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Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Notre Dame, Batavia to square off for Lions Club championship

post by Nick Sabato in sports

Local hoops fan will get their dream matchup Monday in the annual Lions Club Tournament as both Notre Dame and Batavia won opening round games Friday night at Geness Community College.

Notre Dame took the floor first, defeating Albion 55-40.

Both teams struggled to get going offensively, hampered as they were by the high volume of fouls called and poor free throw shooting.

“We struggled to find our offensive rhythm,” said Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Rapone. “Part of it is the game has no rhythm with so many fouls. You just go foul line to foul line, and when you don’t make free throws, it really takes away the rhythm.”

The Irish managed to take a 29-20 lead into halftime as Tim McCulley scored 18 of his game-high 26 points in the first half.

However, Albion came out hard in the second half, outscoring Notre Dame in the third quarter to take a one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, and also held McCulley out of the scoring column in the frame.

The teams played to a stalemate early in the fourth quarter, as the Irish held a four-point lead midway through the period.

The Purple Eagles would lose their composure though, as Ryan Fannin picked up his fifth personal foul, followed by a technical foul.

The Irish cashed in on the opportunity, making 3-out-4 free throws to push the lead to seven and they never looked back.

McCulley scored eight points in the last quarter, including a three-pointer to put the game out of reach with a minute to play.

The senior also added four rebounds, three steals and three blocks on the night, while Alex Domkowski chipped in 10 points and 11 rebounds for Notre Dame (4-1).

The second game of the night started a little later than anticipated after University Prep failed to find the campus, but Batavia showed no ill effects from the delay and came out fast, winning 54-36.

The Blue Devils steadily increased their lead in spurts. Using a 7-0 run to start the second quarter and an 8-0 run to start the third.

Junior standout Jeff Redband struggled to find his shooting touch early, but senior Justice Fagan and an unlikely source off the bench picked up the slack.

Fagan finished with a game-high 22 points and six rebounds, while Tyler Crawford came off the bench to pitch in 11 points and eight rebounds.

“Tyler was huge,” said Batavia Head Coach Buddy Brasky. “Malachi [Chenault] got into some foul trouble early and Tyler came in and played big.”

Redband would find his touch in the second half, finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds as Batavia improves to 4-2.

Notre Dame and Batavia met two seasons ago, but not in the current tournament format which has took a two-year hiatus.

Prior to this year, the two local teams have met in the finals five times since 2001, including three straight from 2008 to 2010, with Batavia winning each time.

“It’s really important to the kids,” Brasky said. “They get to come out in play in front of the entire community, and with us playing in the Monroe County League and Notre Dame in the Genesee Region League, we don’t get to play very often.”

Prior to the break from the current Lions Club Tournament format, Batavia had won seven consecutive championships and 9-of-10 dating back to 2001.

“This was a good tournament,” Rapone said. “We couldn’t get four teams for a couple years due to the strength of the tournament. The chance to get University Prep came up and them having a good team really rounds it out well.”

University Prep will play Albion in the consolation game on Monday night at GCC. Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m., with the championship game to follow.

Photos by Howard Owens

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Batavia sixth-graders win hoops tournament in Rochester

post by Howard Owens in basketball, batavia, sports, youth sports

The sixth-grade Batavia Blue Devils won the Community Youth Basketball Tournament in Rochester this past weekend.

Game summaries by Bryan Falitico:

Game 1: Starting off against the hometown team CYP in our first
game we came out sleepwalking. Strong efforts from our bigs inside on both
ends of the court we were able to fight our way back from being down 11
points. Alex Rood had six points, Andy Clark three, and Jake Humes four, with all
three having monster rebounding games we came up short in the end, losing

Game 2 -- vs. Brighton: Building off the fire we started to play with in
the second half of the first game, we came out strong and pounded the ball
inside. Jake Humes led with 10 points, and Andy Clark had eight. The real
key to our win vs. Brighton was behind the leadership of our point guards,
who not only chipped in point wise, but also great ball protection and
finding the open man in transition. Max Rapone had four points, Bryce Reigle had six
and Luke Grammatico had four. Final score BHS 43, Brighton 34.

Game 3 -- HFL: Day 2 we were without one of our bigs inside so in order for
us to be successful other key guys needed to step up in the absence. Andy
Clark had eight points, and the White brothers, Cam and Caeden, came to play.
Cam had six points and Caeden had five, including a game-changing basket drive
that resulted in a (point) and one opportunity. He sealed the deal with the free throw.
Matt Beach and Alex Rood both came up big on the boards in Jake's absence to
help us get the win 35-30.

Game 4 -- vs. Eastside: All around contributions helped us seal the win. Big
game again from Caeden White with 11 points. Cam pitched in five points of
his own, and again Andy Clark, Alex Rood, and Matt Beach controlled the
boards, helping set up our guards to push the ball for some easy baskets. Luke
Grammatico had two points, Josh Weis had four, Bryce Reigle and Max Rapone
both had a number of great passes inside that set up our bigs for easy
baskets. Final score 37-25, tournament champions.

Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 6:51 pm

College hosts month-long baseball camp for students in grades 1 through 12

post by Billie Owens in sports

Genesee Community College is hosting a four-week baseball camp starting Jan.19. Genesee Head Coach Skip Sherman will direct the program in conjunction with U.S. Baseball Academy.

Classes are available for players in grades 1-12 and are limited to six players per coach. Sessions are offered in advanced hitting, pitching, catching, fielding and base running.

Proceeds from the program benefit amateur baseball in Batavia. Space is limited. Registration is now under way. For more information, visit www.USBaseballAcademy.com, or call toll-free 866-622-4487.

Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Alexander falls to Kendall, 63-41

post by Howard Owens in basketball, alexander, high school sports, sports

Kendall proved to be just a bit much for Alexander to handle Friday night as the Eagles took command of the game in the first period and were never in danger of losing their lead.

The final, 63-41.

Alexander is now 3-2 on the year.

"We definitely had Kendall marked on our calendar," said Head Coach Josh Bender. "I think they're one of the best teams in the GR. They've got all the right pieces. They've got a big guy, athletic guards, shooters, size. It's tough when you don't have a 6'5" guy to battle their center. They're a pretty experienced bunch. Good coach. They run a good system."

The Tigers did a good job of getting good looks for themselves throughout the first half, and a lot of those shots dropped for points.

By the half, the Trojans were already down 37-18.

Kendall almost let Alexander sneak back into the game in the third quarter, scoring only eight points, but the Trojans found their own little scoring slump late in the period and only added 13 points for the eight minutes.

"I told the guys if we want to make a real run at it, we can't trade baskets," Bender said. "We were getting good looks. The high post area was open all night. We had cutters slashing, but at the end of the day, if you're trading baskets with a team like this, you're going to come up short."

Bender, in his first year as varsity coach after three years leading the JV squad, said his team is young yet. Even though it includes seven seniors, none of his starters got many minutes last year, he said.

"I think you'll see down the road, the more games we get in, the more cohesive we'll be and the more effective we'll be in game situations," Bender said.

Nelson Burke led the Trojans with 10 points.

For Kendall, four players were in double digits scoring. D'Andre Nauden, 12, Devin Appleton, 11, Garret Love, 14, and Isaiah Brown, 11.

In other Genesee County hoops action, Friday:

  • Batavia beat Hilton in Hilton, 62-49. Jeff Redband scored 19 points and had 14 rebounds.
  • Wheatland-Chili 56, Batavia Notre Dame 42. The loss ended ND's 70-game league winning streak. Tim McCulley had 18 points.
  • Byron-Bergen 53, Pembroke 48. Dajuandrick Gardner scored 15 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Collin Lewis, 17 points. Nick Magin, 18 and Steele Truax 10.

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Thursday, December 19, 2013 at 2:20 am

Notre Dame stays undefeated with easy win over Lyndonville

post by Howard Owens in basketball, high school sports, Notre Dame, sports

The final score was as lopsided as the size differential between Notre Dame and Lyndonville in an early season basketball match on the home court of the Fighting Irish on Wednesday night.

The Irish notched the team's third win of the season 90-51.

While Notre Dame has some clear offensive firepower, the ability to grab rebounds at both ends of the court created more scoring opportunities.

"I thought the Lyndonville kids played hard," said ND's Head Coach Mike Rapone. "They got some good play off their guards, but they're undersized underneath and they had trouble with us off the boards."

The Tigers put only two 6'0" players on the court through all 32 minutes of play while the Irish could call on Jarrod Wall at 6'2", Josh Johnson at 6'1", Alec Covel at 6'2", Alex Domkowski at 6'3", Tim McCulley at 6'3" and Charlie Herbert at 6'5".

In some ways, Herbert was the story of the game.

Called upon to start at center after Caleb Nellis sprained his ankle in practice yesterday, Herbert, who never played basketball at all before this year, left Rapone wondering what could be if the school's star wide receiver listened to his peers begging him last year to fullfill their hoops dreams.

"I think had he played last year he'd really be a force this year because he gets better every day," Rapone said. "I think by the end of the season, he's going to be pretty solid."

Herbert, whose past athletic prowess was confined to the gridiron showed a strong sense of how to muscle opponents under the glass for points and rebounds.

With 10 rebounds, only he and McCulley (13) reached double digits. Herbert, with eight points, missed a double-double by one field goal.

McCulley also had 23 points and with three more assists would have had a triple-double.

Guard Josh Johnson was second on the team in scoring with 18, and had eight rebounds, but only two assists.

Covel and Domkowski each added eight points.

Lyndonville scored 18 points in the first half, but most of that came before more than a couple of minutes had passed in the second period as ND's full-court press cut off passing lanes, forced mistakes and eventually wore down the Tigers.

Even ND's bench, taking over much of the duties about half-way through the second period, kept the pressure on Lyndonville.

While Rapone put his starters back in the game to start the third period, he stopped using the press (because it was the right thing to do, he said), and the Tigers went on a little scoring run and got enough looks through the half to notch 31 points.

Pat Hinkson (15) and Evan Milleville (11) led the Tigers in scoring.

Even so, the play of the second team was impressive. They stayed calmed, stuck to the game plan and stayed aggressive through the final minute of play.

"They work us hard in practice every day," Rapone said. "What I like about them is they play basketball when they come in. They don't just see who can get a shot off first. They run our offense. They run our defense. They do what they're supposed to do. I'm really proud of them."

Ironically, perhaps, among the leaders on the second team was the shortest player to handle a ball Wednesday, 5'6" junior Dylan Fix. 

Fix was in control with a ball in his hands, making few mistakes, staying confident and calm and demonstrating an unmistakeable fearlessness. He shot laser-sharp passes between defenders, fought for rebounds against bigger players and fired three-pointers with every open look, even though it was an off night for his shooting stroke.

"He plays hard," Rapone said. "He knows they game. He shoots the ball very well. He didn't have one of his better shooting nights tonight, but normally he shoots the ball very well. The only thing that's ever held him back is he's a little undersized. He grew a little bit during this year and hopefully he grows a little more next year. He's definitely comes in and makes things happen."

Top photo: McCulley; bottom photo, Fix.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Defense is key as Batavia routs Greece Olympia

post by Nick Sabato in sports

You can’t make all of the shots you take, so when they don’t fall, you rely on other facets of the game.

That is exactly what Batavia did as defense was the key in their 49-26 rout of Greece Olympia.

The Lady Blue Devils came away with 19 steals, including five from sophomore Madison McCulley.

“Madison sees the court from both ends of the floor,” said Batavia Head Coach Marty Hein. “We’re not the same team when she’s not on the floor.”

While McCulley led Batavia on defense, another sophomore, Tiara Filbert, led the way on offense.

Filbert scored a game-high 17 points, pulled down nine rebounds and came away with three steals on the night.

It was a superb all-around night for the Blue Devils, as nine different players reached the scoring column and seven players recorded a steal.

“We have a great core to start with,” Hein said. “But our future is depends our depth. Right now the biggest thing we’re working on is getting the depth on the bench to carry forward.”

Sophomore Sam Cecere also chipped in 10 points and six rebounds for Batavia (5-1).

Phalen Greene paced Greece Olympia (0-5) with 10 points and four assists, while Melissa Carroll added 10 rebounds.

Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 12:10 am

Notre Dame whips Elba, Taylor notches 1,000th point

post by Nick Sabato in sports

A thousand points is a rare feat in high school basketball, but one more player joined that prestigious club.

Notre Dame senior Mel Taylor notched her 1,000th career point in a 61-35 victory over Elba.

Taylor scored 10 of her 16 points in the first quarter as the Irish led 16-9 to end the first quarter, but foul trouble limited her playing time in the second quarter. However, sophomore Shea Norton picked up the slack, scoring 12 points in the frame to give Notre Dame an 11-point lead heading into halftime.

Coming out of the break, Notre Dame held Elba without a field goal until just over two minutes left in the third quarter, enabling to push their to 21 points after Emma Francis knocked down a three as time expired in the quarter.

It wouldn’t take Taylor long to reach the 1,000-point plateau, as she drained a three-pointer just 31 seconds into the fourth quarter.

“It’s been a dream of mine since I was in third grade as a ball girl,” Taylor said. “It’s been a goal of mine; I almost cried. It was like a calculator on my shoulders that I could finally get off.”

Taylor, who was named MVP of the state tournament last year, has been a two-time Genesee Region League All-Star and is in her fourth year of varsity basketball. She also had four steals and three assists in the game.

“Mel has come a long way, she’s really come into her own,” said Notre Dame Head Coach Dave Pero. “She’s scored 1,000 points but she really plays unselfish. She makes sure her teammates get the ball when they have to. She really brings a lot to the table for us.”

Notre Dame (2-0) dominated the game on the boards, out-rebounding Elba 51-28 for the game, led by Norton, who pulled down 14 rebounds to go along with her game-high 17 points.

“Anytime we come to Elba we know we are going to have our hands full,” Pero said. “Our second half defense got us where we wanted to be. Elba is not to be taken lightly. They’re a good team and they will be a good team down the road.”

Francis chipped in nine points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals, while Laurie Call added 11 rebounds, five assists and four steals.

The 25-point loss is largest margin of defeat for Elba since Notre Dame beat them by 16 back in the 2008-2009 season.

Alyssa Bogue paced the Lancers (2-1) with 10 points and six rebounds, while Haley Brown added 10 points.


Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Photos: Le Roy Winterfest 5K

post by Howard Owens in 5K, Le Roy, sports

Twelve-year-old Max McKenzie, a student at Le Roy Middle School, bested a field of 225 participants to win the Le Roy Winterfest 5K today.

Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 4:58 pm

Batavia beats Williamsville South 58-46

The Batavia Boys basketball team beat Williamsville South today in a game scheduled as part of the Niagara Falls Cataract City Classic, an invitational tournament for the top prep teams in WNY.

Jeff Redband led the Blue Devils to a 58-46 win with 18 points. Justice Fagan contributed 13 and Malachi Chenault added 11.

Batavia jumped out to an early 34-18 lead, but the game tightened in the 4th period with Williamsville closing in at 40-35. From there, Batavia pretty much controlled the game and put Williamsville away.

Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Lady Devils run out of gas in fourth period against Mendon

Mendon has always presented a challenge for the Batavia High School girls basketball team, often over the years snatching double-digit victories over the Lady Devils, which was why Head Coach Marty Hein put the Vikings on the schedule early in the season.

It was a chance for Hein to see where his team stood.

The verdict? Not really different from what he said about his team in the pre-season: The Lady Devils lack bench depth and until the younger players step up their game, Batavia will struggle against teams that can rotate seven or eight players.

"Some of the girls will understand that we've got to work hard and work our way to having a deep bench like Mendon does," Hein said. "Hopefully, we'll be there by mid-season."

To start the game, the Lady Devils looked like the dominate team and held a lead until just about a minute left in the second period, and even through most of the third period, Batavia kept the game within a basket or two.

Then the wheels came off. The plays didn't run as smoothly, the passes weren't as crisp, if not higher risk, and the steals came easier for the Vikings.

"Todd's (Todd Julien) a very smart coach," Hein said. "He didn't use any time-outs (in) quarters one, two and three because he didn't give any opportunity for my girls to get a rest. He knew the longer I kept my starters on the floor, the sooner they were going to wear out."

The final score: Mendon 43, Batavia 36.

Sam Cecere led Batavia in scoring with 14 points. Mendon's Darby Kreienberg presented a challenge for the Lady Devils. She scored 26 points.

Maddie McCulley, who hit a clutch three late in the second period just when it looked like the Vikings might be poised to pull away, suffered what appeared to be an ankle or foot injury early in the third period. She returned to the game a few minutes later and Hein said she'll be fine.

"When we play one-three-one she's down at the bottom with some giants so she takes a beating sometimes," Hein said.

Top photo: Essence Williams drives for a successful layup.

Maddie McCulley

McCulley and Alley Phillips scramble for a loose ball.

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