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June 12, 2015 - 8:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Notre Dame, batavia, Batavia HS, Batavia Lions Club.

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Press release:

The Batavia Lions Club recently presented its annual scholarships and awards for the 2014-2015 school year.  

Each spring, several graduating seniors at Batavia High School and Notre Dame High School apply for these scholarships, are interviewed by a committee of Lions Club members, and are chosen to receive $1,000 toward their college education. In addition, selected students from each high school are awarded the Art Roth Fine Arts Award and the Bill Cook Scholar Athlete Award.  

The final award is the Batavia Lions Club Award in Communications, which is presented to a Genesee Community College student in memory of two former Lions and local media legends – Paul Bostwick, the former managing editor of the Batavia Daily News and James H. Gerrety, the former news director of WBTA.

During the high school football season each fall, members of the Lions Club man the food stands at each stadium to sell snacks during each home game.  The proceeds are used exclusively for the scholarship and awards program.

Genesee Community College’s Jenna Wozniak won this year’s Batavia Lions Club’s Award in Communication.

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners and the best of luck in all of your future endeavors.

Top photo: Notre Dame’s 2014-2015 winners are (including Retiring Principal Dr. Joe Scanlon (L) and Athletic Director Mike Rapone (R): Emma Francis, winner of the Bill Cook Scholar Athlete Award, Anna Spring, winner of the Art Roth Fine Arts Award, and scholarship winners Lydia Moens and Anna Warner.

Bottom photo: This year’s Batavia High School winners are from left: Samir Jain, winner of the Bill Cook Scholar Athlete Award, scholarship winners Madison Kabel, Mica Pitcher, Katie Kesler, Allison Della Penna, and Ava Haitz, winner of the Art Roth Fine Arts Award.

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June 10, 2015 - 9:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, entertainment.

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Photos from last night's Batavia High School Talent Showcase.

Above, Ross Chua performs with three volunteers from the audience, Cara Ranalli, Malik Vascianne and Lindsey Hill.

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Ross Chua

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Tyzonah Reese

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Madison Hoerbelt and Andrea Gilebarto with Mr. Dan Grillo playing the piano. 

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Kelli Dumuhosky

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Rachel Flint

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Kesa Janes and Hannah Bluhm

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McKenna Dzieman

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Alex Hansen

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Laura Guiste

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Jerrett Laskett

June 10, 2015 - 8:45am
posted by Steve Ognibene in Batavia HS, track & field, sports, batavia.

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Batavia High School track state qualifiers will participate this Friday and Saturday at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association track meet at Albany State College.  The state meet consists of two classifications, with large schools in Class A, AA, and small schools, including Batavia, in classes B, CC, C and D schools. 

I interviewed Coach Dan Geiger, head coach of the girls team, and spoke about this weekend’s itinerary.

“The kids will board for Albany after school Thursday representing section five and arrive for a practice late that evening," Geiger said. "The kids will compete on Friday and then return again on Saturday, and if they qualify they will do what’s called a federation championship in which they combine large, small schools and the public athletic association from NYC area. Every school in New York State will have a chance with that one, but only the top eight schools in the state will compete in those races on Saturday. Depending on how Friday goes we are looking to have all the kids participate Saturday and the goal is to arrive back at BHS Saturday night will lots of medals.

"Just about every year we have sent a couple of each from boys and girls to the state meet. This year we have a much larger group than in the past and it’s always great to get relays in and it’s a lot of fun for the kids. A lot of individuals over the years make it in for various races. This is the first time in history that we will have both boys and girls relay racers go, which is an outstanding accomplishment as a program. Our program has been very strong the last eight years consistently that we have sent a few kids to participate.

"We have had some really strong individuals on our relay teams and had a very difficult choice as to who to pick for our relays and have eight strong 400-meter runners. We can only bring six to the meet, four to participate and two listed as alternates. Two girls I want to recognize -- Reagan Henrici and Aimee Freeman -- who were right there with these girls but unfortunately we could only bring six and not all eight to the meet. We got have some really great depth that have showed it in sectional time on both girls and boys side that will compete with them and hopefully make it on the podium.“

Pictured above from left, first row: freshman Sophie Dinehart (4x4), senior Missa Dispenza (4x4), 100m & 400m hurdles, freshman Kiaya Franklin (4x4), eighth-grader Bri Wormley (4x4), freshman Claire Zickl (4x4), not pictured -- senior Becca Canale (4x4).

Second row, from left: junior Cal Jantzi (4x8), junior Louie Leone (4x8), sophomore Campbell Andersen (4x8), senior Devon Keopp (disc thrower), junior Nick Callisher (4x8), senior Jerrett Laskett (4x8) & 400m hurdles. 

For more information go to: nysphsaa.org

June 8, 2015 - 5:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, music, entertainment.

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Ross Chua and Chelsea Jensen rehearse Monday afternoon on the Batavia High School stage for tomorrow night's talent showcase.

The show goes on at 6:30 p.m. and tickets are $3 each.

May 21, 2015 - 4:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Kiwanis Club, batavia, Batavia HS, schools, education.

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The Kiwanis Club of Batavia honored the Top 10 students at their weekly lunch today.

In addition to the Top 10 honorees, Bryce Rogers received the Outstanding Citizenship Award, and Music awards were given to Chelsea Mountain, Mason Battaglia and Lauren Dunn.

Here's bio information on each of the Top 10 students:

Samir Jain is the son of Dr. Lalit and Abha Jain of Batavia. Samir will be attending Cornell University at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Samir is one of 25 seniors out of 20,000 in Western New York to be recognized with First Team honors on Business First’s 2015 All-Western New York Academic Team. He is captain of the varsity soccer and tennis teams, a member of the champion scholastic bowl and math teams, and an attorney for the regional-finalist mock trial team. Samir participates in community service as a volunteer for Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership.

Katie Kesler is the daughter of Paul and Jana Kesler of Batavia. Katie will be attending Boston University in the fall to major in both Behavior and Health and Hispanic Language and Literature. She plans to attend graduate school to become an occupational therapist. Katie has been involved in Mr. Batavia, mock trial, student government, National Honor Society, Youth Court and jazz band. She was a scholar athlete on the varsity soccer team. She attends Grace Baptist Church where she helps out in the nursery and in a preschool class. Katie especially enjoys volunteering at YMCA Challenger Sports.

Dylan Beckman is the son of Anthony and Jolene Beckman. He is attending the University of Rochester with an intended major of Optical Engineering. He plans to get some experience in the field, and then return to school to obtain a graduate degree in the field and eventually become an Optical Engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labs. Dylan is vice president of his class, he is a member of National Honor Society, Science Olympiad, Link Crew, mock trial, and participated in this year’s Mr. Batavia Pageant, securing third place.

Brandon Smart is the son of Doug and Bernadette Smart of Batavia. Brandon received the Dean’s Scholarship to the University of Rochester and will be majoring in computer science to one day become a researcher on the quantum computer team at Google. He is a member of National Honor Society, treasurer of the senior class, regional finalist in the 2015 Science Olympiad competition and seven-year veteran of the championship math team.

Andrew Maniace is the son of Rick and Kathy Maniace of Batavia. Andrew received the Rensselaer Medal Scholarship, and will be attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy in the fall majoring in nuclear engineering. He is in National Honor Society, math team, Science Olympiad, a contributor to "Blue Canon," and was a contestant in Mr. Batavia. Andrew has been a three-season scholar athlete on varsity cross-country, indoor and outdoor track teams for the last four years.

Bryce Rogers is the son of Paula and Durin Rogers. Bryce will attend American University participating in their prestigious Scholars Program having received the Dean’s Scholarship. Bryce intends to dual-major in International Relations and Economics while concentrating in Foreign Policy and National Security. At BHS, Bryce is an active member of the mock trial team, National Honor Society, is the managing editor of BHS’ Literary Magazine, and band president. Bryce is active in his community serving on the Genesee County Youth Court and the County Youth Board as secretary. Bryce is also the AmeriCorps Program coordinator for the Batavia Summer Recreation program.

Emily DiBacco is the daughter of Michael and Mary Beth DiBacco of Batavia. Emily is president of National Honor Society, Student Ex-Officio to the Board of Education, an editor for the "Blue Canon" literary magazine, a Link Crew leader, and a committee head for the Mr. Batavia Pageant. She has also been a scholar athlete on the varsity swimming and diving team, as well as a member of the Board of Education’s Code of Conduct Committee. Emily will be attending the University of Pittsburgh with a double major in Business Administration and English, to pursue a career in publishing.

Rebecca Canale is the daughter of John and Cindy Canale of Batavia. Rebecca will be attending the University of Rochester in the fall majoring in Biology with a minor in Business in hopes of attending medical school to become a pediatrician. She is very involved in the school community, participating in varsity soccer, indoor and outdoor track, mock trial, student government, Tri-M Honor Society, National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, beauty shop quartet, chorus, Link Crew, and Mr. Batavia. Rebecca also participated in the Roswell Park Summer Research Program as an intern in the Cell Stress Biology department.

Brooke Leddon is the daughter of Shane and Crystal Leddon of Batavia. Brooke is attending SUNY Brockport and majoring in Political Science with a double minor in International Relations and pre-Law. Brooke has been a part of the varsity swimming and diving team since she was in seventh grade.  She has been the team captain for the past two years.  Brooke plans on continuing her diving career at Brockport in the fall.

Kristyn Mott is the daughter of Amy and Jamie Mott.  Kristyn received the Dean’s Scholarship along with the Horizon Scholarship and will be attending Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. She will be majoring in business of Art and Design. She plans to work in the advertising and marketing community. Kristyn was a three-season scholar athlete for varsity soccer and indoor and outdoor track. She plans to continue pole vaulting with different local clubs while in college.

May 10, 2015 - 8:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in baseball, sports, high school sports, Notre Dame, Batavia HS.

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Batavia beat Notre Dame 3-2 in the championship game of the Rotary Tournament.

Batavia scored the winning run on a 2-out Quentin Weis single. Pitchers Greg Mruzek and Tyler Prospero both went the distance. 

Photos are from one inning of the Batavia vs. Oakfield-Alabama game and the championship game.

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To purchase prints, click here.

May 9, 2015 - 10:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, Food Truck Rodeo, food, dining.

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May 7, 2015 - 3:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia.

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The Batavia High School Class of 2016 is sponsoring a Food Truck Rodeo from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday at the high school. Participating vendors include Papa Gig's Gourmet Italian, The Brunch Box, Bento Box Asian Cuisine and Smoothies Plus. There will be live music and entertainment for children. Proceeds benefit the Class of 2016.

In the photo: Simran Rathod, Noah Dobbertin, Alexis Vasciannie and Ross Chua.

May 2, 2015 - 1:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, softball, Batavia HS, Ed Anderson Field.

The late Ed Anderson was remembered Friday by former colleagues and players as a man dedicated to the education of children and a keen interest in guiding young female athletes in the pursuit of excellence and confidence.

One speaker noted that Anderson did for generations of female student athletes what Coach Dan VanDetta did in boys sports.

Speakers include:

  • Dr. Roy Dexheimer, superintendent from 1968 to 1981;
  • Dr. David Van Scoy, superintendent from 1981 to 1998;
  • Nancy Viola, athletic director 1981-1998;
  • John Jakubowski, principal of Batavia Middle School, 1990-2003;
  • James Tetter, parent and BHS graduate, Class of 1966;
  • Ally Shirtz Howe and Sue Medley, BHS graduates who pushed through the idea of naming the field after Anderson;
  • Michael Bromley, current athletic director.

Anderson's grandchildren threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

To purchase prints, click here.

April 28, 2015 - 3:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sports, high school sports, softball, Batavia HS.

The upgraded softball field at Batavia High School will be dedicated Friday to honor Ed Anderson, a former coach and teacher with the school district.

Anderson taught sixth grade from 1965 until his retirement in 1998. He was the first varsity girls softball and girls soccer coach for the Blue Devils.

"He was known as an excellent teacher and is most famous for his annual weeklong sixth-grade camping trips to Allegheny State Park that he led for 30 years, said Sue Medley, who has been helping organize the dedication ceremony, which starts at 3:30 p.m., Friday, rain or shine.

Anderson coached junior high bowling from 1977 to 1987, softball from 1979 to 1998, soccer from 1978 to 1998 and girls basketball from 1988 to 1991.

The girls won their first sectional title in softball in 1982.

"Coach Ed Anderson left his mark on generations of Batavia Middle and High School students while serving the Batavia City School system for more than 30 years. He was a role model to all," said Athletic Director Mike Bromley. "He was a source of support and an example of calmness, determination and generosity for the athletes he coached. He fought tirelessly for equality and opportunity in girls’ sports."

While school officials had recognized the need to upgrade the softball facilities, it was only after a group of players and their parents filed a Title IX lawsuit demanding facilities more on par with what the boys baseball team enjoys by playing its games at Dwyer Stadium that a settlement was reached. That led to new bleachers, dugouts, infield, outfield fence, scoreboard and batting cage.

The team is scheduled to play Greece Arcadia at 4:30 p.m. Following the game there will be a celebration reception in the high school's atrium at 6:30 p.m.

The dedication committee is still seeking financial support. The committee has currently raised $3,400 with a goal of $10,000. Funds will be used for field signage, a permanent memorial, dedication ceremony and contribution to the Ed Anderson Outdoor Education Campership Fund on behalf of the community. To contribute, visit http://www.gofundme.com/coachedanderson.

April 27, 2015 - 5:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Genesee Cancer Assistance, Batavia HS, Mr. Batavia.

Jordan Fluker, Mr. Batavia 2015, presented a check today to Genesee Cancer Assistance for $3,055, which is the proceeds from this year's Mr. Batavia event at Batavia High School. Pictured with Fluker are Joe Gerace and Patricia Arnold.

Photo submitted by Lisa Robinson.

April 24, 2015 - 4:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sports, Batavia HS.

Blue Devil Jeff Redband has been named to the All-State First Team by the New York State Sportswriters Association.

With 27 points per game, Redband had the second highest PPG average of all the Class A ranked players.

Redband recently signed a letter of intent to attend Daemen College in Buffalo on a basketball scholarship.

Notre Dame's Josh Johnson was named to the fourth team in Class D.

April 18, 2015 - 6:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, Batavia HS, Mr. Batavia.

Jordan Fluker was named 2015 Mr. Batavia in the third annual competition at Batavia High School on Friday night.

Proceeds from the event -- $3,000 this year, a new record -- goes to the charity of Fluker's choice, which was Genesee Cancer Assistance.

The 11 contestants were Bryce Rogers, Andrew Maniace, Samir Jain, Dylan Beckman, Brandon Smart, Josh Franks, Adam Taylor, Eric DiLaura, Nick Bauer, Jordan Fluker and Ben Demare.

Tuxedos for the event were provided by Charles Men's Shop and Reed Eye Associations donated sunglasses to the 11 young men.

The competition included a talent show, swimsuits, and question-and-answer and the tuxedo walk. 

To purchase prints, click here.

April 15, 2015 - 8:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sports, track and field, Batavia HS.

Batavia boys beat Brockport 79-62 Tuesday in a track meet at Van Detta Stadium. The girls won 84-45.

April 9, 2015 - 4:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, Mr. Batavia.

The Batavia High School student government hosts its third annual Mr. Batavia Contest at 7 p.m., April 17.

Eleven seniors have signed up and picked the charities they will represent. Proceeds from the event go to the winner's charity. Last year, Mr. Batavia raised $2,200 for Habitat for Humanity.

The contestants and their charities:

  • Bryce Rogers, Ricky Palermo Foundation
  • Andrew Maniace, Batavia VA
  • Samir Jain (not pictured), Michael Napoleon Foundation
  • Dylan Beckman, Habitat for Humanity
  • Brandon Smart, Volunteers for Animals
  • Josh Franks, Anna’s Wish
  • Adam Taylor, Care-A-Van Ministries
  • Eric DiLaura, Roswell Park Alliance Foundation
  • Nick Bauer, Crossroads House
  • Jordan Fluker, Genesee Cancer Assistance
  • Ben Demare, Boy Scouts of America National Youth Leadership Training

Hostesses for this year's event are (names not in order): Emily DiBacco, Carly Scott, Katie Kesler and Maggie Folger.

March 26, 2015 - 12:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, mock trials, Batavia HS.

Batavia beat Notre Dame Wednesday night at the area finals of the mock trials tournament and will move onto the regional finals.

Batavia took round 1 55-50 and round 2 60-53.

The Region 1 tournament is in Erie County April 17-19.

UPDATE: Pictures added from Jim Burns.

March 20, 2015 - 8:51am
posted by Steve Ognibene in batavia, Batavia HS, anna's wish foundation.

Tonight for the third year in a row the Batavia High School, National Honor Society sponsored a benefit "Going bald for Cancer"  All of the proceeds this evening went to Anna's Wish.  Mr. McKinney Pictured above (speaking far right) with his daughter Molly is the Founder and President of Anna's Wish.  

Scott Gillard (above) watching his daughter Tori Gillard, a 10th grade student at BHS (pictured below) getting her head shaved by Charlene Shultz from Total Image Salon.  Tori was the only girl who participated.  She raised $530.00 for the event.

National Honor Society Advisor Jillian Thomas spoke about the success of the money raised annually. For more information go to: http://www.annaswish.org/about/

Pictured below from left to right:

Sophmore Alex Snell, Teacher Nate Korzelius, Sophmore Tori Gillard, Sophmore Johnathan Currier, Sophmore Josh Franks, Senior Samir Jain, Teacher, President & Founder of Anna's Wish Jeff McKinney, Principal Scott Wilson

 For more photos go to: 

https://www.facebook.com/SteveOgnibenePhotography

March 14, 2015 - 3:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports, YMCA, Batavia HS.

When I stopped into the Y's gymnasium this morning for a little basketball practice, I found Jeff Redband there.

The Batavia Blue Devil's standout was working on his own game but took some time to give me a few pointers on my own shooting stroke. While we chatted, Tanner came into the gym and asked Jeff to sign one of his kicks. 

Redband is planning on attending Daemen College, in Buffalo, next year on a basketball scholarship. Redband scored 1,024 points with the Blue Devils in a little over two seasons (a 26.2 point-per-game average this season) and helped the team to a pair of sectional title games and hit the game winning buzzer beater in 2013 that sent Batavia to a state title game. The Daemen Wildcats finished this season with 21 wins and captured the USCAA Division I basketball title. Daemen is a Division II provisional member of the NCAA and the East Coast Conference. 

March 9, 2015 - 10:38am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sports, track and field, Batavia HS.

Photo and information submitted by a reader:

Two Batavia High School athletes competed in the state indoor track championships this weekend. Devon Koepp (pictured) finished sixth in the weight throw with a distance of 58' 8" (He is the Section V record holder at 60' 5.") and Kaylee Cassidy finished sixth in the 1,600 medley.

March 9, 2015 - 1:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports, high school sports, Batavia HS.

In a world of infinite possibilities, there are an infinite number of ways the Batavia Blue Devils basketball team could have won its Class A2 Section V championship game Sunday evening at Blue Cross Arena.

A three-pointer from Jeff Redband could have dropped rather than rim out. A pass following a steal from Greg Mruzcek to Redband could have hit its target rather than skipping out of bounds. A 35-footer from a School of the Arts guard doesn't swoosh in as the shot clock winds down. One more layup, one more put back, one more backdoor cut, just one more of something positive could have turned the game around.

The one reality, though, is School of Arts won 45-36.

The Silver Eagles won not just because of a few bad breaks for the Blue Devils, nor because Batavia failed to execute on some of its basketball fundamentals. They won because they're a good team.

For the Eagles, Sergio Alicea sliced up the defense with his speed, deft ball handling and smooth shooting stroke. His 14 points were the product of three threes and a dunk that didn't seem possible from the 5'8" guard until he did it.

Christian Simmons, the tournament MVP, added 12 points, hitting five of eight from the field.

The Silver Eagles kept Batavia's offense off balance by switching up its defense, moving quickly to the ball and closing passing lanes.

"Give them credit," Head Coach Buddy Brasky said. "They went box and one to triangle and two to one three one and it kept us out of our rhythm. We didn't make very many good basketball plays. They key on Redband; they make everything tough on him and somebody else has to step up and we didn't get anybody else who stepped up."

The Blue Devils went into the half down 26 to 18, but Brasky told his team they could win it.

"We needed to have a quarter, the third quarter, which is normally our best quarter during the year where we kept them to single digits and we could get right back in the game," Brasky said. "We did that. We actually took the lead. I think it was 27-26, then they hit a three and then a three toward the buzzer. That to me was the key to the game. We had taken control of that game and then they scored six points. We went from up one to down five."

SOTA went the first seven minutes of the third quarter without a basket before hitting that pair of threes.

The Eagles then went on a run and opened up another big lead.

Batavia mistakes made things a little easier on SOTA.

The rebounding could have been better, Brasky said. The team worked on it in practice leading up to sectionals, knowing they would be playing more athletic teams. 

The passing could have been better. It's something the team works on all season --  fake the pass to make a pass, improve passing angles on the dribble, hit the open man more quickly while he still has an open look.

That meant, Brasky said, that the Blue Devils were forced to take more forced shots as time expired on the shot clock.

"When you're playing a team like that, who's athletic and in the passing lanes, and they go for steals, they anticipate, you've got to do those types of things," Brasky said.

The mistakes add up.

"Jeff tried to do what he could, but it wasn't enough," Brasky said.

With his team falling behind and struggling, Redband stepped up his game in the 4th quarter, going coast-to-coast on several transitions and driving the line when teammates dished it to him or taking the open jumper when offered.

"We were down by nine or 10 and I wasn't going to go out not shooting and just being passive, so I just trying to do everything I could," Redband said. "I didn't play very good tonight, but I tried. I tried. At least I tried."

Actually, Redband scored a game-high 20 points and if a few things would have gone differently in the last couple of minutes, he would have scored more.

He, along with Jerrett Laskett, was named to the all-tournament team.

Redband was part of one of the special seasons in Blue Devils basketball history and he helped create some of the magic in 2013 when Batavia had a shot -- but came up short -- at a state title. A buzzer beater by Redband, among his first of the more than 1,000 varsity points he would score, is what sent Batavia to states.

Since then, Batavia has made it to the sectional title game twice, but hasn't been able to secure a win.

"I realize now I didn't truly appreciate winning a sectional my sophomore year," Redband said. "I realize now after losing finals two years in a row, that was something really special. I didn't really need to work for it at all my sophomore year, and I worked my butt off my junior and senior year and I realized how special it is to play here (Blue Cross Arena) and win sectionals."

Now, the university-bound Redband's high school career is over. It's a somber moment to contemplate.

"I love this team," Redband said. "High school basketball is just, it's like the greatest thing. I grew up with these guys, playing Junior Blue Devils, playing modified, all throughout, and it's crazy to think I'm never going to play with them again."

He also appreciated playing for Buddy Brasky.

"He's great," Redband said. "He motivates us. He's always willing to open up the gym any time of year. People see him yelling, but he's really like, he loves us. He really likes us as players, so I loved playing for him."

Brasky said at the beginning of the season, he thought this was a team that could win a sectional title. It should have won a sectional title. It was, he said, the best team in the bracket. It just didn't get the job done.

"I told them in the locker room, this is one of the most enjoyable teams I've ever coached because they were a true team," Brasky said. "Nobody cared who got the credit, nobody cared if they didn't play, everybody really cared about the team. A team like that should be rewarded, but you know, it's not always fair. In sports, one team wins, one team loses. They were a true team and they were really enjoyable to coach this year."

To purchase prints of photos, click here.

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