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Friday, December 13, 2013 at 12:59 am

The Notre Dame boys basketball team wins big at home

Notre Dame 83, Elba 39

Tim McCulley scored 25 points and had 10 rebounds to lead the Fighting Irish to their second win of the season.

The Elba Lancers opened up the scoring in the first quarter when John Hochmuth put up three points, but they quickly found themselves behind later in the second quarter.

The Lancers were not able to stop Tim McCulley as he scored 21 points on 18 shots in the first half. Notre Dame held a 37-15 lead at halftime.

In the third quarter Notre Dame went on a scoring streak. Scoring 29 points to Elba's 10. By the fourth quarter the game was out of reach.

Notre Dame's Josh Johnson and Elba's John Hochmuth each had 15 points.

Notre Dame's next game will be at home next Wednesday against Lyndonville.

Elba is 1-3 on the season.

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

post by Howard B. Owens in basketball, batavia, high school sports, Lady Devils, sports

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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Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 11:25 pm

GCC men's basketball downs Niagara College; women fall

post by Andrew Crofts in basketball, GCC, sports

Naquil Jones scored seven early points to spark a 15-5 start for the Genesee Community College men's basketball team on Thursday night, and the Cougars earned their fifth win in a row, 83-76.

The visiting Knights from Niagara College (Canada) erased a six-point GCC halftime lead and took a 46-45 lead three-minutes into the second half.

Redell Freeman came off the bench and hit two straight three-point baskets and Alastair Cole also hit consecutive three-pointers, sending GCC on a 12-0 run and giving Genesee the lead back for good.

Ervin Mitchell played to another double-double, scoring 24 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. Gabriel Burroughs finished the night with 13 points, Cole added 12 points, Freeman dished out seven assists and scored 11 points and Jones grabbed six boards to go along with 11 points.

Genesee improves to 6-2 with the win and will travel to Lakeland Community College on Friday night for a 7 p.m. start.

 

 

A six-minute scoring drought to start Thursday night's game set the Genesee Community College women's basketball team back against Niagara College (Canada), and the Lady Cougars fell to the visitors, 65-55.

Genesee was 0-14 from three-point range in the opening half and committed 13 turnovers to fall behind at the midway mark of the contest.

Despite the early struggles, GCC started the second half on a 13-5 run and got back to within three midway through the second. Niagara responded and went on a 7-0 run to extend the lead back to double-digits and never looked back.

Genesee was just 2-29 from beyond the arc and shot below 25% on the night.

Dashawna Jenifer led the way for Genesee with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Macey McCulley added nine points and grabbed five boards, Renetta Fordam chipped in eight points, Shanell Glover collected 11 rebounds and scored six points and Hillary Rivera added five points.

Genesee falls to 1-6 with the loss and the Lady Cougars will travel to Lakeland Community College on Friday for a 5 p.m. start.

 

 

(Picture: Renetta Fordam (#40/white) fires a shot over an outstretched Niagara College defender)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 1:41 am

Elba Lancers take Albion to closing seconds of season opener

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

A pair of 23-point performances by Jesse Pflaumer and Brandon Naylor wasn't enough to secure victory Tuesday night for the Elba Lancers in the team's season opener against Albion.

After Elba jumped to an early double-digit lead by pulling down defensive rebounds and getting easy baskets in transition, foul trouble in the first quarter and a rash of turnovers let the Purple Eagles grab a lead it never relinquished the rest of the night.

"When switched to zone, we gave up some defensive rebounds and they (Albion) ended up cashing in on them," said Head Coach Mark Beeler.

The Lancers battled back, erasing a 10-point deficit late in the fourth quarter and when Pflaumer hit all net on a three-point jumper from the top of the key with just 26 seconds left in the game, Elba trailed by only two points, 71-69.

"That's when I really had a feeling it was going to go our way, but give Albion credit, they executed down the stretch to close it out," Beeler said.

On the in-bound pass, the Lancers fouled Albion to kill the clock and then grabbed the rebound on the missed free throw. Chad Kowalik got behind the defense and had an open path to the basket, but the pass was just a little beyond his reach and traveled out of bounds.

Albion would inbound two more times in the game, drawing fouls each time, leading to more free throws, which lead to two more points and seal the victory for the Eagles.

"I was just really happy to be in it at the end after being down 10 in the fourth," Beeler said. "The guys showed a lot of character tonight, sticking with it."

As exciting as the game was, it was also sloppy. Both teams got into foul trouble early and Albion rang up a number of fouls early in the second half (Elba slowed the pace a bit for their fouls in the third period).

The Lancers had 30 turnovers, with more than a dozen of them coming on in-bound passes, while the Eagles coughed the ball up 27 times.

"I'd like to blame it on first game jitters, but we had four scrimages so we shouldn't be that nervous," Beeler said. "Thirty is a lot. They had 27, so I'm sure (Albion's head coach) is not happy either. The third and fourth quarters were helter skelter and the intensity was amped up, and when it gets to that pace and the kids aren't used to it, turnovers are going to happen. But, yeah, you're not going to win many games with 30 turnovers."

Despite the loss, Beeler likes what he sees of his team so far and thinks with five seniors in the starting line up, a run at a sectional title is not out of the question.

"I think as these guys play and the season goes on and we eliminate some of the errors, I think we'll be right there," Beeler said "We've got good size. We've got a lot of seniors. That's going to help us down the stretch."

Beeler also has a secret weapon on the bench -- Tom Nowak, the recently retired former coach of the girls team, the coach with eight sectional titles and a state championship to his credit.

Nowak has been filling in as a part-time assistant for Beeler, whose first coaching job was working for Nowak as a girls JV coach.

"He taught me lot and continues to teach me a lot," Beeler said. "It's been great to have him in practices and definately on the bench. It's like hitting the coaching jackpot as far as getting an assistant on the bench with you."

The team responds well to Nowak's presence, Beeler said.

"When I tell the kids he's coming to practice ahead of time and as soon as I tell them he's coming in, they get excited because they know they're going to get better that day," Beeler said.

Besides the 23 points apiece for Pflaumer and Naylor, Dan Scott had 14 points. For Albion, Dez Blackmon had 20 points and Manny Thompson had 15.

Top photo: Jesse Pflaumer driving for the basket.

Albion's Alex Bison.

Brandon Naylor at the free throw line.

Head Coach Mark Beeler

Naylor

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 12:03 am

GCC men's basketball cruises to win over Medaille

post by Andrew Crofts in basketball, GCC, sports

The Genesee Community College men's basketball team has won its last four games and has scored 100 or more points in three out of the last four after a 113-69 win over visiting Medaille College (JV) on Tuesday night.

Ervin Mitchell extended his scoring streak of 20 or more points to seven games in a row after scoring 21 points on Tuesday night in limited action.

Genesee shot close to 60% and the Cougars' bench saw plenty of action, producing 45 points in the win.

Gaberiel Burroughs led the way for GCC with 26 points and six rebounds. Naquil Jones added 19 points, Redell Freeman and Alex Morris each finished with 13 points and Freeman dished out nine assists. Da'Shawn Suber chipped in nine points and Alastair Cole added eight points and six boards.

The Cougars held Medaille to just 32% shooting from the field and forced 24 turnovers, resulting in 26 fast-break points.

Genesee improves to 5-2 and will host Niagara College (Canada) on Thursday night for an 8 p.m. start.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Hoops Preview: Lady Devils return with high hopes

post by Howard B. Owens in basketball, batavia, Batavia HS, high school sports, sports

The 2012-13 season was a banner campaign for the Lady Devils. They won the school's first league title in girls basketball and made it to sectional finals for the first time.

But there's also some unfinished business from that championship run, according to first-year Head Coach Marty Hein.

The loss to Waterloo was ugly.

"The girls poured their hearts out in the semifinals two days before," said Hein, who was assistant coach to Bill Wade last year. "They just didn't have it in their eye that night and they know that. The girls know we didn't give 100-percent effort against Waterloo that night and that's the lesson that I hoped they learned -- give 100-percent effort all the time."

With Batavia HS moving to Class A1 and Waterloo staying in Class B, there's no hope for a rematch.

"I'm hoping to line up a scrimmage with Waterloo," Hein said. "I'd like to play Waterloo again because I don't like the taste in my mouth of how we lost in the finals."

Hein thinks with the players returning, the core of that league-leading team will be back on the court this season and they should be able to hold their own at least through the Monroe County schedule and into A2 sectionals.

The attitude is there, he said.

"They've come back with that buring desire to want to focus a little more, work a little bit harder and get back to that same spot and hopefully a little bit better," Hein said.

Senior Liz Myers and sophomores Tiara Filbert and Madison McCulley are third-year varsity players and anchor the starting line-up. Sophomore Sam Cecere, at 5' 9" tall, has made great progress playing post, Hein said.

Hein is going to be looking for a stronger defense from the girls this year.

"I want a lot more communication out of our defense this year," Hein said. "We're turning the pressure up a little bit on defense. Even if we stumble a little on offense, if we can hold our opponents to a lower number then we should still come out victorious in the end."

There will be a few changes in the team from the Wade era, but Hein has a lot of admiration for the local coaching legend.

"When the job came open (four years ago), I applied," Hein said. "Bromley (BHS athletic director) gave me a few clues about who else applied for it, and I told Mike at that point to take my name out of the hat. It was a good learning experience to be sitting behind Bill for the four years. I learned a lot."

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Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Hoops Preview: Brother of local coaching legend brings new style to Le Roy basketball

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

With a new head coach, the Le Roy boys basketball team is being put through its paces.

At a practice Thursday night, there was no slowing down, no waltzing through zone defenses, no stepping through an offensive playbook. The boys ran, they jumped, they weaved and they passed and they shot.

The fast-paced practice is designed to help prepare the team for what Rick Rapone hopes will be a quick-break offensive style during the regular season.

"We're going to try," Rapone said.

Rapid transitions, Rapone believes, equals more scoring opportunities.

"The faster you get down the court, the easier a shot you get, the percentages are you should make it," Rapone said.

He'll have to find out if his team can handle the fast pace in real time under game pressure.

He's certainly gotten the boys' attention. The players went through the practice with game faces on, not missing a beat.

"You've seen for yourself, they're hard workers," Rapone said. "They've responded well to all the new things we're trying to do. Even though we had a little bit of a short time frame because football was so successful this season, we're catching up pretty well. It's a great group of kids."

The boys should listen. Rapone has the coaching pedigree to command attention.

He's the brother of Notre Dame's Mike Rapone, and while Rick is 606 wins short of his brother's legendary accomplishments as a varsity coach, Rick was one of Mike's assistants in the 1980s.

This, however, is his first head coaching job.

"I've always wanted to coach basketball and the opportunity came up and I took a shot and was fortunate enough to get it," said Rapone, a Le Roy resident.

While Rapone is waiting to see how his team responds in game situations, he thinks he's got the athletes ready to have an impact in the Livingston County League.

There's Zach Moore and Steve Cappotelli. Cappotelli he said missed last season because of an injury but will provide a key leadership role on the team.

Kody Lamkin gives the Knights a big man under the boards who will surprise people with his athleticism.

"People are going to see how fast he is for such a big guy, and he has a great shooting touch for a big fellow," Rapone said.

Sophomores Nick Egling and Ethan Witkowski are also expected to be contributors this season.

"The key to the whole thing, though, is our point guard, Mike McMullen," Rapone said. "He's very smart. He's very tuned in to what we're trying to do."

With Notre Dame in the Genesee Region and Le Roy playing in Livington County, and Le Roy in Class B and Notre Dame in Class D, there's no chance -- at least this season -- that the Rapone brothers will see their teams meet in competition.

That may make it a little easier for Mike to share some of his ideas with Rick, which Rick said Mike is very willing to do.

"I'd be a fool not to have learned by watching him coach and win his 600 games," Rick Rapone said. "A lot of the successful things he does, I can guarantee you, that we're going to try our best to pick up on. He's a great man and obviously a very successful basketball guy. I'd be a fool not to get as much information as he's willing to share, and he's willing to share a lot."

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Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 10:10 pm

GCC men's basketball rolls Houghton JV

post by Andrew Crofts in basketball, GCC, sports

Ervin Mitchell kept his scoring streak alive on Thursday night by scoring 28 points in a 106-71 win over Houghton JV. The Genesee Community College freshman forward has scored twenty or more points in every game so far this season.

Mitchell extended his streak in the first half alone, scoring 21 of GCC's 64 points in the opening period.

The Cougars held a comfortable 31 point lead at the break, but the Highlanders made a 13-3 run to start the second half and eventually got back to within 19.

After the slow start, Naquil Jones sparked the Cougars, scoring 15 second half points and helped GCC extend its lead back to a wide margin.

Genesee had four players in double-figures, led by Mitchell. Jones finished with 24 points, Alastair Cole added 14 points and Gabriel Burroughs finished with 11. Jason Perry-Murray grabbed 10 rebounds for GCC, which was plus 24 in rebounding.

The Cougars improve to 3-2 this season and will travel to Davis College on Saturday for a 3 p.m. start.

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

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