All the great work the Skaneateles boys lacrosse did in April was to set the stage for this Saturday night's big showdown against LaFayette.
Christian Brothers Academy nearly tore down the stage Thursday night, though, so the Lakers needed to make a fierce second-half comeback and go to overtime to beat the Brothers 10-9.
Really, the game could be divided into two parts -- and in the first one, the Lakers' vaunted defense got picked apart.
Jared DePalma, Tom Trasolini and David Biegler each took turns scoring twice to lead a deep and aggressive CBA attack. Falling behind 4-1, the Lakers improved a bit in the second period, yet still went to the break staring at a 9-4 deficit.
Challenged in a way it had not been all season, the Skaneateles defense clamped down. Kyle McQuiggan, Lexus Johnson and Lucas Sherman combined to shut down the Brothers, forcing a rash of turnovers and protecting Cal Winkleman (six saves).
Meanwhile, the Lakers carved into its deficit, closing within 9-6 in the third period, then getting three more goals down the stretch, McQuiggan scoring to tie it.
So it went to overtime 9-9, but all the momentum was on the Lakers' side -- and 2:20 into the extra period, Kyle Baier finished off a three-goal hat trick by putting the game-winner past CBA goalie Nate Wadsworth.
Behind Baier, Kelly Donigan and Kyle Castle each had two goals, with Tom Schoener adding a goal and two assists. Dylan Ross also scored, with Patrick Emmer earning a pair of assists.
Before all this, the Lakers went to Jordan-Elbridge last Tuesday and overcame some inconsistent offense to beat the Eagles 9-2.
Much of the game was spent in J-E's end, as Skaneateles constantly probed and looked for good shots. No matter what it tried, though, the Lakers kept shooting the ball right into the stick of Eagles goalie Connor Smart, who piled up 26 saves.
Meanwhile, J-E, whenever it got a chance to attack, slowed down in the face of the Lakers' back line. Winkleman was sharp, too, stopping 13 of the 15 shots he faced.
Baier solved Smart better than his teammates, finishing with three goals, many of them feeds from Emmer, who had four assists, or Donigan, who got three assists.
Mike Richards found the net twice. Paul O'Donnell had a goal and two assists as Ross, Castle and Nathan Hunt each scored, too. Schoener added an assist.