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March 19, 2010 - 9:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports.

It's Friday, and it's a big night out for the Batavia Blue Devils.

Buddy Brasky's team plays a semi-final state championship tournament game at 8:30 p.m. in Glens Falls.

If the Blue Devils beat Section 3 champion Westhill (20-2), Batavia (20-3) will play for the Class B state championship on Saturday at 9 p.m.

Tonight's game will be broadcast live on WBTA.

Should the Blue Devils advance, The Batavian will cover the championship game on Saturday. T.F. Brown's is sponsoring the coverage (we can accept two more sponsors to help cover the cost of our trip, so if any businesses want to be a sponsor, let me know today).

March 14, 2010 - 12:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports, elba.

Batavia boys and Elba girls, each played close games on Saturday, but Batavia will advance to the next round of the state tournament while Elba's impressive season comes to a close.

The Blue Devils (20-3) locked in a 40-38 victory over Olean at Buffalo State when Andrew Hoy sunk two free throws with 32 seconds left to play. A desperation 3-point try by Ryan Carney for Olean (20-3) came up short.

Later Saturday at Gates-Chili, Elba fell to Clymer, 39-36.

Elba finishes the season with a 22-1 record.

McKenzie Bezon led the Lancers with 9 points.

Saturday, Andrew Hoy knocked down 14 points and Josh Budlong added 10. Coco Irvin and Justin Washington each had 8.

Batavia's next game is in Glens Falls at 8:30 p.m., Friday against Section III champion Westville (20-2). If the Blue Devils beat Westville, the state championship for Class B will be played at 9 p.m., Saturday in Glens Falls.

March 11, 2010 - 8:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports.

After beating Wellsville (17-5) at the Blue Cross Arena last night 64-41, the Batavia Blue Devils advance to the Far West Regional title game.

Batavia will play Olean (20-2) at 4 p.m., Saturday, at Buffalo State College.

Co Co Irvin led the Blue Devils with 19 points. Andrew Hoy and Josh Budlong each added 15 points. Justin Washington scored nine points and had 11 rebounds. Budlong had 5 three-point goals.

March 8, 2010 - 10:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, elba.


Sparked by a freshman, the Lady Lancers remained unbeaten and clinched a spot in the state tournament Monday night beating a tough Canaseraga team 61-54.

Freshman McKenzie Bezon scored 29 points for Elba (22-0). She hit five three-point goals on the night.

"We got a great game from McKenzie tonight," said Head Coach Tom Nowak. "For a freshman, that was unbelievable."

It's a good thing, as Cassy Engle of Canaseraga (18-4) scored 34, to keep her team within striking distance of the Section V champions until the closing seconds of the Class D qualifying match.

"We tried to be able to run and push them as much as we could this game because we knew with our bench, hopefully we could try to tire them out a little bit," Nowak said. "I give them a lot of credit, they played hard the whole game."

Nowak said one of the keys to locking down the win was the team making the most of its free throws in the closing minutes of the game.

Elba returns to the Gate-Chili gym on Saturday to play in the first round of the State Championship tournament.

A couple of more pictures after the jump (BTW: I pretty much missed most of this game, having put a little too much trust in my GPS -- Gates-Chili is at 2 Spartan Road, but there's two 2 Spartan Roads in Rochester, as I discovered ... I went to the one 20 minutes past the actual location ... sadly).

March 6, 2010 - 1:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, Notre Dame.


Late in the third quarter, the Fighting Irish seemed to have their Section V title game well in hand.

And then something strange happened.

The baskets stopped dropping, and turnovers and penalties all seemed to take a Fillmore tilt.

With seconds left in the third, Notre Dame turned over the ball and Fillmore struck for a quick three points, cutting the Irish lead from nine to six.

"The little things ad up," said head coach Mike Rapone. "They did the little things better in about the last 12 minutes of the game."

The game changer, Rapone said, was a six-minute stretch in which the Irish didn't drop a single shot.

"I don’t think we scored from 33-24 until they actually took the lead," Rapone said. "We had a long scoring drought. I thought we were getting decent shots, they just weren’t falling. That happens."

To start the fourth quarter, Fillmore hit two three-point goals, tying the game, and another three-pointer gave Fillmore a lead that Notre Dame would never get back.

The fourth quarter ended in a tie, putting the game into overtime, but Fillmore struck quickly and held the lead through the final four minutes.

"I feel bad for the kids because they’ve been so close in football and now basketball," Rapone said.

Fillmore was sparked in the 4th quarter by Chase Rangel, who came off the bench and scored 14 points, including 4 three-point goals.  He added another key three-point goal in the 4th quarter.

Vinny Zambito led Notre Dame with 13 points, Gianni Zambito, 11, Matt Thompson, 9, and Tom Rapone, 6.

More pictures after the jump:

March 6, 2010 - 2:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports.


Thirteen and under. Thirteen and under. It's the phrase that Batavia Head Coach Buddy Brasky has pounded into the head of his players all season. Just hold the opponent to 13 or fewer points per quarter, and you're going to win basketball games.

Friday night at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, it was more like 10 and under as the Blue Devils secured a Section V title with a 65-38 victory over #3 seed Livonia.

It was the first time in four Section V titles for Batavia under the leadership of Brasky that an opponent was held to fewer than 40 points.

More significantly, it is the first time in Batavia history that a varsity basketball team won back-to-back Section V titles.

"All the alumni, all of them that talk, but we’ve got that on them," said Junior Andrew Hoy. "They all had sectional titles, but we got two."

Hoy, who got to 1,000 career points, scored faster than any player in Batavia history, with 11 against Livonia and was named the tournament's MVP.

But for all of his offensive prowess, after the game, Hoy talked about defense.

"Defense got us the win," Hoy said. "Coach told us if we hold them to 13 and under per quarter we’d get the win, we would be sectional champs. We came out in the third quarter and won that quarter 25-2."

Their lopsided quarter allowed Batavia to run away with the game. After falling behind 13-0 against Batavia to start in the first quarter, Livonia was never really able to get into the game. The squad never pulled closer than 8 points.

"I showed them the past sectional championship pictures and I showed them score boards, because I always take a picture of the score board if we win and I hang it up in the trophy case, and all the scores were in the 40s for the other teams," Brasky said. "This the first year we got them under 40. We got them at 38, so they were pretty excited about that."

Coach Brasky gave credit to Josh Budlong for the quick start. Budlong finished the game with 21 points. Co Co Irvin scored 15 and Justin Washington added 8.

Bobby Schuster was the leading scorer for Livonia with 18 points. He was the only Livonia player to reach double digits.

The Sportsmanship Award went to Lou Stoller.

Batavia players who made the All-Tournament Team were Washington, Irvin, Budlong and Hoy.

Next, on Wednesday Batavia plays the qualifying game for the state championship series.

UPDATE: More pictures after the jump (nearly 70 more)



More Pictures:

March 4, 2010 - 9:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports, Notre Dame, Mike Rapone.


The first thing Mike Rapone wanted to do after Notre Dame notched a Section V playoff victory Wednesday night in Gainsville was find his daughter.

They embraced at center court and fans, friends and family gathered round.

When the Rapones moved over closer to a sign bearing the numbers 546, Mike Rapone looked up at the crowd, still holding his daughter close, and for a second, the emotion of the moment was clear in his eyes and a quivering lip.

With a 60-41 victory over Arkport, the Fighting Irish clinched the final spot in the Section V Class D1 championship, and Mike Rapone became the all-time wins leader in Section V boys basketball.

"(The record) means a lot to me because it means so much to the people I coached over the years," Rapone said. "So many of them are here tonight. They’re the ones who won the games. I’m the coach. You steer the ship, but they’re the sailors. They do all of the hard work."

The 56-year-old Rapone has a shot at victory number 547 in the Blue Cross Arena at 11:45 a.m., Saturday, when the Irish face Fillmore.

A win Saturday would give Notre Dame its eighth Section V title under Rapone. The Irish have also notched two New York State championships, in 1992 and 2001.

Starting forward, senior Tom Rapone, said victory meant a lot to the team and to him personally.

"I’m so happy to be able to get it for my uncle," Rapone said. "He’s done so much for me in basketball. I always dreamed of playing for him in high school. The fact that I was able to help break the record for him as the last Rapone to come through Notre Dame High School, it’s just an amazing feeling."

Despite the lopsided total at the end, Arkport didn't make it easy for the Irish to get the win for Rapone. While the Irish led from start to finish, Arkport pulled close near the end of the half, and again near the end of the 3rd Quarter. Too many missed shots in the 4th quarter, though, allowed Notre Dame to pull well ahead.

"It’s sectionals and no team is going to quit," said Tom Rapone. "We just came together as a team. We’ve got great chemistry. We know how to play as a team. We can turn it up fast. That’s all thanks to our coach. He’s taught us great things in practice. It’s all thanks to him. He’s an amazing coach."

Even when Arkport pulled within three points late in the 3rd quarter, coach Rapone said he felt his team knew it was going to win the game.

"I don’t think they ever lost their confidence that they were going to win," the coach said. "That’s the mark of a winner and that’s why they’re 19-1."

More pictures pictures after the jump.

March 3, 2010 - 2:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports.


If you weren't biting your nails at the half on Tuesday night, you're not a Batavia Blue Devils fan.

At the half in Batavia's Section V semi-final playoff game against Hornell, the Blue Devils were in locked horns at 20-20.

Even though Hornell came into the tournament as the #5 seed in the division against Batavia's #1 standing, Hornell wasn't making it easy on Batavia.

Hornell came out of the locker room with an aggressive game plan that had Batavia a little bit flustered in the opening minutes of the match.

“We didn’t play very good at all in the first half – our shots weren’t falling and the presses got to us, particularly me," said Batavia's leading scorer, Andrew Hoy. "I didn’t really know how to break it at the time, but we figured it out at half time. Coach gave us a game plan and we came out in the second half and said we’re going to hold them to 13 points per quarter and we played defense. That’s what Batavia is built on, defense.”

The plan worked. Hornell was able to manage only three baskets in the second half and Batavia went on to win 51-34.

Hoy sank three three pointers and led Batavia (17-3) with 24 points.

Justin Washington and Co Co Irvin each added nine.

The Blue Devils advance to the Section V finals against Livonia on Friday night.


Thirty more pictures after the jump:

February 28, 2010 - 11:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports, Buddy Brasky, Chamber Awards.


It was the day after the Batavia Blue Devils dropped a first-round Section V playoff game to Aquinas in 1997 that Alex Nesbeth and Mike Glow came to Coach Myron "Buddy" Brasky and said, "Next year, we're going to win the sectionals."

Brasky looked at his junior players, shrugged, and said, "yeah, OK."

"No, Coach," Nesbeth said. "We're going to do it. We're going to do whatever it takes."

The Blue Devils hadn't so much as won its division in years and years, and Brasky, in his seventh season as head coach, had just posted his first winning campaign, leading the team to a 11-10 record.

From the day Brasky took over, the naysayers told the young coach the Blue Devils would never win another championship in basketball. Batavia was too small of a school in a big-school division. There was just no way to beat the big boys from Monroe County.

An 11-10 season wasn't exactly a prelude to proving the skeptics wrong, but Nesbeth and three of his teammates decided it was high time to do just that.

brasky02.jpg"That’s when I was teaching at Jackson School," Brasky said. "It was the middle of winter and those kids -- there were four of them -- they would walk from the high school to Jackson School and do skill work with me. Almost every day, from about 3:30 to 5. We had a small, tiny gym, just two baskets, and they worked and worked and worked."

The next season, the Blue Devils posted an impressive 20-4 record. But more importantly, they won a Section V title -- the first of three titles the Blue Devils posted in Brasky's 20 years as the team's head coach.

"The Pride is Alive." 

That was the motto Brasky coined for the team when he took over as coach prior to the 1990-91 season.

The Batavia-born-and-bred athletics fanatic never forgot the glory years of Blue Devils basketball from his young days -- the years of John Walton, the Wescotts, Bruce Beswick and Billy Monroe.  

But by the time Brasky was the starting point guard, the glory years, the pride, were starting to fade.

"When I played here, we were just average," Brasky said. "We weren’t great. That’s where it started going down a little bit, and after I graduated, it went way down."

Brasky enrolled at GCC after graduation and then transferred to SUNY Cortland. He completed his degree in Physical Education and soon after moved to Denver, where he worked for health clubs. From there, he moved back to Buffalo.

Then a coaching and teaching position opened in Batavia. This is what Brasky had always wanted to do.

As an athlete, he gravitated toward the leadership positions on teams -- quarterback in football, catcher in baseball, point guard in basketball. He hung close to his coaches. He didn't strive to be the star of the team. He liked the leadership role and he looked up to the men that molded the teams he played on.

"I’ve known since I was 10 years old I wanted to be a coach," Brasky said.

But it wasn't easy taking over Blue Devils basketball. It was a program that wasn't in the habit of posting winning records -- the team would win only two games in Brasky's second season -- but the coach said he knew the spirit was there. "The pride is alive," he kept telling his players. There was a tradition to Batavia basketball, and Brasky was determined to bring it back.

Since that first winning season in 1997, the Blue Devils have not dipped into double-figure losses. They've won eight division titles and are on a run of 14 consecutive winning seasons.

Brasky credits the young athletes for their willingness to work hard, to work year around, but they're only willing to make that committment, Brasky said, because "the pride is alive."

"Now the kids (have) bought in," Brasky said. "We won. They want to be part of a winner."

Just in basketball alone, Brasky probably interacts with more than 250 students in the community every year. Besides the regular varsity season, Brasky coaches basketball year round, including summer camps and clinics. Every step of the way, he stresses that it isn't just about winning. It's about developing the habits that make young men succeed in life.

"I try to instill that all of this hard work you’re doing is not just to win basketball," Brasky said. "That’s part of it. We want to win. But these are habits that you’re going to carry on the rest of your life. These habits of hard work, and dedication, and loyalty and commitment – those are what companies look for. You will be a success in life if you can get these values."

No matter how important the game, Brasky said -- miss a practice, break a rule, and you're not likely to play. That isn't a position that is always popular with fans or parents, but it's the only way, Brasky said, to teach players to be winners both on and off the court.

“I made a decision early in my career that I would never put winning over doing what ‘s right for the kids,” Brasky said.

It's an ethic that has paid off. In the application to the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce for Brasky's 2009 Geneseean of the Year Award, student after student said they learned the value of hard work from Brasky and it has helped them be more successful in life.

"Coach Buddy Brasky shared with me the passion to be the best you can be in life," wrote Scott "Par Par" Partridge (Class 1997). "Every practice, every game, every scrimmage we took part in was completed with 100-percent effort -- if not, then we enjoyed running suicides until we did. I have learned from Coach Brasky that hard work and dedication pays off. Those who push themselves as hard as they can will reap the rewards in the end. The quote, 'The Pride Is Alive,' was printed on our shirts and through playing for coach, I took that to heart. Have pride in who you are and what you do -- give it your all and you have nothing to regret."

Brasky said he was moved by all the testimonials from former players, just as he is when he sees those young men out in the community or at games.

"You hope you're making an impact on kids," Brasky said. "They never tell you that until they get to be like 25 years old. A lot of times, they will see me out -- I'll be at dinner -- and they'll be with their girlfriends and they'll come over to the table, or a lot of them will come and see me before a game, or wait until after, so we can talk -- that's a very, very rewarding part of the job."


February 27, 2010 - 10:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports.


The Batavia Blue Devils will advance to the next round of the Section V playoffs after a convincing 70-46 win over Midlakes tonight in Batavia.

Andrew Hoy (pictured above) led Batavia (16-3) with 22 points. Josh Budlong added 15 and Justin Washington scored 18 points.

The Blue Devils will play at Roberts Weslyean College at 8:15 p.m., Tuesday.



More pictures after the jump:

January 21, 2010 - 4:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, elba, Oakfield, Alabama.

elba-oa-21a.jpgLast night in Oakfield, the Oakfield-Alabama boys basketball team beat Elba 65-43.

A.J. Kehlenbeck had 27 points and 15 rebounds for O-A and Sam McCracken scored 18 points.

Zack Beechler scored 16 points for Elba. Matthew Ramsey, 11.

Both teams are now 6-5

More pictures after the jump:

January 8, 2010 - 10:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, Batavia Rotary Club, sports.


Last night, the Lady Irish took the Batavia Rotary Club Basketball Tournament Championship over Pavilion, 48-29.

Notre Dame is now 7-1.

MVP Nichole Hart scored 19 points. Liz Geandreau scored 8 and Hannah Scott-McGrail netted 11.

For Pavilion, Amie Brooks, 8 and Erin Cleveland scored 6.

The All Tournament team: Geandreau, Scott-McGrail, Brooks, Chelsea Turcer from Alexander and Hart.


More pictures after the jump:


January 8, 2010 - 9:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, Batavia Rotary Club, sports.


During the half time of last nights finals in the Batavia Rotary Girls Basketball Tournament, 6th graders from St. Joseph School and Pavilion matched up in a game of their own.

More pictures after the jump:

January 6, 2010 - 8:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports, Pavilion.


Pavilion beat Batavia 52-25 in game two of the Batavia Rotary Girls Basketball Tournament last night at GCC.  Pavilion moves to 6-0.

For Pavilion, Amie Brooks scored 21 points. Danielle Tallo added 9.

For Batavia, Michelle Jordan scored 6 points and Lashonna Mims added 5.

More pictures after the jump:

January 6, 2010 - 8:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports, alexander.


Notre Dame (7-1) beat Alexander 56-43 in game one of the Batavia Rotary Girls Basketball Tournament.

Liz Geandreau scored 16 points and had 11 rebounds for Notre Dame. Trish Pike had 12 points, five rebounds and three steals.

For Alexander, Anna Dominick scored 17 points and Chelsea Turcer added 11.

This was the first appearance for Alexander in the annual tournament.

More pictures after the jump:

January 6, 2010 - 7:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports.


During the half times of last night's Rotary Girls Basketball tournament, area elementary school-age girls played their own games. After the jump are more pictures from those games.

December 31, 2009 - 1:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports.


For the sixth straight year, the Batavia High Blue Devils won the annual Batavia Lions Club Basketball Tournament, this time beating Notre Dame 66-33.

Josh Budlong had 14 rebounds as Batavia moved to 6-1. Andrew Hoy scored 12 points. Tom Rapone scored 10 points for Notre Dame. Gianni Zambito added 9 more.  Co Co Irvin was the tournament's MVP. He scored 15 points in the final.

AUDIO:  Post game chat with tournament MVP Co Co Irvin (mp3).

There are 46 more photos from tonight's final game after the jump:

December 29, 2009 - 2:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports.


Batavia will advance to the next round to play Notre Dame in the annual basketball tournament sponsored by the Batavia Lions Club. The Blue Devils beat Albion 63-55 and improved the team record to 5-1. Andrew Hoy scored 16 points. Justin Washington added 12 points and seven rebounds for Batavia. Co Co Irvin tacked on 13.

More pictures after the jump:

December 29, 2009 - 1:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports, Notre Dame.


In the first game Monday night of the annual basketball tournament sponsored by the Batavia Lions Club, Notre Dame beat Perry 52-41.  The Irish are now 5-0. Vinny Zambito scored 19 points.

More pictures after the jump:

December 22, 2009 - 4:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, Batavia Rotary Club, sports.


At it's weekly lunch today, the Batavia Rotary Club kicked off its annual girls basketball tournament. Coaches and team captains from Notre Dame, Batavia, Alexander and Pavilion were on hand for lunch and a visit from Santa (actually, two Santas).

Pictured above are Amie Brooks, Trisha  Pike, Shun-Della Williams and Anna Dominick.

More pictures from the afternoon after the jump:




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