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02/11/03 Batavia shuts down Fairport

By Jeff DiVeronica
Democrat and Chronicle

(February 11, 2003) — HENRIETTA — Steve Earl and his Batavia basketball teammates heard the snickers.

“Even kids at our own school have been saying we’ve beaten a bunch of scrub teams, that we haven’t beaten a good team,” the senior guard said.

Expect those doubters to be pretty quiet today at school, Steve.

Batavia beat defensive-minded Fairport at its own game Monday night, holding the offensively challenged Red Raiders to just 10 points in the second half en route to a 58-38 victory in a first-round Monroe County Tournament game at Rush-Henrietta High.

The Blue Devils (18-1), ranked fourth in the Democrat and Chronicle’s large-schools coaches’ poll, play No. 2 Rush-Henrietta (18-1) in Wednesday’s 8 p.m. championship at R-H. No. 3 Fairport (16-3) plays No. 4 Greece Athena (15-4) in the 5:30 p.m. consolation.

 

Batavia’s top scorer, Phillip Santiago (20.4 points per game), scored 10 of his 17 points in the first 12 minutes. But the senior swingman got into a bit of foul trouble and it was Earl, forward Greg Frieday (six points, eight assists) and guard Russell Phillips (eight points) who threw the Blue Devils’ knockout punch. Earl (five steals) scored nine points during a six-minute stretch that upped the lead from 37-32 to 48-38.

DANESE KENON


Fairport’s Adam Wale can’t break through the defense of Mike Chmielowiec, left, and Steve Earl in a first-round Monroe County Tournament game at Rush-Henrietta. Batavia held the Red Raiders to just 10 points in the second half and scored a 58-38 victory.

Earl drained a 3-pointer and scored on three fast-break layups to lead Batavia, a Class BB school, to an impressive win over Class AA Fairport.

“That’s the thing with this team,” said Santiago, who added 10 rebounds. “When somebody is down, the other guys pick him up.”

It was tied at 28 at halftime, as Earl and Santiago each had 10 points and Fairport guard Adam Wale and center Eric Snider had eight apiece. But Fairport made just 5 of 20 shots in the second half and committed 11 turnovers. The Red Raiders didn’t score after Mike Clay’s runner with 61/2 minutes remaining.

“You have to attribute a lot of it to their defense. That’s one of the best defenses we’ve seen,” Raiders coach Scott Fitch said of Batavia’s man-to-man. “I guess they won the slugfest. They pushed us around a little bit and I don’t know if we accepted it, but we got manhandled a little bit.”

The Devils’ defense sometimes resembles a zone because it provides such good help. The 6-foot-7 Snider barely touched the ball after halftime, and Fairport was frigid from long range.

“I thought we needed better ball pressure,” said Batavia coach Buddy Brasky. “If you don’t pressure their guards, it makes it easier for them to (pass) to the post.”

Said Earl: “Maybe this will show people we can beat a good team.”

E-mail address: jdiveron@DemocratandChronicle.com