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May 13, 2015 - 8:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, high school sports, batavia, softball, tennis.

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With this post, we catch up with a couple of sports-related submissions that we hadn't gotten to yet.

Above, the Batavia JV softball team after its victory in the Pembroke JV softball tournament. The team beat Notre Dame 8-4 and Pembroke 10-6.

The team: Liz Piedmont, Emma Dunn, Nataleigh Rivera Ellis, Alexis Merriam, Maiya Reinhart, Gabz Havens, Assistant Coach Rick Smith, Stephanie Hoy, Courtney Biegasiewicz, Cheyenne Richardson, Shelby Weis, Katie Ange, Coach Jim Fazio, and Stephanie Shultz. Also on the team are Jasmine Barber and Nashalie Vasquez-Vega.

Submitted by Jim Fazio.

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Earlier this week, Jeff Redband advanced to the boys varsity tennis state qualifier tournament in singles for the fourth consecutive year by finishing third in the Class B sectionals. Also Samir Jain and Jon McMaster (not pictured) advanced by finishing third in the doubles tournament.

Submitted by Scott Lawniczak.

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.

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 17, 2015 - 10:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, high school sports.

Batavia's Jeff Redband (file photo from the 2014-15 basketball season) tops the field of Genesee County student-athletes to receive All Genesee Region honors for winter sports, as published today by the Democrat and Chronicle.

Redband was Monroe County Division IV Player of the Year, a Section V Class A2 All-Tournament Team player. He averaged 27 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots per game this season and led Batavia (18-3) to division title. He surpassed 1,000 varsity points, including a  51-point game (a school record) vs. Irondequoit. He made 40 percent of 3-pointers and 88 percent of free throws. Academically, he carries 94 average.

Later today, Redband will sign a letter of intent to attend Daemen College on a basketball scholarship.

Also honored:

  • Nick Egeling, Le Roy, Livingston County Division II, basketball
  • Ryan Cansdale, Pembroke, Genesee Region, basketball
  • Ryan Emery, Oakfield-Alabama, Genesee Region, basketball
  • John Hochmuth, Elba, basketball
  • Josh Johnson, Notre Dame, Genesee Region, basketball
  • Caleb Nellis, Notre Dame, Genesee Region, basketball
  • Hayden Ewell, Pavilion, Livingston County Division III, basketball
  • Tiara Filbert, Batavia, second team, basketball
  • Abbie Kelly, Byron-Bergen, second team, basketball
  • Lindsay Lovett, Byron-Bergen, Genesee Region, basketball
  • Shea Norton, Notre Dame, Genesee Region, basketball
  • Emma Francis, Notre Dame, Genesee Region, basketball
  • Rebecca Krenzer, Notre Dame, Genesee Region, basketball
  • Haley Brown, Elba, Genesee Region, basketball
  • Alex Reigle, Elba, Genesee Region, basketball
  • Kylie Schlagenhau, Oakfield-Alabama, Genesee Region, basketball
  • Sydney Breton, Alexander, Genesee Region, basketball
  • Aralyse Johnson, Pembroke, Genesee Region, basketball
  • Kayla Heimlich, Le Roy, Livingstone County Division II, basketball
  • Madison McCulley, Batavia, Monroe County, basketball
  • Kelsey Milligan, Pavilion, Livingston County Division III, basketball
  • Devon Koepp, Batavia, first team, indoor track
  • Ryan McQuillen, Le Roy, first team, indoor track
  • Nate Richardson, Alexander, Genesee Region, swimming
  • Tom Slenker, Alexander, Genesee Region, swimming
  • Kyle Zimmerman, Alexander, Genesee Region, swimming
  • Ben Vacanti, Alexander, Genesee Region, swimming
  • Brandon Brown, Alexander, Genesee Region, swimming
  • Jake Rada, Byron-Bergen/LeRoy, Genesee Region, swimming
  • John Lee, Notre Dame, Genesee Region, swimming 
  • Chris Lemley, Notre Dame, Genesee Region, swimming
  • Dennis Bleier, Notre Dame, Genesee Region, swimming
  • Nate DiSalvo, Oakfield-Alabama/Elba, Genesee Region, swimming
  • Ryan Dunlap, Oakfield-Alabama/Elba, Genesee Region, swimming
  • Trent Stack, Oakfield-Alabama/Elba, Genesee Region, swimming
  • Corde Smart, Oakfield-Alabama/Elba, Genesee Region, swimming
  • Michaela Austin, Byron-Bergen, Rochester Winter Track League, indoor track
  • Marissa Dispenza, Batavia, Rochester Winter Track League, indoor track
  • Kaylee Cassidy, Batavia, Rochester Winter Track League, indoor track
  • Joe Allegue, Batavia, Monroe County Division III, wrestling
  • Noah Dobbertin, Batavia, Monroe County Division III, wrestling
  • Reese Morrow, Batavia, Monroe County Division III, wrestling
  • Trevor Rittersback, Batavia, Monroe County Division III, wrestling
  • Tristan Aldinger, Alexander, Genesee Region, wrestling
  • Matthew Gaiser, Alexander, Genesee Region, wrestling
  • Dan Khomitch, Byron-Bergen, Genesee Region, wrestling
  • Hunter Taylor, Byron-Bergen, Genesee Region, wrestling
  • Chad Toal, Byron-Bergen, Genesee Region, wrestling
  • Adam Walter, Byron-Bergen, Genesee Region, wrestling
  • Alan White, Byron-Bergen, Genesee Region, wrestling
  • Nick Young, Alexander, Genesee Region, wrestling
  • John Lauricella, Le Roy, Livingston County, wrestling
  • Thatcher Mowry, Le Roy, Livingston County, wrestling
  • Ben Piazza, Le Roy, Livingston County, wrestling
  • Dane Heberlein, Alexander, Division II, Wrestler of the Year*
  • Nick Gaiser, Alexander, first team, wrestling
April 17, 2015 - 9:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in baseball, sports, high school sports, Notre Dame.

Notre Dame came from behind to beat Lyndonville 4-3 at Dwyer Stadium on Thursday.

Top photo: CJ Souzzi is out at home trying to score the team's fifth run after Larry Infantino had crossed the plate a moment before on Peter Madafferi's double.

Here's Coach Mike Rapone's game summary:

Tyler Prospero pitched six strong, scoreless innings to pick up the win in relief of starter Casey Midwick who left with tightness in his pitching arm as ND rallied to win 4-3. Prospero's line was 6 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs, 6K and no walks. Lyndonville's had a 3-run first on a Brandon Schoolcraft RBI double and Eric Nease's 2-run triple. The Irish responded with two first inning runs on Mike Falitico's RBI groundout and Michael Muehlig's 2-out RBI single. They tied it in the fifth when Cal Tygart tripled to deep center and scored on another Mike Falitico RBI groundout. The winning run was scored by Larry Infantino, who walked, moved to second on CJ Suozzi's single and scored on Peter Madafferi's RBI double.

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.

March 8, 2015 - 9:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, high school sports, Notre Dame.

For much of the first half of Saturday's Section V Class D1 championship game at Blue Cross Arena, Josh Johnson was the wheel that kept Notre Dame's offense rolling.

But wheels have cogs and cogs sometimes break.

The broken cog Saturday was Johnson's hip, which the senior guard hurt late in the half.

Who knows how the game might have turned out if Johnson had been healthy and rolling at full speed through an entire 32 minutes.

A slowed Johnson didn't exactly curb the Fighting Irish offense. The game did move at a different pace, but Notre Dame still held a lead with a minute to play.

The 51-48 on the tote board above the court glowed, but that's only three points. There's little margin for error with a one-basket lead in a championship game.

The errors came in pairs Saturday. Six times, when a single charity point would have made it a two-possession game, Notre Dame shooters missed free throws.

Johnson missed four of them.

The first two after a backcourt foul, which sent Johnson trotting down the court, nodding at his teammates with knowing smile that seemed to say, "I've got this."

Only Johnson didn't have it. Neither shot fell. The Notre Dame bench, so animated for most of the half, was quiet, unmoved, sitting like parishioners in a church pew waiting for the collection plate.

Notre Dame's six foul shots were the gifts every team gets as the clock winds down in close games. They're donations you have to accept to win. Every coach, player and fan knows it.

Johnson would later let his frustration show with the slam of a fist into the seat of a folding chair. 

Only Johnson knows if his hip injury affected his foul shooting. It's hardly inconceivable that it did. The change in the release of a shooter by only a fraction inch is the difference between a brick and a swish. A twinge of pain in a leg pushing up could unbalance the stroke.

That isn't an excuse. Just a thought.

The reality is, Genesee Valley's Dan George, who hadn't scored through the prior 31 minutes of play, suddenly became a factor in the final 60 seconds.

He hit two three-pointers, the second 20-footer coming with about five seconds left on the clock to tie the score.

Head Coach Mike Rapone threw his arms out wide as if to say, "how did that happen?"

After the game, Rapone explained what happened. Notre Dame's coverage broke down.

"We were supposed to be man-to-man coming out of the last time out and four of us were and one of us wasn't and that's the guy who got left open," Rapone said.

With three seconds left, the Irish huddled for one last time.

The ensuing inbound pass went to Caleb Nellis at half court. He turned, leaped and released. The form was good. The heave was long. The ball left his hands before the buzzer. It hit the backboard in the square above the rim and for smallest split of a second there was hope, but this was no Christian Laettner moment.

"I've got to be honest, I knew we were in trouble when the game went into overtime," Rapone said. "The emotional swings, with kids it's tough. Our kids felt like they had the game won and now you've got to go overtime and by that time, Josh was no factor on offense, so I knew we weren't going to score a lot of points in overtime."

After those final four minutes in which the Irish scored just once, Notre Dame was left with slumped shoulders and blue jerseys pulled up to cover faces as Genesee Valley players leaped into group embrace to celebrate their 57-53 victory.

Johnson, who seemed unstoppable in the first half, finished with 22 points and Rapone admitted, the "what if" question was inescapable.

"You'd like to dream what could have happened if he didn't get hurt because it really didn't look like they had an answer for him in the first half," Rapone said.

To be sure, Genesee Valley is a good team, led by a quick and potent guard, Tyler Zlomek, MVP of the tournament, who scored 24 points and forced man-to-man coverage while the Irish used a zone to impede the rest of Genesee Valley's offense

They also had to deal with 6' 6" junior Carter Schneider.

An athletic center, Schneider battled under the boards and kept his team fired up, though he hardly embarrassed Nellis, who had 11 rebounds and a couple of key put-back baskets in the second half.

"I'm not taking anything away from them, but I still say the game was there for us to take," Rapone said.

The Irish were helped a lot by the play of Casey Midwich, who showed a good deal of leadership when Johnson was out of the game for a few minutes in the third quarter and finished with nine points.

Nellis had seven points, Tyler Prospero five and John Sutherland and Luca Zambito each scored four.

Johnson also had 10 rebounds for a double-double and Sutherland had eight.

"The game was there for us to take and we didn't grab it and we have to accept that fact," Rapone said.

Dan George with the three-point shot that tied the score in the final seconds of regulation time.

Johnson made All-Tournament team, with gifts from Section V including a plaque and medal on a ribbon.

To purchase prints, click here.

March 7, 2015 - 4:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, high school sports, byron-bergen.

Team quickness and heavy use of a press defense helped Mynderse secure a 43-26 victory over Byron-Bergen in the girls basketball Section V Class C1 championship game played today at Rush-Henrietta High School.

A 15-1 first quarter set the stage for the Bees defeat. It was a hole Byron-Bergen never climbed out of despite scoring 12 points in the second quarter, which turned out to be a higher total than the one scored in the second half by the Bees.

Lindsey Lovett had 11 points for Byron Bergen, and Abbie Kelley scored 10. Sam Donnelly had five.

Lovett and Kelley were named to the All Tournament team.

March 7, 2015 - 11:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, elba, high school sports.

Photos by Jim Burns. Game information from Emily Tomczak.

A third-quarter rally wasn't enough for the Elba Lady Lancers to overcome Jasper-Troupsburg in the Section V Class D1 final in Letchworth on Friday night.

Jasper came out on top 55-47.

Haley Brown had 16 points, Alex Reigle had 14 points, and Alyssa Bogue had 13 points.

Alex Reigle and Haley Brown were named to the All-Tournament team, and Jenna Pedro received the sportsmanship award.

To view more photos and to purchase prints from Jim Burns, click here.

March 5, 2015 - 5:30pm

Genesee County will have four teams playing for Section V championships in their respective classes this weekend.

Elba's Lady Lancers plays Jasper-Troupsburg for the Class D1 crown at Letchworth at 8 p.m., Friday. Elba beat Arkport last night 68-36.

Byron-Bergen's Lady Bees take on Mynderse at 1 p.m., Saturday, at Rush Henrietta after winning last night 42-38 over Gananda.

The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame take on Genesee Valley in the boys Class D1 championship at 7:15 p.m., Saturday, at Blue Cross Arena. Notre Dame beat Mt. Morris 62-45 to advance. Head Coach Mike Rapone asked that fans be advised that officials are going to clear out the stands at Blue Cross Arena following the completion of the 4:15 p.m. game Saturday. Doors will open for the 7:15 game at 6:45 p.m.

The Batavia Blue Devils go for the Class A2 title at 5 p.m., Sunday, against School of the Arts at Blue Cross Arena. (Click here for coverage of their semi-final game). 

March 5, 2015 - 4:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports, high school sports, Batavia HS.

The size and speed of Pittsford-Mendon caught up with the Lady Blue Devils in the 4th quarter of their Class B1 Section V semi-final game in Penfield on Wednesday night.

Batavia was outscored 20-11 in the 4th quarter after being held to seven in the third.

"Mendon's girls play defense," said Head Coach Marty Hein. "They know where the screens are going to happen. They get around the screens. It's a totally different level of basketball IQ. They're a well-coached team. They've got a great program, a great feeder program. We weren't getting the same looks we get against other teams. It was a lot more difficult."

The final score was 57-43.

Even as she was constantly harassed and hurried, dogged by defenders and given few opportunities to score, Tiara Filbert still managed six field goals and 16 points on the night, making her the game's high scorer.

Batavia's other scorer, Maddie McCulley hit four field goals and had 13 points.

Significantly, neither girl managed a three-point bucket.

Sam Cecere was held to eight points.

Hein said his team would have benefitted by being a little more patient on offense, setting up more open looks for their scorers.

"I think I'd almost rather have taken 30-second shot clock violations than some of the choices we made offensively, but pressure does that to you," Hein said.

It was a great run for the Lady Devils, which is still a young team. Only three players will graduate off the team. The nucleus is all returners, including Filbert, McCulley, Cecere and Taylor Stefaniak, a freshman who played her way into a starting role over the course of the season and shows a lot of promise as a guard, playmaker and gutsy leader.

To purchase prints, click here.

March 5, 2015 - 2:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports, high school sports, Batavia HS.

Basketball, when played pure and sweet, is five guys on the court coordinated in a single purpose. It's a team game. Wednesday, the Batavia Blue Devils played as a team to pull away from College Prep in the second half to pull off a 58-48 win in the Section V Class A2 Semi-Final at Blue Cross Arena.

Nerves may have gotten to the Blue Devils in the first half, when they played College Prep even through all 16 minutes and finished the half in a 21-21 tie.

"It was a very hard fought game," said Head Coach Buddy Brasky. "No matter how many times you're here, it's hard the next year the first time you come back. It's the big arena. It's the big stage. I thought we played very tentative early, the entire first half. I thought we were more like a deer in headlights, to be quite honest with you. I got after them a little bit at halftime and asked them to forget where we're playing. 'You've been playing the game your whole life. Just play.' "

Play they did. Jeff Redband, harassed on the perimeter by a swarming defense in the first two quarters, started driving the lane. Trevor Sherwood distributed the ball well, frequently finding Malachi Chenault under the board. Greg Mruzcek disrupted on defense and grabbed rebounds. Jerrett Laskett was a motivational spark throughout the game and was a big reason Batavia was even still in the game in the second half.

"He stepped up big time and that's what seniors are supposed to do," Brasky said. "You know, they're boxing and oneing Jeff. He can barely gets a look and when he gets them. He's got to rush them, so he couldn't get in any kind of a rhythm, and Jerrett just made big plays and hit big shot after big shot. You're right, we wouldn't be standing here talking right now if it was for Jerrett."

Laskett finished with 17 points, two assists, two steals and three rebounds. He was 3-5 on three-point attempts.

Redband led the game with 24 points, going 3-8 from beyond the arch. He had 13 defensive rebounds (14 total) to go along with three blocked shots and a rebound.

Chenault has been coming on strong the past few weeks and scored 11 points, several of them on offensive put backs.

"He's been here before and he knows what it takes," Brasky said. "He was in some foul trouble, but he got some put backs and that was just huge."

Before the game, Brasky told Mruzcek he would need his biggest rebounding performance of the season, and so Mruzcek delivered.

"Greg will do whatever I ask him to do," Brasky said. Greg does not care about anything else except for winning. That's all he cares about. If I were tell him to run down the court backwards the whole game, he would do it, and he wouldn't question me. He would just do it. Yes, Greg was huge, his defense and his rebounding and his physicality. He's been doing that stuff for us all year. He doesn't get a lot of notoriety, but he's a huge part of our success."

In the post-game interview, the first words from Redband, who scored his 1,000th career point in the 4th quarter, were praise for his teammates. 

"All I know Jerret and Malachi played their butts off tonight," Redband said. "They played so good, they played so tough, they rose to the occasion. That was a good team that we just beat right there. We had to fight through a lot of obstacles throughout the game. It was a good win."

Laskett, Redband said, was the difference in the first half.

"He was amazing tonight," Redband said. "He kept us in the game when everybody else was perhaps a little bit nervous, or we were just a little bit thrown off by their defense or something, but he kept us in the game and let everybody else get going. That was big tonight."

The senior guard was clearly fired up from the opening tip off.

"I knew this could be my last time playing basketball," Laskett said. "That's it. It's win or go home."

As for Redband, he played varsity for only a few games his sophomore year and was a starter for only his junior and senior year. At the start of the season, he didn't give himself much of a shot at reaching 1,000 points.

He was surprised when he heard the PA announcement in the 4th quarter.

"I didn't even know I was close to be honest," Redband said. "I thought I needed another hundred.
Just to be on that 1,000-point list is just amazing. I didn't think I would get there. It means a lot that I got it."

The next step, a sectional title, will be tough, but Redband thinks the team has it in them to pull it off.

"We've got to keep going doing what we did all year," Redband said. "We can't get nervous. We can't just be robots out there. We've got to make basketball plays. I feel like we did better towards the end of the game driving and dishing to people who were open. Trevor did some good moves and got Malachi open. We were just doing better basketball plays. We've got to keep doing that."

Batavia (18-2) plays School of the Arts (19-2) at 5 p.m., Sunday, at Blue Cross Arena, for the Section V Class A2 championship.

Several of the Batavia players were part of the football team this past season that won a sectional title and advanced to the regional final. They're aware, Brasky said, that they have a chance to be part of history -- the first players in school history with championships in both football and basketball in the same year.

That championship experience is also an advantage for the players, Brasky said.

"I think that helped in the second half," Brasky said. "You're right, they've been to this stage. They've succeeded on this stage, in a different sport, but it carries over. We fell behind. We weren't playing very well, but they didn't panic. They're winners. It goes hand in hand." 

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To purchase prints, click here.

March 1, 2015 - 12:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports, high school sports, Batavia HS.

The Batavia Blue Devils had no difficulty tonight knocking off Wayne in a second-round Section V Class A2 playoff game at BHS tonight. The 75-45 win sets Batavia (17-2) up for a semi-final match Wednesday evening at Blue Cross Arena againt College Prep (15-4).

Tonight, Jeff Redband scored 28 points, Malachi Chenault, 17, and Jarrett Laskett, 11.

Notre Dame also won tonight, beating Lyndonville 77-55 in the Class D1 playoff game. Notre Dame (13-7) faces Mt. Morris (12-8) on Wednesday at a location to be determined.

To purchase prints, click here.

February 28, 2015 - 11:57pm

It was a nifty little move under the basket, a no-look reverse layup from Byron-Bergen's Abbie Kelley. The kind of play good players make.

In this case, it couldn't have come at a more opportune time. Head Coach Rick Krzewinski said it was perhaps the difference maker in the game.

The Lady Bees got to that point by allowing Notre Dame to go on an 11-0 run at the start of the third quarter to erase a 10-point lead for Byron-Bergen in the Section V Class C1 playoff game.

The reverse of fortunes had a familiar ring to the Bees, who lost a home game earlier this season to the Fighting Irish after blowing a first-half lead.

Krzewinski told his players in the locker room at the half, "looks familiar doesn't it?"

One of his girls said, "don't even talk about it."

"Oh, we're going to talk about it," Krzewinski told his team, "because we're not going to let happen what happened last time."

The Bees apparently got the message, and Kelley's nifty basket provided the spark they needed to beat back Notre Dame's momentum.

"Players make plays and that was the perfect time for it," Krzewinski said. "We got our composure back, I thought, and started hitting some shots."

That basket and a three possession change of defense to a 2-3 zone, seemed to break the rhythm of the Irish girls.

Kelley, who has 393 points on the year, did more to carry her team than drop that one score. She was the game's leading scorer with 23. Nobody else on her team was in double digits.

"Today was Bergen's day," said Irish Head Coach Dave Pero. "In the fourth quarter, Abbie Kelley took the game over. We missed way too many free throws. We probably missed 14 free throws (10, actually) and in sectional play, in any game, you can't miss 14 free throws and think you're going to struggle to win. Sometimes you'll get lucky, but the luck of the Irish wasn't with us today."

B-B's diamond defense held Notre Dame's top two scorers to totals a shave below their season PPG averages. Becca Krenzer had 12 points and Shea Norton, 11.

Emma Francis didn't hit a single three and was held to seven points for the game.

"We had the shots we wanted," Pero said. "You have days when they're not going to go in and today was one of those days. But we fought to get back in third quarter and I don't know if we ran out of gas a little bit, we might have, but I've got to take my hat off to Bergen. They played a great basketball game. They played for 32 minutes and that's why they're moving on and we're not."

The Bees had 13 days off before the game and Krzewinski said the team used that time to work on the diamond defense thinking it would be effective against Notre Dame.

"We were hoping maybe we could force some turnovers, worst case maybe slow them down," Krzewinski said. "I thought the girls worked it well and the message was, it will work if you move and they moved. We got out of it what I wanted."

It's been 2008 since Byron-Bergen beat Notre Dame in a girls basketball game, and the Irish seem to be a chief rival for just about every team they play.  The win certainly made Bees fans happy, who whooped it up in the closing seconds of the game.

"Yeah, everybody wants to beat Notre Dame, obviously,"  Krzewinski said. "Year in and year out they're a team that everybody wants to beat and to be able to do this in a sectional game just makes it really sweet. I'm so proud of the way they (his team) played and hung in there and did this. I don't even know what to say."

Next up for Byron-Bergen, the #3 seed in the tournament, is #2 seed Gananda (16-3) at 6 p.m., Tuesday, at a location to be determined.

Pembroke, also a C1 team, lost today to East Rochester.

Oakfield-Alabama and Alexander also lost playoff games today, leaving Byron-Bergen, Batavia and Elba as the three Genesee County girls basketball teams still alive in the postseason. All three have games scheduled for Tuesday.

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February 28, 2015 - 8:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, high school sports, Batavia HS.

The law of averages was bound to catch up with the Lady Panthers in their Friday night Section V playoff match with the Lady Blue Devils in Batavia.

Yes, Maddie McCulley, Sam Cecere and Tiara Filbert were held to only nine points combined in the first half, but they were getting open looks. If they kept shooting, shots would fall.

That's just what happens when good shooters keep shooting.

McCulley finished the night with 17 points, including a trio of threes in the fourth quarter, and Filbert notched 13 points and Cecere added seven as Batavia pulled away for a 46-37 to advance to the Class A2 semifinals at 8 p.m., Tuesday, in Mendon.

"Tiara had a bad first half, Maddy had a bad first half, Sam had a bad first half, yet were were behind by only three," said Head Coach Marty Hein. "There was never a time with these girls where we thought we would be only at 15 at half time. We told them, 'just keep shooting.' "

There was a time midway through the third quarter when the game had that feel of one that was slipping away.

Batavia trailed by 11, 26-15.

Successive baskets from McCulley, Filbert and Abby Allien, tightened the score.

A switch to a 3/4 quarter pressure defense got Geneva off balance and created some turnovers.

Suddenly with 18 seconds left in the quarter it was a different game.

Taylor Stefaniak, who finished with five points, sunk a crucial free throw (top photo) to tie the score and the Lady Panthers would never be out in front again.

To win, Batavia had to overcome a Geneva team led by senior Mia Morrison, 313 points on the year, 161 rebounds, 36 assists, 21 steals and 13 blocked shots and the athletic ability to dominate a game.

The job of slowing her down went to Filbert.

"She's definitely their star," Hein said. "We just wanted her to work from one end of the floor to the other. The first half we played a lot of man and put Tiara on her. We were joking around with Buddy Brasky (Batavia's boys head coach) the other day, about whether Tiara could even handle playing at the boys' level. When she guards you, it's intense."

The assignment helped get Filbert in foul trouble in the third quarter, so Hein switched the defense to give Filbert some help, but left his own star in the game.

"Tiara can play smart with four fouls," Hein said. "She knows, fine, let the girl score a layup, she's more valuable on the floor than on the bench."

It was an unorthodox approach that Hein stuck with when Cecere was whistled for a fourth time with about four minutes left in the game.

He didn't lift his junior center, either.

"Most of the time you sit somebody, they're in foul trouble and you sit them for almost a whole quarter and then they never get a foul the rest of the game, so it's like, go ahead and let them play, if it happens it happens," Hein said.  "It's such a close game. It's a live and die game. We lose and we're done. We win, we move on to the next step, so we'll go out swinging, I guess."

Pittsford-Mendon in the semis is going to be another tough matchup.

Like Batavia, the Lady Vikings are 15-4, but Mendon also held Batavia to 33 points in the second game of the season, in the Blue Devils' most lopsided loss of the year, 54-33.

The Vikings feature three players in triple figures in scoring (Alley Phillips, 232, Darby Kreienberg, 159, Emily Sullivan, 139).

Even so, Hein likes his team, which he believes has really come together well over the course of the season.

"Mendon really took it to us in the second game of the season," Hein said. "We were good and played with them in the first half, but we got shelled in the second half. Our team has a whole different identity from the beginning of the year to where we're at now. Todd Julien is a great coach. Mendon has some great basketball players, but I like mine, too. We'll give them heck on Tuesday."

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February 26, 2015 - 10:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, high school sports, pembroke.

The Pembroke Lady Dragons beat Sodus in a first-round Section V Class C1 playoff game Wednesday night in Pembroke, 69-45.

They took a 46-21 lead into the half.

Olvia Kohorst had 16 points to lead the Dragons. Hannah Duttweiler, 14 and Rylee Moser, 13. 

For Sodus, Jackie Barclay scored 15 and Alexis Jackson 14.

Pembroke (11-9) plays at 2 p.m., Saturday, against East Rochester (18-1) in East Rochester.

Photo and game information submitted by Aaron Burch, athletic director, Pembroke Central Schools.

February 26, 2015 - 9:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, high school sports, Notre Dame.

The Notre Dame girls basketball team won its first Section V Class C1 playoff game of 2015 with a rout over Williamson, 55-29.

The Fighting Irish took a commanding 31-4 lead into the half.

Shea Norton (#44) hit three threes and had 17 points on the night. Becca Krenzer had 12 and Emma Francis had 11, including a trio of threes.

For Williamson, Kiki Hall had 11 and Maddie Thornson finished with 10.

Next up for Notre Dame (16-4), Byron-Bergen (16-3), at 2 p.m., Saturday at Byron-Bergen.

February 25, 2015 - 10:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, high school sports, pembroke, byron-bergen.

Two teams, evenly matched, made for action-packed basketball at Byron-Bergen Tuesday night, but a 14-2 run in the second quarter made all the difference for Pembroke as the Dragons pulled out a 51-45 win in a first-round Section V playoff game.

Byron-Bergen and Pembroke came into the game as the #8 and #9 seeds, both with 7-12 records and having split their two regular season contests.

"We know everything that they're running," said Chad Smith, Bees head coach. "I mean, he had to change up his pace and we were able to adjust to it. We figured it out. We did a great job. He knows pretty much what we're doing. We worked them down to five seconds on the shot clock a lot throughout the night, but they had guys come up big."

Smith and Pembroke Coach Matt Shay agreed that the turning point was the second quarter, when shots stopped dropping for the Bees and the Dragons got hot.

"We really locked down defensively and that was huge because they made some shots in the first quarter and I told the guys after the first quarter, I thought we were playing solid defense, but they were just making tough, good shots, good offensive plays. I told the guys, 'stick with it.' I think the defense looked pretty good and eventually those percentages even themselves out."

The game wasn't really decided into the closing second, but Byron-Bergen wasn't able to run its plays to get some scores.

Smith realizes he has a young team and he's eager to start off-season work with his returning players with an eye toward a stronger 2015-16.

"We've got a great group of kids," Smith said. "They work their tails off for me. I knew it was going to be a fight. They weren't going to give up at all until the end. I'm very proud of our guys.
I think we're moving in the right direction."

For Pembroke, Ryan Cansdale had 16 points, Zack Von Kramer, 10, and Kyle Ludwig hit three triples on his way to a 10-point game.

For the Bees, Steele Truax had 11, and Brandon Burke and Adam Strassner had 10 each.

Next up for Pembroke at 7 p.m., Friday, is #1 seed Mynderse (15-4). 

Shay knows it's going to be a tough game for his young team.

"We're definitely the underdog, which is OK with us because we've been an underdog team for most the season," Shay said. "I don't try to focus too much on the other team. We will get focused on what we do and execute on what we do rather than concentrate on what they do."

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February 14, 2015 - 6:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sports, high school sports, Notre Dame, hockey, Batavia HS.

In their third matchup of the season today at Falleti Ice Arena, Batavia and Notre Dame battled for three periods in a physical, fast-paced game that ended 2-1 with the Ice Devils on top.

February 7, 2015 - 10:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, high school sports, cheerleading, Batavia HS.

In a field of nine Class B Section V schools the Batavia High School cheerleaders placed third today in the sectional championship event.

Information and photos submitted by Justine Bonarigo.

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