BATAVIA – If you wanted to hear some wonderful high school basketball stories, you certainly could’ve found them Saturday at Batavia’s 20th Annual Night of Hoops.
That’s mainly because plenty of Batavia alumni and fans were in attendance for a renaming of the annual event to “The Jim & Sylvia Roberts Night of Hoops,” after Jim Roberts, the Bulldogs' longtime former coach, and his wife.
“This has been really nice,” said Sylvia Roberts, who has been by her husband's side during his 27 years at Batavia. “I didn’t know exactly what to expect but was happy to hear and see so many people.”
Denny Graves, a 1967 graduate, made it a priority to attend the event, which preceded Batavia's 59-47 loss to De La Salle.
“Me and Jimmy go way back,” Graves said. “He always did things the right way and that’s why there’s so many people back tonight to see him.”
Former Batavia athletic director Mike Gaspari emceed the event, noting Roberts’ commitment to Bulldogs basketball and explaining what he believes “Night of Hoops” is all about.
Unfortunately, De La Salle put a damper on the celebration, pulling away in the second half.
“We kind of sputtered in the third quarter and it kind of snowballed from there,” Batavia coach Jim Nazos said. “But they’re a great team and it’s not just [Alvin] Ellis. They’ve got two guys down in the post and do a good job on the boards.”
Batavia (9-12) relied on 3 pointers to stay within striking distance throughout the opening half. The Bulldogs scored 15 points via the trey to only trail 27-21 at halftime.
De La Salle opened the third quarter on a 7-0 run, which included a 3 from Martez Cameron with 6:15 remaining to extend its lead to 34-21. The Meteors (14-6) would lead by as many as 20 points in the second half and the Bulldogs were unable to pull within single digits for the remainder of the game.
Micah Coffey led the Bulldogs with 11 points, Zach Strittmatter had 10 and Jake Pollack added eight.
Despite coming up short, Nazos didn’t lose sight of the momentous occasion.
“This is a great experience for the kids to look forward to each year,” he said. “Tonight, with honoring Coach Roberts, made it extra special.”
Sophomore Brandon Hutton led three Meteors in double figures with 16 points.