Just to make a return to the Section III Class B finals, the Jamesville-DeWitt boys lacrosse team had to establish its neighborhood supremacy over East Syracuse-Minoa one more time.
But like the previous two meetings this spring, the Red Rams figured out the formula, bolting out of the gate and never letting the Spartans catch up in a 16-13 decision in last Saturday's Class B semifinal at Cicero-North Syracuse's Bragman Stadium.
This advanced the Rams to Wednesday night's Class B final, also at CNS, where it will face Cortland at 7:30. The Purple Tigers ripped Carthage 20-9 in the other semifinal.
ESM vowed that it could solve J-D in a way it couldn't pull off in a pair of regular-season defeats, on April 19 and May 10.
Nothing was solved, though, in the game's early going -- other than the fact that J-D, when left alone on offense, can be extremely potent.
For much of the first 14 minutes of the game, the Rams possessed the ball. More alarmingly for the Spartans, J-D got wide-open looks, too, leading to an elaborate pitch-and-catch game around the net where the ball often found the net.
With Jim Marshall and Mike Edwards at the helm of this machine, J-D went up 5-1 by the end of the first quarter, then scored three times in a span of 90 seconds early in the second period to make it 8-1.
Here, the Rams started to relax -- and all that did was let ESM back into the contest.
Furious at the way it had started, the Spartans reeled off four unanswered goal to erase most of the wide margin, and a new chase got underway.
Every time the Spartans would pull near, to within three or four goals, J-D would come to life and get a goal to make the margin more comfortable. This remained the pattern the rest of the way, with ESM never getting closer than that three-goal winning margin.