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Rapone wins battle of the 500 club

By Brian Hillabush


It was the first time in the history of New York State basketball that two coaches with over 500 career victories guided teams against each other.

Notre Dame's Mike Rapone earned career victory 513 while Prattsburgh's Jim Burke was held at 502 as the Fighting Irish picked up a 60-53 win.

The evening started off with Notre Dame's court being dedicated to Rapone and girls volleyball coach Rhonda DiCasolo. Rapone followed it by presenting Burke with a plaque in honor of his 500th victory, which happened in Prattsburgh's first game of the season.

Then, the teams that play a pair of non league games with each other every year, took the court. The Fighting Irish took an early lead.

Kevin Francis had a steal and basket, Tommy Rapone had a basket with an and-1 and Kevin Schildwaster scored to give ND a quick 7-0 lead.

But Francis picked up a second foul midway through the first quarter and had to go to the bench, which allowed the Vikings to creep back in the game.

Ryan Caron scored nine points in a three minute stretch, with the only Fighting Irish basket coming on a 3-pointer by Matt Thompson.

Brandon Bulley scored the final basket of the opening period and Notre Dame had a very slim 18-16 lead.

Prattsburgh took the lead right away when Patrick Wightman drained a 3-pointer to open the second period.

It was back-and-forth for the second quarter until the end when Francis, Nick Wetherwax and Schildwaster had baskets to give the Fighting Irish a 32-28 halftime lead.

Notre Dame opened up a 12-point lead when Vinny Zambito and Thompson hit consecutive 3-pointers, but the third quarter ended with ND leading 51-41.

The fourth quarter was a series of free throw attempts that dragged on, but Notre Dame held on for the win and improves to 4-0.

Francis had 18 points with 10 assists and Thompson hit four 3-pointers to score 14 points.

Rapone and Zambito had eight points each.

Caron had 18 points and Garrett Parker added 17 for Prattsburgh (4-3).








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