Batavia's dominance of the Lion's Club Tournament at GCC came to a shocking end Tuesday night as the Blue Devils dropped an opening-round match to University Prep 59-55.
Head Coach Buddy Brasky was pretty blunt after the game. "We didn't execute our principles," he said.
U-Prep showed up with a team more skilled and more disciplined than seen in the tournament last year.
The team from the all-boys charter school in Rochester will face Notre Dame in Monday's final after the Fighting Irish crushed Albion, 74-60.
The Blue Devils win streak in the tournament goes back at least 10 years and has traditionally been the team to beat since its first tournament win 1989. The tournament was founded in 1982.
Batavia jumped to a quick lead to open the game and stayed just a step of ahead of the Griffins throughout much of the first half, only slipping until the final minute before the intermission to a point off the lead, 26-25.
The defensive game plan of Batavia is to hold teams to 13 or fewer points per quarter, and in the third, the Blue Devils did that, but only managed 12 points themselves.
In the final eight minutes, however, U-Prep scored 20 and Batavia's 18 wasn't enough of an answer.
"We didn't execute our principles, really, on either side of the ball as the game went on," Brasky said. "It was pretty disappointing. We had some good practices leading up to the game, but we didn't execute our fundamental principles."
Jeff Redband drained four threes and led the Blue Devils in scoring with 24 points. Jerrett Laskett and Greg Mruczek, who hit a trio of treys, including two in the closing minutes, each had 11.
For U-Prep, Jeenathan Williams scored 19 and Isaiah Brinkley and Cameron Myles had 12 apiece.
If the problem for Batavia (now 2-2) was a problem of execution, the opposite was true for Notre Dame in the nightcap.
Head Coach Mike Rapone said after the game that he's finally starting to see his team gel.
"You could see it a little bit in the second half at Attica," Rapone said. "I could see we were headed in the right direction. The first game we were OK. Oakfield, we were not good at all. With Attica I thought they are finally starting to understand.
"People don't understand it's all about understanding not only your role, but when to be in a spot and knowing that Josh is going to be here or Casey is going to be here and you've got to get there. It takes a while to get that belief. Tonight, I thought we had it."
Josh Johnson led the Irish with 27 points, all but five of those points coming in the first half when Johnson was clearly the dominant presence on the floor.
"He was getting to right spots and we were getting him the ball," Rapone said. "That's the whole combination right there. People have got to get to the spots and then we've got to find them."
Tyler Prospero came off the bench early in the game and scored 15 points, including hitting three shots from beyond the arc.
"He gave us a lift," Rapone said. "He's a good perimeter shooter.
"That's one of our strengths," he added, "our depth, our ability to run people into the game who can help us."
Looking ahead to Monday's final, Rapone knows U-Prep will present a tough challenge.
"We can't play at that frenetic pace," Rapone said. "If we play like that, it's going to be over early. We're going to have to control the tempo, get some good shots and we've got to rebound a heck of a lot better than we did tonight."
The consolation game between Batavia and Albion is at 6:30 with the championship game to follow.
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