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June 7, 2014 - 11:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in baseball, sports, high school sports, Notre Dame.

The lore of the ace is the guy who can take the big game on his shoulders and simply dominate. Once again, Notre Dame's Alec Covel showed he's that kind of guy.

He struck out eight of the first nine batters he faced in today's regional championship game in Jamestown against North Collins. If not for some mental lapses in the 4th -- when the Eagles scored two runs without a hit or even a knock into the outfield -- Covel would have completed the game with a one-hit shutout.

Instead, the Fighting Irish advance to the state championship games at Broome Community College next Saturday with a 9-2 win over the Section VI champs.

"I knew he'd pitch a strong game for us," Head Coach Mike Rapone said. "I didn't know it would be that strong. He was really overpowering.

"He was vintage Covel today, that's for sure," Rapone added. "This is what you expect of a big time player in a big time situation and he came through."

The Eagles looked in over their head against Covel from the start of the game. They couldn't catch up with his fastball, and Covel knew it, and curve after curve caused knees to buckle.

"I was feeling really good (during the first three innings)," Covel said. "Everything was working. They weren't catching them, so I just kept throwing fastballs and blowing it past them."

The fourth inning got a little weird and it became easy to imagine the team that looked so dominate minutes earlier could let things get away from them.

Covel hit the first batter he faced in the 4th. The next hitter drew a walk on four pitches.

Catcher Andrew Mullen tried a pick-off play at first and the ball sailed wide of the bag. First baseman Tyler Stroud snagged the errant throw. The Eagle base runner on second was already half way to third and Stroud tried to make the throw. It skipped past Louis Reynolds and North Collins picked up its first run.

Rapone thought Stroud should have just eaten the ball and let the runner advance.

The second run came on a throwing error by Reynolds (Reynolds did not make the throw) off a grounder from the next North Collins hitter.

"Alec's going to get you out of it," Rapone said. "Instead we threw the ball around and allowed those two guys to score."

With the threat of the wheels coming off and North Collins putting together a big inning, Rapone gathered his team on the mound.

"These guys don't get down, but I was afraid they would get a little rattled," said Rapone, who has more than 600 wins as a basketball coach. "It's a little like a timeout in basketball after the other team goes on a little run. You take a timeout and say 'hey, boys, slow down. We've got this. Relax. Take a deep breath.' "

The team got the message and Mullen ended the inning -- a bit of poetic justice -- with a pick-off at first.

Mullen -- who nearly came out of his shoes trying to hit the ball all the way back to Batavia on his first two swings in his next at bat -- would also help tie the game with a bases loaded single, giving Notre Dame a lead, at 4-2, it wouldn't relinquish.

The Irish were confident they could hit the North Collins starter, who had little velocity. His big side-arm curve was easy to pick up and dropped across the plate in a consistent groove. They hit him hard in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings before driving him from the game.

Cal Tygart sparked the Irish offense, leading off in three separate innings and scoring all three times. He was 3-5.

"Cal's been strong for us all year long," Rapone said. "He kind of gets lost in the shuffle with the other guys that we have, but he's really done well for us."

Tygart said it was all about having fun and backing the ace.

"We just needed to give Covel the room he needed to work," Tygart said. "He was pitching really well so we needed to come out and give it our all and give him the room to work with."

Covel finished with 11 strikeouts and only one hit allowed.

The most unusual stat of the game was the eight hit batters on the Notre Dame side. Stroud was hit four times.

Notre Dame's state semi-final championship game will be against Smithtown Christian, from Long Island. The winner of the 10 a.m. game Saturday will advance to the final at 4 p.m. in Binghampton.

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June 4, 2014 - 8:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in baseball, sports, high school sports, Notre Dame.

A favorable post-season schedule and a duo of dominant pitchers have certainly helped Notre Dame make a championship run, Coach Mike Rapone said after the Fighting Irish beat Whitesville in a Class D consolidation game 14-3.

In years past, by this time Section V and Section VI would already have played their regional championship game, but for Notre Dame, that game won't come until Saturday in Jamestown.

The spread schedule has allowed Rapone's pair of aces -- Alec Covel and Tyler Stroud -- to get plenty of rest between starts.

"They've been dominate all year," Rapone said. "Teams are hitting .100 or less against both of them. Covel's ERA is under one and Tyler's is a little over. You come to expect, I mean, I hate to say it, but you come to expect that you're going to get a well-pitched game. You just hope our defense and hitting keeps up."

Stroud took the mound in Dansville yesterday and gave a command performance through five innings. He struck out seven through five and didn't give up a hit until the fifth, when a Whitesville runner reached base on a close call at first.

"Really, I try not to think about it (the no-hitter), but it's there a little bit," Stroud said. "It's in the back of your head, so of course when I give it up, it's like, ah."

That squib of a hit put two runners on (Stroud had hit the prior batter).

Whitesville's first solid knock would come two batters later when their hitting machine, Cole Tracy, would lace a line drive to right field.

Stroud surrendered two runs in the fifth.

It helped, Stroud said, to have his offense jump to an early lead. The Irish scored a run in the first and then six in the second. 

Covel lead the offense with four hits and three RBIs. Andrew Mullen added two hits and knocked in three runs. Jarrod Wall also had two hits.

Mullen, the team's catcher, now hits clean-up for the Fighting Irish and over the course of the season has become an offensive force. He's playing more relaxed, he said, which has improved his approach at the plate.

"I've realized finally now, it's just a game," Mullen said. "It's fun. After this, it's probably over for me playing baseball, so it's fun to be with the team for three years now and it's all fun from here."

Notre Dame doesn't know yet who its opponent will be Saturday in Jamestown, but Rapone said he's confident the team is ready for the challenge.

"We've played good all year," Rapone said. "We've lost 3-2, 6-4 and 2-0, so we've been in every ball game. You just hope to continue to keep playing and see what happens."

For Notre Dame, all of the seniors are now high school graduates. That means no more classes, no more regular routine, the potential to lose focus.

"That's something you worry about," Rapone said. "It's not the same routine. They used to get up, go to school, then go to practice or a game. Now they're home. Who knows what time they're getting up. Some of them have jobs, so they're already working. That's always a concern this time of year."

How do you keep them focused?

"I just tell them to get up," Rapone said. "Get out of bed. But I'm not there to make sure they do it."

Mullen said that as a graduate, you know this is the last hurrah and that's what keeps you on task.

"It's a little scary to see how fast it flew by, so that's one thing that keeps you focused," Mullen said. "You realize the end is near, so just getting up every day and doing the normal routine, not sleeping in until 3 o'clock, and going straight to the game."

This is a team, Mullen said, that will get the job done.

"We're pretty relaxed," Mullen said. "The team camaraderie is pretty good. We can mess around together. We can get serious together. We always keep each other on task or focused and when it comes to game time, we have all the same goal in mind."

Whitesville's first hit. Ruled safe at first.

As white fluffies fell on the field, Stroud was lifted in the sixth after giving up two hits. Stroud was having a little bit of hip pain, which affected his control and velocity. Even so, Stroud was unhappy about coming out of the game. "I don't like to watch," Stroud said. "I like to be out there."

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June 1, 2014 - 8:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, schools, education, Notre Dame.

Notre Dame High School held its graduation service Saturday evening outside on the north side of the campus. Bishop Richard Malone spoke at the commencement ceremony.

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May 24, 2014 - 4:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, elba, Notre Dame, softball.

The Elba Lancers softball team scored four runs in the top of the 7th inning to upset the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in a Class D Section V playoff game played at Genesee Community College on Friday.

May 24, 2014 - 11:37am
posted by Nick Sabato in baseball, sports, Notre Dame.

Sometimes in sports a star player can get rolling and it’s hard to stop him.

That’s what happened as Alec Covel started off hot on the mound and never looked back as Notre Dame blanked Fillmore 5-0 in the Class DD quarterfinals at Dwyer Stadium.

Covel started out the game hot, as he struck out his first five batters and he dominated the Eagles all night long.

“He was strong tonight, he had good stuff,” said Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Rapone. “His last couple starts, he’s pitched well, and actually he’s pitched well all year. He has good command of the strike zone, he doesn’t walk many people. When you don’t walk anybody, it’s hard to score.”

The senior right-hander pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and striking out 13 batters to improve his record to 4-1 on the season, with an astounding 0.55 ERA.

“I threw real well tonight,” Covel said. “I’ve had a lot of time off to get ready for this game, and I’ve got a week if we make it to the finals.”

Notre Dame got off to a solid start from the plate after Cal Tygart scored on a sac fly from Louis Reynolds in the bottom of the second to take a 1-0 lead.

The Fighting Irish would score two more in the third on a 2-run triple from Andrew Mullen, before adding two more in the fifth on an RBI double from Tygart and an RBI single from sophomore Tyler Prospero.

“We had some nice hits,” Rapone said. “We got the ball up in the air too much, we’ve got to keep the ball down a little bit more, but we didn’t strike out so that’s good.”

The only time that Covel appeared to be in any danger, was in the sixth inning after loading the bases on two walks and a hit batter with one out. He quickly dug himself out of the hole, picking off Joe Mullen at second base, before getting a strike out to end the inning and preserve the shut out.

Notre Dame (13-3) appears to have a double-headed monster on the mound with Covel and Tyler Stroud, who is 3-1 with a 1.11 ERA.

“It’s a big advantage having two pitchers,” Rapone said. “We didn’t have to space Covel out tonight, say when we want to pull him out and get somebody else in, because he’s not going to pitch Tuesday, Stroud is.”

The second-seeded Fighting Irish will play Tuesday as Tyler Stroud takes the mound with a chance to advance to the Class DD finals.

Kyle Redman allowed five runs on seven hits while striking out four batters for Fillmore.

May 13, 2014 - 11:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, schools, education, Notre Dame.

Press release:

Notre Dame High School will publically launch a $5 million capital campaign on Tuesday evening at Stafford Country Club. This will be the most significant capital campaign in the school’s 62-year history. The "Faith in the Future" capital campaign will allow the school to invest in facility improvements, technology upgrades, and endowment fund growth.

“We are excited to be investing not only in our school, but in the lives of many students from the Western New York area,” said Joseph D. Scanlan, Ph.D., principal. “Providing a world-class education is costly. As our building ages, there is an increasing need for repairs and improvements. This holds true for the physical structure, building utilities and internal technology capabilities.

"Additionally, for an increasing number of families the cost of a Notre Dame education remains challenging and tuition assistance funded by an endowment can often be the deciding factor in a student enrolling.”

Co-chairpersons Don and Joan Bausch, Thomas and Lynn Houseknecht, and Jerry and Carmela Reinhart, along with Major Gift chairpersons Bill and Terry Fritts, are also pleased to announce the significant progress made toward the $5 million goal. During the early phases of the campaign, the school has been successful in securing more than $2 million due to the generosity of friends and alumni of the school.  

The capital campaign will be a five-year effort with the active portions of the campaign running through the end of the year. Notre Dame will be asking for support from the school’s family, friends, faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents and the general community.

Notre Dame High School has been named as Buffalo Business First’s  #1 Private Catholic Co-educational High School in Western New York; #1 Academic High School in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties; and ranks in the top 15 percent academically for all Western New York high schools for the last six consecutive years.

For more information on the capital campaign and how you can support Notre Dame High School, please contact Gloria Snyder in the school Advancement Office at 585-343-2798.

May 9, 2014 - 7:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Notre Dame, religion, St. Joe's.

Following a student Mass at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church today, Bishop Richard Joseph Malone toured St. Joe's and Notre Dame, meeting with students and faculty along the way.

At St. Joe's, his tour guide was Principal Karen Green; at Notre Dame, it was Principal Joe Scanlan. His aide Rev. Ryazard Biernat accompanied the tour.

As near as anybody could remember, it's been more than 20 years since a bishop came to Batavia to celebrate Mass and tour a Catholic school. Malone said in Maine, there were 20 schools in his diocese and he made a point of visiting each one at least once a year, but in the Buffalo Diocese there are 40 schools. It would be hard to maintain that annual schedule with so many schools, he said, but when a student asked him if he would come back next year, he said, "if you invite me I will."

Before he left St. Joe's, Principal Green gave Bishop Malone a plate of chocolate from Oliver's.

May 5, 2014 - 3:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Notre Dame, religion, St. Joe's.

Press release:

Most Reverend Richard J. Malone of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo is scheduled to visit Batavia on Friday May 9th. The Bishop will celebrate Mass at 11 a.m. at St. Joseph Church with the students of both St. Joseph School and Notre Dame High School. Following Mass the Bishop will tour both schools.

The public is welcome to attend the mass at 11 a.m.

April 10, 2014 - 9:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sports, Notre Dame, softball.

Medina, Notre Dame and Batavia softball teams played a scrimmage today at John Kennedy School. It's the first scrimmage of the year. Batavia HS student Zachary Lee submitted these photos.

March 13, 2014 - 9:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, pembroke, Notre Dame, diving.

Press release:

Arron Carlson, a freshman from Pavilion, New York will be representing SUNY Fredonia at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships to be held in Indianapolis, Indiana by virtue of his performance last weekend.

Carlson won the 3 Meter Diving Event at the NCAA Region 4 Meet contested at Rochester Institute of Technology February 28 and March 1st.  His score of 478.10 topped his nearest competitor by five points. Arron led wire to wire in the 11 dive championship format meet.  He was the first diver to compete among the 15 total divers who qualified for the regional meet.  At no point in the competition did he fall to second place in the rankings. His first place ranking after every dive was the first time it occurred in Region 4 history.  Arron's total of 478.10 bettered Matt Depalo of host RIT and was 23 points ahead of 2013 All-American Matt Morrison of Ithaca College.  In the one meter competition he finished in sixth place with an 11 dive score of 436.10 .

The Notre Dame of Batavia grad's win on the three meter board guarantees his participation at the NCAA Championships March 19 - 22.  He will be diving on both boards during the championship meet. Arron will be accompanied by two teammates as Fredonia is sending three divers to the NCAA Championships for the second year in a row. 

Photo by Jim Fitzgerald, team photographer

March 7, 2014 - 7:09pm
posted by Nick Sabato in basketball, sports, high school sports, Notre Dame.

Saturday’s New York State Class D Far West Regional contest will feature two programs that are no stranger to the magnitude of the game.

Notre Dame is appearing in the Far West Regional for the sixth time in school history, and the second in three years. Meanwhile, Sherman will be representing Section VI for the second-straight year.

While Sherman returns their top three scorers from the team that fell to University Prep a year ago, Notre Dame has a vastly different look from the team that advanced to the state semifinals in 2012.

Tim McCulley started in 2012 as a sophomore, but he is the lone returning player from that team. But, the Fighting Irish may not need to rely on his experience too heavily.

“They’re always talking to him about this and that,” said Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Rapone. “They’re going to use him, but they are experienced enough now that they should be ready to go.”

The Wildcats will look to continue to rely on their hot play over the course of the season, along with their experience from a year ago.

“We lost to U-Prep last year in this game,” said Sherman Head Coach Cory Emory. “But we returned pretty much our whole team, and we worked hard in the off-season. We had a lot of games that were close and then we had a run and were able to stretch the lead.”

Both teams come in on a roll, as the Fighting Irish have won 10 straight games, and 15 out of 16 since the New Year, while the Wildcats come in 20-1 on the season and are winners of nine in a row.

Notre Dame will undoubtedly be led by McCulley, who is averaging 23.7 points per game, 8.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.8 steals and two blocks per game this season, but as of late he is getting some help from his teammates.

While McCulley has reached 20 points in each of the last 12 games, senior Alec Covel has been in double figures in six straight to give the Irish another scoring threat.

“[McCulley] scores points so many ways,” Rapone said. “With Covel stepping up and becoming more assertive on the offensive end, it takes away those junk defenses that teams play against us.”

Unlike Notre Dame, Sherman will not rely on their interior play, but with the play of their guards.

Senior guards Andrew Graham and Ryan Robson are the team’s leading scorers for the second-straight year, with Graham averaging 14.8 points per game and Robson averaging 12.8.

“We could be a little contrasting in playing style to Notre Dame,” Emory said. “We aren’t very tall and we like to press in order to take advantage of our quickness.”

Their top inside player, Jake Card, only stands 6-foot-2 and comes in averaging 9.5 points per game and 9.1 rebounds per game.

Many people may remember Sherman from a season ago, as their girl’s squad fell to Notre Dame in the Far West Regional.

They also may remember some controversial comments from Sherman girls' coach and athletic director Mel Swanson, who expressed his displeasure with private schools playing public schools following the game.

''It is tough. It's an inequality,” said Swanson of Notre Dame. “Their players played hard and they were very good players and they did great things with the basketball. But when you're a small school like ours that graduates 30-something kids and you have to compete at that level it's just such a different field they get to draw from."

It’s an ongoing debate statewide, as Section VI does not allow private schools to participate in sectionals. However, Emory does not care who his boys play.

“Whoever we end up playing is who we end up playing,” Emory said. “Is it fair? That’s up for debate. You can go around and around on that topic. But we play who we play, and at this level, whoever we play is probably going to be pretty good.”

Rapone and the Fighting Irish will be focusing on how to stop the Wildcats on Saturday, and advance to Glens Falls.

“They have been there once before and have the experience,” Rapone said. “They use a lot of presses and a lot of traps. It’s something we haven’t seen a lot of, so we will have to get to work on that so everyone knows what their job is.”

Notre Dame and Sherman will square off on Saturday at Buffalo State College for the opportunity to advance to the state semifinals in Glens Falls. Tip-off is scheduled for noon.

March 5, 2014 - 8:49am
posted by Nick Sabato in basketball, sports, high school sports, Notre Dame.

They say that championship teams peak at the right time of the year.

It’s March and things are coming together at the right time for Notre Dame, with one game separating them and a trip to Glens Falls after a 67-34 victory over Houghton Academy in the Section V consolidation game.

“The last six or seven games have been our best games of the season,” said Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Rapone. “That’s what you want. Hopefully the peak is going up and we don’t hit a plateau.”

One player that seems to be peaking is senior Alec Covel.

After reaching double-digits just once in the first 16 games of the season, Covel has scored in double figures in each of the last six contests.

In Saturday’s Class D1 final, Covel scored 11 points in the third quarter to help seal the win, but tonight he started the game hot to give his team the momentum.

“He’s been a work in progress all year,” said Rapone. “I’ve been trying to make him believe that he’s as good as I think he is. Now, he’s not hesitating. He got us started tonight. I’m glad to see him playing well.”

The senior forward got the Irish going, scoring seven of his 12 points in the first quarter as they used a 12-3 run to start the game.

“I haven’t been hesitating to let it go,” Covel said. “It just seems to be going down.”

Notre Dame jumped out to a 34-15 lead at halftime and cruised to the easy win.

Tim McCulley had another stellar game despite a slow start.

After going just 1-for-5 from the field for three points in the first quarter, McCulley slowly came alive to finish with a game-high 24 points.

“Their game plan was to keep him out of the lane,” said Rapone of McCulley. “He won’t force it. He just waits for them to clear and steps back. The one thing that he does that a lot of high school kids have lost is his pull-up jump shot. It just gives him another weapon.”

The senior reached the 20-point mark for the 14th straight game and surpassed 500 points for the season. He also added 12 rebounds, two steals and two blocks.

First-year senior center Charlie Herbert once again had a monster night on the boards, collecting 16 rebounds, with six coming on the offensive end as Notre Dame out-rebounded Houghton 50-23 for the game.

“He’s the difference between us being good and very good,” Rapone said of Herbert. “It gives us flexibility and substitution. At the beginning of the year I thought if we got three or four minutes out of him we’d be good. He’s so athletic and he’s like a sponge. Every time you tell him something he just soaks it up.”

Derek Brooks scored 18 points and grabbed five rebounds for Houghton Academy (12-11).

Notre Dame (19-3) advances to the Far West Regional to take on Section VI representative Sherman (20-1).

The Wildcats are outscoring their opponents by an average of 63 to 42 this season and are led by guard Andrew Graham (14.8 points per game) and Ryan Robson (12.8 points per game).

Sherman fell to University Prep in the Far West Regional last season 71-55.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame is making their sixth appearance in this game in school history, and last time was in 2012.

The game will take place Saturday at Buffalo State College, with tip-off set for noon.

Photos by Howard Owens

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March 2, 2014 - 11:30am
posted by Nick Sabato in basketball, sports, high school sports, Notre Dame.

What more can Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Rapone accomplish in his career?

He became the first coach in Section V history to reach 600 wins. He’s won two state championships, 30 Genesee Region League championships, and after a 62-37 victory over Jasper-Troupsburg in the Class D1 final, he tied the Section V record for most sectional titles with nine.

“It’s all about the kids,” Rapone said. “The kids are the ones who earn it. We’re just along for the ride. It’s fun coaching these kids. It’s fun coming to practice every day. It’s the small reward I have for the great opportunity I have.”

Things looked bleak early for Notre Dame, as they found themselves down by 7 after the first quarter and as many as 10 at one point. But then they got some instant offense from perhaps an unlikely source.

Senior reserve Jason Hart (and Rapone’s neighbor) came off the bench to knock down four three-pointers in the first half to help propel the Irish back in front.

Hart would finish 5-for-5 from long range for the game and finished with a season-high 15 points.

“I was nervous coming into the game,” Hart said. “Coach made me the sixth man this year. He told me my role was to come off the bench and be a spark. Everybody knows their roles on this team and I filled mine today.”

The Fighting Irish outscored Jasper-Troupsburg 19-8 in the second quarter and were able to take a 30-26 lead into halftime and never looked back.

“We made a couple of changes on defense,” Rapone said. “That’s the way we’ve been playing all year. We’ve been playing good defense all year. And we have a few players that can make shots if they’re left open.”

The second half was all Notre Dame.

The Irish came out on fire to start the third quarter, opening on an 18-3 run.

Senior Alec Covel was a huge part of the surge, as he scored all 11 of his points on that streak, knocking down his first four shots of the second half.

If you are wondering why Tim McCulley hasn’t been mentioned, don’t worry.

McCulley had another monster game, scoring 16 of his game-high 24 points in the first half, while pulling down nine rebounds, dishing out four assists and making four steals.

“Tim is so steady, you don’t even notice what he’s doing,” Rapone said. “He kept chipping away and getting some baskets. Then Covel got hot to start the second half and broke it open.”

McCulley’s effort earned him tournament MVP honors, making him just the third player in school history to be selected to three sectional all-tournament teams.

“We’re on a big stage,” McCulley said. “Everyone was just so excited to be there. It’s just something so special. These are like my best friends, it means a lot.”

With his 9th sectional title in 18 championship game appearances, Rapone ties former Lyons Head Coach Dean Schott for most championships in the open tournament era (1975). It is quite remarkable, considering that Notre Dame had lost two out of three and was just 4-2 when the New Year began.

“We have seven or eight kids that are really good players, who don’t have every aspect of their game,” Rapone said. “We have a lot of good role players, and that showed tonight. I’m just so proud of these guys, because at the beginning of the year I didn’t know if we’d get there. We were struggling with people accepting their roles, but since January I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”

Covel and Hart joined McCulley on the all-tournament team, as they combined to go 8-of-10 from beyond the three-point arc.

Bryan Guild led the way for Jasper-Troupsburg (18-3) with 11 points and five rebounds, while Dalton Cady added 10 points and seven rebounds.

Notre Dame (18-3) will next take on Houghton Academy (12-10), who defeated RCMCS in the Class D1 title game 75-55.

The game will be played Tuesday at Letchworth High School, with tip-off at 7 p.m. The winner will represent Section V in the Far West Regional next Saturday at Buffalo State College.

Photos by Howard Owens.

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March 1, 2014 - 4:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, high school sports, Notre Dame.

The way Head Coach Dave Peru figured it, if his Fighting Irish girls could hold Bishop Kearney to 60 or fewer points, Notre Dame could walk away with the Section V Class B2 title.

While ND held Kearney to 55, what Pero didn't count on was his team hitting less than 15 percent of its shots from the field.

"I don't think it was a case of nerves," Pero said of his team, which won a Class D state championship last season. "It's just a matter of us not being able to put the ball in the basket. You're going to have games like that."

Kearney took the title with a 55-31 win.

In all, the Irish missed 55 shots.

Pero thought Notre Dame had a good plan for dealing with Kearney's press and the Irish even seemed to have the Kings winded at the half.

The Irish got some great opportunities to score as a result of breaking through the press, Pero said, but the ball just wouldn't drop through the hoop.

"They've got a great team over there," Pero said. "I'm very proud of what we brought to the table. Our kids played hard. I think if we could have gotten a few shots knocked down for us, who knows what could have happened."

This was the final game for five Notre Dame seniors, and coming out with two minutes to play was clearly an emotional moment for team leaders Laurie Call and Mel Taylor.

"I'm so proud of (the team)," Pero said. "They're a great group of girls. I'd take these girls anywhere. For the seniors, we're going to miss them, but for next season, we start working again tomorrow."

Taylor finished with eight points, as did Shea Norton. Taylor and Norton where named to the tournament's all-star team. Emma Francis scored six.

For Kearney, BriAsia Mason scored 15, Emmanuella Edoka, 11, and Arianne Smith, 10. Mason hit three threes.

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February 27, 2014 - 1:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, high school sports, Notre Dame.

It's probably the outcome Section V officials predicted when they moved Notre Dame girls up three classes and Bishop Kearney up one to put both teams in Class B2.

The two private Catholic schools will face each other Saturday in the B2 Section V Championship. One team will eliminate the other and Section V officials can rest assured only one private-school squad gets to advance toward a possible State Championship.

The Fighting Irish enter the Section V Championship game with a 19-1 record after a close-call, overtime win against Bath-Haverling, 50-49. Bishop Kearney is 17-2 after having a much easier time of it against Le Roy last night, winning 75-47.

For ND last night, the Lady Rams, who entered the game with five losses, proved to be a handful.

"We knew they were a very good team," said ND Head Coach Dave Pero. "The thing we didn't know coming into the game is how quick they were. We had trouble defensively getting stops. We missed a few easy baskets underneath, but I think the thing that helped is that they (the ND girls) had the will to finish."

Bath's Mackenzie Smith proved a challenging opponent. She's tall, fast and can shoot. It was Laurie Call's job to defend her.

"Laurie had a tough time of it in her match-up with number three," Pero said. "Number three probably had six inches on Laurie and I think we finally found a girl that is almost as quick as Laurie and that's dangerous."

It turned out, the Lady Rams were a lot harder to play than they looked on film, said senior guard Mel Taylor.

"We knew three was going to be athletic, but I didn't think she was going to be jumping three foot higher than what we were playing defense on," Taylor said. "It was intimidating, it was adjusting to what we're not used to playing in regular season, but we did pretty well."

Smith scored 20 points, snagged 10 rebounds and had five assists.

Call, who typically doesn't get into foul trouble, was tagged with four.

"It was physical game," Call said. "It was really physical at both ends of the court. I caught myself reaching and so did the refs."

Taylor scored 14 points to lead the Irish. Emma Francis, nine, Rebecca Krenzer, eight, Shea Norton, seven, and Call, six.

Helping Smith out on offense for the Rams was Angelo Binkowski with 15 points, including two threes.

One of the side stories of the game was how quickly the refs, particularly one of them, were to call jump balls. A jump ball is supposed to be called when two players share possession of the ball, but often it looked like a player had possession while an opponent was merely reaching.

One such called came in the final 15 seconds of regulation when Norton grabbed an offensive rebound and Bath's Brooke Buckley was reaching in while Norton was trying to shoot. Rather than a shooting foul, it was called a jump ball.

A shooting foul there, with the scored knotted at 41, could have ended the game in regulation.

The Section V refs have reportedly been instructed to be quicker on the jump ball calls to cut down on foul calls.

Pero said them are the breaks of game.

"It did seem a little quick, but they see what they see and they're not going to change their minds," Pero said. "You've got to live with it. I learned a long time ago if you want to argue with them (the refs), you're going to lose. They've got the final say and overall the officials do a great job. They're the officials and the coaches are the coaches and we're supposed to coach and they're supposed to officiate. Sometimes you do get those calls."

In the night cap at Honeoye Falls-Lima, Bishop Kearney dominated Le Roy, but with a 10-8 record.

Kearney and Notre Dame could match up well. Both teams have five players who scored at least 100 points on the season and could match up on height.

Both teams are coming off State Championship seasons so they both have big game experience.

"All of our big games in past, all of our big elba games, this game today, it gets you ready for the big stage," Call said.

Before we knew for sure Kearney would be Saturday's opponent, Call said she was ready to face whoever came out on top of the semi-final game.

"Saturday's another basketball game," Call said. "It's senior year, so it's pretty emotional., but we're just going to play. it's a faceless opponent. Hopefully we come out with a patch."

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February 16, 2014 - 1:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, high school sports, Notre Dame.

The Notre Dame Boys Basketball Team was honored last night in Rochester at the Section V banquet. The award was for finishing the season as the #1 seed in Class D1. The Fighting Irish open their sectional play at home Saturday. Game time is 7 p.m. and ND will play the winner of a round one match between Elba and Finney.

Photo submitted by Shelley Falitico.

February 14, 2014 - 7:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, high school sports, Notre Dame.

We were remiss earlier this week in not posting about Laurie Call of Notre Dame reaching a significant basketball career milestone -- her 400th steal. She's the first player in Notre Dame history -- boys or girls -- to reach 400 steals. Pictured with Laurie are her parents Tim and Dawn.

Photo submitted by Tim Call.

February 13, 2014 - 9:32am
posted by Nick Sabato in basketball, sports, high school sports, Notre Dame.

Around Christmastime, things were looking bleak for the Notre Dame basketball team.

In a span of 10 days, the Fighting Irish had their 70-game Genesee Region League winning streak snapped by Wheatland-Chili, and then they were beaten by Batavia in the Lions Club Tournament final.

Chances of winning their eighth consecutive G-R League title looked to be slipping away. But since the new year, Notre Dame has gone 9-1 and a win on Senior Night against the very same Wildcat team that had pounded them earlier in the season would give them a share of the league championship.

Just like in the past 10 games, Notre Dame responded to adversity and defeated Wheatland-Chili to tie them for the league crown, 74-57.

“We are playing better now,” said Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Rapone of his team’s progress. “At that time we were still struggling as a team, but now I think we have found our identity.”

The first quarter was marred by fouls, as both teams struggled to find a rhythm offensively.

Wildcats star guard Rodney Roberts managed 11 points in the first quarter, nine of which came from the foul line, but it was Notre Dame who led 17-15.

The Fighting Irish came out hot to start the second quarter, scoring the first seven points of the frame.

Tim McCulley began to go to work at that time, scoring eight Notre Dame points in a row.

“He just takes what’s there,” said Rapone of McCulley. “If you give it to him he takes it, if not he gives it to somebody else. He just does so many things well.”

Wheatland-Chili managed stay close, using the three-point line to their advantage and knocking down four triples in the quarter to cut the deficit to five at halftime.

The third quarter started as a shoot-out between stars.

McCulley scored 13 of his game-high 36 points in the quarter, while Roberts matched him with 13 of his 30 points on the night.

Then toward the end of the quarter McCulley got some help from his friends.

The Fighting Irish finished the quarter on a 10-2 run to pull away. A big factor was senior Alec Covel, who scored eight of his 13 points in the second half to give the Irish a second scoring punch.

“Alec is real good ball player,” Rapone said. “In the last couple of games he’s really found himself. That’s what we need going forward.”

One factor in the early season win by Wheatland-Chili was the play of forward Andre’ Gulley, who dominated with 18 points and 24 rebounds.

Notre Dame also played without big man Caleb Nellis in that contest, and first-year senior Charlie Herbert had little experience at the time.

Two months seemed to do the trick, as Nellis scored nine points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Herbert added four points and nine rebounds.

Meanwhile, Gulley was held in check all evening, managing only four points and six rebounds before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter.

McCulley was also superb in every aspect of the game, adding 12 rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks to go with his 36 points as Notre Dame (15-3) appears to peaking as they head into sectionals.

“I told them before the game that starting tonight, it’s about winning,” Rapone said. “The rest of the time it’s about getting better, but now it’s about winning. We needed to win to win the league tonight. Now we need to win to keep playing.”

Roberts added six rebounds to go along with his 30 points, while cousin Tyler Roberts connected on four three-pointers and scored 16 points for Wheatland-Chili (15-3).

February 4, 2014 - 11:58pm
posted by Nick Sabato in basketball, sports, elba, high school sports, Notre Dame.

The Notre Dame girls are just one win away from clinching their 11th Genesee Region League title in school history after pounding Elba, 69-37.

The resounding victory also marks the first time that the Lady Irish have swept Elba in league play since the 2010-2011 season.

The Lady Lancers kept things close in the first quarter, but Notre Dame blew the game open in the second, led by Mel Taylor.

Taylor scored 12 of her game-high 24 points in the second quarter as the Irish increased their  seven-point lead after the first quarter to 23 at half time.

“It’s getting down near crunch time,” said Notre Dame Head Coach Dave Pero. “We’re trying to stress that you have to be more aggressive on whatever you do [well]. Mel is a scorer and we want her to try and score as much as possible.”

In the third quarter, junior Emma Francis picked up where Taylor left off, scoring 10 of her 15 points in the frame to put the contest out of reach.

“Emma’s got potential,” Pero said. “She’s starting to believe in herself and it’s a great time to believe. If we have Emma Francis at full-go come sectional time, we’ll be a tough team to beat.”

Taylor was not as terrific scoring the ball, but she had a splendid game overall, adding 11 rebounds, six steals and four assists.

Shea Norton also played strong underneath, scoring 13 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Laurie Call chipped in with seven steals, six assists and five rebounds for Notre Dame (15-1).

Kelsey Bezon had another solid game in defeat, scoring 14 points and grabbing four rebounds. Haley Brown chipped in with 10 points for Elba (12-4).

Photos by Howard Owens

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January 28, 2014 - 11:23am
posted by Robert Brown in Notre Dame, trip night.
Event Date and Time: 
February 8, 2014 - 6:00pm to 10:00pm

Join us at the Clarion on Park Rd. in Batavia, NY for a fun night with exciting travel drawings (including Hawaii, Key West, Cape Cod, and much much more), raffles, lotteries, & giveaways!  All proceeds benefit student programs at Notre Dame High School in Batavia, NY.

$40 per ticket, $75 per couple, FREE admission for U.S. Servicemen with accompanying paid admission.  Non-admittance tickets available for $30.

Buffet dinner and beverages (soft drinks, coffee, beer, wine) and live entertainment are included in the admission price!

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