ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The third annual Mark’s Pizzeria Crosstown Shootout is set to commence Thursday with Division III college basketball games at Nazareth (women) and St. John Fisher (men) respectively.
Although the area teams are approximately a quarter of the way through their seasons, the shootout serves as an early barometer on the balance of power between teams from Nazareth, RIT, University of Rochester and St. John Fisher.
Thursday, Dec. 6 at Nazareth (women’s basketball)
Rochester vs. St. John Fisher, 6 p.m.
Nazareth vs. RIT, 8 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 6 at St. John Fisher (men’s basketball)
Nazareth vs. RIT, 6 p.m.
Rochester vs. St. John Fisher, 8 p.m.
Saturday Dec. 8 at Nazareth (women’s basketball)
RIT vs. St. John Fisher, 6 p.m.
Nazareth vs. Rochester, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 8 at St. John Fisher (men’s basketball)
Nazareth vs. Rochester, 6 p.m.
RIT vs. St. John Fisher, 8 p.m.
Here’s a look at the teams competing:
Nazareth women (3-1 overall): Under the direction of fourth-year head coach Kelly Dunne, the Golden Flyers won their first three games before dropping a close game at Keuka last week. Junior Rachel Benedict (Brockport, NY) leads the team in scoring (16.3 ppg.) and rebounding (10.3 rpg.). Scoring help comes from junior Lizzie Straub (12.8 ppg.) and freshman Jadyn Abrams (Bath, NY) (12.3 ppg.)
Nazareth men (3-1 overall): Kevin Broderick is in his 10thseason as head coach and features a talented group that includes five experienced seniors, including first-team Empire 8 Conference all-stars Jake Burgio (Brockport, NY) and Tyler Stenglein (Irondequoit, NY). Burgio leads the team in scoring (22.5 ppg.) and rebounding (11.5 rpg.) while Stenglein has amassed nearly 1,500 career points and is contributing 19 points per game this season.
RIT women (6-0 overall): Now in her 11thseason with the Tigers, Amy Reed is coming off the best season in school history that included 23 wins and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers have followed that up with a 6-0 start in 2018-19, thanks in large part to the scoring and rebounding of sophomore Sabrina Wolfe, who contributes 17.2 points and 8.3 rebounds per game respectively. Senior point guard Cori Okada was an honorable mention All-American last season and ranks among the national leaders with 6.3 assists per game.
RIT men (2-4 overall): The dean of area coaches, Bob McVean is back for his 36thseason at RIT and his 40thseason of college coaching. He has more than 500 wins to his credit and six 20-win seasons. The Tigers deep roster features junior guard Will Atkinson, who leads the team in scoring at 13 points per game and in three-point field goals made with 16. Junior forward Chuck Okehie is the leading rebounder (7.2 rpg.) and second leading scorer (8.3 ppg.).
Rochester women (2-4 overall): The Yellowjackets dropped their first four games against some tough competition, but have rebounded to win their last two. Head coach Jim Scheible has enjoyed an honor-laden career that includes 370 victories and 12 NCAA appearances in 19 seasons. This year’s squad features a balanced offensive attack with three players – Julianna Okoniewski, Lena Ethington and Lauren Foley – averaging between nine and 10 points per game.
Rochester men (7-0 overall): The Yellowjackets, under the direction of ninth-year head coach Luke Flockerzi, have surged to a 7-0 start and have inched up to No. 17 in the latest d3hoops.com national rankings. Always a match-up nightmare for opposing teams, Rochester is guided offensively by versatile senior Ryan Clamage, who leads the team in scoring (13.0 ppg.) and rebounding (6.3 rpg.) and can move outside and knock down three-point shots. Senior Jacob Wittig is the steady point guard, who is second in scoring (12.1 ppg.) and leads the team in assists (3.7 apg.) and three-pointers (12).
St. John Fisher women (5-2 overall): After winning 21 games last season, the Cardinals are off to a good start in 2018-19 under the direction of second-year head coach Melissa Kuberka. The Cardinals’ roster includes 15 freshmen and sophomores among its 18 players. Three players have double digit scoring averages in sophomores Olivia Baumann (12.0 ppg.) and Sydney Masna (11.2 ppg.) and freshman Leah Koonmen (Our Lady of Mercy) (10.9 ppg.).
St. John Fisher men (3-1 overall): With a strong Rochester-area basketball pedigree, including more than a decade as head coach at Aquinas Institute, Mike Grosodonia II took the helm as coach at Fisher last season. He’s been able to keep the Cardinals on a winning path that includes a 3-1 start in 2018-19. The Cardinals’ offense is high-powered with an 81.3 scoring average. Junior Sammy Robinson and Ryan Henderson have contributed to that success by averaging 19.8 and 18.8 points per game respectively.