By Bill Collmer (Contributor)
WAYLAND — Ten area high school basketball teams will help kickoff the 2022-2023 season Saturday December 3rd at Wayland-Cohocton High school in the Third Annual Way-Co Hall of Fame Basketball showcase. There will be five games, four boys’ and one girls’ game. Some of the top small school teams in Section Five and the state will take the floor with proceeds benefiting the Wayland-Cohocton Sports Hall of Fame. There will be six teams from the Livingston County Athletic Association, two from the Genesee Region, one from Steuben County and one from Finger Lakes East.
This year’s Showcase will be dedicated to two long time coaches in the Wayland and Cohocton School District Ellsworth “Ozzie” Tripp and Joel Shaffer.
Coach Tripp started boys’ soccer at Cohocton in 1960 and was the boys’ varsity soccer coach until the merger with Wayland in 1993. During his tenure, he also served as athletic director and coached basketball, baseball, volleyball, track, tennis and cheerleading. Coach Tripp’s soccer teams won 312 games. He was Coach of the Year five times and had the top-seeded team eight times and won the Catherman Award for Sportsmanship 13 times. Coach Tripp’s 1984 sectional champion soccer team advanced to the state quarterfinals. In 2001, Coach Trip was inducted into the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame.
Tripp’s greatest contribution was his vision that led to the Cohocton Sports Complex which opened in 1985 without the use of tax dollars. The three soccer fields and other sports facilities are Tripp’s way of helping combat the abuse of drugs and alcohol in the Wayland-Cohocton area. More than 200 games are played at the complex each year, including the Boys’ State Championships on three separate occasions, prompting the Cohocton Sports Club to honor him with a Distinguished Service Award in 2003 and now the complex is named after him. Tripp was inducted into the Wayland-Cohocton Hall of Fame in 2005.
Shaffer was a Math Teacher at Cohocton from 1970-1993 and Wayland-Cohocton from 1993-2007. Shaffer was a huge influence as a Coach in the Wayland-Cohocton District. During his own high school career, he was an accomplished three-sport athlete in soccer, basketball and baseball. He played four years of college soccer and one year of baseball at Hamilton College.
After college, Joel’s teaching career began along with his love of coaching. For fifty-plus years, Joel coached over 135 teams in various sports at all levels. Even after Joel retired from teaching, his commitment to coaching continued. He instilled teamwork, motivation, determination and sportsmanship in his athletes; all of which were lifelong skills. Joel was one of the original members of the Cohocton Sports Boosters. For over thirty years, along with a handful of other wonderful individuals, he was a driving force behind the success of the Cohocton Sports Complex with countless hours cooking french fries and flipping burgers in the concession stand and pitching in wherever he was needed. His favorite sport as a player was soccer; as a spectator, it was basketball; and as a coach, it was baseball.
Joel will always be remembered for his coaching motto, “Have fun. Play hard, Play clean. Be humble in victory and defeat.” A motto he exemplified to his athletes, students and community in his own behavior daily. Joel was inducted into the Wayland-Cohocton Hall of Fame in 2019. Joel passed away unexpectedly on December 7th, 2021.
Organizers of this event have been very successful over the first two years of the showcase with five teams winning sectionals the first year and three others losing in the Championship game. Four teams won sectionals last season with two others losing in the finals.
There are lots of storylines surrounding each matchup this season.
The first game will feature Dansville coming off its first LCAA Championship since 1993 playing Marcus Whitman a team currently undergoing a youth movement due to injuries during the recent football season that will see them start only one senior alongside three sophomores and a ninth grader.
“We return three starters and every guy on this year’s team was a big part of our success last year,” Dansville Coach Dave Moodie said.
“We will start a very young lineup,” Marcus Whitman coach Greg O’Connor said. “The younger guys have been putting a lot of time in the off season for several years, so they will compete in every game as that is their nature. We are full of youth, and it would be easy to say we can build on that, but this youth wants to make an impact now. Youth will not be an excuse for a loss, but that loss will be an opportunity to grow. The impact from senior leadership and the determination of the youth could make for a surprising season.”
The girls’ game will feature two teams on complete opposite ends of the spectrum as Pavilion comes in as defending sectional champions led by two senior all-stars in Lauren Kingsley and Karlee Zinkievich playing a Hornell team that fell in the sectional championship game last season with a roster full of sharp-shooting young guns who can score in bunches.
The two teams met last season with Pavilion winning 62-61. Hornell is seeking its first ever sectional championship. Pavilion is coming off an extended volleyball season that saw them win sectionals, the volleyball team is also led by Kingsley and Zinkievich.
“With the success of the volleyball team over the last several years, the girls are used to having no break or a very short break before basketball starts. Recovery from their fall seasons and preparation for a long winter season is the focus early on,” Pavilion Coach Ben Schwenebraten said.
“This is the youngest team we have had at the varsity level so it will be an interesting but hopefully exciting season for us,” Hornell coach Brian Dyring said.
Elba from the Genesee Region is 2-0 in the Showcase and fell to archrival Notre Dame-Batavia in the sectional championship game last season and will take on the host Wayland-Cohocton Golden Eagles. Many of the players on Elba’s roster were members of the sectional championship football team and were still on the gridiron when hoops practice started in November. That could play a factor early in the hardwood season.
“We certainly are going to be impacted and it drives me crazy how NYS does not factor in the small schools that get just killed with overlapping of sports seasons,” Elba head coach Ciaci Zambito said. “Regardless, we are really going to be behind the eight ball.”
“The showcase is always a fun way to kick off the basketball season,” Wayland-Cohocton coach Jake Kenney said. ”Getting all these successful programs in the same gym makes for a competitive day of basketball. This year should be no different as Coach Jim Burke and many others do a phenomenal job getting this whole event organized.”
Notre Dame-Batavia will be making its first appearance in the showcase and for the first time in 41-years Mike Rapone will not be the head coach of the Fighting Irish. After ten sectional championships and two state championships Coach Rapone has turned over the duties to his son Mikey. However, he didn’t leave the cupboard bare. Coming off a sectional championship last season before falling to eventual state champion Avoca-Prattsburgh in the state qualifier. Mikey Rapone is no stranger to the program or the Notre-Dame faithful, he was a player on the 2001 State Championship team and has been a coach in the program for the last fourteen years.
“I started in 2008 as a program assistant, basically meaning I helped out where I could on JV and Varsity,” the younger Rapone said. ”In 2013, I was named the JV head coach. I was the JV head coach until 2018 when I stepped down to allow my uncle (Rick Rapone) to come to Notre Dame from Le Roy. I stayed on as an associate head coach or assistant head coach to my father, hoping to someday take the reins. I was named “head coach in waiting” last year and he began to let me start to install the offenses and defenses I like to run. He gave me the ability to start to rotate players the way I like to (NBA style rotation with 8-9 guys) and gave me the freedom to do all this while he was there to oversee everything I was doing. It was extremely strange to look over on the first day of practice to where he normally stood and not see him there.”
Notre Dame will be playing a tradition rich Geneseo program with two key players returning who caused some havoc in the LCAA last season in seniors Ethan Bennett and Ryan Whitney. Bennett Averaged 18 points a game last season and is a threat from long-range knocking down 55 three-pointers his junior year. Whitney averaged 14.2 point per game last season. Geneseo had two signature wins last season over eventual sectional champions York and Avon.
“Ethan and Ryan both averaged a lot of minutes per game last season,” Geneseo head coach Gregg Hepler said. “To say that we are excited to have them, in particular back, would be an understatement. Both guys can guard 1-5, score the basketball and create opportunities every night. Both players had great summers, put in a lot of time in the pre-season, and most importantly, have been becoming better leaders.”
The main event of the day will feature the defending Class D State Champion Avoca-Prattsburgh Titans playing York. A-P currently has a 38-game winning streak spanning two seasons and have not lost since joining forces. A-P returns two All-State players in senior Sawyer Devoe and junior Macoy Putnam. In 27 games, last season Putnam had nine double-doubles, and one triple-double, scored in double figures in 23 games and scored 20 or more points in six games. He had double digit assists in 12 games. He scored 28 points in the state semifinals. He had a career high 16 assists February 9th versus Lyons in Victor. He was named the MVP of the Steuben County Tournament, a Steuben County First Team All-Star, Class D1 All-Tournament Team and MVP of the State Final Four in Glens Falls.
At 5-foot-11, Sawyer Devoe isn’t your typical center or power forward, but he proved night in and night out that he was a force to be reckoned with in the post. Using his superior athletic ability, he left opposing coaches shaking their heads and his coaches smiling from ear-to-ear. Despite being outsized almost every game last season he dominated. Devoe had 11 double-doubles, scored in double figures in 22 out of 25 games, and scored 20 or more points nine times. He had a season-high 18 rebounds versus Jasper-Troupsburg. He grabbed double-digit rebounds in eleven games. He scored a season-high 30 points with 15 rebounds in the state quarterfinals versus Westfield. Devoe was a Steuben County First Team All-Star, was selected to the Steuben County All-Tournament team, a Class D1 Tournament All-Star and won the Sportsmanship award at the State Final Four in Glens Falls.
The Titans playing a York team who is coming off a Class C Sectional Championship and also Return Two All-State Players in Maddox Timothy and Jake Pangrazio. Timothy was Section V Class C3 Tournament MVP, and a LCAA Division 3 All-Star. Pangrazio was also an LCAA D3 Al-Star.
A-P also returns starting forward Haden Abbott and the first two players off the bench last season Jamel Crowder and Evan Campbell.
“I feel that we are going to need good minutes from Crowder, Campbell and (Jamie) Reagan to fill the void of players we lost from last year,” A-P head coach Brian Putnam said. “I feel that the overall success of the season will depend on how these three develop, and how we can bring a few bench players along. Putnam, Devoe and Abbott are three returning starters that we will lean on to carry the load. I feel that there is probably an expectation for another deep run. I think that it’s my job to make sure that the players don’t see or feel it as pressure. This is a very different team. Even though we only lost Three players that is a lot of minutes that need to be accounted for.”
Prattsburgh defeated York in the first Showcase 71-69 and York lost to Avoca-Prattsburgh 59-45 in the second annual Showcase.
“Playing a team like Avoca-Prattsburgh off the bat is always such an interesting challenge,” York head coach Ed Orman, Jr. said. “They are so fast and can throw so many things at you right on the run that you have to be mature and grown up to handle the adversity you are sure to face. Coach Putnam and his guys do a wonderful job of keeping the pressure on you all game, a few moments of lost focus or poor decision making, and you are in big trouble. It will be fun to see how we handle that early on in the season and regardless of how it goes using the experiences gained in this game to foster continued growth.”
Date – Saturday, Dec 3rd, 2022
Noon– Dansville vs. Marcus Whitman
2:00 – Hornell vs. Pavilion (Girls)
4:00 – Wayland-Cohocton vs. Elba
6:00 – Geneseo vs. Batavia Notre-Dame
8:00 – Avoca-Prattsburgh vs. York
– Dansville, Hornell, Wayland-Cohocton, Geneseo and Avoca-Prattsburgh will be home teams.
Here is a team-by-team look at the Ten Teams competing in this year’s Hall of Fame Showcase
Pavilion Golden Gophers
Coach: Ben Schwenebraten
Last Season: 20-3, Lost in the Class C State Qualifier to East-Rochester 56-42.
Numbers: Averaged 51.3 PPG, Opponents 34.8 PPG
History Lesson: Won their program’s third sectional championship in Class C2 in 2022.
Returning Starters: Two
Key Returners: 6’2”Senior Lauren Kinglsey 15.3 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 4.5 BPG
Senior Karlee Zinkievich 14.8 PPG, 5.8 APG, 3.1 SPG
Top Newcomers: Junior Bryleigh Burns
Fun Facts: The most points Pavilion allowed in a game last season was 61 to Hornell in a 62-61 victory in Hornell. With Still year to go Kingsley has scored 1,170 points, grabbed 792 rebounds and blocked 309 shots. In 83 career games, she’s averaged 14.1 PPG and nearly 10 rebounds every game she has played since eighth grade. Zinkievich enters her senior season 64 points shy of 1,000 and will join Kingsley as Pavilions only 1,000-point scorers in history. She is already Pavilions all-time assists leader with 436 and is also No.1 All-Time in Steals with 225.
Coach Schwenebraten says: “At this point in the season, our goal is to keep improving every day. The girls realize that they have to work hard and compete daily to in order to be playing our best basketball at the end of February.”
Showcase History: Defeated Maple Grove in second annual Showcase 61-35
Hornell Lady Red Raiders
Coach: Brian Dyring
Last Season: 16-6, lost in the Class B Championship game to Waterloo
Numbers: Averaged 59.6 PPG, Opponents 47.0 PPG.
History Lesson: Still seeking first sectional title in School history, have finished as runner up Three times.
Returning Starters: Three
Sophomore Lillian Hoyt 13.7 PPG, (73 threes made) 2.87 RPG, 2.18 APG, 2.5 SPG
Freshman Jordyn Dyring 8.6 PPG, (40 threes made) 3.77 RPG, 2.62 APG, 2.10 SPG
Senior Madelyn Moore 8.6 PPG, 7.5 RPG
Freshman Selena Maldonado 6.1 PPG, 3.6 SPG 3.23, RPG 2.3 APG
Freshman Payton Bentley 2.23 PPG
Top Newcomers: Raegan Evingham 8th, Parker Graham Fr, Kadience Gollnitz JR.
Mia Nasca Fr.
Fun Fact: – Hornell Defeated Class AA Corning from Section IV 67-51 last season, Corning went on to win the Class AA Sectional Championship.
Coach Dyring says: “With our youth we are looking to be competitive night in and night out and play hard. We want to win as many games as possible but more importantly is to get better and learn night in and night out. We are athletic and skilled and if we can do those things previously mentioned I think we could be a tough out when sectional time comes and make a deep run. The loss of Senior’s Jane Spitulnik, Tayghan Doorley (SUNY Morrisville) Ayla Prior and Juliet Marino we will be looking to fill that leadership void that has been left. We expect Maddie Moore to be an anchor in the middle for us on offense and defense and then it’s up to the underclassmen to grow and mature quickly and not only contribute but to help lead the way.”
Showcase History: Lost to Elba in inaugural Showcase 55-47
Coach: Brian Putnam
Last Season: 27-0 won the section Five Class D1 Championship, Far Western Regional Championship
New York State Class D State Championship.
Numbers: Averaged 84.1 PPG, Opponents 48.9 PPG
History Lesson: Prattsburgh won 12 Sectional Championships overall and were the 1991 NYS Class D State Champions finishing 29-0. Avoca won 5 Sectional Championships overall and were the 1989 NYS Class D State Champions finishing 28-0.
Returning Starters: Three
Macoy Putnam-Junior guard,15.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 7.5 APG, 4.7 SPG
Sawyer Devoe-Senior Forward, 16.8 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 3.6 APG, 3.0 SPG
Haden Abbott-Senior Forward, 11.7 PPG 5.9 RPG, 2.7 APG, 2.0 SPG
Jamel Crowder-Senior Forward, 4.8 PPG, 2.5 RPG
Evan Campbell-Senior Guard, 5.9 PPG, 2.4 APG
Jamie Reagan-Senior Center, 2.0 PPG, 1.7 RPG
Top Newcomers NA
Fun Facts: A-P eclipsed 100 points four times last season scoring a season high 114 in the sectional quarterfinal February 26th. Junior Macoy Putnam has 258 career assists with two full seasons left to play. During A-P’s 38 game winning streak they have won 35 games by double figures.
Coach Brian Putnam now has two state championships one as a player and one as a coach.
Coach Putnam says: “I am sure we will see everybody’s best game; everybody will want to beat us and stop the streak. There’s Definitely a target on our backs. I expect the kids to come out, play hard, defend and get up and down the floor. I think it’s too early to saddle these guys with too many expectations. They need to establish their own Identity, and not worry about the success we were fortunate to have last year.”
Showcase History: Prattsburgh defeated York 71-69, Avoca lost to Elba 56-53, it was Avoca’s only loss of the 2019-2020 season, they went on to win their next 23 games and advanced to the Far Western Regional before their season was ended by Covid-19. Avoca-Prattsburgh defeated York 59-45 in the 2021 Showcase.
Coach: Ciaci Zambito
Last Season: 15-8, Lost in D2 Championship game to Batavia Notre-Dame.
Numbers: Averaged 56.4 PPG, Opponents 52.0 PPG
History Lesson: Have won four Sectional Championships, most recently in 2017.
Returning Starters: Three
Players to Watch: 6’0” Senior Connor Scott
6’3” Junior Angelo Penna
6’1” Junior Mike Long
Top Newcomers: Gage Chamberlain
Fun Fact: Losses Last Season to Class D State Champion Avoca-Prattsburgh (27-0), Two to Class C2 Champion Oakfield-Alabama (22-2) Three to Class D2 Champion Batavia Notre-Dame (20-4)
Coach Zambito says: “Our Expectations for this year are the same as they have been for us the past seven seasons. We want to be the last D2 team standing at Blue Cross Arena with a sectional championship. We have a lot of work to do before then, but I trust our guys and I trust our coaches to put us in position to compete for that!”
Showcase History: Defeated Avoca 56-53 in inaugural Showcase. Defeated Jasper-Troupsburg in year two 57-50.
Marcus Whitman Wildcats
Coach: Greg O’Connor
Last Season: 7-15, lost in Class C1 Quarterfinals to No.1 Seed Rochester Academy 65-54
History Lesson: Gorham won sectionals in 1947, Middlesex won sectionals in 1965 & 1966. The schools merged to become Marcus Whitman in 1969. They won the Class A Championship in 1976. They won the Class C1 Championship in 2020.
Numbers: Averaged 49.5 PPG, opponents 54.1 PPG
Returning Starters: Two
Players to Watch: Brody Royston Sophomore Guard G 9.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 4.0 APG
Connor Gorton – Senior guard, 4.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 2.0 APG
(Out with injury until Christmas)
Bryce Tomion – Senior F, 3.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 3.0 APG
Top Newcomers: Sophomore Myles Prendergast, G/F
Sophomore Logan Storms, G
Freshman Tariku Blueye, G/F
Fun Fact – Marcus Whitman has 20 games on its schedule 18 of them are against Class B or Class A schools. Finger Lakes Crossover games versus Red Jacket and Naples are their only C & D opponents.
Coach O’Connor says: “The PPG may not be there for returners, but these returners know how to do the little things well. The little things include off-season work, motivation to teammates, and accountability of teammates. They have worked hard in the off season to prepare for this season. The little things these returners do will set them apart. Connor is a great leader as he is able to lead even while injured. Bryce has worked a ton on post moves working on finishing inside. And Brody has been playing a LOT of basketball in the Spring, Summer, and Fall on an AAU team and has dynamic game. I am a firm believer in the importance of the strength in schedule. Every regular season game should prepare you in some way for sectionals. Every situation during a close game will be an opportunity to prepare for sectionals. The season sets the tone for post season.”
Showcase History: Defeated Caledonia-Mumford 73-64 in inaugural Showcase. Lost to Caledonia-Mumford 59-56 in the Second Showcase.
York Golden Knights
Coach: Ed Orman Jr.
Last Year: 17-7, Lost in the Class C State Qualifier to Avon.
History Lesson: Won Class B Sectionals in 1939 and Class C3 in 2012 & 2022.
Numbers: Averaged 65.4 PPG, Opponents 52.9 PPG
Returning Starters: Four
Key Returners: Maddox Timothy- 6’0 Sr G 15.3 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 3.0 APG
Tyler Brady- 6’0 10 PPG, 5.0 RPG
Jake Pangrazio- 6’3 JR G, 14.0 PPG 6.0 RPG
Connor Rodwell JR 6’2 F- 6.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG
Top Newcomers: Ryan Brady Fr 6’0 Forward
Parker Bonefede Fr 5’11 G
Kadin Akram Jr 6’1 F
Fun Fact: Played friendly rival Caledonia-Mumford four times last season winning three of the four including the sectional championship game.
Coach Orman says: “We really hope to gel a little earlier than last season and improve on some areas that we struggled with last year like consistency, getting off to good starts and handling the ebbs and flows of the game a little better. Although we are still young, we are a little more mature with a ton more experience than last year. We also understand the season is a marathon not a sprint and will try to make consistent growth throughout the season and be playing our best basketball in the end of February and March. Our Goals Are to grow throughout the season and to keep the hunger we had last year, while using the wisdom and experience we gained to become the best version of ourselves. Above all we have a group of guys who love basketball, and we are going to enjoy every minute of this season and encourage and support each other to try and play as long as we can.”
Showcase History: Lost to Prattsburgh 71-69 in inaugural Showcase. Lost to Avoca-Prattsburgh 59-45 in the second annual Showcase.
Geneseo Blue Devils
Coach: Gregg Hepler
Last Season: 16-6, lost to Avon in sectional quarterfinal
History Lesson: Have won six sectional championships most recently in 2017
Numbers: Averaged 55.8 PPG, Opponents: 46.8 PPG
Key Returners: Sr.Ethan Bennett 18.0 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.8 SPG, 32 MPG
Sr. Ryan Whitney 14.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.5 SPG, 32 MPG
Sr. Sebri Fantauzzo 3.0 PPG, 4 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 1 BPG, 21 MPG
Sr. Eghosa Okpefe 6.1 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.3 SPG, 27 MPG
Top Newcomers: Kellen O’Brien
Fun Fact: Hepler helped lead Keshequa to a Sectional title in 1994 as a Junior, scoring 14 second half points and hitting two Free Throws late in the 4th quarter to defeat South Seneca 54-51.
Coach Hepler Says: “Our coaching staff’s expectations are to buy in, work extremely hard, and compete every single day, every single practice, and every single drill.”
Wayland-Cohocton Golden Eagles
Coach: Jake Kenney
Last Season: 8-13 lost to Vertus in the first round of sectionals
History Lesson: Class CC Sectional Champion in 1995. Class B2 Champion in 2012
Numbers: Averaged 48.2 PPG, Opponents 53.9 PPG
Key Returners: Junior Forward Kadyn Brown
Top newcomers: Matt Feinman JR Guard
Hunter Trischler JR Guard
Charlie Mulford SO forward
Matt Clark SO Forward
Coach Kenney Says: “We have a young group this year with very little varsity experience that should only get better as the year moves along. They are a good group of kids that work hard and compete on both ends of the floor.”
Fun Fact: Defeated Class C3 Champion York last season 55-44
Showcase History: Lost to Hornell in inauguralShowcase 67-41, Lost to Wellsville 53-34 in Second Annual Showcase.
Coach: Dave Moodie
Last Season: 17-5, lost to Wellsville in Class B2 Semifinals to Wellsville
History Lesson: Dansville is still seeking their first Sectional Championship in boys Basketball.
Numbers: Averaged 56.8 PPG. Opponents: 47.6 PPG
Fun Facts: Dansville won the LCAA D1 Championship last season for the first time since 1993
Senior Dawson Wadsworth is already the school’s all-time assist leader with 122 entering his senior season.
Collin Gray (Sr. G/F) – 11 PPG, 2 APG, 6 RPG
Dawson Wadsworth (Sr. Guard) – 7 PPG, 6 APG, 2 RPG
Tyler Harris (Sr. Guard) – 5 PPG, 2 APG, 2 RPG
Aazan Sohail (Sr. Forward) – 2 PPG, 2 RPG
Reid Martin (Jr. Guard) – 3 PPG, 3 RPG
Ethan Canfield (Jr. Forward)
Nate Gardner (Jr. Guard)
Reese Dixon (Jr. G/F)
Zaiden Vandurme-Blackmon (Jr. Guard)
Anthony Morrow (Jr. Forward)
Coach Moodie Says:
“Last year we had an outstanding season, winning a league title and being the No. 1 seed in Sectionals. We lost Two senior starters and a few other seniors who provided quality leadership and a work ethic that made us successful. These guys got a great taste for winning and winning at a high level. Losing last year in the semifinals left a bad taste in their mouth and they are eager for this season to begin. This team is very athletic with good size. Last year we were tough defensively and we expect to be the same again this year. If we can score the basketball by shooting at a high percentage, I believe we will be very competitive again. Overall, this is a great group of athletes that I really enjoy coaching. Looking forward to a great season.
Notre Dame-Batavia Fighting Irish
Coach: Mikey Rapone
Last Season: 20-4, Won Class D2 Sectionals, lost to Avoca-Prattsburgh in state qualifier
History Lesson: Have won 10 sectional championships and two state championships
Numbers: Averaged: 69.1 PPG, Opponents 52.7 PPG
Fun Facts: Mike Rapone retired as the all-time winningest coach in Section Five with 728 wins. He is fourth all-time in New York State in coaching wins.
SR. Jordan Welker – returning all-state selection from 2022. He averaged 13.6 points per game last year. He had 126 assists and 64 steals, while connecting on 44 Three-point field goals.
SR. Jimmy Fanara – Jimmy is a three-year player returning for his senior season. He won’t be playing in the showcase as he comes back from an injury, he suffered during the football season. He averaged 12.0 points per game, 4.8 rebounds and 26 three-pointers made.
SR. Hayden Groff – Hayden started most of the year, until Colin McCulley came back from his ACL tear. He averaged 4.1 points per game and had 27 steals on the season.
SR. Bryceton Berry – Bryce was a key contributor off the bench last year averaging 3.7 points per game and 2.7 rebounds per game.
JR. Ryan Fitzpatrick – Ryan set a school record last year with 73 three-pointers made. He finished the season averaging 14.3 points per game and 5.2 rebounds per game.
JR. Jay Antinore – Jay came off the bench last year as a defensive stopper but we are looking for more from him on the offensive end this year. He played half the year on the JV level last year because of a broken wrist during football. He came up halfway through the year and helped tremendously for the sectional run.
JR. Jaden Sherwood – Jaden came off the bench last year as well. He has a great shot and averaged 2.9 points per game last year, while hitting 11 threes.
Top Newcomers: JR. George Woodruff & JR. Mavrik Hall – These two were JV call-ups for the sectional run last year. Woodruff saw a little game time during sectionals as he provides energy and defense. They both started every game on the junior varsity last year, and are hoping they can provide some energy again this year.
Coach Rapone Says: “Expectations are always high in our program, because we want to try and push our players to get the most out of them. We have some important pieces that we have to replace in Colin McCulley and Cody Henry. Henry was a dynamic passer from the high post and a fantastic rebounder. McCulley provided a go-to scorer his junior year and when he came back his senior year, he gave us much of that back. If we can have some of the role players from last year step up into higher roles, we should have a good year. The Genesee Region is beaming with talent this year: O-A, Byron-Bergen, Pembroke, Wheatland-Chili, Elba, and definitely Attica, will all have real good teams vying to contend for sectional titles. So, we will have to come out ready to play every night if we want to try and get back to where we were last year. The good news about being Mike Rapone’s son is that I have always been Mike Rapone’s son. There has always been pressure to perform at a high level, from my playing days to my coaching days. One of the things that I always try and tell people when they mention the, “shoes to fill”, is that I am not going to even attempt to fill those shoes. I brought my own shoes with me so to speak. I am not my father, and I will openly admit that! But one thing that is nice about being around this program for all 38 of my years, is that I know nothing but Notre Dame basketball. So, I am just going to try and keep the ship moving in the same direction he started it in 1981.”