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Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Photos: Batavia beats Notre Dame in hockey, 4-2

post by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, high school sports, hockey, Notre Dame, sports

In the second meeting of the year, with another to come, Batavia beat Notre Dame at Falleti Ice Arena, 4-2.

The win evens the season series at 1-1 and improves the Ice Devils record to 4-4-1.

Aaron Feary scored two goals; Cameron Ells had one and two assists for Batavia/Alexander, with Bryce Polito getting an empty-net goal in the closing seconds of the game.

Reid Rademacker gave Notre Dame an early 1-0 lead and Devin Grimshaw scored with eight seconds left.

James Cryer had 15 saves for Batavia and Ethan Conrad had 25 for the Fighting Irish.

The Irish are now 4-8 on the season.

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Friday, January 9, 2015 at 4:54 pm

Batavia wins defensive battle to wrest Rotary trophy from Notre Dame

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

In an effort to defeat Batavia's anticipated press in the Rotary Tournament championship game Thursday night, Dave Pero gave his girls a great plan -- quick passes down court to open shooters.

The Fighting Irish got a lot of open shot opportunities in the first half of the game. The part of the plan that didn't work is that too few baskets went through the hoop.

In the end, the Blue Devils prevailed in the defensive battle of rivals, 41-33.

"A game like this is great for us come sectional time," said Notre Dame Head Coach Dave Pero. "We're not going to see a team in our sectional bracket that presses like Batavia, so it's a great lesson we learned tonight of how to handle it."

Pero thought his team handled it pretty well, even mounting a bit of a comeback in the 4th quarter that had to make Batavia supporters a little nervous, but Batavia answered and held off the Fighting Irish charge to avenge defeats in the previous two Rotary tournaments.

"These guys hate me at practice, as hard as we run, but there's a reason," said Marty Hein, Batavia's head coach. "In the second half, and we don't turn the ball over any worse than we do in first half, but we seem to force more in the second half than anybody else. I think that gives us an edge."

Hein tightened his defense during half time, putting more pressure on Notre Dame at half court, which took away passing lanes and made it harder for offensive players to get behind his defenders. It created more turnovers.

Pero said his team was ready and primed for this game, but Batavia just did a little bit better.

"We had a great practice yesterday, perhaps one of the best practices we've had," Pero said. "Did we do a lot with the basketball? We did a little bit. We did a lot of talking. The girls were upbeat. They were responsive. When we got to the locker room upstairs, they were focused. When you get girls that are focused, a team like that, I don't care if they're boys or girls, win or lose, that's when you've got to give them credit for the way they prepared. They were awesome. They were ready for what they were going to give us, we just fell short. Next week is another week."

Hein said he and his team thought they were going to do a lot better.

"We're a little down, because we thought we should play better, myself included, but that's just a credit to them and their coach," Hein said.

Tiara Filbert, Batavia, was tournament MVP and scored 22 points Thursday. No other Blue Devil got into double figures. Essence Williams scored eight.

Shea Norton led Notre Dame with 10 points. Taylor DiMartino and Emma Francis each had eight.

(Filbert and Norton in the top photo)

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015 at 2:10 pm

Batavia and Notre Dame advance to finals in Rotary Tournament at GCC

Outside the GCC gym last night, the weather was pretty sloppy, but not as sloppy as the basketball game going on inside.

In the second game of the annual Rotary tournament, matching Notre Dame and Alexander, there were turnovers and missed shots and refs who were seemingly calling an inordinate number of traveling penalties and questionable jump balls. 

The final score was 37-22.

"It's was a sloppy game," said Dave Pero, Fighting Irish head coach. "What more can I tell you. It was just a sloppy game."

Pero knows he'll need a better performance out of his girls Thrusday night when they take on the Lady Blue Devils in the tournament championship.

Batavia beat Midlakes 55-32 in the tournament opener.

Notre Dame has taken the previous two Rotary Tournament finals against Batavia, and both coaches said they're ready to lock horns again.

"They'll throw out all the stops and we'll be ready and they'll be ready and it should be fun," Pero said. "I like our chances, but we can't play like we did tonight. But Thursday's another night."

Give the Lady Trojans credit, they pushed hard on defense and even with a team of girls with perhaps an average height of maybe about 5' 4", they managed to pull down quite a few rebounds against a team with three starters over six foot.  In the first half, nearly every trip down the court resulted in numerous second and third chance tries at baskets.  

Unfortunately for Alexander, nothing fell.

"It'ss been like that all year," said Alexander's head coach, Marcia Hirsch. "Our defense has been so good, but we just haven't been able to score."

The loss puts the Lady Trojans, who've managed as many as 50 points just twice this season, at 4-4.

Alexander applied pressure to Notre Dame at half court with some success, but on those rare possessions that resulted in a basket for the Trojans, they used a full court press and Notre Dame seemed out of rhythm all night.

That's pretty much the kind of defense the Irish will see when they meet Batavia in the championship game.

Head Coach Marty Hein said the Blue Devils will use pressure and the team's deep bench to compensate for Notre Dame's height advantage.

“We talked about trying to make that our identity,” Hein said. “We’re not a big team but we’ve got depth this year, so we run, run, run and press. We’re doing it for 32 minutes if we have to do it for 32 minutes.”

Both Alexander and Notre Dame suffered key injuries that disrupted their offenses.  Brett Stephens suffered an ankle injury crumpled to the court in the second quarter. A possession or two later, Emily McCracken fell down in the same exact spot.  Both are being evaluated and are considered day-to-day.

For Batavia, Essence Williams notched a double-double with a game-high 15 points and 11 rebounds, Tiara Filbert added 14 points, eight rebounds, six assists and five steals. Sam Cecere, recently returned from an injury, scored nine points and added seven rebounds.

Shea Norton and Rebecca Krenzer led the Notre Dame attack, both with double-doubles. Norton had 14 points and 17 rebounds along with four blocks and four assists. Krenzer scored 12 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.

For Alexander, Sydney Breton had seven points and five rebounds. Jayna Wright scored four points and had five rebounds, while Karli Phillips grabbed five rebounds.

Both Pero and Hein expect a tough, competitive game Thursday night in the final at GCC.

"It should be fun," Pero said.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015 at 11:14 pm

Notre Dame's 23rd Annual Trip Night - Cupid's Choice

Notre Dame's 23rd Annual Trip Night will be held at Batavia Downs Gaming, 8315 Park Road, Batavia, NY.

Dinner, drinks, raffles, entertainment, fun!!!

For ticket information call:  585-343-2783

For sponsorship information call:  585-813-5371

Complete details are available at:  www.ndhsbatavia.com

 

 

Event Date and Time

February 14, 2015 - 5:30pm - 10:00pm
Sunday, January 4, 2015 at 11:21 am

Le Roy piles up points against Notre Dame in renewed rivalry game

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

Saturday, on the gleaming polished hardwood of Notre Dame High School, it was the first time brothers Mike and Rick Rapone faced off as head coaches.

It was the first time in more than a half-dozen years Notre Dame and Le Roy met in a regular season basketball game.

It turned out that it was the first time this season that the Oatkan Knights scored at least 70 points.

The offensives' explosion also sent the Fighting Irish to their first home defeat in 62 games.

"We struggled all year," said Rick Rapone, head coach of the now 2-5 Knights. "We haven't made our shots. We had a tough transition from football to basketball. Those kids had a great year. Eleven of my 13 kids are football players. We struggled to shoot, struggled to shoot, struggled to shoot. Tonight, we couldn't miss."

Le Roy was 31-66 from the floor (47 percent) and 10-19 from beyond the arch (52) percent and five players hit double figures in scoring.

Nick Egeling 15, Kody Lamkin 13,Tom Kelso and Ryan Boyce, 11 each and Tom Dunn, 10. Dylan Laney was a point shy of hitting the decade mark.

Mike McMullen scored only five points, but helped lead his team on the court and contributed 10 rebounds, 12 assists, two steals and three blocked shots.

"I told the kids before, our record was not an indicator of the kind of basketball team we are and we probably just beat the top basketball program, them and Batavia High, in this area, on their court," Rick Rapone said. "They had a 61-game home winning streak that we just snapped. It's great for the boys."

The Irish drop to 4-2 on the 78-59 loss.

"The team that wanted it more won," Notre Dame's Mike Rapone said. "We didn't show up with the attitude it takes to win a game like this. I've been warning them all week that records don't mean anything when you play a game like this. Le Roy showed up to play and we didn't."

Josh Johnson had 16 points and Tyler Prospero had 12. Caleb Nellis and C.J. Suozzi each had eight.

Mike Rapone said the two teams used to meet every year, but a Le Roy head coach a few years ago stopped scheduled games with Notre Dame, even though the home-and-home series each year was always a big draw.

Saturday, even the JV game (Notre Dame won 45-36) filled the bleachers and the crowd jammed onto the stage and spilled out into the hallway of the gym. 

Fans of both teams were boisterous and the arena was filled with a championship-game feel.

As for the contest of brothers, both coaches downplayed the significance of the matchup. They embraced before the game and then got down to business.

The scoring outburst by the Knights might signal a turnaround for Le Roy's season, Mike Rapone noted. They made it hard for the Irish to get back in the game, once they fell behind in the second quarter.

"They hit a lot of big shots and they got the lead," Mike Rapone said. "When we made a run at them, they hit the shots they needed."

Rick Rapone said his boys were obviously happy with the win and he was clearly proud of their effort.

"They are excited and they should be," Rick Rapone said. "They beat a hall of fame coach, a top-notch program, I think the winningest program in Section V, on their court. Come on, hall of fame coach, 61-game winning streak, their court, top program, the kids deserve it all. They did fantastic."

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014 at 12:08 pm

U-prep rolls over Notre Dame in 4th quarter to take Lions Club crown

For the first time since 2003, the Lions Tournament championship trophy will not be on display in the hallway of a Genesee County school.

After dispatching Batavia in the first round, University Prep ran away from Notre Dame in the 4th quarter of last night's final to clinch the crown in a champion's fashion, 63-49.

In a match-up of a Class A charter school from a populous county against a Class D private school from a rural county, the local team looked for most of the game like they might actually win the game.

But four minutes into the third quarter, a double-digit lead started to slip away after U-prep's guards hit back-to-back threes and the Irish found themselves launching bricks instead of buckets.

"It all started with the missed shots," Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Rapone said. "Once the shots start getting missed, the game gets played at their tempo."

U-prep is a talented and athletic team. After the first round games, Rapone said his team would need to slow the pace of the game down in order to compete, and for 20 minutes, that's what they did.

Notre Dame carried a 29-17 lead into the half.

The Griffins were without three starters, all benched because they missed a practice, said Head Coach Raheem Miller.

"It's all about discipline," Miller said. "To me, you've got to be responsible. I understand things happen and whatever, but you've got to at least call. You don't just not show up."

It was OK, though. Miller still had Isaiah Brinkley at guard, another guard, Quillan Leach-Alexander, and Jeenathan Williams at forward.

Held scoreless in the first half, Brinkley let it up in the second, hitting four threes and scoring 24 points.

Leach-Alexander also hit a quad of treys and finished with a total of 19 points.

Williams, a freshman with some fine athletic moves in the lane and a deft touch from mid-distance, scored 13.

Brinkley was the tournament's most valuable player.

For Notre Dame, Josh Johnson scored 14 points and Caleb Nellis had 10.

Batavia beat Albion 68-31 in the consolution game to finish third in the tournament. Jeff Redband scored 29 points in that game.

Bishop-Timon won the tournament in 2003, and in 2004, Batavia started a tournament win streak that wasn't broken until this year.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014 at 10:11 am

Batavia's win streak in Lion's Tournament broken by U-Prep, 59-55

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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Friday, December 19, 2014 at 12:43 am

Wednesday Night Basketball: Elba and Notre Dame renew rivalry in hardwood battle

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

NOTE: Apologies for not getting this story posted sooner. Since the end of the game last night until tonight, another news story has been our priority.

In the midst of the ruckus in a near-capacity Stan Sherman Gymnasium at Elba Central School on Wednesday night, the Lancers and Fighting Irish put on quite a basketball show.

Passes zipped around the keys, bodies slammed under the boards and fast breaks were launched in transition with the swiftness of an executioner's sword.

In the end, Elba, having spent their all on the hardwood, left the court disappointed, as Notre Dame scored 61 points to their 53.

"It was an entertaining game," said Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Rapone. "Both teams played hard. We both made some bad mistakes. We made some good plays. It was a typical Elba/Notre Dame basketball game. Both teams competed and both teams wanted to win. It had to be a good game for the fans to watch."

It's easy to see the game as an uplifting moment when your team wins, but Elba Head Coach Mark Beehler hardly hid his disappointment at the outcome during a post-game interview.

Elba hasn't beaten its arch-rival since a 2008 sectional playoff.

"That was everything we expect as far as energy and excitement of the game," said Beehler with hardly a trace of energy or excitement in his voice. "Every time we play Notre Dame, it's always a big one."

Elba took a 29-27 lead into the half and the start of the third continued the back-and-forth battle, but as players knocked about for position under Notre Dame's basket midway through the quarter, John Hockmuth was conked in the nose. The game was delayed while officials cleaned blood from the court. Hockmuth was taken to the locker room for treatment and missed the rest of the third and the start of the fourth quarter.

While was out, Notre Dame went on a run. Tyler Prospero scored a pair of threes, Josh Johnson had one and James Farmer had one.

The Irish outscored the Lancers in the third 21-8.

Elba's defense tightened when Hockmuth was back on the court, but couldn't capitalize of a string of Irish possessions that yielded no points.

As the second to last minute wound toward the final minute, the Lancers went on a mini-run, drawing within six points of the lead.

With about a minute left, Notre Dame was called for a backcourt violation. Elba's Richard Flores celebrated a little too exuberantly and was called for a technical foul, his fifth foul of the game.

Rapone said that foul did shift the momentum back to Notre Dame.

"The kids are excited, but they're (the officials) are really strict about taunting now, so you've got to be careful," Rapone said.

Flores (top photo) was a big reason Elba made a game of it. In his first start of the season, he scored eight points and had 10 rebounds.

He plays bigger than his 5' 10" height.

"He hits boards really well," Beehler said. "He's got sticky hands. If he grabs it, he's going to keep it."

In a box-and-one defense, Flores was charged with guarding Notre Dame's hot-shot shooter Josh Johnson. That is what really contributed to Flores fouling out.

"He had a tough task tonight," Beehler said. "He played as hard as anybody out there."

Rebounding was a big part of what kept Elba in the game, Beehler said, that and taking care of the ball, even against Notre Dame's pressure defense.

"Turnover-wise, we only had eight," Beehler said. "That's pretty low for us compared to years past against their press."

Rapone said after the game it's clear his team needs to work on its free throws. The Irish only sank 14 of 33 attempts (43 percent).

For Elba, both Hochmuth and Shane O'Halloran had 14 points. Hochmuth -- nine rebounds. Evan Cole had eight points and 11 rebounds.

For Notre Dame, Johnson had 17 points, C.J. Souzi 10 points and nine rebounds, and Caleb Nellis recorded a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Josh Johnson drives for the basket.

Hochmuth blocks a Casey Midwick shot attempt.

Hochmuth and Nellis battle for position during a free-throw attempt.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at 10:46 am

Notre Dame beats Elba in girls basketball, 51-31

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

The score may not reflect it, but the Elba Lady Lancers played an intense, hard-fought game against archrival Notre Dame on Tuesday night.

They came up short, 51-31.

"Elba's very well coached," said Notre Dame Head Coach Dave Pero. "They're hard-nosed girls. They're going to be reckoned with all year. We're fortunate to do what we did."

The Lancers' game plan called for a pressure defense that would attempt to hold the Fighting Irish to 12 points or under per quarter.

All went to plan in the first half. Notre Dame scored only eight in the first quarter (six on a pair of threes from Shea Norton) and 11 in the second quarter.

Unfortunately for Elba, their shots weren't falling either and the Lancers trailed 19-10 at the half.

"I thought we both played good defense in the first half," said Tom Redband, head coach for Elba. "They started to pick it up in the second half and our shots continued not to fall. We had some untimely turnovers and the rest is history."

Pero said his team was pretty hyped up about playing Elba, but they relaxed in the second half and that, along with some adjustments to deal with Elba's press, made the difference.

"The listened to what we needed to do," Pero said. "That's a sign of good quality girls. They'll listen to you when you need to make adjustments." 

Notre Dame features three starters who are all six-feet tall and over. Elba's shooters repeatedly found their shots being knocked down, and rebounds were hard to come by.

"You practice the boxing out and you practice the crashing, but it's hard to simulate the 6-1, 6-2," Redband said. "They get an extra hand on the ball. It's a tough match up for us."

While both teams are in the Genesee Region League, Elba is Class D and Notre Dame is Class C.

Elba, now 3-1, looks like a team that can make a run at sectional play, though Redband is taking a one-game-at-time approach.

"We have some work to do like we all do this time of year," Redband said. "It's only our fourth game. It's a long season. Fifteen more games. We've got two more games before the break, then we've got 16 days off, so we'll be able to fine tune some things before the new year."

Guard Alex Riegle scored 14 ponits (with four three-pointers) for the Lady Lancers and proved a deft ball handler and capable court leader, even against Notre Dame's pressure defense.

For Notre Dame, Rebecca Krenzer had 15 points, Norton 13 and Emma Francis 11.

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Monday, December 15, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Notre Dame student wins junior handler competition at national AKC show in Orlando

post by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, Notre Dame

Photos and info from Charles Hull:

Lauren Hull, from Le Roy, won the National Junior Handler competition at the American Kennel Club/Eukanuba National Championship (AENC) Dog Show. This event is the highlight of the AKC show year. Participation in the junior handling competition is by invitation. To qualify, junior handlers must have gained 5 wins against competition during the qualifying period, and have a 3.0 average in school. This year's competition had an entry of 126 juniors.

Lauren is an A student at Notre Dame High School in Batavia, and had 10 wins this year. She has been showing dogs since 2007, and this was the 6th year in a row that she has qualified for and attended the AENC. She had to survive 3 rounds of preliminaries to make it to the finals.

Lauren's prizes included a $2,000 scholarship, a pink grooming box (available only to winners of Eukanuba-sponsored events), an engraved silver tray, a jeweled Best Junior pin, and two large rosette ribbons. Her name, and that of her Irish Setter, Kent (RedRidge's Kent Irish Fire), will be engraved on a permanent trophy housed at the AKC library in Raleigh, NC. Lauren also will be representing the United States at the prestigious Crufts Dog Show in England next March.

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