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Saturday, February 28, 2015 at 11:57 pm

Byron-Bergen tops Notre Dame in hard fought girls hoops playoff game

It was a nifty little move under the basket, a no-look reverse layup from Byron-Bergen's Abbie Kelley. The kind of play good players make.

In this case, it couldn't have come at a more opportune time. Head Coach Rick Krzewinski said it was perhaps the difference maker in the game.

The Lady Bees got to that point by allowing Notre Dame to go on an 11-0 run at the start of the third quarter to erase a 10-point lead for Byron-Bergen in the Section V Class C1 playoff game.

The reverse of fortunes had a familiar ring to the Bees, who lost a home game earlier this season to the Fighting Irish after blowing a first-half lead.

Krzewinski told his players in the locker room at the half, "looks familiar doesn't it?"

One of his girls said, "don't even talk about it."

"Oh, we're going to talk about it," Krzewinski told his team, "because we're not going to let happen what happened last time."

The Bees apparently got the message, and Kelley's nifty basket provided the spark they needed to beat back Notre Dame's momentum.

"Players make plays and that was the perfect time for it," Krzewinski said. "We got our composure back, I thought, and started hitting some shots."

That basket and a three possession change of defense to a 2-3 zone, seemed to break the rhythm of the Irish girls.

Kelley, who has 393 points on the year, did more to carry her team than drop that one score. She was the game's leading scorer with 23. Nobody else on her team was in double digits.

"Today was Bergen's day," said Irish Head Coach Dave Pero. "In the fourth quarter, Abbie Kelley took the game over. We missed way too many free throws. We probably missed 14 free throws (10, actually) and in sectional play, in any game, you can't miss 14 free throws and think you're going to struggle to win. Sometimes you'll get lucky, but the luck of the Irish wasn't with us today."

B-B's diamond defense held Notre Dame's top two scorers to totals a shave below their season PPG averages. Becca Krenzer had 12 points and Shea Norton, 11.

Emma Francis didn't hit a single three and was held to seven points for the game.

"We had the shots we wanted," Pero said. "You have days when they're not going to go in and today was one of those days. But we fought to get back in third quarter and I don't know if we ran out of gas a little bit, we might have, but I've got to take my hat off to Bergen. They played a great basketball game. They played for 32 minutes and that's why they're moving on and we're not."

The Bees had 13 days off before the game and Krzewinski said the team used that time to work on the diamond defense thinking it would be effective against Notre Dame.

"We were hoping maybe we could force some turnovers, worst case maybe slow them down," Krzewinski said. "I thought the girls worked it well and the message was, it will work if you move and they moved. We got out of it what I wanted."

It's been 2008 since Byron-Bergen beat Notre Dame in a girls basketball game, and the Irish seem to be a chief rival for just about every team they play.  The win certainly made Bees fans happy, who whooped it up in the closing seconds of the game.

"Yeah, everybody wants to beat Notre Dame, obviously,"  Krzewinski said. "Year in and year out they're a team that everybody wants to beat and to be able to do this in a sectional game just makes it really sweet. I'm so proud of the way they (his team) played and hung in there and did this. I don't even know what to say."

Next up for Byron-Bergen, the #3 seed in the tournament, is #2 seed Gananda (16-3) at 6 p.m., Tuesday, at a location to be determined.

Pembroke, also a C1 team, lost today to East Rochester.

Oakfield-Alabama and Alexander also lost playoff games today, leaving Byron-Bergen, Batavia and Elba as the three Genesee County girls basketball teams still alive in the postseason. All three have games scheduled for Tuesday.

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Saturday, February 28, 2015 at 1:11 pm

Joe Scanlan plans to retire from Notre Dame at end of the school year

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

Dr. Joe Scanlan, a man with the steady, gentle temperament of a parish priest, is stepping away from a job he loves in a few months.

Appropriately enough, for the past 11 years, Scanlan has been principal of Notre Dame High School, the private Catholic school on Union Street in Batavia.

"It takes a lot of energy to do this job," Scanlan said. "I pretty much do everything here except business. And you wouldn't want me to be the business manager. Tommy Rapone does a nice job. In addition to being principal, you're talking admissions, recruitment, pubic relations, newsletter and all the rest of the stuff. It's time to give somebody else a chance."

Scanlan's tenure at Notre Dame caps a 47-year career in education, which includes 15 at Byron-Bergen as a history teacher, assistant principal and principal, and 11 years as principal at York Central School.

Scanlan has found it particularly rewarding to shepherd area teens through their preparatory education at his own alma mater.

"I love it here, especially the kids," Scanlan said. "It's a great group of kids here. There's great kids in every school, so it's not just Notre Dame, but the students here are special group. They're pretty gritty. They're competitive, but they're respectful."

There are 170 students in grades 9-12 at Notre Dame. When the seniors graduate this spring, it will be Scanlan's final graduation with the school, it will also be the 50th anniversary year of his own class's graduation.

It's tradition for classes to be invited back for the graduation ceremony on their 50th anniversary, so Scanlan is hoping he'll see a lot of his former classmates.

Scanlan said the school board already has a number of qualified candidates who have expressed interest in the job.

There is also a $5 million capital campaign under way at the school, so the next principal will have plenty to do from the first day on the job.

As for Scanlan's own plans he says, "right now the plan is to have no plan."

He has a son and granddaughter living in Cleveland and more time to travel will mean more time with his family.

He plans to continue living in Le Roy.

Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 9:50 am

Notre Dame wins 55-29 in opening sectional game

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

The Notre Dame girls basketball team won its first Section V Class C1 playoff game of 2015 with a rout over Williamson, 55-29.

The Fighting Irish took a commanding 31-4 lead into the half.

Shea Norton (#44) hit three threes and had 17 points on the night. Becca Krenzer had 12 and Emma Francis had 11, including a trio of threes.

For Williamson, Kiki Hall had 11 and Maddie Thornson finished with 10.

Next up for Notre Dame (16-4), Byron-Bergen (16-3), at 2 p.m., Saturday at Byron-Bergen.

Saturday, February 14, 2015 at 6:32 pm

Photos: Ice Devils top Fighting Irish 2-1 in hockey

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

In their third matchup of the season today at Falleti Ice Arena, Batavia and Notre Dame battled for three periods in a physical, fast-paced game that ended 2-1 with the Ice Devils on top.

Saturday, February 14, 2015 at 3:12 pm

Notre Dame's Trip Night won't be stopped by weather

post by Howard B. Owens in Notre Dame

Forget the cold, the snow, the wind, just show up at Batavia Downs for Notre Dame's annual Trip Night, say organizers.

There's no weather cancellation here.

Festivities start at 6 and go to 10 p.m.

Photo submitted by Anita Strollo.

Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 9:02 am

Coach Pero honored prior to Notre Dame girls basketball game

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

Former players, such as Laurie Call, above, and his son, Dave Pero Jr., paid tribute Friday night to Notre Dame girls head basketball Coach Dave Pero Sr. prior to the team's game against Holly.

Pero hasn't announced his retirement, but there's a suspicion that this will be his final season, so Pero Jr., wanted to have a ceremony to honor his father, whose teams have won four sectional titles and a state championship.

Pero said he hasn't decided whether to return next season. Right now, he's focused on getting his team through another postseason, which starts in a couple of weeks. "Whatever I decide, it will be best for everybody involved," he said.

Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 6:23 pm

Just in case this is his last season as head coach, Dave Pero to be honored before tomorrow's game

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

Notre Dame's Dave Pero will be honored before tomorrow night's girls basketball game against Holley.

Several former players will be on hand to speak and share their thoughts on how Pero helped influence them and shape their lives.

If this sounds like a swan song event for the Fighting Irish coach, it just might be. Then again, maybe not.

Pero hasn't announced any retirement plans but his son, Dave Pero Jr., is thinking that once the season is over, the elder Pero just might call it a career.

"It's not guaranteed he's going to resign, but if I had to put a dollar on it, I would say it's his last year," Pero Jr. said.

Given that hunch, the assistant coach wanted to be sure his father got a proper send-off. The Friday game seems like the best time to do it with only two home games left on the schedule -- a weekday game, which former players who are in college wouldn't be able to attend, and then senior night, and on that night a farewell to the coach would take the spotlight away from the players.

Pero became head coach at the start of the 2002-03 season. His teams have notched eight five league titles, a state title (in 2013) and sectional titles in 2003, 2006 (the team lost the state title game that year), 2007 and 2013.

A logical choice of successor for Pero Sr., is Pero Jr., who said he's obviously interested in the job, but that's a decision for the Notre Dame Board, not to mention his wife, who he would ask to bless any such assignment.

UPDATE: More on Pero's record:  He is currently 234-51, and 101-12 at home. His teams have a postseason record of 34-11.  

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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