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Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 10:48 pm

Hoops Preview: New Elba coach feels lucky to follow a legend

post by Howard B. Owens in basketball, elba, high school sports, sports

Tom Redband is feeling like perhaps the luckiest first-year varsity basketball coach in the State of New York.

He's taking over an established program with a long history of success and is able to call on two coaching mentors who are among the best in the business -- Tom Nowak, his predecessor, and Buddy Brasky, whom he worked for in Batavia prior to moving to Elba to teach business and coach the Lady Lancers.

"It's rare to take over a program like this," Redband said. "You have to get a little lucky. You have to be in the right place at the right time. It has to be good timing and a good fit. And to have them both (Nowak and Brasky) here, where I can call them up, I can go to either of their houses right now and watch film, it's just a tremendous resource to have."

Redband was a special education aide in Batavia and coached seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders and assisted with the basketball program before he was offered the job in Elba. Redband is also the older brother of Jeff Redband, the junior forward for Batavia High School who sunk that all-important buzzer beater in last year's regional championship game.

Under Nowak, the Lady Lancers won eight section titles and a state title and was ranked among the top 10 Class D programs in the state each of the past eight years (the furthest the records go back). 

Rather than feeling intimidated to step into such big shoes, Redband is feeling excited and fortunate.

"There's so much passion for basketball here," Redband said. "The girls love it. There's a system all set up. There's a ton of postives. There's a youth program. Having him (Nowak) as a resource is amazing. He wants to spread his knowledge to anybody who wants to listen."

In many ways, Redband doesn't see much changing. He shares the philopsphy of Nowak and Braksy, that building winning varsity teams begins with players in the third grade.

"You don't just hope the girls come to high school ready to play," Redband said.

Redband said he will certainly have his own way of doing things, but the core values will remain the same.

"We're blending a lot of what they know," Redband said. "I 'm learning a lot about what they know and then blending in what I know. Hopefully we can get a great fit."

One aspect of the Batavia program Redband is used to is there's almost always some hoops going on somewhere, even in the off season and he will look for an opportunity to get the girls more involved in basketball -- so long as it doesn't interfere with other athletic pursuits -- in the spring, summer and fall.

"That's one thing I learned from Coach Brasky in Batavia," Redband said. "If you want to be good and you want to be good compared to the best, then you've got to put the time in."

How good will Elba be in 2013-14? It's hard to say.

The team graduated five seniors, losing four starters, so it will be a young team. 

"We lost a lot but we still have a lot of talent," Redband said.

The Lady Lancers will be the only Class D team in the Genesee Region, so they will spend most of the regular season playing mostly against larger schools, which makes for a challenging schedule but also preps them for sectionals.

Kelsey Bezon, a starter on the 2012 state champion team, returns as a senior and the point guard.

"We're going to rely heavily on her," Reband said. "That's no secret."

Alex Reigle, Haley Brown, Alyssa Bogue, Bri Pangrazio are also all returning players and Redband said there is a lot of talent in that core group of players.

He praised Reigle, a guard, as smart and strong, a player who loves the game and has a good attitude.

"We're going to be competitive," said Redband, who will be assisted this year by Nathan Shirk. "There's no reason (reaching sectionals) shouldn't be our goal."

Redband also expects the team will benefit from the strong support the Elba community always gives its basketball teams.

"I'd rather coach some place like this where there's an expectation and where people come and they're into it and they watch and it's a community thing rather than some place where it's not that big of deal," Redband said.

Kelsey Bezon

To purchase prints of photos, click here.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Car hits deer and then tree on Ford Road, Elba

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, elba

A car reportedly hit a deer and then a tree in the area of 5641 Ford Road, Elba.

Elba fire and Mercy EMS is responding.

UPDATE 9:27 p.m.: Elba has enough manpower on scene. No need for further response.

UPDATE 9:43 p.m.: Patient being transported to UMMC.

Sunday, November 17, 2013 at 4:08 pm

Wires down on North Byron and Oak Orchard roads, Elba, traffic shut at Lockport and Route 98

post by Billie Owens in elba

Elba Fire Department and fire police will be shutting down Lockport Road at Route 98 because of wires, possibly high tension wires, down on the roadway at North Byron and Oak Orchard roads. National Grid has been contacted, unknown ETA.

UPDATE 4:08 p.m.: The roadway is clear. The roads are reopened. The Elba assignment is back in service.

Sunday, November 17, 2013 at 1:56 pm

After 26 years, 587 wins, 10 sectional titles and one state championship, Tom Nowak honored at retirement party

post by Howard B. Owens in basketball, elba, football, high school sports, sports

In a room filled with friends, fans and supporters last night, former Elba Lady Lancers Head Coach Tom Nowak was all smiles.

"It's really special," Nowak said. "It's a little bit, I don't know, I want to say the word, 'imposing,' because you want to be in the background as a coach. It's difficult when you come out here and you're the person, but it's really nice to see."

Nowak was honored with a retirement party at the Elba Fire Hall that featured a collection of memorabilia and lots of memories from 26 years of serving the community by teaching young people how to compete and win.

In 1977, after two years at Dundee, Nowak joined Elba Central as a history teacher. He also became the varsity football coach and the varsity girls basketball coach.

His football record over 22 years was 130-60-6 with two sectional titles.

Leading the Lady Lancers, Nowak compiled a 457-132 record, eight sectional titles and, most significantly, a state title in 2012.

"Just that one precious one," Nowak said of the state championship. "It was special. We went in 2000 and lost in the finals. I always thought I'd never get a chance to go back and I got a chance to go back and the girls came through."

Teaching and coaching in Elba was a perfect fit, he said.

"I've always considered myself a shallow person," Nowak said. "I like history and I like sports. I first got to be a history teacher at Elba and then I got a chance to coach, so it really worked out well for me."

It takes time and dedication to be a successful varsity coach in any sport, and that means, Nowak acknowledged, that he maybe wasn't home as much as his wife might have liked over the years.

"We're going to do some things for my wife," said Nowak, who retired from teaching in 2009. "She spent so many years staying home on a Friday night watching Dallas and Falcon's Crest while I was out gallivanting around scouting football games. It will be nice to give her the opportunity to do some of the things that maybe we didn't get to do when I was a coach."

With all those wins and all those titles, surely young coaches could learn something from Nowak, and here's his advice:

"Find a mentor," Nowak said. "Find the people who are successes and spend some time and find out why they're successful.You will see something you can incorporate into your own plan. That's something I did. I looked at some role models because as a young coach you really don't know what to do and that was really beneficial to me."

Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 8:45 am

Law and Order: Woman accused of stealing cookware set from Walmart

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, elba, Pavilion

Danielle Marie Stevens, 37, of Ford Road, Elba, is charged with petit larceny, aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, and unregistered vehicle. Stevens is accused of stealing a cookware set valued at $139.96 from Walmart. She is also accused of driving to Walmart while her license is suspended. Stevens was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Leonard Charles Millard, 56, of Highland Park, Batavia, was arrested on a bench warrant for alleged failure to pay fine. Millard was arraigned in City Court and released on his promise to pay an installment of $100 by Friday and another $100 before his scheduled Dec. 5 court appearance.

Mary A. Brairton, 24, unknown residence, is charged with felony DWI and aggravated unlicensed operation. Brairton was arrested by State Police at 4:37 p.m. Monday on North Street, Batavia, in connection with an alleged incident reported at 2:44 p.m. Monday in the Town of Pavilion. No further details released.

Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Farm tour ends, tourists find themselves stranded -- where's the bus?

post by Billie Owens in elba

A group of at least 12 people who finished touring a local farm returned to the bus only to find it gone. The full-size passenger bus, all their belongings, and the driver -- gone.

One of them called dispatch about their predicament and Sheriff's deputies are going to their location. We're not sure, but believe it is in the Elba area. The dispatcher said there is a language barrier.

UPDATE 5:31 p.m.: The location is on Watson Road, Elba.

UPDATE 5:51 p.m.: The bus driver left apparently over a dispute about payment. The bus that allegedly left the group stranded is described as a white bus with black trim, not as large as a Trailways bus. It has rear doors that swing open and it bears a New Jersey license plate. The male driver is wearing a tan jacket. People are trying to get another bus to the location, but the passports and other personal items are, of course, still on the bus that disappeared.

UPDATE (by Howard): The driver returned of his own volition. He said he felt bad and came back. His name is Hector and he's an independent operator out of New Jersey. He was hired by a company based in Staten Island. He was given a $1,000 up front, but was supposed to have already been paid another $7,800, he said. He showed me a text message from the person he claimed was the owner of the transportation company promising him $5,000 on Saturday. Of course, the tour is over by then so Hector wasn't impressed with promise. Hector agreed to take the tour members back to their hotel in Geneseo. He isn't, at this point, promising to continue with the tour. The tourists are from the Czech Republic on an agriculture tour of WNY.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Elba students hear survivor of horrific crash talk about drivers distracted by cell phones

post by Billie Owens in elba

Press release:

Today, cell phone distracted driving survivor advocate Jacy Good spoke at Elba High School to help students understand the consequences of using cell phones behind the wheel.

In May 2008, on the day she graduated from college, a driver distracted by his cell phone conversation ran a red light and caused a crash that killed both of Good’s parents and left her clinging to life.

“Jacy’s story is powerful and moves both students and faculty,” said Chris Salinas, principal at Elba. “It is especially important for teens to hear Jacy’s message. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, and using cell phones increases crash risk. Jacy’s story helps students understand that they will be safer if they disconnect while driving.”

“My college graduation day should have been a time to celebrate,” Good said. “Instead, my entire world was shattered because of an unnecessary cell phone call. People need to understand the dangers of using a cell phone ­– handheld or hands free – while driving. Lives are at risk and poor decisions can have lifelong consequences.”

After the loss of her parents, Good joined FocusDriven – Advocates for Cell-Free Driving. FocusDriven is a survivor advocate network that supports cell phone distracted driving victims and their families. Individuals and families educate the public by sharing their personal stories. The New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee works with FocusDriven to provide Good’s presentations in schools across the state.

Those interested in having Good speak at their school should e-mail srotoolkit@dmv.ny.gov <mailto:srotoolkit@dmv.ny.gov>

Additional traffic safety information can be found at: www.safeny.ny.gov/SRO-Toolkit <http://www.safeny.ny.gov/SRO-Toolkit>

Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Photos: Annual barn dance in Elba

post by Howard B. Owens in barn dance, elba

Again, there was a big turn out for the annual barn dance in Elba.

Above, the Rebisz family of Bergen ready for the hoedown.

Virginia Steinbrenner, of Batavia, dances with Donald Darling, of Sterling Springs.

Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Turnovers Doom Elba/Byron-Bergen

post by Nick Sabato in bergen, byron, elba, football, high school sports, sports
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.”
 
Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 9:30 am

Elba's Veterans Memorial Park is all spiffed up

post by Bonnie Marrocco in elba, Veterans Memorial Park

Those elected to serve the public in Elba certainly did so this year when they took on a project to spruce up Veterans Memorial Park. The result is something everyone can appreciate.

"Village trustees did most of the improvements you see at Veterans Memorial Park over the spring and summer," said Elba Mayor Scott Schuler. "They painted the pavilions, planted flowers, took down the chain link fence and added columns and solar lights."

About $14,000 was spent, and the upgrades also included refurbishing planters, signs at the village limits and some benches, as well as planting flowers on Main Street and purchasing some new benches.

Most of the money came from the village auction of equipment no longer in use and the remainder from its park fund. (The auction raised $24,000 and surplus funds were put back into the general fund.)

The park on Route 98 contains three baseball fields, a basketball court, a tennis court, a volleyball net, playground equipment and multiple pavilions. The village hosts concerts there every week in August. This year they hosted their first Community Pig Roast, which will be an annual summer event at the park.

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