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Saturday, April 18, 2015 at 6:34 am

Jordan Fluker wins 2015 Mr. Batavia contest at BHS

post by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, Mr. Batavia, schools

Jordan Fluker was named 2015 Mr. Batavia in the third annual competition at Batavia HS on Friday night.

Proceeds from the event -- $3,000 this year, a new record -- goes to the charity of Fluker's choice, which was Genesee Cancer Assistance.

The 11 contestants were Bryce Rogers, Andrew Maniace, Samir Jain, Dylan Beckman, Brandon Smart, Josh Franks, Adam Taylor, Eric DiLaura, Nick Bauer, Jordan Fluker and Ben Demare.

Tuxedos for the event were provided by Charles Men's Shop and Reed Eye Associations donated sunglasses to the 11  young men.

The competition included a talent show, swimsuits, and question and answer and the tuxedo walk. 

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at 8:58 am

Batavia boys and girls get track wins over Brockport

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, sports, track and field

Batavia boys beat Brockport 79-62 Tuesday in a track meet at Van Detta Stadium. The girls won 84-45.

Thursday, April 9, 2015 at 4:24 pm

Contestants in rehearsals for annual Mr. Batavia Contest at BHS

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, Mr. Batavia

The Batavia High School student government hosts its third annual Mr. Batavia Contest at 7 p.m., April 17.

Eleven seniors have signed up and picked the charities they will represent. Proceeds from the event go to the winner's charity. Last year, Mr. Batavia raised $2,200 for Habitat for Humanity.

The contestants and their charities:

  • Bryce Rogers, Ricky Palermo Foundation
  • Andrew Maniace, Batavia VA
  • Samir Jain (not pictured), Michael Napoleon Foundation
  • Dylan Beckman, Habitat for Humanity
  • Brandon Smart, Volunteers for Animals
  • Josh Franks, Anna’s Wish
  • Adam Taylor, Care-A-Van Ministries
  • Eric DiLaura, Roswell Park Alliance Foundation
  • Nick Bauer, Crossroads House
  • Jordan Fluker, Genesee Cancer Assistance
  • Ben Demare, Boy Scouts of America National Youth Leadership Training

Hostesses for this year's event are (names not in order): Emily DiBacco, Carly Scott, Katie Kesler and Maggie Folger.

Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 12:04 pm

Batavia wins mock trial tournament

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, mock trials

Batavia beat Notre Dame Wednesday night at the area finals of the mock trials tournament and will move onto the regional finals.

Batavia took round 1 55-50 and round 2 60-53.

The Region 1 tournament is in Erie County April 17-19.

UPDATE: Pictures added from Jim Burns.

Friday, March 20, 2015 at 8:51 am

8th Annual BHS Going Bald for Cancer

post by Steve Ognibene in batavia, anna's wish foundation, Batavia HS

Tonight for the third year in a row the Batavia High School, National Honor Society sponsored a benefit "Going bald for Cancer"  All of the proceeds this evening went to Anna's Wish.  Mr. McKinney Pictured above (speaking far right) with his daughter Molly is the Founder and President of Anna's Wish.  

Scott Gillard (above) watching his daughter Tori Gillard, a 10th grade student at BHS (pictured below) getting her head shaved by Charlene Shultz from Total Image Salon.  Tori was the only girl who participated.  She raised $530.00 for the event.

National Honor Society Advisor Jillian Thomas spoke about the success of the money raised annually. For more information go to: http://www.annaswish.org/about/

Pictured below from left to right:

Sophmore Alex Snell, Teacher Nate Korzelius, Sophmore Tori Gillard, Sophmore Johnathan Currier, Sophmore Josh Franks, Senior Samir Jain, Teacher, President & Founder of Anna's Wish Jeff McKinney, Principal Scott Wilson

 For more photos go to: 

https://www.facebook.com/SteveOgnibenePhotography

Saturday, March 14, 2015 at 3:22 pm

Jeff Redband preparing for next level of basketball and academic career

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

When I stopped into the Y's gymnasium this morning for a little basketball practice, I found Jeff Redband there.

The Batavia Blue Devil's standout was working on his own game but took some time to give me a few pointers on my own shooting stroke. While we chatted, Tanner came into the gym and asked Jeff to sign one of his kicks. 

Redband is planning on attending Daemen College, in Buffalo, next year on a basketball scholarship. Redband scored 1,024 points with the Blue Devils in a little over two seasons (a 26.2 point-per-game average this season) and helped the team to a pair of sectional title games and hit the game winning buzzer beater in 2013 that sent Batavia to a state title game. The Daemen Wildcats finished this season with 21 wins and captured the USCAA Division I basketball title. Daemen is a Division II provisional member of the NCAA and the East Coast Conference. 

Monday, March 9, 2015 at 10:38 am

Pair of BHS athletes have strong showing in state track championships

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, sports, track and field

Photo and information submitted by a reader:

Two Batavia High School athletes competed in the state indoor track championships this weekend. Devon Koepp (pictured) finished sixth in the weight throw with a distance of 58' 8" (He is the Section V record holder at 60' 5.") and Kaylee Cassidy finished sixth in the 1,600 medley.

Monday, March 9, 2015 at 1:12 am

Blue Devils unable to close out in sectional title game at Blue Cross Arena

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

In a world of infinite possibilities, there are an infinite number of ways the Batavia Blue Devils basketball team could have won its Class A2 Section V championship game Sunday evening at Blue Cross Arena.

A three-pointer from Jeff Redband could have dropped rather than rim out. A pass following a steal from Greg Mruzcek to Redband could have hit its target rather than skipping out of bounds. A 35-footer from a School of the Arts guard doesn't swoosh in as the shot clock winds down. One more layup, one more put back, one more backdoor cut, just one more of something positive could have turned the game around.

The one reality, though, is School of Arts won 45-36.

The Silver Eagles won not just because of a few bad breaks for the Blue Devils, nor because Batavia failed to execute on some of its basketball fundamentals. They won because they're a good team.

For the Eagles, Sergio Alicea sliced up the defense with his speed, deft ball handling and smooth shooting stroke. His 14 points were the product of three threes and a dunk that didn't seem possible from the 5'8" guard until he did it.

Christian Simmons, the tournament MVP, added 12 points, hitting five of eight from the field.

The Silver Eagles kept Batavia's offense off balance by switching up its defense, moving quickly to the ball and closing passing lanes.

"Give them credit," Head Coach Buddy Brasky said. "They went box and one to triangle and two to one three one and it kept us out of our rhythm. We didn't make very many good basketball plays. They key on Redband; they make everything tough on him and somebody else has to step up and we didn't get anybody else who stepped up."

The Blue Devils went into the half down 26 to 18, but Brasky told his team they could win it.

"We needed to have a quarter, the third quarter, which is normally our best quarter during the year where we kept them to single digits and we could get right back in the game," Brasky said. "We did that. We actually took the lead. I think it was 27-26, then they hit a three and then a three toward the buzzer. That to me was the key to the game. We had taken control of that game and then they scored six points. We went from up one to down five."

SOTA went the first seven minutes of the third quarter without a basket before hitting that pair of threes.

The Eagles then went on a run and opened up another big lead.

Batavia mistakes made things a little easier on SOTA.

The rebounding could have been better, Brasky said. The team worked on it in practice leading up to sectionals, knowing they would be playing more athletic teams. 

The passing could have been better. It's something the team works on all season --  fake the pass to make a pass, improve passing angles on the dribble, hit the open man more quickly while he still has an open look.

That meant, Brasky said, that the Blue Devils were forced to take more forced shots as time expired on the shot clock.

"When you're playing a team like that, who's athletic and in the passing lanes, and they go for steals, they anticipate, you've got to do those types of things," Brasky said.

The mistakes add up.

"Jeff tried to do what he could, but it wasn't enough," Brasky said.

With his team falling behind and struggling, Redband stepped up his game in the 4th quarter, going coast-to-coast on several transitions and driving the line when teammates dished it to him or taking the open jumper when offered.

"We were down by nine or 10 and I wasn't going to go out not shooting and just being passive, so I just trying to do everything I could," Redband said. "I didn't play very good tonight, but I tried. I tried. At least I tried."

Actually, Redband scored a game-high 20 points and if a few things would have gone differently in the last couple of minutes, he would have scored more.

He, along with Jerrett Laskett, was named to the all-tournament team.

Redband was part of one of the special seasons in Blue Devils basketball history and he helped create some of the magic in 2013 when Batavia had a shot -- but came up short -- at a state title. A buzzer beater by Redband, among his first of the more than 1,000 varsity points he would score, is what sent Batavia to states.

Since then, Batavia has made it to the sectional title game twice, but hasn't been able to secure a win.

"I realize now I didn't truly appreciate winning a sectional my sophomore year," Redband said. "I realize now after losing finals two years in a row, that was something really special. I didn't really need to work for it at all my sophomore year, and I worked my butt off my junior and senior year and I realized how special it is to play here (Blue Cross Arena) and win sectionals."

Now, the university-bound Redband's high school career is over. It's a somber moment to contemplate.

"I love this team," Redband said. "High school basketball is just, it's like the greatest thing. I grew up with these guys, playing Junior Blue Devils, playing modified, all throughout, and it's crazy to think I'm never going to play with them again."

He also appreciated playing for Buddy Brasky.

"He's great," Redband said. "He motivates us. He's always willing to open up the gym any time of year. People see him yelling, but he's really like, he loves us. He really likes us as players, so I loved playing for him."

Brasky said at the beginning of the season, he thought this was a team that could win a sectional title. It should have won a sectional title. It was, he said, the best team in the bracket. It just didn't get the job done.

"I told them in the locker room, this is one of the most enjoyable teams I've ever coached because they were a true team," Brasky said. "Nobody cared who got the credit, nobody cared if they didn't play, everybody really cared about the team. A team like that should be rewarded, but you know, it's not always fair. In sports, one team wins, one team loses. They were a true team and they were really enjoyable to coach this year."

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Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 5:42 pm

Batavia girls overcome by Mendon in second half, lost playoff game 57-43

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

The size and speed of Pittsford-Mendon caught up with the Lady Blue Devils in the 4th quarter of their Class B1 Section V semi-final game in Penfield on Wednesday night.

Batavia was outscored 20-11 in the 4th quarter after being held to seven in the third.

"Mendon's girls play defense," said Head Coach Marty Hein. "They know where the screens are going to happen. They get around the screens. It's a totally different level of basketball IQ. They're a well-coached team. They've got a great program, a great feeder program. We weren't getting the same looks we get against other teams. It was a lot more difficult."

The final score was 57-43.

Even as she was constantly harassed and hurried, dogged by defenders and given few opportunities to score, Tiara Filbert still managed six field goals and 16 points on the night, making her the game's high scorer.

Batavia's other scorer, Maddie McCulley hit four field goals and had 13 points.

Significantly, neither girl managed a three-point bucket.

Sam Cecere was held to eight points.

Hein said his team would have benefitted by being a little more patient on offense, setting up more open looks for their scorers.

"I think I'd almost rather have taken 30-second shot clock violations than some of the choices we made offensively, but pressure does that to you," Hein said.

It was a great run for the Lady Devils, which is still a young team. Only three players will graduate off the team. The nucleus is all returners, including Filbert, McCulley, Cecere and Taylor Stefaniak, a freshman who played her way into a starting role over the course of the season and shows a lot of promise as a guard, playmaker and gutsy leader.

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Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 3:40 pm

Blue Devils put up numbers in the second half to win Section V playoff at Blue Cross Arena

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

Basketball, when played pure and sweet, is five guys on the court coordinated in a single purpose. It's a team game. Wednesday, the Batavia Blue Devils played as a team to pull away from College Prep in the second half to pull off a 58-48 win in the Section V Class A2 Semi-Final at Blue Cross Arena.

Nerves may have gotten to the Blue Devils in the first half, when they played College Prep even through all 16 minutes and finished the half in a 21-21 tie.

"It was a very hard fought game," said Head Coach Buddy Brasky. "No matter how many times you're here, it's hard the next year the first time you come back. It's the big arena. It's the big stage. I thought we played very tentative early, the entire first half. I thought we were more like a deer in headlights, to be quite honest with you. I got after them a little bit at halftime and asked them to forget where we're playing. 'You've been playing the game your whole life. Just play.' "

Play they did. Jeff Redband, harassed on the perimeter by a swarming defense in the first two quarters, started driving the lane. Trevor Sherwood distributed the ball well, frequently finding Malachi Chenault under the board. Greg Mruzcek disrupted on defense and grabbed rebounds. Jerrett Laskett was a motivational spark throughout the game and was a big reason Batavia was even still in the game in the second half.

"He stepped up big time and that's what seniors are supposed to do," Brasky said. "You know, they're boxing and oneing Jeff. He can barely gets a look and when he gets them. He's got to rush them, so he couldn't get in any kind of a rhythm, and Jerrett just made big plays and hit big shot after big shot. You're right, we wouldn't be standing here talking right now if it was for Jerrett."

Laskett finished with 17 points, two assists, two steals and three rebounds. He was 3-5 on three-point attempts.

Redband led the game with 24 points, going 3-8 from beyond the arch. He had 13 defensive rebounds (14 total) to go along with three blocked shots and a rebound.

Chenault has been coming on strong the past few weeks and scored 11 points, several of them on offensive put backs.

"He's been here before and he knows what it takes," Brasky said. "He was in some foul trouble, but he got some put backs and that was just huge."

Before the game, Brasky told Mruzcek he would need his biggest rebounding performance of the season, and so Mruzcek delivered.

"Greg will do whatever I ask him to do," Brasky said. Greg does not care about anything else except for winning. That's all he cares about. If I were tell him to run down the court backwards the whole game, he would do it, and he wouldn't question me. He would just do it. Yes, Greg was huge, his defense and his rebounding and his physicality. He's been doing that stuff for us all year. He doesn't get a lot of notoriety, but he's a huge part of our success."

In the post-game interview, the first words from Redband, who scored his 1,000th career point in the 4th quarter, were praise for his teammates. 

"All I know Jerret and Malachi played their butts off tonight," Redband said. "They played so good, they played so tough, they rose to the occasion. That was a good team that we just beat right there. We had to fight through a lot of obstacles throughout the game. It was a good win."

Laskett, Redband said, was the difference in the first half.

"He was amazing tonight," Redband said. "He kept us in the game when everybody else was perhaps a little bit nervous, or we were just a little bit thrown off by their defense or something, but he kept us in the game and let everybody else get going. That was big tonight."

The senior guard was clearly fired up from the opening tip off.

"I knew this could be my last time playing basketball," Laskett said. "That's it. It's win or go home."

As for Redband, he played varsity for only a few games his sophomore year and was a starter for only his junior and senior year. At the start of the season, he didn't give himself much of a shot at reaching 1,000 points.

He was surprised when he heard the PA announcement in the 4th quarter.

"I didn't even know I was close to be honest," Redband said. "I thought I needed another hundred.
Just to be on that 1,000-point list is just amazing. I didn't think I would get there. It means a lot that I got it."

The next step, a sectional title, will be tough, but Redband thinks the team has it in them to pull it off.

"We've got to keep going doing what we did all year," Redband said. "We can't get nervous. We can't just be robots out there. We've got to make basketball plays. I feel like we did better towards the end of the game driving and dishing to people who were open. Trevor did some good moves and got Malachi open. We were just doing better basketball plays. We've got to keep doing that."

Batavia (18-2) plays School of the Arts (19-2) at 5 p.m., Sunday, at Blue Cross Arena, for the Section V Class A2 championship.

Several of the Batavia players were part of the football team this past season that won a sectional title and advanced to the regional final. They're aware, Brasky said, that they have a chance to be part of history -- the first players in school history with championships in both football and basketball in the same year.

That championship experience is also an advantage for the players, Brasky said.

"I think that helped in the second half," Brasky said. "You're right, they've been to this stage. They've succeeded on this stage, in a different sport, but it carries over. We fell behind. We weren't playing very well, but they didn't panic. They're winners. It goes hand in hand." 

.

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