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01/12/07

Tale of Two Towns
by Bill Pucko
photo by Bob Gosney
Published Mar 14, 2007

Tale of Two Towns
Two communities contribute to our Section Five Spotlight this week. Because an important part of Livonia is traveling to Glens Falls for the boys final four. With the Fairport basketball team.

Kyle Downey is a junior at Faiport High School. He's the Raiders most talented basketball player. He has pedigree.

Four years ago, Kyle's father Tom Downey, an 18 year coaching legend in Livonia, died of cancer. An entire community, not just a family, mourned the loss. Kyle was in the seventh grade.

"I kind of look back on it as just a struggle in my life that made me a better person," says Kyle. "I moved on now and I realize that he's not here any more. It's sad but I can't really control it."

It was comforting to see people cared at the time. Says Downey, "There are still people to this day who say your dad would be really proud of you."

Two years ago to be closer to Rochester, the Downey family left Livonia for Fairport. Kyle and coach Scott Fitch, himself a son of a legendary coach Jeff, who still consults at practice, had an immediate rapport.

Says Fitch, "I think it help me relate to Kyle a little more. I've played for my dad. I've been compared with my dad both as a player and a coach. So I kind of know what he's going through in some aspects. Hopefully I can relate and help him through it."

The player-coach partnership has worked where it matters most this week at least. It's mid-March and Fitch, Downey and Fairport for the first time ever, are still playing basketball.

source: http://www.rnews.com/Sports/Story_2004.cfm?ID=47042&rnews_story_type=25