great things with the basketball. But when you're a small school like ours that graduates 30-something kids and you have to compete at that level it's just such a different field they get to draw from."

It’s an ongoing debate statewide, as Section VI does not allow private schools to participate in sectionals. However, Emory does not care who his boys play.

“Whoever we end up playing is who we end up playing,” Emory said. “Is it fair? That’s up for debate. You can go around and around on that topic. But we play who we play, and at this level, whoever we play is probably going to be pretty good.”

Rapone and the Fighting Irish will be focusing on how to stop the Wildcats on Saturday, and advance to Glens Falls.

“They have been there once before and have the experience,” Rapone said. “They use a lot of presses and a lot of traps. It’s something we haven’t seen a lot of, so we will have to get to work on that so everyone knows what their job is.”

Notre Dame and Sherman will square off on Saturday at Buffalo State College for the opportunity to advance to the state semifinals in Glens Falls. Tip-off is scheduled for noon.

March 5, 2014 - 8:49am
posted by Nick Sabato in basketball, sports, high school sports, Notre Dame.

They say that championship teams peak at the right time of the year.

It’s March and things are coming together at the right time for Notre Dame, with one game separating them and a trip to Glens Falls after a 67-34 victory over Houghton Academy in the Section V consolidation game.

“The last six or seven games have been our best games of the season,” said Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Rapone. “That’s what you want. Hopefully the peak is going up and we don’t hit a plateau.”

One player that seems to be peaking is senior Alec Covel.

After reaching double-digits just once in the first 16 games of the season, Covel has scored in double figures in each of the last six contests.

In Saturday’s Class D1 final, Covel scored 11 points in the third quarter to help seal the win, but tonight he started the game hot to give his team the momentum.

“He’s been a work in progress all year,” said Rapone. “I’ve been trying to make him believe that he’s as good as I think he is. Now, he’s not hesitating. He got us started tonight. I’m glad to see him playing well.”

The senior forward got the Irish going, scoring seven of his 12 points in the first quarter as they used a 12-3 run to start the game.

“I haven’t been hesitating to let it go,” Covel said. “It just seems to be going down.”

Notre Dame jumped out to a 34-15 lead at halftime and cruised to the easy win.

Tim McCulley had another stellar game despite a slow start.

After going just 1-for-5 from the field for three points in the first quarter, McCulley slowly came alive to finish with a game-high 24 points.

“Their game plan was to keep him out of the lane,” said Rapone of McCulley. “He won’t force it. He just waits for them to clear and steps back. The one thing that he does that a lot of high school kids have lost is his pull-up jump shot. It just gives him another weapon.”

The senior reached the 20-point mark for the 14th straight game and surpassed 500 points for the season. He also added 12 rebounds, two steals and two blocks.

First-year senior center Charlie Herbert once again had a monster night on the boards, collecting 16 rebounds, with six coming on the offensive end as Notre Dame out-rebounded Houghton 50-23 for the game.

“He’s the difference between us being good and very good,” Rapone said of Herbert. “It gives us flexibility and substitution. At the beginning of the year I thought if we got three or four minutes out of him we’d be good. He’s so athletic and he’s like a sponge. Every time you tell him something he just soaks it up.”

Derek Brooks scored 18 points and grabbed five rebounds for Houghton Academy (12-11).

Notre Dame (19-3) advances to the Far West Regional to take on Section VI representative Sherman (20-1).

The Wildcats are outscoring their opponents by an average of 63 to 42 this season and are led by guard Andrew Graham (14.8 points per game) and Ryan Robson (12.8 points per game).

Sherman fell to University Prep in the Far West Regional last season 71-55.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame is making their sixth appearance in this game in school history, and last time was in 2012.

The game will take place Saturday at Buffalo State College, with tip-off set for noon.

Photos by Howard Owens

To order prints, click here (also, we've added a new product to the mix -- you can now order photo books of pictures from the complete gallery).

March 2, 2014 - 11:46pm
posted by Nick Sabato in batavia, basketball, sports, high school sports.

After losing five starters from last year’s state semi-final team, not many people expected Batavia to reach the sectional finals this season…but they did.

Unfortunately, the magic ran out in the Class A2 at Blue Cross Arena tonight, as Geneva rolled to a 63-30 win.

The Blue Devils never led in the contest, as the Panthers dominated from start to finish.

“They’re very good, they have a lot of weapons,” said Batavia Head Coach Buddy Brasky. “Their game plan was good. They sat a few guys in the paint, and whenever Justice (Fagan) and Jeff (Redband) would get by their man, there would be two more waiting for them.”

Batavia hung tough in the first quarter, trailing by just five. But the second quarter was all Geneva.

The Panthers outscored the Blue Devils 17-3 in the frame and cruised into halftime with a 30-11 lead.

Batavia struggled to find their shot all night, as Redband scored all 11 of the team’s points in the first half and the team shot just 32 percent from the field for the game.

Geneva also cleaned the glass with ease all night, keeping Batavia without an offensive rebound until midway through the third quarter as James Sims Jr. and Terrell Johnson Jr. had their way.

“They were bigger and stronger than we were,” Brasky said. “They doubled our rebounding total; they killed us on the boards. They played better than us in every facet of the game.”

While Sims and Johnson took care of business inside, that left Steven Dolgos open all night and he responded with a season-high 19 points.

“Our concern was keeping Johnson and Sims away from the basket,” Brasky said. “We wanted to close out short and sag in to keep them away from the basket. He took advantage of what we were giving him.”

Dolgos was name tournament MVP after going 5-of-8 from behind the three-point arc.

While Redband had a respectable game, scoring 16 points, Justice Fagan never got going.

The senior who has been reliable all season long, was held to just five points on 2-of-7 shooting by Geneva’s Akia Johnson.

“He did a nice job, but it was more than just him,” Brasky said. “Any time Justice beat him, they had an extra guy standing right in the lane. They weren’t guarding a couple of our guys; they just stood them in the lane, so it was tough for Justice to get to the basket.”

Despite a tough end to the season, Batavia far surpassed many expectations from the start of the season.

“They’re a great group of kids,” Brasky said. “They were a true team, they played their role. We had no problems; they did everything I asked them to do. All they wanted to do was win. If they didn’t play their roles like that, they wouldn’t have gone to a sectional final this year. My hat is off to my team and I’m very proud to be their coach.”

Batavia finishes the season 14-6, while Geneva (19-2) advances to play Rochester East in the Class A regional play-in game.

Photos by Howard Owens.

To purchase prints, click here.

March 2, 2014 - 5:07pm
posted by Andrew Crofts in basketball, GCC, sports.

Monroe Community College, the no. 14 team in the country, will represent Region III in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II men's basketball district tournament next weekend after the top-seed in the regional tournament knocked off third seed (no. 19 nationally ranked) Genesee Community College in the Region III title game on Sunday, 79-74.

Genesee went back and forth with the host team to open the first half as Ervin Mitchell and Naquil Jones combined to score 18 of the first 22 points for the Cougars. With 7:40 to play in the half, Monroe took the first stretch-lead of the game at 28-22 and the Tribunes did not look back.

MCC held a lead as large as nine in the opening period and took an eight-point lead into halftime after the Tribunes converted on a last-second 3-point basket.

Monroe extended its lead in the second half to as much as 15 at the 8:40 mark when the Tribunes held a 63-47 advantage.

Genesee cut the deficit to single digits after Jones scored six in a row and got GCC to within 70-65 with 1:45 remaining.

A four-point play increased the Monroe lead back to nine with 1:22 left, but after a three-point play from Mitchell and two successful trips to the free-throw line (4-4) from Jones, the Cougars were down 76-72 with 11.6 seconds left.

Forced to foul, GCC put Monroe at the free-throw line and the Tribunes iced the game with late conversions.

Jones finished with a game high 33 points for Genesee and he also grabbed seven rebounds. Mitchell added 19 points and eight boards, Alastair Cole chipped in nine points and Da'Shawn Suber collected seven rebounds and dished out three assists.

Mitchell and Jones were both named to the All-Tournament Team.

The Cougars finish the season with a 23-8 overall record. Monroe will travel to Dean Community College next weekend for the district tournament and a trip to the NJCAA National Tournament on the line.

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.

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