News  > Boys Varsity




Monroe County boys basketball preview capsules

Tom Batzold
Sports Editor

(December 1, 2006) Division I

Brockport Blue Devils

Coach: Charlie Hage (18th year, 174-185).

Last year: 6-13.

2006-07 classification: Class AA.

Returning starters: (2) Joel Blocker (6-7 jr. C); Jake Russell (6-3 sr. F).

Probable starting lineup: Blocker, Russell, Adam Werner (6-0 sr. G), Brandon Brechue (6-5 sr. F), Ryan Hage (5-11 jr. PG).

Outlook: If the powerful Blocker (6.3 ppg.) plays as well as he has in preseason, Brockport could make a run in Class AA.

"Blocker's the real McCoy," Hage says. "He's so big. If he can play with this kind of intensity and stay on the floor, we can do a lot of things."

Russell, an outstanding shooter, (14.4 ppg.) and the athletic Werner will be on the wings; 6-4 Kevin Quinn and 6-4 Nick Manuel add size; and Ryan Hage, the coach's son, will run the point.

"We've got size ... some quickness ... some shooting," Hage says. "It's a great group to work with."

Churchville-Chili Saints

Coach: Sean Jessup (4th year, 20-59).

Last year: 6-14.

2006-07 classification: Class AAA.

Returning starters: (3) Averin Collier (5-10 jr, G); Bob Moffet (5-11 sr. G); Nate Boland (6-2 jr. F).

Probable starters: Collier, Moffet, Boland, Tony Kuzmanowski (5-11 sr. G), Nate Campanis (5-10 jr. G)

Outlook: Collier, the top football prospect in Section V, is also among the best hoopsters in the county, averaging 14.4 points as a sophomore.

"He's pretty dynamic," Jessup says. "I'd describe him as relentless. He hates to lose in anything. His competitive attitude is infectious."

Steve Hughson, a 6-2 senior who did not play as a junior, returns to help Boland and Collier on the boards. Moffett, Kuzmanowski and Campanis all got plenty of time last year.

Fairport Red Raiders

Coach: Scott Fitch (5th year, 92-18).

Last year: 21-2 (Section V Class AAA champions, lost to Niagara Falls in state quarterfinals).

2006-07 classification: Class AAA.

Returning starters: (1) Mark Bruce (6-1 sr. G).

Probable starting lineup: Bruce, Kyle Downey (6-1 jr. G), Brian Gebhardt (5-11 sr. G), Kevin Borden (6-4 sr. F), Tyler Launer (6-7 sr. C).

Outlook: Fairport loses four starters, including All-Greater Rochester Player of the Year Corey McAdam (17.1 ppg.) and two-time AGR forward Cory Magee (15.9) from a team that lost only to powerhouse Niagara Falls.

"We still have high expectations," Fitch says. "We could take some lumps early while the new guys are getting experience."


staff photographer
Fairport's Kyle Downey, a 6-foot-1 junior guard, grew about three inches in the offseason and will be the target of many opposing defenses. The Red Raiders are the Section V Class AAA champions and lost in the state quarterfinals.

Downey, the super sixth man who had a monster postseason, grew about three inches in the offseason and still has the smoothest shooting stroke in Section V. But he'll be the focus of every opposing defense this time around.

Bruce and Gebhardt are solid guards while Borden and Launer earn starting jobs after backing up Magee and Kelly Condello (10.8 ppg.) last winter.

Gates Chili Spartans

Coach: Todd Esposito (4th year, 29-30).

Last year: 11-9 (lost to Fairport in Section V quarterfinals).

2006-07 classification: Class AAA.

Returning starters: (2) Jeremy Washington (6-6 sr. C); Chad Dillard (6-6 soph. F).

Probable starting lineup: Washington, Dillard, Brian Cunliffe (5-8 sr. PG), Donovan Miller (5-9 jr. G), Corey Wooten, 5-10 jr. G-F).

Outlook: Few teams have a 1-2 combo to match Washington (11.4 ppg) and Dillard inside. Especially now that super sophomore Dillard really enjoys going inside.

"Football really helped him," Espositio says. "Now he likes getting physical. He realizes he can get some easy baskets by going in there."

Gates Chili will try to press and run with leading JV scorers Miller and Wooten joining Cunliffe on the perimeter and Will Jones adding a spark off the bench. The team chemistry looks good so far.

"My first couple of years here we had kids who were more interested in who was scoring the points," Espositio says. "Now I think we've got kids who are more interested in winning."

Penfield Patriots

Coach: Jeff Rogers (3rd year, 9-29).

Last year: 6-13.

2006-07 classification: Class AAA.

Returning starters: (3) Ellis Walsh (6-5 sr. C); Lorenzo Holmes (6-0 sr. G); Mike Perrone (6-1 sr. F).

Probable starters: Walsh, Holmes, Perrone, Brian Bezek (6-0 jr. F), Steve Sondricker (5-11 sr. PG).

Outlook: Inexperience is no longer an excuse for Penfield: Holmes is a four-year starter, Perrone a three-year starter and Walsh is back at center after some very impressive performances in the AAU season.

"If Ellis is consistent, he'll be one of the best big men in the county," Rogers says. "We're going to try to play an up-tempo game if we can rebound the way we're capable."

The Patriots have a deeper bench with quick sophomore Jansen Jones, shooter Chris Bates and 6-4, 250-pound football star Quinten Anderson capable of stepping in.

Rush-Henrietta Royal Comets

Coach: Chris Reed (15th year, 7th at R-H, 203-101).

Last year: 17-4 (lost to Fairport in Section V finals).

2006-07 classification: Class AAA.

Returning starters: (2) Ozel Franklin (6-2 sr. G); Ricky Reed (5-8 sr. PG).

Probable starters: Franklin, Reed, Dane Miller (6-7 soph. C), Lester Connor (6-3 sr. G), Darren Parker (6-2 sr. F) or Dezrick Brooks (6-2 soph. F).

Outlook: The Royal Comets replace four-time All-Greater Rochester star Calvin Betts with 6-7 super sophomore Miller, who is already attracting interest from major college recruiters.

The R-H backcourt is one of the best in Section V with the slashing Franklin (12 ppg) teaming with the smooth Reed, who is deceptively strong and rarely makes a bad decision.

Connor, Parker and Brooks are all athletic, with several others just waiting for a chance off the bench.

"I'm excited about the team's potential," coach Reed says. "but we've got some key guys who haven't done it at the varsity level yet."

Webster Schroeder Warriors

Coach: Matt Spadoni (5th year, 20-59).

Last year: 10-9.

2006-07 classification: Class AA.

Returning starters: (1) Brian Szczepanski (6-10 sr. C).

Probable starters: Szczepanski, Tim Winslow (6-4 sr. PF), Corey Dennis (6-1 sr. G-F), Matt Levinson (5-10 sr. PG), Shawn Robinson (5-10 sr. F).

Outlook: The Warriors will build around the 6-10 Szczepanki, who has accepted a full Division I scholarship to Wagner.

"He's improved a ton," Spadoni says. "He came in at 285 last year; now he's 255, with the ability to run better and face the basket a little bit. Most of all, his confidence is way up."

Spadoni also thinks the supporting cast is much-improved, too. "We've got a pretty cerebral team," the coach says.

Division II

Greece Arcadia Titans

Coach: Roger Klimek (22nd year, 10th at Arcadia, 101-113).

Last year: 6-12 (lost in first round of sectionals).

2006-07 classification: Class AA.

Returning starters: (2) Golden Miller (5-10 sr. PG); Dave Woodhams (6-3 sr. F).

Probable starting lineup: Miller, Woodhams, Chris Toscano (5-10 sr. G), Mike Clark (6-4 jr. F), Ed Pleszewicz (6-0 jr. G) or Chris O'Connor (5-10 sr. G).

Outlook: After winning back-to-back Section V titles, Arcadia fell back to the pack last season. Then things got worse when Lymel Swinton moved to South Carolina and Kevin Latone suffered an ACL injury.

"Swinton could have been one of the best big men in the county," Klimek says. "We're going to be very inexperienced."

With an eye to the future Klimex expects two sophomores Joe Nicolosi and his son Ryan Klimek to get plenty of playing time along with junior Corey Baker.

Greece Athena Trojans

Coach: Jim Johnson 11th season at Athena (249-175).

Last year: 16-6 (won Section V Class AA title; lost to Fairport in state qualifier).

2006-07 classification: Class AA.

Returning starters: (2) Kyle Boline (6-2 sr. F); Matt Davies (6-2 sr. F).

Probable starting lineup: Boline, Davies, Brian Benson (6-7 jr. C), Kourtney Goff (5-10 jr. G), Terrance McCutcheon (6-1 sr. G).

Outlook: Despite losing All-Greater Rochester stars LaVar Goff and Rickey Wallace, clutch guard Steve Kerr and super manager Jason McElwain from a magical season, many believe Athena still has the talent to make a run at another division and Section V title. The 6-7 Benson is a big reason why.

"I think if he can put on some weight and add strength, he can be a Division I player," Johnson says. "He can run and jump and he has great hands."

One of Johnson's biggest problems could be finding the right combination. Athena has a very deep and talented team that includes guards Rob Zappia and Mike Palermo and 6-5 sophomore R.J. Kalb.

Greece Olympia Spartans

Coach: Steve DeRoy (11th season, 103-91).

Last year: 6-14.

2006-07 classification: Class AA.

Returning starters: (2) Adam McMurty (6-3 sr. F); Tim Knight (6-1 sr. F).

Probable starting lineup: McMurty, Knight, Joe Scumaci (5-10 sr. PG), Josh Menges (5-11 sr. G), Eric Erbelding (6-1 sr. F) or Greg Gagie (6-3 sr. F)

Outlook: DeRoy is realistic: His Spartans will have to work very hard to be competitive in Division II.

"I like our kids," he says. "But sometimes I wonder who's going to score for us."

McMurty, who averaged 11 points down the stretch as a junior, could lead the way. So could Knight, an All-Greater Rochester soccer player who's not lacking for confidence.

Hilton Cadets

Coach: Troy Prince (third year, 15-26).

Last year: 11-9 (lost to Canandaigua in Class AA quarterfinals).

2006-07 classification: Class AA.

Returning starters: (4) Mike Fowler (5-11 sr. G); Shane Galatio (6-1 sr. G); Cal Palumbo (6-4 sr. C); Kenny Henry (6-3 jr. F).

Probable starting lineup: Fowler, Galatio, Palumbo, Henry, Joe Hutton (5-7 sr. PG).

Outlook: With four starters back and three starting for a third year Hilton hopes to make a run at the division title and its first Section V title since 1961.

"These are unchartered waters for us," Prince says. "But we feel like we've paid our dues the last couple of years."

The good news is that Galatio (14.1 ppg.) appears to have no ill effects from an offseason knee injury. Galatio and Fowler (13.1 ppg.) form a terrific 1-2 scoring punch, but Prince is also looking for more scoring up front from volleyball star Palumbo and Henry, who could have a breakout season.

Irondequoit Eagles

Coach: Chris Cardon (21st year, 251-177).

Last year: 17-4 (lost to Greece Athena in Section V Class AA finals).

2006-07 classification: Class AA.

Returning starters: None.

Probable starters: Scott Batzold (6-2 sr. G), Nwana Okafor (6-0 sr. F), Dominique Brown (6-3 jr. F), Brian Lomb (6-0 sr. F) or Chuck Jackson (5-8 sr. G), Kyle Soppe (5-11 jr. PG) or Tyler Orsini (5-8 jr. PG).

Outlook: This is the most inexperienced team in Cardon's 21-year coaching career. The Eagles lost five senior starters, led by AGR guard Corey Humphries, from a team that came within one basket of the school's first sectional title since 1945.

Batzold, last year's sixth man and an excellent shooter, will be the Eagles' top scoring threat while Okafor and newcomer Brown will have to keep opponents honest on the boards. Lomb and Jackson have waited for their shot but the key could be how well Soppe and Orsini take care of the ball.

"I really like these guys," Cardon says. "By time it's all said and done, I think we'll be pretty competitive."

Spencerport Rangers

Coach: Josh Harter (fourth year, 11-46).

Last year: 3-16.

2006-07 classification: Class AAA.

Returning starters: (2) Doug Potter (5-9 jr. PG); Ben Oberlin (6-6 jr. C).

Probable starting lineup: Oberlin, Jeff Konko (6-2 sr. F), Jarryl Carley (6-2 soph. F), Quinton Brunson (5-11 jr. G), Taylor DiGuardi (5-9 fresh. PG).

Outlook: The Rangers suffered a devastating blow when point guard Doug Potter the team's heart and soul needed surgery to correct a rare knee defect. He could be back in January if everything works out OK.

"Doug is as valuable to us as any player is in the county," Harter says.

In the meantime, the improving Oberlin will have to carry the scoring load while the freshman DiGuardi will try to hold the fort at the point.

Webster Thomas Titans

Coach: Bill O'Rourke (29th year, 396-201).

Last year: 12-7 (lost to McQuaid in first round of Class AA tournament).

2006-07 classification: Class AA

Returning starters: (2) Kyle Coulon (6-4 sr. F); Greg Schraf (5-9 sr. PG).

Probable starting lineup: Coulon, Schraf, Dan Teerlinck, 5-11 sr. G), Ryan McGrath (6-2 sr. F), Kevin Catino (5-10 sr. G) or Matt Schuber (5-11 jr. F).

Outlook: Rourke, who needs four victories to reach 400, will build his latest team around Coulon, a hard-working senior who can run all day.

"He's exceptional," Rourke says. "But we also know teams are going to key on him. We have to come with a Plan B."

No one is betting against O'Rourke. Schraf and Teerlinck should be typical Webster guards. McGrath, Schuber and 6-2, 230-pound Kevin Episcopo will have to get it done on the boards.

Division III

Batavia Blue Devils

Coach: Buddy Brasky (17th year, 213-133).

Last year: 16-3 (lost to Newark in Class A semifinals).

2006-07 classification: Class A.

Returning starters: (3) Justin Williams (6-2 sr. F); Adam Brasky (6-2 sr. PG); Chris Page (6-6 sr. C).

Probable starting lineup: Williams, Brasky, Page, T.J. Henderson (6-2 sr. F), Mike Hoy (6-2 jr. G).

Outlook: The Blue Devils will be gunning for their fifth consecutive Division III title and hope to be in the hunt for the Section V Class A title, which they won two years ago.

"I think they are attainable goals," Brasky says. "Class A is loaded but we hope to be there at the end. But right now, we're still a work in progress."

Brasky has the luxury of bringing 6-6 Brian Anderson off the bench or possibly playing alongside Page. Williams, a four-year starter, is one of Section V's best finishers while Brasky and Hoy can shoot it. Henderson keeps Batavia's defensive intensity at a high level.

Brighton Barons

Coach: Dave Connolly (ninth year, 70-97).

Last year: 12-8.

2006-07 classification: Class A.

Returning starters: (2) Brad Cronister (6-1 sr. G); Connor Dever (6-3 sr. F).

Probable starting lineup: Cronister, Dever, Danny Holtzman (5-11 sr. G), Joe Reed (6-2 sr. G-F), Brandon Burris (6-3 sr. F).

Outlook: After losing seven of his top eight players, Connolly admits "every game will be a challenge for us."

The Barons' backcourt looks solid with Cronister at the point and Holtzman at the 2-guard. Reed and Burris didn't get many minutes as juniors but had their moments in the summer leagues.

East Irondequoit Eastridge Lancers

Coach: Junior Kemp (first season).

Last year: 3-15.

2006-07 classification: Class A.

Returning starters: (3) Stefan Carbonell (6-3 sr. F); Sean Carbonell (6-3 soph. G); Andrew Pakan (6-3 sr. C).

Probable starters: Stefan Carbonell, Pakan, Wayne Washington (6-0 jr. G), Roland Watson (6-0 jr. G), Chauncey Washington (5-9 sr. G).

Outlook: New coach Junior Kemp has created a lot of excitement at Eastridge. His resume includes a state title in 1989 as a player at Lyons.

"Everything I'm bringing here is similar to what we did at Lyons," he admits. "We're going to want to run and press and create some easy baskets."

Stefan Carbonell averaged 15 points and earned All-County honors as a junior. In a perfect world, however, Kemp hopes to play as many as nine or 10 players in a helter-skelter lineup.

Greece Odyssey Leopards

Coach: Chris Cleveland (fifth year, 28-54).

Last year: 7-13.

2006-07 classification: Class B.

Returning starters: (1) Ben Smith (5-8 sr. G).

Probable starting lineup: Smith; Justin Cummings (6-0 sr. G), Jordy Smola (6-0 jr. G), Christian Mallett (6-2 sr. F), Kenny Geer (6-6 jr. C).

Outlook: The Leopards should be able to hold their own on the boards with the 6-6 Geer joined by the 6-2 Mallett and 6-5 shot blocker Tim Sierger on the front line.

"I think we'll be more balanced," Cleveland says. "We were just so perimeter-oriented the last few years."

Smith, a three-year varsity player, and Smola, a late-season callup, anchor the backcourt.

Pittsford Mendon Vikings

Coach: Rich Copeland (first year).

Last year: 6-13.

2006-07 classification: Class A.

Returning starters: (3) Chris Skipper (6-1 sr. PG); Yanni Apostolakos (6-4 sr. F); Skip Schwartz (6-1 jr. G).

Probable starting lineup: Skipper, Apostolakos, Schwartz, Rob Shalvoy (5-11 sr. G), Terrance McCorvey (6-2 sr. F).

Outlook: Former Sutherland JV coach Rich Copeland takes over as Mendon varsity coach, but he was already familiar with many of the Vikings from district summer camps.

Copeland can build around three-year starters Skipper and Apostolakos. McCorvey joins the lineup after missing his junior year with injuries.

There will be a transition as Copeland switches to a man-to-man defense and motion offense.

Pittsford Sutherland Knights

Coach: John Nally (sixth year, 84-41).

Last year: 15-5.

2006-07 classification: Class A.

Returning starters: (1) Jason Corletta (6-2 jr. G).

Probable starting lineup: Corletta, Pat O'Keefe (6-1 soph. G), Scott Possee (5-9 sr. G), Eric Wallace (6-5 sr. F), Jamie Eggleston (6-4 jr. F).

Outlook: The Knights are in rebuilding mode after losing four veterans, including four-year starter Brennan Reif, who was the leading scorer (17.1 ppg.) in Division III. Corletta, who averaged just under eight points as a sophomore, will be counted on to lead the way.

The inexperienced O'Keefe takes over at the point with Corletta and Possee both good shooters on the wings. Wallace, Eggleston and 6-4 Dan Collins give Sutherland decent size.

"This is the biggest we've been up front in a few years," Nally says. "But we're still very inexperienced. It's going to take some time."




Tom Batzold

Wayne County

East Rochester Bombers

Coach: Mark Michele, 10th season.

Last year: 19-4, lost to Campbell-Savona in Class CCC final.

'06-'07 classification: CCC.

Returning starters: (2) Sean Michele (5-10 jr. G), Anthony Danizio (5-7 jr. G).

Probable starters: Nate Koch (6-3 165 sr. G/F), Logan Scalise (6-3 jr. C), Michele, Danizio, fifth starter TBA.

Outlook: ER's success this season will again depend on the play of its backcourt. Sean Michele, son of coach Mark, returns to run the point after averaging 10 points and five assists last season. Michele is a more of an "old school" point guard who looks to create for others first.

Nate Koch will be replacing graduated older brother Jordan, who averaged 13 points and 9 rebounds.

Scalise was MVP of the JV team and is showing solid rebounding and should provide some inside scoring.

Coach Michele feels a big advantage is the ability to win both high and low scoring games. "We've scored some games in the 90s and some games in the 50s and 60s. Our ability to change tempos is a real strength."

Chris Vito