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Skaneateles boys lax moves into Class C playoffs

If all goes to form, the Skaneateles boys lacrosse team could snag the top state Class C ranking and the Section III Class C title at the same time.

When the newest rankings came out on the eve of the sectional playoffs, the Lakers were no. 2 - and Cazenovia was on top for the first time, largely because it had beaten Skaneateles 17-9 back on May 10.

A week later, at full strength and ready for the post-season, the Lakers had to grind through a tough battle against visiting Westhill in the regular-season finale before beating the Warriors 11-7 in what turned out to be a post-season preview.

Westhill, only trailing 4-3 through one period, slowed the game down the rest of the first half, and kept the margin close at 5-4 as they went to the break.

Tired of this, Skaneateles went on a 4-1 tear through the third period, again led by Kevin Rice and Paul O'Donnell, both of whom managed three-goal hat tricks as Rice added two assists.

Mike Richards and Alex Brownlee closely followed, with two goals apiece, while Brendan Major got the other goal. Austin Webb (two goals) and John Zimmerman (one goal, three assists) led Westhill's effort, though Ryan Higman recorded nine saves.

A day later, the Lakers found out that it had the no. 2 seed for the Class C playoffs - and had to play a first-round contest with no. 15 seed Lowville Friday night as Cazenovia, the no. 1 seed, got a first-round bye.

Without any trouble, Skaneateles ripped the Red Raiders 19-1, getting nine goals in the first period and streaking ahead 14-1 by halftime.

Both Rice, with four goals and five assists, and O'Donnell, with four goals and four assists, piled up the points as Jack Fabrizio got a three-goal hat trick. Richards and Major both had two goals and one assist as Steve Bright, Connor O'Hara, Alex Brownlee and Nate Scuderi also converted.

This sets up Tuesday's Class C quarterfinal - a rematch with Westhill, the no. 7 seed, who eliminated South Jefferson 14-8 in its opening-round contest. The winner will get to Thursday's semifinals, with the title game Saturday at 3 p.m. at Cicero-North Syracuse's Bragman Stadium - the same venue as the June 11 state championship games.

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