BATAVIA — The Genesee County area has been blessed with the quality of basketball which has graced these lands over the past 10-20 years, and perhaps even beyond. More specifically, the level of basketball which is on display in this area each year around the holiday season is consistently the best which Section V has to offer.
With last week’s Batavia Lions Club’s Pete Arras Memorial Tournament featuring several of the top boys basketball teams in the local area, this week’s Batavia Rotary Club Tournament will provide us with a chance to see four teams which have experienced plenty of recent success in Section V girls basketball.
Batavia, Notre Dame, Cal-Mum and Wellsville will all be vying for the 30th Rotary crown this Wednesday, and Friday night at Genesee Community College — all teams who have won at least one Section V Title in the last three years.
The most successful most recently has been Notre Dame, a team which has recorded back-to-back Section V Titles the past two seasons, despite being moved up a classification a season ago. To make matters more difficult for ND this season, Section V has moved them up once again — this time to Class B1 — and the Fighting Irish are looking at another tall hill to climb if they are to go on to win their third-straight sectional championship.
Senior standout Callie McCulley is the leader for the Irish, and after scoring her 1,000th point a few weeks ago, she will be doing whatever she can to bring home her team’s second-straight Rotary Crown in the coming days.
“It’s been a lot of fun over the years,” said McCulley aboiut playing in the Rotary Tournament. “(There’s always) a lot of good competition and I think it gets us ready for sectionals. It’s a good test near the middle of the season.”
McCulley has averaged over 23 points per game this season, which is fifth amongst all players in Section V.
Complimenting McCulley this season has been senior forward Stevie Wilcox, junior guard Morgan Rhodes and eighth-grade guard Amelia McCulley — all of which average under 10 points per game.
Notre Dame will play a 6-1 Wellsville team in the opening round on Wednesday night.
Wellsville is led by senior guard Jana Whitehouse, who averages 12 points per game, along with senior guard Taylor Adams and freshman guard Marley Adams — both of whom average under 10 points per contest.
The Lions will present the Irish with a formidable challenge on Wednesday and last won a Section V Title in 2016. Wellsville has boasted a strong girls basketball program dating back to the 1980s.
The other first round matchup will feature a 5-1 Batavia team going up against 3-4 Cal-Mum.
Batavia won the first Section V title in program history in 2016, while Cal-Mum recently ripped off a string of championships, the last of which came in 2016.
The Blue Devils are probably the best team in this year’s tournament, at least on paper, therefore making the task which is in front of the Red Raiders an extremely difficult one.
However, C-M has certainly had their fair share of recent success, and won’t be an easy out for Batavia on Wednesday night.
The Blue Devils feature recent 1,000-point scorer in senior guard Ryann Stefaniak, who has averaged over 20 points per game this season — good enough for 12th throughout all of Section V.
“This tournament always (brings) good competition,” said Stefaniak. “(There have) always been really good games, even if we dont make the finals. We are going to try (to win it all this year), but we’ll see.”
Batavia also features a solid crop of young talent including junior forward Emma Krolczyk, sophomore guard Bryn Wormley and sohpomore guard Mackenzie Reigle — all of whom average just under 10 points per game.
Cal-Mum will do its best to stay with a high-powered Batavia team on Wednesday, and if they are to do so it will be a combination of senior forward Elyse Van Auken and junior guard Bri Raniewicz leading the way. The two members of the Red Raiders’ duo average 16, and 10 points per game, respectively.
“Usually we’re looking forward to getting on the court at GCC and the sectional-type atmosphere but this year we’re a little nervous,” said Cal-Mum head coach Mike Reed, whose team has been forced to fight through low numbers this year. “We’ll see how it goes.”
The games begin on Wednesday night at Genesee Community College, with Notre Dame vs. Wellsville at 6:00 pm and Batavia vs. Cal-Mum at 7:30 pm.
I’m expecting some solid basketball over the course of the next couple of days, so be sure to stop out to Gensee Community College, or tune in to the Daily News’ coverage of the 30th annual Batavia Rotary Girls Basketball Tournament, including LIVE broadcasts on our Facebook Page.
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