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October 19, 2013 - 8:12am
posted by Nick Sabato in football, high school sports, Notre Dame.

Attica took home a share of the Genesee Region League championship after defeating Notre Dame, 28-14.

Notre Dame came into the contest with a chance to finish undefeated in the regular season, and win the league outright for the first time since 2002. For Attica, a win would guarantee them at least a share of the league title. It would also guarantee them home field advantage in the first round of sectionals, and it would avenge a loss to the Fighting Irish almost exactly one year ago that cost them the league championship.

It would be Attica who would come out on top in this game, forcing a three-way tie with Notre Dame and Alexander.

The Blue Devils saw the return of star running back Matt Perry, who missed the last two games due to injury, and they felt his impact immediately. Perry ripped off a long run to put Attica deep into Notre Dame territory, before he finished off the drive with a 24-yard touchdown run less than five minutes into the game.

Notre Dame would respond a few minutes later after their star, quarterback Tim McCulley, took off on a 58-yard touchdown run to knot the game at 7.

Neither team could gain the upper-hand throughout the second quarter, with Attica getting the best opportunity of the frame after they stopped an Irish fake punt attempt inside their own 20 with five seconds left in the half. The Devils would miss a field goal as time expired and the score remained tied at halftime.

Perry would strike again, ripping off a long run to set up another seven-yard touchdown scamper early into the third quarter to take a 14-7 lead. Attica would strike again less than two minutes later after Jake Dollard scored on a 40-yard run to take a two-score lead.

The Irish refused to go away, however, as they cut the lead in half just before the end of the third quarter as McCulley found Jason Hart in the end zone on a six-yard pass just after McCulley found Josh Johnson on a 32-yard pass and catch on third down to move the chains.

Attica would once again respond, as they began their ensuing possession at midfield. Jake Strzelec, who scored two touchdowns a week ago, would scamper 23 yards to regain their 14-point lead just a minute into the fourth quarter.

The Blue Devil defense would hold strong in the fourth quarter, keeping Notre Dame out of the end zone, including a big stand on fourth down at the Attica 16-yard line with just four minutes to play in the game.

“We challenged our team,” said Attica Head Coach Rob Cusmano. “We had worked hard all season. It has been 366 days since [Notre Dame] beat us. They thought about that and worked very hard since then.”

Notre Dame struggled to find their rhythm on offense all night, as the Attica defense held the Irish to 163 yards of total offense, including 35 on the ground.

After throwing six touchdown passes a week ago, McCulley was held to just 12-of-34 passing for 128 yards and was sacked eight times.

“We didn’t execute,” said Notre Dame Head Coach Rick Mancuso. “We dropped a couple of balls, missed a couple of blocks and they played well defensively. We didn’t make good of the opportunities when we had them, they are a very good ball club.”

The return of Perry was a key factor for the Blue Devils as he picked up 162 yards on 29 carries, and also caught two passes for 44 yards.

However, Attica’s team attack was just as potent on the ground as they racked up 302 rushing yards, 69 from Strzelec.

“Matt [Perry] makes a huge difference,” Cusmano said. “They were keying him in the second half so we hit Stzelec and Dollard for long runs. Perry is a great runner, but we have two other great guys, too.”

While the Irish failed to win the league outright, they still claim a share of the crown along with Attica and Alexander, who defeated Pembroke 41-0. The Trojans defeated Attica three weeks ago, while Notre Dame beat Alexander earlier this season. All three teams finish the regular season with a record of 6-1.

Notre Dame should also still maintain the top seed in Class D as they hold the head-to-head tiebreaker with Alexander.

“Our goal was to make sectionals,” Mancuso said. “That’s our goal: to make sectionals and then win it, and hopefully we go a little bit further than we did last year.”

October 12, 2013 - 5:04pm
posted by Nick Sabato in football, sports, elba, byron, high school sports, bergen.
Elba/Byron-Bergen turned the ball over four times as they fell to Attica, 28 to 6.
 
The Blue Devils got off to a fast start as Jake Strzelec scored the first two touchdowns of the game on a pair of 6-yard runs to take a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.
 
The Lancers appeared to have momentum as they drove deep into Attica territory before Jake Dollard picked off the first of his three interceptions in the game. 
 
After neither team could put points on the board, Elba/Byron-Bergen was driving again with less than two minutes to play in the half before Dollard intercepted Garrett Chapell again, this time taking it 80 yards for a touchdown to go up 21-0.
 
Disaster would strike again as Andy Underhill fumbled the ensuing kickoff, giving the Blue Devils the ball deep in Lancer territory. However, Elba/Byron-Bergen appeared to turn the momentum their way after keeping Attica off the board before halftime.
 
“I thought we rallied pretty well at halftime,” said Elba/Byron-Bergen head coach Mike Cintorino. “We made some adjustments at halftime and our kids came out firing in the second half.”
 
The Lancers came up big on the first drive of the second half, recovering a fumble at the Attica 28-yard line. They wasted no time in turning the mistake into points as Steele Truax plunged in from a yard out to cut the lead to 21-6.
 
Chapell had his team driving again after a defensive stand, but the Blue Devils were able to get the ball back after the Lancers turned it over on downs.
 
The Blue Devils would get one more score as Damian Marchetti found Evan Krawczyk for a 30-yard touchdown pass to put the finishing touch on the game.
 
“Attica played a great game,” said Cintorino. “We knew it was going to be a dog fight, the last three years have been. It’s always a physical game with them. Turnovers, penalties and mistakes can come back to haunt you and that’s what happened today.”
 
Strzelec stepped up in place of injured star running back Matt Perry, who missed his second straight game. Strzelec finished with 128 yards on 29 carries and 2 touchdowns on the day for Attica.
 
Chapell finished the game going 13-of-29 passing for 101 yards and 3 interceptions for the Lancers.
 
Attica (5-1) will play host Notre Dame next Friday, and if they win, the Blue Devils will get a share of the Genesee Region League title.
 
Meanwhile, Elba/Byron-Bergen (2-4) travels to Finney, where a win could put them into sectional play.
 
“We are a young team, so all of these things we try to learn from,” said Cintorino. “We when make mistakes like we did today and in other games, we are going to break down the film, we are going to make those adjustments and hopefully they can learn from them.”
 
October 12, 2013 - 12:12am

Alexander kept their hopes alive for a share of the Genesee Region League crown with a 36-8 victory over Oakfield-Alabama on Senior Night.

The Trojans used their muscle to dominate the tempo right from the start, marching 55 yards on 11 plays on the opening drive before recovering a Dylan Scharlau fumble in the end zone to take a 6-0 lead.

Oakfield-Alabama got off to solid start as quarterback Allen Chatt completed his first two passes for 34 yards. The drive, however, was derailed after Alexander recovered a Chris Nanni fumble on their 36-yard line.

From that point on, the Trojans rode their senior Scharlau for the rest of the night.

Scharlau capped off an eight-play drive that took over four minutes off the clock with a 10-yard touchdown run to go up 14-0.

Following a Hornet three-and-out series, Alexander marched 80 yards on 16 plays, taking nearly nine minutes off the clock before Scharlau plunged in from three yards out for his second touchdown of the night, sending the Trojans to halftime with a 22-0 lead.

The senior running back finished the night with 187 yards on 40 carries and three touchdowns in his final home game.

After holding the Hornets to a three-and-out to start the second half, Scharlau finished another 12-play, 65-yard drive that took over seven minutes off the clock, with his third touchdown of the night.

“We always joke about giving [Scharlau] the ball 40 times, but we hadn’t done it yet,” said Alexander Head Coach Tim Sawyer. “By giving him the ball, we were able to dominate time of possession and the first down total in the game.”

Alexander held the ball for over 34 out of 48 minutes of the game, including 18 out of 24 in the first half. The Trojans also out-gained Oakfield-Alabama 363 to 110 for the game.

In a battle of two of the top quarterbacks in the Genesee Region League, Alexander’s Nelson Burke went 5-of-7 passing for 94 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown pass to Sam Browne, while also rushing for another 40 yards on the ground.

Hornet sophomore Chatt, struggled to find his rhythm all night, finishing 5-for-17 for 90 yards, with a 16-yard touchdown to Jon Korzelius, and an interception.

Oakfield-Alabama drops to 3-3 on the season and will play at Holley next Saturday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Alexander (5-1) keeps their hopes alive for a share of the Genesee Region League crown and possible top seed in Class D.

“This was a big win for us,” Sawyer said. “Had we lost, Oakfield-Alabama would have swapped places with us in the standings because of a tie-breaker, but the kids really worked hard this week and really wanted to win this game. It has been a pretty magical season so far.”

Alexander travels to Pembroke next Friday night.

Other Friday night games (update by Howard Owens):

Le Roy 13, Wellsville 0. Peter Privitera rushed for 113 yards and one TD on 30 carries and Nick Egeling carried the ball nine times for 92 yards. Kody Lamkin had 11 tackles. Le Roy is now 6-0 and plays Cal-Mum next.

Pembroke beat Holley 23-20.

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October 6, 2013 - 1:01pm
posted by Nick Sabato in batavia, football, sports, high school sports.

Batavia’s struggles in Monroe County League play continued as they fell to Eastridge on senior night, 38-14.

The Lancers got off to quick start after Batavia’s opening possession stalled after three plays, and Jametrius Lewis returned the Blue Devil punt 54 yards for a touchdown to go up 6-0 just a minute into the ballgame.

Batavia showed some signs of life though, taking the ensuing drive 57 yards on 12 plays and was capped off on a Greg Mruczek 1-yard quarterback keeper.

The Blue Devils also cashed in on a two-point conversion pass from Brandon Stevenson to James Cryer to take an 8 to 6 lead in the first quarter.

Eastridge would respond, however, going 73 yards on just five plays before freshman C.J. Turner darted 29 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.

Disaster would strike on Batavia’s next possession.

After another three-and-out, Eastridge recovered the ball at Batavia’s 16-yard line after the punt snap was too high to handle. The Lancers only needed two plays before Jay’Von Hampton scored on a 14-yard touchdown run to go up 18-8.

Batavia’s defense held strong in the second quarter as each team traded punts. The Blue Devils figured to have the Lancers pinned inside their own 10, but Lewis ripped off another big play. This time, he sprinted down the left sideline 92 yards for a backbreaking touchdown.

Bad luck continued for Head Coach Brennan Briggs’ squad as Mruczek was intercepted on the final play before halftime and Eastridge took a 24 to 8 lead into the locker room.

The Lancers would score on the opening drive of the second half, and then pick up another touchdown from Turner to put the game out of reach.

Senior Ryan Budlong made the most of his final home game for Batavia, rushing for 69 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Batavia star Stevenson was held in check for most of the game, rushing for 38 yards and throwing for another 10. Mruczek went just 5-of-14 for 47 yards, two interceptions and was under duress for most of the night. Senior Nick Canzoneri ran for 48 yards and had another 27 receiving.

Turner went 4-of-5 passing for 61 yards and a touchdown for Eastridge (3-1).

Batavia falls to 1-4 on the season and will play at Greece Arcadia next Saturday. 

Other games on Friday and Saturday (added by Howard Owens):

Notre Dame (5-0) remains the only undefeated team in the Genesee Region after scoring all the points it would need in the first half to put away Pembroke 32-13. QB Tim McCulley continued his dominance over opposing defenses this season going 12-22 for 140 yards and two TDs. He also carried the ball 16 times for 65 yards and a TD. Andrew Mullen had seven carries for 56 yards and a TD. Charlie Hebert had four receptions for 75 yards and TD, and Josh Johnson had three catches for 35 yards and a TD. On defense, Tim Taylor at 7.5 tackles and a sack. Hebert, seven tackles, Joe Zickle 6.5 and Tyler Stroud 4.5. Hebert also had a sack. ND had 285 yards total offense to 162 for Pembroke.

Le Roy (5-0) also preserved his undefeated record trouncing Avon 34-17. QB Mike McMullen was an efficient 11-15 for 138 yards and three TDs. Ryan McQuillen hauled in four of those passes for 62 yards and a TD. Tom Kelso had a TD reception among this three catches for 58 yards. Nick Egeling also scored on a McMullen toss. Peter Privitera carried the ball 24 times for 89 yards. Kelso rushed for 70 yards and a TD on 11 carries. Leading the defense was Kody Lamkin with 11 tackles and one sack. Brandon Van Grol had five tackles. With four tackles apiece were Tom Kelso, Ryan McQuillan, Zack Fitzsimmons and Brian Hodges. 

Alexander's impressive 2013 campaign continued Saturday with a shutout victory over Holley, 42-0. The Trojans are now 4-1 on the season. Dylan Scharlau had 30 carries for 256 yards and two touchdowns. Nelso Burke was 9-for-15 passing for 157 yards and three TDs. Jake Riggs had four receptions for 62 yards and two TDs. Sam Browne gained 71 yards on four catches and scored a TD. Riggs and Browne also had two interceptions on defense. Tyler Laird led the defense with 14 tackles, including two for a loss.

It's been a few years since Oakfield-Alabama made it through the fifth week with a winning record, with but with Saturday's victory over Elba/Byron-Bergen, the Hornets are now 3-2 on the season. The Lancers drop to 2-3 with the 20-15 loss. Allen Chatt was 11-15 for 145 yards and a TD. Chris Nanni gained 58 yards on the ground and scored once. Chase Manzella had 10 tackles.

In week six: Wellsville (2-3, coming off two consecutive shutout victories) is at Le Roy, 7:30 p.m., Friday; Oakfield-Alabama is at Alexander, 7 p.m. Friday;  Holley is at Pembroke, 7 p.m., Friday; Notre Dame is at Finney, 1 p.m., Saturday; Attica is at Elba/BB, 1:30 p.m., Saturday; Batavia is at Greece-Arcadia, 2 p.m., Saturday.

September 29, 2013 - 9:43am
posted by Nick Sabato in football, sports, elba, high school sports, Notre Dame.

Notre Dame ended its three-game losing streak to Elba/Byron-Bergen with a dominating 40 to 7 victory.

For the second consecutive week, Tim McCulley scored five touchdowns for the Fighting Irish, this time all through the air as Notre Dame controlled the game from start to finish.

The Irish opened the scoring as McCulley hooked up with Josh Johnson for a 13-yard TD strike in the first quarter to go up 6-0.

McCulley would later find Jason Hart on a one-yard toss to give the Irish a 13-0 lead. In total, McCulley would throw four touchdown passes in the first half, two more to Johnson on plays of two and 51 yards respectively.

The senior quarterback went 18-for-27 passing for 335 yards and also picked up another 61 on the ground.

The Lancers would get on the board just before the end of the half on a three-yard pass from Garrett Chapell to Chad Kowalik.

Charlie Herbert was on the receiving end of the fifth and final touchdown pass from McCulley late in the third quarter. Herbert racked up 134 yards on six grabs, while Johnson had 161 on seven catches.

The Fighting Irish defense was stout all game, holding Chapell to just 13-of-33 passing for 127 yards and intercepting him four times, once by Johnson.

“Our skilled guys had a good game today, although we did have a couple of lapses,” said Notre Dame Head Coach Rick Mancuso. “I’m really proud of the overall effort, of the great effort that got us to this point, but we have a lot to work on and we are going to get back at it on Monday.”

Brandon Naylor had a strong game for Elba/Byron-Bergen (2-2), carrying the ball 16 times for 100 yards. The Lancers will next travel to Oakfield-Alabama next Friday night.

Notre Dame (4-0) is the only remaining unbeaten team in the Genesee Region League, and they will take on Pembroke next Saturday.

Also Saturday, Batavia lost to Canandaigua Academy 49-12.

Photos by Howard Owens.

To purchase prints of photos, click here.

September 28, 2013 - 8:30am
posted by Nick Sabato in sports.

Le Roy extended its winning streak over Warsaw to 35 straight games with a win on Homecoming, 41-21.

The king of the night however, was junior Ryan McQuillen, who scored on three special teams plays.

The Knights got off to a slow start; as Warsaw struck first on a 30-yard scamper on 4th-and-17 from Colin Royce to take a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.

Le Roy immediately responded as McQuillen fielded the ensuing kickoff and took it 72 yards for the game-tying touchdown.

The Oatkan Knight defense locked down the Warsaw offense for much of the rest of the game, forcing eight consecutive punts by the Tigers.

Meanwhile, Le Roy found the end zone on four more plays of 35 yards or more.

Junior Quarterback Mike McMullen hit Jon Pierce on a 72-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter to take a lead they would never surrender.

Two minutes later Peter Privitera would cap off a seven-play, 35-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge.

McQuillen would strike again, this time taking a 35-yard punt to the end zone to give Le Roy a 27-7 lead.

McMullen would hit another long touchdown pass, this time a 78-yard bomb to Steve Cappotelli to end the half, up 33-7.

After the two teams would trade punts to start the second half, McQuillen once again took control, returning his second punt of the night for a score, this time from 57 yards out, giving Le Roy a 41-7 lead.

Warsaw would add two touchdowns to end the game, making the final score 41-21.

McQuillen finished the game with 227 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns on the night.

McMullen finished 5-of-13 passing for 166 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Meanwhile, Privitera once again led the rushing attack, finishing with 59 yards on 14 attempts and a touchdown.

Kody Lamkin had two sacks on defense for Le Roy (4-0), who will play at Avon next Friday.

Royce led the way for the Tigers (0-4), with 65 rushing yards and two touchdowns. 

Both Le Roy and rival Cal-Mum entered the night with 3-0 records. Cal-Mum lost to Bishop Kearney 48-46.

Also on Friday night:

Alexander did the main thing any team needs to to do beat Attica: Stop Matt Perry. The senior running back 12 yards on 10 carries. Perry didn't play the 4th quarter. Alexander won 30-15. Dylan Scharlau had 27 rushes for 156 yards and two touchdowns and a two-point conversion. Tyler Laird had seven carries for 75 yards. QB Nelson Burke, 4-7 passing for 52 yards and a TD. He had one interception. He also carried the ball four times for 15 yards, including two two-point conversion runs. Zach Laird had three receptions for 40 yards and a TD. One reception was a 25-yard TD catch on a 4th and 8 in the 4th quarter. Sam Browne had an 80-yard punt return in the third quarter to give Alexander the lead for good. Scharlau had nine tackles and Johnny George seven and an interception.

Oakfield-Alabama beat Pembroke 35-37. Allen Chatt was 12-16 for 115 yards and a touchdown. Chris Nanni rushed for 67 yards on 12 carries and returned a punt for a TD. O-A is now 2-2. The Hornets scored three times on turnovers. For Pembroke, Dakota Swimline rushed for 192 yards and a TD on 24 carries.

September 21, 2013 - 11:09pm

Tim McCulley accounted for five touchdowns as Notre Dame routed Alexander 41 to 12.

Both teams entered the contest with 2-0 records, and went toe-to-toe for the first quarter, until the Fighting Irish opened things up.

McCulley started the scoring by capping a 17-play, 88-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run. Alexander would quickly respond though, scoring on a 75-yard drive, finished by a Dylan Scharlau one-yard run.

However two plays later, the Notre Dame senior quarterback ripped off a 63-yard touchdown run and the Irish never looked back. McCulley would hook up with Josh Johnson on a 30-yard touchdown pass to head into halftime with a 20-6 lead.

Notre Dame received the ball to start the third quarter and proceeded to march 67 yards on 11 plays, capped by a 24-yard touchdown toss from McCulley to Luca Zambito.

McCulley would later intercept a Nelson Burke pass, and capitalize with one more touchdown pass to Charlie Herbert to put the game on ice.

One bright spot for Alexander was the play of Scharlau, who ran for 166 yards and two touchdowns, while the Irish defense held Burke to just 2-of-10 passing for 12 yards and two interceptions.

Notre Dame got one final touchdown after Johnson returned a Trojan onside kick 54 yards for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

McCulley finished the game 10-of-21 passing for 171 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, while also rushing for 108 yards and two scores.

Senior Andrew Mullen had a solid game for the Irish, rushing for 124 yards on 21 carries, while Zambito added four catches for 50 yards and a touchdown.

The Fighting Irish improve to 3-0 and will travel to Elba/Byron-Bergen next week. The Lancers have beaten Notre Dame the last two seasons, keeping them from an undefeated record.

Alexander (2-1) will host Attica next Friday night. 

More stats: Scharlau had seven tackles and one sack. Zach Laird had seven tackles. Jonathan George had eight tackles. Kelsey Patten also recorded a sack for Alexander. For Notre Dame, McCulley rushed for 107 yards on 19 carries. Luca Zambio had four catches for 54 yards and a TD. Charlie Hebert had two receptions for 60 yards and a TD. Josh Johnson gained 35 yards on two receptions and scored. Joe Zickl led the defense with 13 tackels. Dakota Weidman notched the team's only sack.

In other football action today, Elba/Byron Bergen moved to 2-1 with a 41-6 over Holley on in the first game on Holley's brand-new football field. Garrett Chapell, who was 3-6 for 67 yards, threw for two TD and ran for one. Brandon Naylor carried the ball in twice. Austin Yockel snatched his third interception on the season. The Lancers had 315 yards total offense to Holley's 50. Mike Shanley had 11 carries for 107 yards. Andy Underhill had 14 tackles and half a sack. Naylor, 10 tackles, Hunter Taylor 11 and 11 for Steel Truax.

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Photos by Howard Owens.

To purchase prints of photos, click here.

September 21, 2013 - 9:02am
posted by Nick Sabato in batavia, football.

Coming into the season Batavia Head Coach Brennan Briggs knew that his team faced a tough challenge by joining the Monroe County League. This week was an example of why, as Brighton wore down the Blue Devils, spoiling homecoming in route to a 34 to 6 victory.

Batavia hung with the Barons through the first half, entering the break only down 7-0, but Brighton’s size and speed was just too much to overcome in the second half.

“It’s tough because nobody wants to hear moral victories,” Briggs said. “But every single week I want to tip my cap to these guys because every single week they are outmanned and outnumbered. There was no brilliant scheme that Brighton threw at us; they just ran the same play over and over. When it comes down to it, they were just bigger.”

The game was scoreless deep into the second quarter until Brighton mounted a 16-play, 88-yard drive that took nearly seven minutes off of the clock before fullback Gordon Truesdale plunged in from three yards out. The Blue Devils appeared to be nearing a score with under a minute left after Brandon Stevenson ripped off a 27-yard run deep into Brighton territory. However, an offensive pass-interference call doomed the Batavia drive and the Barons entered the intermission with the lead.

The Barons received the ball on the second half kickoff and proceeded to impose their will for the remainder of the game.

Brighton opened the third quarter with another 16-play, 67-yard drive that took over seven minutes off the clock before Matt Stone, who ran the ball 19 times for 114 yards, finished off the march with a three-yard touchdown run.

Stevenson was then intercepted at midfield by Stone on the ensuing possession, and the Barons capitalized again with another goal line plunge by Truesdale.

The Blue Devils would turn the ball over on downs, and Brighton would score a back-breaking touchdown on a 27-yard scamper by Christian Jones to put them up 27-0 with just over nine minutes to play in the game.

Brighton seemed to be just too much up front for the undersized Batavia team, as they did not attempt a single pass in the second half, while running the ball 63 times for 432 yards on the evening. An even more telling statistic was the Blue Devils only held possession for 3:32 in the second half and only attempted 11 plays from scrimmage.

“The worst situation to be in is when a team is grinding the ball,” Briggs said. “When a team is throwing the ball you think you can get some stops, but when they are just grinding it and physically beating you up, there’s not much you can do.”

One bright spot was once again the play of Stevenson, who scored the lone Batavia touchdown on a 77-yard dash in the fourth quarter. He would finish with a game-high 139 rushing yards on 11 carries.

The Barons would get one more score, a 58-yard run from Jones to seal the game.

Jones would finish with 114 yards on nine carries and two touchdowns, while Truesdale added 65 yards on 11 attempts to go with his two scores for Brighton (1-2).

Batavia falls to 1-2 on the season and will travel to Canandaigua next Saturday for a 2 p.m. start.

“We have to turn the page, we can’t make any excuses, and we have to come out and work hard,” Briggs said. “Football is going to teach lessons to make you a man. They know that they are going to be in a dog fight every week and they are going to better for it.”

September 5, 2013 - 3:13pm
posted by Nick Sabato in football, sports, high school sports.

The air is getting cooler and the leaves will begin to change soon, which means it is once again football season. Several area teams are looking to have big seasons or build upon last year’s success. Here is a look at each local squad:

Batavia High School Blue Devils
2012 Record: 3-5
Head Coach: Brennan Briggs (2nd Season)

Second-year Head Coach Brennan Briggs is embracing a daunting task ahead of him and his football team. Batavia High is moving from an independent schedule back into the Monroe County League. Of their seven games, six will come against Class A schools.

“I truly believe Monroe County is the best league for speed, athleticism and talent in Section V, so it will be a tough task for us,” Briggs said. “We are a Class B school, with six of our seven games coming against Class A schools, which have a little bigger pool to choose from.”

Briggs and his coaching staff have been stressing mental toughness, and doing the little things to offset any physical disadvantages. The Blue Devils have also adopted a new motto, “keep chopping.”

“We have been stressing that there is only one speed. There is no practice speed or game speed, everything is done at full speed,” Briggs said. “We’ve been trying to instill that mental and physical toughness to try and limit any physical disadvantages we may face.” 

The Blue Devils will be led by Brandon Stevenson, a player who will see time at both quarterback and running back, as well as in the defensive backfield. Senior Nick Canzoneri, who was the team’s leading rusher a year ago at the fullback spot. Three-year varsity player Devon Koepp will lead an inexperienced offensive and defensive line.

Batavia will be inexperienced at certain positions this season but that doesn’t seem to concern Briggs.

“We will be relying on quite a few sophomores at a few spots on offense,” says Briggs. “I not only think that they are up to it now, but it will help them in the long run.”

The Blue Devils open up the season on the road with a matchup against Edison Tech on Saturday afternoon.

Alexander Trojans
2012 Record: 2-6
Head Coach: Tim Sawyer (10th Season)

Alexander has not reached the sectional playoffs since 2009, but they look to bounce back this year under Head Coach Tim Sawyer, who has spent 10 years overall as head coach, this being the second season after a hiatus.

One of the players that Sawyer will lean on heavily will be 2012 Genesee Region League All-Star Zach Laird, who finished the season with 24 receptions, 351 yards and three touchdowns, including a 10-catch, 141-yard outing against Holley last fall. 

Another returning G-R All-Star is senior lineman John George, who should anchor the line. Quarterback Nelson Burke returns from a year ago, as well as running back/linebacker Dylan Scharlau to help guide the Trojans to success.

Alexander opens the season at home on Saturday against Elba/Byron-Bergen.

Elba/Byron-Bergen Lancers
2012 Record: 6-2
Head Coach: Michael Cintorino (3rd Season)

Elba/Byron-Bergen had a disappointing end to their 2012 season after being upset at home to Bath in the first round of Class C playoffs. The Lancers also have a great deal of offensive firepower to replace from a year ago, including the Genesee Region League’s leading rusher, Zack DuBois (1,632 yards and 16 touchdowns), as well as the league’s second-ranked passer, Zac Gillard (921 yards and 12 scores). However, the Lancers do return a trio of players from a year ago that helped them to a share of the league crown.

One of those returning players is the 2012 Class C Defensive Player of the Year, Andy Underhill. Underhill racked up an astounding 154 tackles, including 27 for a loss. He should also see more time on offense this year, where when called upon, he was effective (8.2 yards per carry on 31 touches). 

Another G-R League All-Star returning for Elba/B-B is senior Brandon Naylor, who will make the transition from offensive line to running back this fall. Naylor made a name for himself on defense last year, finishing second on the team with 87 tackles, 28 for a loss. 

The third returning G-R League All-Star is defensive back Austin Yockel, who will be looked at to be the receiving threat for quarterback Garrett Chapell. Yockel was second on the team in receiving a year ago with 287 yards and three touchdowns.

Reigning G-R League Coach of the Year, Michael Cintorino’s Lancers open the season on Saturday with a trip to Alexander. 

Le Roy Oatkan Knights
2012 Record: 8-2
Head Coach: Brian Moran (25th Season)

Le Roy has a New York State record 14 sectional championships in school history, 13 under Head Coach Brian Moran, but they have not managed raise a banner since 2008.

This year could be different for the Knights. After reaching the sectional finals, only to lose to Hornell in the midst of their 51-game winning streak, Moran’s squad returns with a host of weapons this fall. The arsenal includes senior running back Peter Privitera, who rushed for 962 yards and 12 touchdowns in only eight games due to injuries toward the end of the season. Privitera will be joined in the backfield by junior Tom Kelso, who proved himself highly valuable in Privitera’s absence toward the end of the season. Kelso was second on the team in rushing last year with 485 yards and eight scores.

The key to the success of the offense this season could be the play of strong-armed junior quarterback Mike McMullen, who threw for 655 yards and nine touchdowns a season ago. McMullen showed capabilities of igniting the offensive attack last year with a 7-of-10, 150-yard performance against Bath in the Class C semifinals in 2012. It will also help to have his top target from last year back in junior Ryan McQuillen, who accounted for half of McMullen’s yards last year (323 on 12 receptions) and also reached the end zone six times. 

The defense will be led by Kelso, the team’s leading tackler a year ago, at linebacker. The defensive front should be solid also with the return of junior Kody Lamkin, senior Brian Van Grol and Anthony Paladino, who transferred from Notre Dame. 

The Oatkan Knights will begin the pursuit of Coach Moran’s 14th sectional title on Friday night at Hartwood Park, ironically against Hornell, whose 51-game winning streak was snapped in the State championship game. But if Le Roy aims to hoist another trophy, it would be fitting to start their quest against the Red Raiders.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish
2012 Record: 8-2
Head Coach: Rick Mancuso (9th Season)

The 2012 season was one for the record books for Coach Rick Mancuso’s Notre Dame squad. Not only did they grab a share of the Genesee Region League title, but they were the only team from Genesee County to win a sectional championship; the school’s first since 2006 after narrowly missing several times, where they defeated Clyde-Savannah, 26 to 6. 

One of the big reasons for last season’s success was the play of quarterback Tim McCulley, who is back as a third-year starter at quarterback. McCulley set several school passing records, including 1,127 yards and 18 touchdowns, including a 270-yard, three-touchdown performance against Attica. He is also a dual-threat, picking up over 300 yards on the ground and scored on a punt return and an interception last year. 

Despite losing leading rusher Nick Taylor and top receiver Jared Thornton to graduation, McCulley will have a number of weapons due back at his disposal including 6-foot-4-inch tight end Charlie Herbert, running back Andrew Mullen, as well as receivers Jason Hart and Josh Johnson. So, Mancuso doesn’t believe that the offense will miss a beat.

“We have seven players who saw time returning on both sides of the ball,” Mancuso said. “We are very pleased with the way that the new additions to our program have stepped up and we expect big things from them this year.”

Notre Dame has also lost a number of key players along the offensive and defensive line, including John Lapple (graduation), Anthony Paladino (transfer to Le Roy) and Brenden Von Kramer (transfer to Pembroke). The Irish do return a few big bodies such as senior Tim Taylor, who will anchor the front for the Irish.

Losing so many big bodies and having a roster of just 18 players also doesn’t seem to concern Mancuso and his staff.

“We’ve got size, but we are a spread team,” Mancuso said. “So, we don’t necessarily need size to compete. Our talent and our numbers dictate that we are a spread team so we will be just fine.”

The Fighting Irish begin defense of their Class D crown with a home game against Holley on Saturday afternoon.

Oakfield-Alabama Hornets
2012 Record: 5-4
Head Coach: Brian Palone (5th Season)

After finishing the 2011 season winless, and being outscored 84-0 in the first two games of 2012, Brian Palone’s Oakfield-Alabama squad finished the season 5-2. It was the Hornets’ first winning season since 2008 under Jon Dowd, but Palone will look to continue to push Oakfield back to the powerhouse it once was. 

The Hornets return four-year starter Chris Nanni, who was a standout on both sides of the ball a year ago, registering 75 tackles while punching in 10 rushing touchdowns. 

Chase Manzella also returns after being a do-it-all player last year. Manzella split time between running back and quarterback last year, but with the emergence of Allen Chatt at quarterback last season, Palone should be able to keep him in the backfield alongside Nanni. 

Oakfield-Alabama will open up their season at home with a tough test against Attica on Saturday night.

Pembroke Dragons
2012 Record: 1-7
Head Coach: Justin Loeber (2nd Season)

The 2012 season was a forgettable one in several aspects for Pembroke. Low numbers and an 0-7 start, including a game that was forfeited due to being unable to field enough players for that week, led to a poor start to the head coaching career for Justin Loeber.

However, the Dragons finished strong, shutting out Geneseo in the Connors and Ferris Bowl to end the season. Now, Loeber is looking to build off of the momentum started at the end of last season.

“Our biggest weapon is that we that confidence now,” Loeber said. “We have players who played a lot as sophomores, have a year under their belt and know the system and have confidence in the system.”

Pembroke returns all but three players from a season ago that saw them play several underclassmen. They also return to key players, quarterback/safety Tyler Bruning and running back/linebacker Pete Thomas.

“Tyler is our general on the field,” Loeber said of Bruning. “Football is his sport, he loves it. He knows the offense and he can direct anyone on where to go.”

Thomas was the team’s lone G-R League All-Star from 2012, and the Dragons will lean on him heavily after compiling 250 yards and four touchdowns on offense, while leading the team with 75 tackles on defense.

“Pete is a three-year varsity player,” Loeber said. “We called him up as a sophomore and he knows what it takes to be successful. The other players really look up to him and he is becoming a solid leader for us.”

Pembroke will open up the season at home against C.G. Finney on Friday night.

Schedule for Genesee County Football Teams on Opening Weekend

Friday, September 6

  • 7:00 p.m. – C.G. Finney at Pembroke
  • 7:30 p.m. – Hornell at Le Roy

Saturday, September 7

  • 1:30 p.m. – Batavia at Eidson Tech
  • 1:30 p.m. – Elba/Byron-Bergen at Alexander
  • 1:30 p.m. – Holley at Notre Dame
  • 7:00 p.m. – Attica at Oakfield-Alabama
March 7, 2013 - 8:37am
posted by Nick Sabato in batavia, basketball, sports.

Batavia used a 21-4 run over the final five minutes of the game to defeat Hornell and advance to the Class B Far West Regionals, 65 to 51.

The fourth quarter belonged to Batavia senior forward Justin Washington, who scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds in the final frame alone.

Washington entered the quarter with only six points and having sat the majority of the third quarter with three fouled. But when he reentered the game, he immediately took over.

“(Washington) took the game over. Plain and simple,” said Batavia Head Coach Buddy Brasky. “I think he just decided it was time. He pretty much just took the game over, put us on his shoulders and carried us home.”

In the first half it was a different story for the Blue Devils, who jumped out to an early lead behind an unexpected source.

As Washington and Jalen Smith struggled to find their stroke in the first half, it was senior T.J. Powell who stepped up and delivered.

Powell scored all 13 of his points in the first half, while grabbing six rebounds, to give Batavia a 30 to 24 halftime lead.

“T.J. was tentative in the Newark game and we talked about it in practice,” Brasky said. “I told him to go out and be aggressive. I told him tonight is going to be your night and that was key. That’s the T.J. we need.”

Hornell began to cut into Batavia’s stingy defense during the third quarter, outscoring the Blue Devils 18-12 in the period, and eventually tied the game on a three-point field goal from Richard Brooks with just under a minute to play in the quarter.

“We weren’t sprinting back on defense,” Brasky said. “Their secondary break killed us. We were jogging back and they took advantage.”

The two teams headed into the fourth quarter tied at 42 and traded baskets before Brooks hit another three to give the Red Raiders the lead before Smith and Washington began to take over.

Smith had been struggling from the field all evening, going just 7-of-20 from the field and 2-for-13 from three point range for the game, but he began to take over in other facets.

The senior came up with three assists in the quarter, one on a gorgeous pass to sophomore Jeff Redband for an easy lay-up that forced a timeout.

“I trust my teammates to score, too,” Smith said. “I can’t score all of the points and my teammates help out a lot. They play hard and we all play together.”

Washington scored the first two baskets of the quarter for Batavia, and had matched both his point and rebound total for the entire game in the first four minutes of the frame.

After Hornell had taken a 47-44 lead, the Blue Devils went on to score the next 12 points during their 21-4 run to end the game. In total, Batavia held the Red Raiders without a point for nearly four minutes.

“Our team handles pressure very well,” Smith said. “We stuck together as a team, we played hard, we kept our confidence and we all stuck together.”

Smith would finish with a game-high 25 points, including several key free throws down the stretch to ice the game for Batavia (19-3).

Washington chipped in with 14 points, 14 rebounds and two steals for the Blue Devils, who will face the state's top-ranked team on Saturday in Olean.

The Huskies defeated East High School of Buffalo on Tuesday to win the Section VI championship, 62-50.

They are led by 6-foot-7 junior forward Sam Eckstrom, who notched his 1,000th point in the win and senior guard Wil Bathurst who scored 27 points, grabbed 19 rebounds and blocked six shots.

“Olean is the number-one ranked team in the state,” Brasky said. “We played them last year. We have everybody back and they have everybody back. They are just a solid team.”

The Blue Devils defeated Olean in their own tournament last year, 56-43. The Huskies would win their next 21 games before falling in the State Semi-Finals.

Tip-off is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Blue Cross Arena.

To purchase prints of photos, click here. To purchase prints of earlier Blue Devils games (boys and girls basketball, click here)

February 27, 2013 - 8:12am
posted by Nick Sabato in sports.

Batavia will play for the Class B1 crown after demolishing Livonia, 75-38.

This will be the Blue Devils’ first trip to the sectional finals since 2010. Coincidentally, they beat Livonia to win their second consecutive sectional championship that season and reached the semi-finals of the New York State tournament.

The Blue Devils scored the first 10 points of the game and never looked back, building a 19-2 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Jalen Smith scored 15 of his game-high 20 points in the first half as top-seeded Batavia carried a 37-point lead into the break.

Justin Washington, a freshman on that 2010 team, had another superb outing for the Blue Devils, scoring 10 points, grabbing nine rebounds, dishing out five assists and collecting three steals in the victory, while Justice Fagan scored 12 points off the bench on 4-of-5 3-point field goals.

Batavia (17-3) will face second-seeded Newark (14-6) in the Class B1 Final at the Blue Cross Arena on Sunday at 3 p.m. after they blew past NE/NW College Prep in the other semi-final matchup, 70-44.

Cody Cronmiller had 17 points and six rebounds for Livonia (10-10) in defeat.

February 26, 2013 - 9:36am
posted by Nick Sabato in sports.

Notre Dame’s perfect season came crashing to end when Avon clinched the Class C1 Semifinals, 60-58.

The Fighting Irish entered the contest at 19-0 on the season, looking to win their second straight sectional championship after making it to the New York State Class D Semifinals last season. But this season they moved up to Class C and the Braves proved to be too much to handle.

“We knew it was going to be tougher,” said Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Rapone. “Even though they moved us up a class, we still have the student body of a Class D school. It showed tonight. They had a little more depth, a little more physicality, a few more big kids than we had, and it was the difference in the game.”

In the first quarter, it appeared as if top-seeded Notre Dame would take control of the game, but Avon cut the deficit to three on a buzzer-beating shot off an inbound play by Zack Rizzolo to end the first quarter.

The Braves would carry that momentum into the second as they scored the first seven points of the frame.

Not to be outdone, the Irish responded with a 13-4 run of their own to recapture the lead heading into halftime, 29-26.

The third quarter belonged to the star players on each team.

Avon’s Zach Mouw started the second half red-hot, scoring 12 of his team’s first 13 points of the frame, however Notre Dame’s Tim McCulley responded by scoring 12 of the team’s 18 points in the quarter.

“Tim did a nice job,” Rapone said. “They were really pressing hard to take (McCulley, Tommy Prospero and Jared Thornton) out of the game. Tim did what he had to do, he found the gaps and he got inside.”

Mouw had 22 points midway through the third quarter, including connecting on four shots in a row, before Rapone matched Thornton on him in an attempt to take him out offensively.

Mouw did not score a point the rest of the game, but Avon’s role players began to step up, particularly on the boards, as the Braves racked up four offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter alone.

“It was something I was concerned about, but the main reason it happened was because we had to switch defenses to stop Mouw,” Rapone said. “We had to pick our poison.”

Avon took the lead with three minutes to play after Galen Snyder scored off a Mouw pass and drew a foul in the process. Freshman Gerad Coyne would then connect on a three-pointer from the wing with 2:40 to play, putting the Braves up by six.

The Irish would then storm back, getting two quick baskets from McCulley to cut the lead to two with just over a minute to play.

Coyne would appear to step out of bounds on the ensuing possession, but Avon was granted a timeout, allowing them to run the clock down to 30 seconds before turning the ball back over to Notre Dame.

McCulley was fouled on the next trip down the floor in what appeared to be the game-tying lay-in, but the basket was waved off, forcing the Irish to inbound from underneath.

“We thought Tim had the game-tying basket but it was waved off,” Rapone said. “Calls are calls and the officials make them. You have to live with it and move on.”

Ryan Bender appeared to have an easy lay-up with 10 seconds left, but Tyler Hite rescued the Braves with a game-saving blocked shot.

Prospero would get one last heave at the basket but was unsuccessful as their season came to end.

Mouw led the way for fifth-seed Avon (14-7) with 22 points, seven rebounds and two steals as they advance to the Class C1 Finals on Saturday to play Mynderse at the Blue Cross Arena.

McCulley led Notre Dame (19-1) in a losing effort with 22 points and eight rebounds, while Prospero added 15 points, four rebounds and four assists.

In girls basketball, Batavia beat Pal-Mac 71-68. Madison McCulley scored 30 points and Tiara Filbert added 21 with nine rebounds. Essence Williams also had nine rebounds.

February 15, 2013 - 8:14am
posted by Nick Sabato in sports.

Charlotte connected on five three-pointers as a part of a 15-2 run to start the fourth quarter to put away Batavia on their senior night, 72-54.

The Lakesiders got off to a hot start as Kievonn Banks scored 14 of his game-high 37 points in the first quarter and led 21-15.

In the second quarter, Batavia’s own star took over as Justin Washington scored 15 points in the frame to help give the Blue Devils a one-point halftime lead.

Washington continued to control the game after the intermission, until midway through the third quarter as he picked up his third personal foul on a coast-to-coast charge.

With the Blue Devils’ star on the bench, Charlotte would use their full-court pressure to regain the lead heading into the fourth, 48-46.

“We didn’t take care of the ball,” Washington said. “If we are going to make a run in sectionals, we are definitely going to have to take care of the ball.”

Banks would connect on a three to start the frame, and would strike seconds after a Rayqwaun Blocker steal of Jake Brasky led to another three from Demetrius Gettys.

Batavia halted the run after a timeout with a lay up, but Charlotte would hit three consecutive shots beyond the arc, two more coming from Gettys, to put the Blue Devils away.

In total, Charlotte (15-3) tallied 15 steals, 7 by Banks, on the night as Batavia never seemed to crack the Lakesiders’ full-court press.

Banks would add nine rebounds to go along with his 37 points and seven steals, while Gettys chipped in with 16 points for Charlotte.

Washington had a superb all-around night in defeat, finishing with 25 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and two blocks. Jamesson Etienne added 14 points and nine rebounds while Jalen Smith chipped in 11 points for Batavia (15-3).

The Blue Devils had already locked up the top seed in Class B1 prior to the game and will play host to the winner of the Midlakes/Waterloo game on Feb. 23. 

PHOTOS By Howard Owens.

Top, Justin Washington scores on a lay up in the second quarter; Jalen Smith with a lay up in the third quarter; Batavia on defense.

To purchase a print of photos, click here, or click the link in the upper right of the slide show below.

February 2, 2013 - 12:35am
posted by Nick Sabato in sports.

 

Elba extended their winning streak to 40 games after defeating Notre Dame, 56-41.
 
The Lancers have come away victorious 40 games in a row since their last loss on March 7, 2010 in the Class D qualifier. They have also won 29 consecutive Genesee Region League games dating back to February 8, 2010, when Notre Dame came away with a three point victory, which was also the last time they lost a home game.
 
“It’s something that down the road, whenever it does end, we’ll be to reflect on unbelievable it is to win that many games,” said Elba head coach Tom Nowak. “We never talk about it in practice. We just come out one game at a time and go from there.”
 
After leading by only five with three minutes to play, the Lancers went on a 13-3 run to end the game, beating the Lady Irish for the second time this year. 
Elba started the game hot, opening up with a 10-2 run, including three-point field goals from both McKenzie and Kelsey Bezon. 
However, Notre Dame would fight back. They went on a 12-2 run of their own, capped by a three by senior Riley Norton early in the second quarter. 
 
The Lancers would score seven straight to take a 25-18 lead with two minutes left in the half before the Irish got back-to-back baskets from sophomores Emma Francis and Emily McCracken to cut the lead to 25-23 at halftime.
 
Elba would win the free throw battle in the game, attempting 17 to Notre Dame’s 6. In fact, Laurie Call headed to the line with 5:23 left in the third quarter for the Irish’s first trip to the line all night.
 
After Call’s free throws gave the Irish a two point lead, the turning point of the game would come on a play where Elba’s Jamie Marshall and Notre Dame’s Shea Norton got tangled up going for a rebounding, resulting in Norton receiving a technical foul.
 
McKenzie Bezon would make one out of two free throws and assist on a Missy Engle jumper from the elbow to give the Lancers the lead for good. 
Bezon would finish with a superb all-around game, scoring a game-high 16 points, grabbing 9 rebounds and dishing out 6 assists.
 
“She’s been unbelievable all season, but tonight she just had a magnificent game,” said Nowak. “She has had to sacrifice her scoring a little bit to make sure she is keeping everybody involved. She is a true team player, that she has sacrificed her individual stats for the good of the team.”
 
After a Melanie Taylor free throw cut the Elba lead to five with 3:11 to play in the game, Elba freshman guard Alex Reigle connected on back-to-back three pointers from the corner within five seconds to send the Lancers on a 13-3 run before Bezon hit her fourth shot from beyond the arc to seal the game. 
 
“It’s amazing,” Bezon said. “When I was little I couldn’t wait to play varsity for Elba and have undefeated seasons. Now that’s happened it’s unbelievable.”
 
Reigle had a strong game for Elba (15-0), scoring 12 points, while Marshall chipped in 7 points and 8 rebounds.
 
 “It’s a huge win because I have a lot of respect for Notre Dame,” Nowak said. “To beat a team of that high caliber is always very special to us.”
 
Riley Norton led the way for Notre Dame (13-2), scoring a team-high 15 points and grabbing 6 rebounds, while Taylor chipped in 14 points and 9 rebounds.
 
 
 
January 30, 2013 - 8:34am
posted by Nick Sabato in batavia, basketball, sports, Notre Dame, Mike Rapone.

Notre Dame capitalized on a 14-2 run at the end of the first quarter to pull away from Kendall and earn head coach Mike Rapone his 600th career victory, 87-49.

After Kendall’s Dan Kelly connected on a three-pointer to tie the game at seven with two minutes remaining in the opening frame, the Fighting Irish came alive, scoring eight straight.

Jared Thornton scored the first six on the run, which was capped by an emphatic right-handed dunk by Tim McCulley to end the quarter.

Notre Dame never looked back.

Rapone became only the ninth coach in New York State history to achieve 600 wins, making Notre Dame Section V’s all-time leader in wins during the open-tournament era.

“For me, it’s a culmination of working with a lot of great young players and a lot of longevity,” Rapone said. “I hope that I impacted their lives in a little way as they matured into young men.”

Since becoming the head coach in 1980, Rapone has won 29 Genesee Region League Championships, eight Section V titles, five Far West Regional Championships and two State Championships.

Rapone became the all-time leader in Section V history in 2008, passing longtime Bishop Kearney coach Ed Nietopski with his 546th win, ironically against Kendall.

Despite the numerous accolades and number of wins, Rapone finds that working with his players on a day-to-day basis is just as rewarding as winning games.

“Winning is fun and it certainly makes coaching a lot easier, but just being out here every day with the guys is a good time and we work at it,” Rapone said.

One player who has had a chance to experience several milestones in the coach’s career is senior guard Vin Misiti, who has been a member of the Notre Dame basketball program since fourth grade when he became a team manager before becoming a player.

“It’s special. I’ve been watching him coach and watching Notre Dame teams for as long as I can remember,” Misiti said. “It’s just special to be a member of one of the many milestones for the school.”

Tommy Prospero poured in a game-high 28 points while adding eight rebounds and four steals for Notre Dame (14-0). Thornton also had a strong outing with 21 points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks while McCulley chipped in 19 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks.

“We continue to improve every week, which is what we want to do,” Rapone said. “Next week will tell a lot about us as we play Wheatland-Chili and University Prep to see if we are ready to take the next step.”

Kelly had a team-high 17 points for Kendall (7-6), as their five-game winning streak came to an end.

Photos by Howard Owens

To purchase prints of any of these photos or the ones in the slide show below, click here.

January 17, 2013 - 12:10am
posted by Nick Sabato in basketball, sports, elba, byron, bergen.

In a meeting of cross-town rivals, Elba took down Byron-Bergen, 55-43.

The visiting Lancers used a 15-1 run, 11-1 to end the first half, to pull away from the Bees in a Genesee Region League matchup.

Elba, missing some players, was forced to insert new pieces into the starting lineup. One of those players was Dan Scott, who had a huge game, finishing with a career-high 25 points in the victory.

“It was a good time for him to step up,” said Elba Head Coach Mark Beehler. “Dan, not having a ton of starts this year, he really came through. I knew he was a good ball player, but he really took charge tonight.”

Byron-Bergen, who was also missing a few key players, found their offense when Ranjit Singh hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to single digits with two minutes to play in the third quarter, but Elba responded quickly to end the quarter with six straight points and would never look back.

“We were getting stops on defense and some steals, but we were getting anxious on offense and not taking our time,” Beehler said. “We just needed to slow down and run some offense, when we did that we started to get back on a roll.”

The matchup between schools 10 miles apart is also intriguing because they have merged in several other sports, including football. In fact, eight members of the football team were also members of the basketball team at each school.

“I think it’s fun for the kids to come here, and see their fellow football players and see familiar faces, but when it gets to the court, it’s game time and it’s cutthroat,” Beehler said. “It’s always good sportsmanship between the two schools and good camaraderie.”

One of those players, Nate Jonathan, helped pace Elba (7-5) with seven points and 10 rebounds. Meanwhile, Jesse Pflaumer added 15 points and eight rebounds for the Lancers, who currently own a three-game winning streak. 

Jeff Maskell had a team-high 11 points for Byron-Bergen, who falls to 2-9 on the season.

January 11, 2013 - 9:30am
posted by Nick Sabato in sports.

Notre Dame dethroned Batavia as the Batavia Rotary Tournament Champions, 41-38 at Genesee Community College.

On Tuesday night, Batavia was able to overcome an early deficit to defeat Perry, but a slow start in the first quarter against Notre Dame doomed the Blue Devils in the championship game.

Notre Dame raced out to an early 7-0 lead to start the contest and held Batavia without a field goal in the first quarter. The Blue Devils went 0-for-12 in the frame and fell behind 14-3 after the first quarter. The Irish got a huge spark from senior Riley Norton, who after going 3-for-14 from the field on Tuesday, scored eight of her game-high 20 points in the quarter.

“I didn’t play my best on Tuesday,” Norton said. “But, I’m a senior and I wanted to come out tonight and help my team any way that I could. We know Batavia is a great team and tonight I was able to make some shots early.”

Batavia was able to right the ship in the second quarter, outscoring the Fighting Irish 15-8 to cut the halftime deficit to four. With the Irish keying on stars Tiara Filbert and Madison McCulley, Essence Williams led the comeback effort with nine of her team-high 11 points in the second quarter. Williams also knocked away a Notre Dame rebound right to Filbert, who laid it in just as time expired to keep the Blue Devils within striking distance at halftime.

“Offensively, Notre Dame did a great job of speeding up the game and we couldn’t handle that pace,” said Batavia Head Coach Bill Wade. “So, we decided to slow things down and play at an offensive pace that we were comfortable playing at and we were able to get back into it.”

In the third quarter, Batavia continued to scratch their way back into the game, cutting the lead to two at one point, before Notre Dame went on a 5-2 run to end the quarter. Norton would score five points in the frame, including one of her four three-pointers on the night.

“Riley is our senior and our go-to player,” said Notre Dame Head Coach Dave Pero. “She didn’t shoot particularly well on Tuesday, but tonight her shots were falling and she was huge for us.”

The Blue Devils once again made their push in the third quarter, but each time Batavia would gain momentum, the Irish would respond with a timely basket. McCulley would have to leave the game midway through the fourth quarter with an apparent ankle injury, but she returned with just over two minutes to play and made her presence known immediately by connecting on a deep three-pointer in front of the Batavia bench to cut the lead to 38-36.

Notre Dame responded at the other end of the floor, as Emma Francis hit a foul-line jumper to extend the Irish lead to four with just over a minute to play. After a Batavia free throw at the other end, the Blue Devils were able to get the ball back after a controversial turnover call in the waning seconds, but Notre Dame was able to come up with a defensive stand to wrap up the victory.

“It’s always great to win a tournament like this,” Pero said. “I always call this our mid-term exam, to show us where we are in terms of sectionals. Playing competition the likes of Batavia really gives us a good idea of where we stand as a team and how we can improve the rest of the season.”

Norton was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, adding five rebounds and four steals to go along with her 20 points. She was joined on the all-tournament squad by teammate Mel Taylor, who finished with 12 points, six rebounds and three steals for Notre Dame (8-1).

Batavia (8-4) was represented by Filbert and McCulley on the team, as Filbert scored eight points, grabbed six rebounds, five steals and four assists, while McCulley chipped in nine points on the night. 

To purchase prints of these photos, click on the link in the upper right of the slide show (if you don't see the link, mouse over the pictures).

January 9, 2013 - 12:52pm
posted by Nick Sabato in sports.

Notre Dame used a 13-2 second-quarter run to edge past Alexander in the first round of the Batavia Rotary Tournament at Genesee Community College, 57-43.

Neither team appeared to have an edge early on, with the score being tied after the first quarter. The Fighting Irish started the second quarter with a bang, outscoring the Trojans 18-6 in the frame. The run was keyed by three point field goals made by Shea Norton and Emma Francis, and the Irish ratcheted up their defense.

“After the first we tried to change up defenses,” said Notre Dame Head Coach Dave Pero. “We went back to basics and got us back to where we could get into the lead.

Notre Dame’s defense suffocated Alexander all night, coming away with 13 steals and holding leading scorer Sarah Loranty to six points on 2-of-12 shooting for the game. The Trojans also failed to connect from beyond the arc, missing on all seven attempts.

The Irish offensive attack was balanced all night long, getting 11 points apiece from Melanie Taylor and Shea Norton, while Riley Norton chipped in with 10. Pero’s squad also got seven points each from Francis, Laurie Call and Maddie Mancuso.

“You can’t score if you don’t shoot,” Pero said. “We always tell our players to shoot the ball if you’re open.”

Taylor continued her solid start to the season with another superb all-around game, collecting seven rebounds and six assists to go with her 11 points. Shea Norton added 12 rebounds to go along with her 11 points and Mancuso chipped in with six rebounds off the bench for the Irish (8-1).

Despite being held in-check for most of the night on the offensive end, Loranty did dominate the boards, bringing down 17 rebounds in the loss. Maria Dominick scored a game-high 13 points and grabbed five rebounds for Alexander (7-2), which lost two straight after winning their first seven.

Notre Dame will go on to face Batavia in the finals on Thursday night after the Blue Devils overcame a 30-19 halftime deficit to defeat Perry, 57-48.

The Blue Devils managed to cut the lead to five heading in to the fourth quarter and were able to outlast the Yellowjackets and hand them their first loss of the season.

Batavia got gigantic performances from two freshmen, Madison McCulley, who scored a game-high 15 points and dished out 10 assists while Tiara Filbert chipped in 14 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for the Blue Devils (8-3), who has defeated Perry in the Rotary Tournament for the second straight season. The Yellowjackets fell 44-41 in the finals a year ago.

Perry (7-1) got 13 points from Ashley Miller and will play Alexander in the consolation game at 6 p.m. on Thursday night at GCC. The finals between Batavia and Notre Dame are scheduled to tip-off at 7:30. 

To purchase photos, click on the link in the slide show that says "purchase photos."

All photos by Howard Owens.

December 28, 2012 - 8:43am
posted by Nick Sabato in sports.

Notre Dame handed Perry its first loss of the season in the Lions Club Holiday Shootout at Genesee Community College, 46-29.

While neither team seemed to find their shooting touch throughout the game, Notre Dame was able to throttle the Yellowjackets’ offensive attack, limiting them to 25 percent from the floor for the game, including 1-for-17 from 3-point range.

Despite playing without the school’s all-time leading scorer, Anthony Ricotta (who was out due to a sprained ankle), Perry kept the game within reach at halftime, trailing only 23-16. The Fighting Irish, who average nine three-pointers per game, were limited to three in the first half and only five for the game. Tommy Prospero and Jared Thornton combined to go 3-for-12 from long range after combining for 34 triples entering the contest.

“We really weren’t patient early in the game,” said Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Rapone. “They came out in a little bit of a different defense and we just didn’t exhibit the kind of patience to be successful against a defense like that.”

The Perry defense focused in on Notre Dame’s three-headed monster of Prospero, Thornton and Tim McCulley, holding them to a combined 23 points, but that meant their role players would get open looks and they made the most of them. Senior Ryan Bender posted his first career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds while senior Vin Misiti tied Bender for a team-high 10 points.

“They did what they have to do when a team plays a defense like that,” said Rapone. “If they leave you open, you have to stick the open shot.”

The Irish clamped down their defense in the second half, limiting Perry to only five made field goals in the second half, and holding them without a three-point field goal. Notre Dame came up with 10 steals in the game, including three consecutive possessions that ended in McCulley or Prospero deflections and steals in the third quarter.

McCulley finished the game with 10 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals, while Prospero had a solid all-around game with five points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals for Notre Dame (6-0).

Tyler Elliott led the way for Perry (7-1) with 10 points and 15 rebounds.

In the first game of the night, Elba defeated Mount Morris, 63-47.

Senior Kyle Morse led the way for the Lancers with 22 points, 13 rebounds and four steals en route to victory.

Elba stifled the Mount Morris offense all night, holding them to 28-percent shooting for the night, including 3-for-30 from beyond the arc. The Lancers, meanwhile, dominated the glass, edging the Blue Devils, 36-28.

Junior Brandon Naylor scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half, while adding six rebounds and two blocks. Jesse Pflaumer chipped in with 11 points and five assists for Elba (4-4).

Mike Olverd scored a team-high 21 points for Mount Morris, while Dev Milford chipped in eight points, eight assists, eight steals and six rebounds in the loss. 

Photos by Howard Owens

To purchase prints of these photos, click the links in the slide shows.

December 11, 2012 - 11:37pm
posted by Nick Sabato in sports.

Elba lost three games last season, all to Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish extended that streak with a 73-30 victory on Tuesday night.


The Lancers jumped out to an early 12-3 lead, and Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Rapone had seen enough. Coming out of the timeout, the Irish would end the first quarter on a 19-0 run and never looked back.


“I told them we had to pick it up defensively,” said Rapone. “Then we hit a few shots, the momentum swung and we started to take away the inside passing lanes. That was the difference.”


Notre Dame’s run was sparked by the three-point shot, connecting on six in the first quarter, four of them coming from Tommy Prospero. The senior would finish with a game-high 21 points on 7 three-pointers. As a team, the Irish torched Elba’s 2-3 zone, connecting on 10 field goals behind the arc.


“When teams play a zone against us, we are going to take threes,” said Rapone. “We have three really great perimeter shooters, and we don’t have a strong inside presence so if we go up against a zone we are going to take threes.”


Tim McCulley had a superb all-around game, scoring 14 points on 7-for-12 shooting while grabbing 5 rebounds, 4 steals, 2 blocks and a thunderous right-handed dunk to cap the night. Prospero also added 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals to go with his 21 points. Senior Jared Thornton also added 12 points for Notre Dame (2-0).


Turnovers were the Achilles heel for the Lancers, coughing up the ball 29 times throughout the game, while also going 0-for-8 on three-point shots and only shooting 30-percent from the field overall.


Nate Jonathan did have a stellar contest, scoring a team-high 9 points and grabbing a game-high 8 rebounds for Elba (0-2).

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