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Pepper tourney brings top lax teams to West Genesee

The 7th annual John Pepper Memorial Lacrosse Tournament took place this Saturday at West Genesee High School, giving top teams and players a major showcase.

The tournament is dedicated to the late John Pepper, a West Genesee lacrosse player who died in a car crash on Aug. 30, 2001. The tournament is also an opportunity for upcoming senior players to showcase their skills to many different colleges.

There were college scouts from an estimated 80 different schools at the tournament, including Penn State, Oneonta State, Army, Le Moyne, Rutgers, Hilbert and St. John Fisher.

"We don't usually scout kids out of state so this tournament is a great opportunity for us (to find talent)" says first year Hilbert scout Matt Schunk.

"This tournament allows us to scout talent from all over as teams come from the Baltimore, Ohio and Atlanta/Charlotte areas, St. John Fisher scout Mark Rice said.

The local teams looked ready to start the season tomorrow, based on their tournament play.

West Genesee's Blue team (older players), 16-4 last spring and winners of a ninth straight Section III Class A championship, looked impressive and well-tuned, as they turned in a fine offensive effort and rarely had to go on defense. The team showed excellent patience on the attack e and capitalized on many well-timed goals.

Liverpool also had an impressive showing during the tournament, looking quick and ready to play. After finishing a game above .500 last year at 10-8, the Warriors should be able to improve their record and positioning.

Fayetteville-Manlius had some minor kinks to work out in the early going (and only 15 players on hand), but looked fluid after their first game and will be tough again in 2011 with everyone on hand.

And the Skaneateles Lakers won some early games but also looked sluggish at times. Even with a lot of talent coming back next spring, it will have a hard time matching their impressive 20-1 record from last year.

The players were all playing hard in trying to impress not only their current coaches, but also the plethora of college scouts attending the highly-touted tournament.

To give all those scouts a full chance to look at the teams, each of the 16 teams played four games, with no standings or elimination contests.

West Genesee had two teams involved, joined by F-M, Skaneateles, Liverpool, Carthage, LaFayette, Watertown IHC, Penn Yan, Penfield, Canandaigua, Webster Thomas, and visiting teams from North Carolina, Georgia, Maine and Michigan.

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