Even though it is young and still in the process of learning all the finer traits of the game, the Skaneateles boys lacrosse team has mastered the art of seizing control of a game when the stakes are high.
That's what the Lakers did in the second quarter against Westhill in the Section III Class C quarterfinals with four unanswered goals. That what it pulled off again in a stirring fourth-quarter comeback to stun state no. 1-ranked LaFayette in the semifinal round.
And in the pressure cooker of last Wednesday's Class A title game at Coyne Field, Skaneateles once again found the opportune time to put an opponent away -- and in the process, claimed its first sectional championship since 2002.
In this case, it took the form of a third-quarter outburst, sustained and substantial, as six consecutive goals turned a tense, nervous affair with two-time defending champion Christian Brothers into an eventual 11-7 victory.
Senior captain Eric Richards said it was difficult trying to compare this team to the last Laker sectional champs, which went all the way to the state finals six years ago.
"This championship means a lot," he said. "We may not have the (star) players they had (in 2002), but we worked as a team to get here."
Head coach Ron Doctor said that what separated these Lakers from the teams that, in recent years, always seemed to come up short in Class C semifinal or championship games was the players' inner desire to succeed.
"I can't be happier, or prouder of them," he said. "They want to succeed and be good at this game. That's something that's hard to teach. They want to perform."
Just as the Lakers had avenged a regular-season defeat to LaFayette in the semifinals, it wanted to do the same in the championship game.