Coronations, by design, are planned out well in advance. Everyone knows who will ascend to the throne. The only question is how it's all going to look.
So by that definition, the West Genesee boys lacrosse team's 13-8 victory over Baldwinsville in last Friday's Section III Class A final at Central Square was far from a smooth affair.
Running into a hot goalie in the first half, the Wildcats relied on defensive pressure to go out in front before the offense figured things out long enough to go on a sustained tear early in the third quarter.
And even with that, the Bees fought WG all the way to the end, a fact Wildcat fans recognized by giving the B'ville players a sustained ovation as they ran off the field at the end of the night.
Yet it was the Wildcats that claimed its sixth consecutive sectional championship, even if the process was far from smooth.
"We made a lot of mistakes and errors, and have a lot to clean up," said head coach Mike Messere.
Much of that, said Messere, could be attributed to the intensity the Bees brought in its first championship game since 1994.
Accustomed to building big early leads, WG could not do so in the first half against B'ville, despite its fair share of opportunities. Often, the shots went right into the body of Bees goalie Jordan Marra, who made 11 saves in the first two periods.
"We took some poor shots and made him (Marra) look great," said senior forward Collin Donahue.
On the other hand, the Wildcats' defense swarmed over the field whenever possible, which forced B'ville into a steady stream of turnovers and negating its patient attack strategy. As they had done in their previous meeting April 24, defenders Jered Casey and Chris Aubertine did a solid job of containment on top scoring threats Jack Venditti and Jeremy Boltus.