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Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at 3:55 pm

Photos: 'First to hoop' at Williams Park in March

post by Howard Owens in basketball, batavia, sports, weather, Williams Park

It almost felt like a spring day today, with a high 40, but the cold and snow isn't necessarily over for March.

Still, the weather was good enough to entice Ray Williams and Joe Watts to Williams Park.

"We wanted to the first to hoop at Williams," Watts said. "We've been playing here since we were little."

It's NCAA Tournament time, March Madness, and neither Williams nor Watts are wedded to any teams as potential champions, but Williams went with Syracuse and Watts picked Louisville to take the national title.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Blues repeat as Men's League champions with 2-1 win on late-game goal

post by Howard Owens in batavia, hockey, sports

The 2014 Men's League champions are the Blues. The Blues doused the Flames 2-1, the winning goal coming 38 seconds left in regulation on a goal by Brandon Pisano. The Blues championship last year put the tournament cup in the hands of Charlie O'Geen (center), one of the league founders, for the first time in 36 years.

Sunday, March 16, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Sign-ups for Alexander Youth Football & Cheerleading are March 29

post by Billie Owens in announcements, alexander, sports

Press release:

Sign-ups for the Alexander Youth Football & Cheerleading Program -- the Tri-Town Trojans -- will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 29, in the foyer of Alexander Elementary School. It is located at 3314 Buffalo St.

On this day only entrants can save $20, so football will be $80 and cheer $130 on March 29.

There are no weight restrictions.

Teams, with ages as of Dec. 1, 2014, consist of:

  • Beginner -- Ages 6-7
  • Mini -- Ages 8-9
  • Junior Varsity -- 10-11
  • Varsity -- 12-13

Tri-Town is proud to be a part of the NOFA Youth Football/Cheer League. Our coaches are trained in heads-up football, and teach the proper tackling techniques to our athletes. We are looking forward to an exciting 2014 season.

For questions or more information, contact Ken Proefrock at (585) 794-6034, or Kris Kramer at (716) 892-1441.

Saturday, March 15, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Photos: 2nd Annual Collin Crane Memorial fundraiser

Falleti Ice Arena today hosted a fundraiser for the Collin Crane Memorial Fund.

The fund provides scholarships to deserving local hockey players. This was the second year for the fundraiser, which honors the memory of Collin Crane, a Batavia teen killed in an auto accident in December 2012.

The event featured a full day of hockey, including a match involving a team comprised of Crane's teammates, as well as a chance auction.

After their game, members of Crane's team held a pray for their teammate.

Saturday, March 15, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Batavia Bulldawgs announce registration date

post by Howard Owens in batavia bulldawgs, football, sports

Press release:

The board of directors and coaching staff of the Batavia Bulldawgs Youth Football & Cheer program are excited to announce the open registration dates for their upcoming 4th season. We look forward to welcoming new and returning athletes to the Bulldawg family.   

Registration will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 5, at the Batavia City Centre (east entrance, near Sunny’s Restaurant). Boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 14, attending Batavia area schools (that are not affiliated with another NOFA team) are eligible to participate, with no weight restrictions. All athletes will be placed in developmentally age appropriate divisions based on the following league age rules: 

Football divisions (NO WEIGHT REQUIREMENTS):
Beginner (ages 6-7; must be 6 by 12/1, can’t turn 8 prior to 12/1)
Mini (ages 8-9; must be 8 by 12/1, can’t turn 10 prior to 12/1)
JV (ages 10-11; must be 10 by 12/1, can’t turn 12 prior to 12/1)
Varsity (ages 12-13; must be 12 by 12/1, can’t turn 14 prior to 12/1)

Cheer divisions:
Beginner (ages 6-7; must be 6 by 12/1)
Mini (ages 8-9; must be 8 by 12/1)
JV (ages 10-11; must be 10 by 12/1)
Varsity (ages 12-14; must be 12 by 12/1, can’t turn 15 prior to 12/1)

Football & Cheer Registration fees can be accepted via credit/debit card, check or cash and includes:

- high-quality, annually certified safety equipment
- full game day uniforms
- practice uniforms
- T-shirt & short apparel set
- accident & liability insurance
- Cheerzone competition
- end of season banquet
- participation trophy

**A multi-athlete family discount is available as well as payment plan options. Scholarships are also available for those who apply. 

The Bulldawgs eagerly anticipate the summertime announcement of our 2014 game schedule with locally affiliated NOFA teams in the surrounding areas of Attica, Alexander, Pembroke, Oakfield/Elba, Akron, Alden, Albion, Medina, Roy-Hart and Newfane. 

All contests will take place on Saturdays from late August through October. Every player will get the opportunity to participate in every game, where we never keep track of individual player statistics, only player participation and team records. USA Football certified coaches, using the Heads-Up Football philosophy to reduce the risk of injury, will coach our athletes. In addition, certified coaches will help to train our current grand-champion cheer squads towards continued great success in the 2014 Cheerzone competition.    

Batavia Bulldawgs Football and Cheer is a family-oriented volunteer, nonprofit organization affiliated with the Niagara Orleans Football Association, established in 1999. Since our inception in 2011, we have been committed to providing a high quality youth football program where we are dedicated to the instruction of football, the philosophy of teamwork, the development of sportsmanship and competition in a safe and respectful environment, while promoting personal responsibility and offering participants an opportunity to enjoy all that is best about youth sports.

An informational meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. this Wednesday March 19th in the Batavia Middle School auditorium. Board members and coaches will be available to answer any questions and discuss the upcoming season.

A small number of volunteer football and cheer coaching positions are currently available to interested adults. To learn more about this opportunity, or to answer and questions, please contact John Reigle, league commissioner (716) 228-5787, or bataviabulldawgsfootball@gmail.com.

Friday, March 14, 2014 at 2:39 pm

Second Annual Collin Crane Memorial Scholarship fundraiser tomorrow at Falletti Ice Rink

post by Billie Owens in announcements, sports

The Second Annual Collin Crane Memorial event to raise money to help young hockey players is at 9 a.m. Saturday March 15 at Falleti Ice Rink, located at 22 Evans St. in the City of Batavia.

The scholarship fund helps pay fees for Ramparts hockey when a child's family is financially strapped.

There will be basket raffles for a Chinese auction, including special raffle items such as autographed sports memorabilia and gift certificates, 50/50, a bake sale and concessions.

Thursday, March 13, 2014 at 9:35 am

Former Notre Dame diver headed to NCAA championships

post by Howard Owens in diving, Notre Dame, pembroke, sports

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

Sunday, March 9, 2014 at 12:55 am

Slow start ends state dreams for Notre Dame boys

post by Nick Sabato in sports

Have you ever heard the phrase "It’s not how start, it’s how you finish"?

Well, today that didn’t turn out to be true, as Sherman used a monster first half to end Notre Dame’s spectacular postseason run, 57-52.

The game began with both teams struggling to find their rhythm on offense, but Sherman found their touch midway through the first quarter, using a 13-0 run to end the period.

In the second quarter the Wildcats picked exactly where they left off, outscoring the Fighting Irish 24-15, shooting 10-of-20 from the three-point line in the first half to take a 40-20 lead into the locker room.

While Sherman couldn’t miss, Notre Dame struggled to make baskets, as they shot just 26 percent from the field during the first 16 minutes, while Tim McCulley went 0-for-7 in the first half for just two points.

“They shot the ball extremely well,” Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Rapone said of Sherman. “I don’t think we defended like we have been. We gave them a lot of open looks but they knocked them down. You have to give them credit; they shot the ball extremely well. We tried every defense and it just didn’t work.”

The Fighting Irish also struggled to handle the Sherman press, as they committed 12 turnovers in the first half.

The lone bright spot in the first half was junior Josh Johnson, who scored all 13 points in the first half, including eight in a row during the second quarter.

“Josh had a really good game,” Rapone said. “He played really well tonight. We needed more offense in some of the spots than what we got and that was the difference.”

Notre Dame came out strong to start the second quarter, getting two quick baskets and a steal, but they failed to get that third shot in a row to fall, and the Wildcats quickly pushed their lead.

That would be a theme throughout the second half, as the Irish cut the Sherman lead to 10 early in the fourth quarter, but two quick baskets pushed the lead back to 15.

“That was the story of the whole game,” Rapone said. “We weren’t as mentally focused as we have been. We were supposed to be doing certain things that we didn’t do. I’ll take that load. I’m the coach, I’m supposed to make sure that they are in the right sets. We didn’t do what we talked about doing and that’s why we got beat.”

While the team struggled to remain consistent, McCulley struggled to find his offensive touch in the third quarter. He made his first basket of the contest with just two minutes left in the third quarter.

“Their wings were up on my side,” McCulley said. “So I wasn’t able to get a shot from the 3-point line or off drive and kicks. It was just tough to score.”

After a torrid first half, Sherman cooled off from the field in the second half, shooting just 5-for-24 from the field and 3-for-12 beyond the arc.

Andrew Graham, who entered as the Wildcats’ leading scorer, went just 1-for-7 in the second half after scoring 12 of his 14 points in the first half on 4-of-7 shooting beyond the arc.

Unfortunately for Notre Dame, they shot just 32 percent from the field in the second half, and the one statistic they own in the first half was matched by the opposing team in the second.

Sherman was out-rebounded 44-27 for the game, but they managed to grab six offensive rebounds in the second half that doomed the comeback dreams by the Irish.

“Rebounding in the third quarter killed us,” Rapone said. “At least four times they missed the first shot and got the ball back. Even if they didn’t score, they would run 20 to 25 seconds off the shot clock. So, second half rebounding, and especially in the third quarter really hurt us.”

The loss came as a surprise to many people after winning 10 games in a row and 15 out of the last 16.

McCulley entered the game with a 12-game streak in which he had notched at least 20 points, while Alec Covel had reached double figures in six straight games.

The two seniors combined to shoot 5-of-23 for the game and turned the ball over 10 times.

“It’s a little easier to accept to go out and play a strong game and get beat somebody else that plays a strong game,” Rapone said. “They played a strong game and we didn’t answer it. When that happens, you have to give credit to the opponent. Whatever they did worked well for them so we have to give them credit.”

Notre Dame clawed their way back late in the game, cutting the lead to just five but they simply ran out of time and ran out of magic.

McCulley finished his last high school basketball game with a team-high 15 points, 11 rebounds, two steals and two blocks. He ends his career with 1,210 points on 452 made field goals and 424 rebounds.

“It was a hard game to get to the hoop,” McCulley said. “They played good defense and we didn’t get a lot of good looks.”

Johnson finished with 13 points, six rebounds and three steals while Caleb Nellis scored 10 points and pulled down seven rebounds.

Sherman (21-1) will advance to the state semifinals in Glens Falls next weekend after getting a game-high 22 points on 5-of-9 shooting beyond the arc from Ryan Robson. As a team, the Wildcats connected on 13 three-point field goals.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame (19-4) hadn’t allowed more than 50 points since Feb. 12, and it was only the fourth time all season that they had scored less than 55 points in a game.

This was the first loss in a Far West Regional under Mike Rapone, as they had won their first five.

Photos by Howard Owens.

To order prints of photos, click here.

Friday, March 7, 2014 at 8:09 pm

With a little history between them, Notre Dame set to meet Sherman in Far West Regional

post by Nick Sabato in basketball, high school sports, Notre Dame, sports

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.

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