When Buddy Brasky looked out at the Batavia Blue Devils boys basketball he coached this season, Jeff Redband was not on the court.
No Andrew Hoy. No Mike Chmielowiec or any other player like former Batavia standouts who could be described as an all-star level scorer.
“We’ve had go-to guys,” Brasky said. “This team wasn’t like that.”
That was a good thing with these Blue Devils.
While Batavia (16-7) may not be a scoring juggernaut, the Section V power got enough contributions to keep winning, one reason why the Blue Devils are sectional champions again for the first time since 2013.
Four Blue Devils reached double figures in scoring while Batavia topped Wilson 64-57 in the Section V Class A2 Tournament final Sunday inside Blue Cross Arena at the Community War Memorial.
“This is just a great feeling, with the squad we have and all the effort they put in,” Batavia senior forward Malachi Chenault said. “It was about due that Batavia got one again.
“There are a lot of seniors on the team, doing it with them is just a wonderful feeling.”
Chenault, a varsity player for parts of five seasons at Batavia, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after he finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds. T Sean Ayala led Batavia with 17 points, including four 3-pointers, while Jake Schrider added 13 and Ryan Hogan 12, to go along with his seven rebounds.
“The good thing is that if one person is off we’ve got other people to go to and they really step up when it’s time,” Chenault said. “Some people really did tonight, it was just what we needed.
“We got the block (Section V championship trophy).”
The Blue Devils get Pittsford Sutherland, Section V’s Class A1 champion, next.
The two teams with ties to the Monroe County league meet 7 p.m. Wednesday at Gates Chili to determine which one moves on to the state regional round. The winner of that playoff faces the Section VI, or Buffalo-region, Class A champion Saturday at Buffalo State.
“They all really care about each other, that’s what kept us afloat,” Brasky said while talking about a season with ups and downs for the Blue Devils.
This may be the standout of the 11 Batavia boys basketball teams that have advanced to sectional finals in downtown Rochester during the last 18 years.
“When it came to the start of sectionals, we had to turn it on,” Batavia senior guard Ryan Hogan said. “We knew that some seniors had to step up and we did.”
Batavia was the stronger rebounding team during the first half against Wilson (10-13). A 30-12 advantage and three 3-pointers by Ayala were the main reasons the Blue Devils led 28-23 at halftime.
“We struggle scoring, so we can never put a team away,” Brasky said. “We get up six, seven, eight, nine points, even 12, and we have trouble delivering the knockout punch.
“One of our Achilles’ heels has been our turnovers. We had them on the ropes in the first half, then we had unforced turnovers. That’s what we’ve been doing all year. But in the second half, we only had two, and that was key.”
Batavia’s lead grew to 14 points, 49-35, after a 3-pointer by Ayala early in the fourth quarter. Wilson came back to within six, before the Blue Devils extended the advantage to eight again. Wilson junior guard Keavaughn Harris-Hill made one of two free-throw attempts to cut Batavia’s lead to five, 58-53, with 58.9 seconds remaining.
Trevor Sherwood, who had nine points, Schrider and Chenault then helped the Blue Devils make five of its final eight free-throws. The Wilson Wildcats nearly went the last 3:32 without a field goal, before a meaningless layup just before the buzzer.
Batavia 64, Wilson 57
Wilson 17 6 8 26 – 57
Batavia 15 13 12 24 – 64
WILSON: Robert Davis 7, Darius Hartzog 21, Donovan Campbell 16, Earl English 10, Patrick Phillips 2, Keavaughn Harris-Hill 1, Rickey Gamble 0.
BATAVIA: T Sean Ayala 17, Trevor Sherwood 9, Ryan Hogan 12, Malachi Chenault 10, Jake Schrider 13, DJ Spinks 0, Greg Mruczek 1, Nasheem Harris 0, Alex Canty 0, Steve Stefaniak 0 .
3-point goals: Hartzog 3, Campbell 5; Ayala 4, Hogan.
Section V Class A2 All-Tournament Team: Tommy Eastman (Honeoye Falls-Lima), Jeenathan Williams (University Prep), T Sean Ayala (Batavia), Earl English (Wilson), Ryan Hogan (Batavia), Donovan Campbell (Wilson), Most Valuable Player: Malachi Chenault (Batavia).
Team Sportsmanship: Franklin. Tom Downey Coach of the Year Award: Kevin Neenan (Honeoye Falls-Lima). Ted Bondi Memorial Sportsmanship: Trevor Sherwood (Batavia), Patrick Phillips (Wilson).