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Lyons Girls Basketball program visits the University at Buffalo

DECEMBER 21, 2022 — On Saturday December 10th, the Lyons Girls Basketball program had the fortunate opportunity to travel to Buffalo and experience a Division 1 women’s basketball game. While the game alone would have been an experience for the team, Coach Betts and Coach McCormick had a few other things in mind. The coaches, both alumni of the University at Buffalo, were able to make some calls and set up an opportunity for the players to tour the campus and the athletic facilities, a privilege many non-athletes are not granted at the University. 

"We wanted to show the girls what their hard work could earn them one day," said Coach McCormick, "whether on the basketball court or in the classroom, Coach Betts and I truly believe these girls are capable of great things."

Included on their tour of the academic campus were the opportunities to see lecture halls, classrooms, and libraries. One of the players remarked they had only seen lecture halls like these "in the movies." The girls were able to stop and talk to some current engineering students who were prepping for their upcoming finals. The engineering students advised the team that college is what you make of it and, through hard work, achievement is possible. 

Once the team had finished touring through some of the academic parts of the campus, they made their way over to UB’s Alumni Arena, home to many of the University's sixteen Division 1 programs. The team arrived and, after taking a picture with the University's mascot Victor E. Bull, met with head of UB Compliance, Kelly Cruttenden, who showed them the inner workings of a top-tier athletic program. 

Cruttenden showed the girls behind-the-scenes study areas for athletes, stressing the importance of education while in season for their sports. Coach Betts, a former Division 1 basketball player at the University, shared stories with the girls about his time studying and receiving tutoring sessions. He stressed the importance of handling your obligations in the classroom first, as athletics would not be possible without the proper educational foundation. 

Once the team finished touring the arena, they made their way across the street to see the newly built Murchie Field House. This indoor facility is a private field house only used by University athletes. Cruttenden remarked that usually “NARPs” or “Non-Athlete Regular People” do not have the opportunity to see the inside the field house, as they intend to keep it a special facility for their athletes only. The team was able to walk around and experience the facility and see what their hard work in the weight room and on the court could obtain. 

After the tour was over, the girls took their seats and watched as the UB Bulls women's basketball team took on the Long Island University Sharks. The Bulls got off running quickly and never slowed down as they won the contest 91-58. The Lady Lions watched with intrigue as they were able to see all aspects of the game played at an elite level. Some of the players stated they had new "idols" and favorite players after watching the game. After the game, first-year Buffalo head Coach Becky Burke stopped over to shake all of the Lyons players' hands and thanked them for coming out and supporting the team. 

After a long day of touring and exploring the campus and athletic facilities, the buses were loaded and the drive back to Lyons commenced. The students' experience was one in which both Coach Betts and McCormick hope will show the girls what they can be, and the hard work it will take to get there.

The Lyons Girls Basketball JV and Varsity teams next play away against Clyde-Savannah on Wednesday, January 4th, at Clyde-Savannah High School at 5:30PM and 7:00PM, respectively.

Thank you to Coach McCormick for contributing this story!