Lakers top Lowville, get to Class B semifinals

More than a week had passed since the Skaneateles boys basketball team had completed its OHSL Liberty division regular-season championship run.

Now the Lakers, as the top seed in the Section III Class B playoffs, were eager to set out on the quest to end an 18-year championship drought - but had to wait an extra day as snow postponed Friday's quarterfinal against no. 9 seed Lowville.

The delay did little to slow Skaneateles down, though, as it emerged Saturday and methodically took the Red Raiders apart, easily prevailing by a score of 63-35.

Lowville, who had ousted no. 8 seed South Jefferson 54-38 in the first round, never gave the Lakers a serious worry as the hosts held them to six points in the opening quarter.

Still, the rust may have showed up on the offensive side, as Skaneateles only led 26-16 going into halftime. But a stern halftime talk from head coach Karl Norris seemed to awaken the attack as Skaneateles outscored the Red Raiders 21-7 in the third quarter to pull clear.

Kevin Rice again provided a major spark, the senior pouring in 18 points. Pat Roberts earned 10 points, while Jimmy Atkinson nailed a trio of 3-pointers to account for all of his nine points. Brandon Barron and Paul O'Donnell each had seven points as James Smith got six points.

The early rounds of the Class B tournament revealed, once again, the strength within the OHSL Liberty division as, just like 2010, all four semifinalists came from the league - Skaneateles, Bishop Grimes, Marcellus and defending state champion Westhill.

In one of those semifinals Tuesday night at Onondaga Community College, Skaneateles will try to beat Grimes, the no. 5 seed, for the third time this season. Led by Mike Stone's 29 points (including all 19 his team got in the third quarter), the Cobras took out Bishop Ludden 55-49 in its quarterfinal - and burns to avenge those regular-season setbacks, especially the 73-42 beating it took at Skaneateles on Feb. 18.

Whoever wins that game would draw Westhill or Marcellus (who play the other semifinal at OCC on Wednesday night) in the Class B title game, to be played Saturday at 4:30 at Utica Memorial Auditorium.

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