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Lakers handle HP in Class B playoff opener

Skaneateles avenges December defeat to Golden Knights

— For the Skaneateles boys basketball team, a deep run in the Section III Class B playoffs will require at least two instances of atonement for regular-season defeats.

First, the Lakers, with the no. 6 seed, hosted no. 11 seed Holland Patent in Tuesday night’s opening round. Remembering what had happened the other time it played the Golden Knights, Skaneateles picked up the pace – and poured in on, prevailing this time by a score of 74-53.

That first meeting, on Dec. 27 in the Marcellus Holiday Tournament, saw the Lakers squander a double-digit lead in the second half and fall to HP 46-45.

The high-stakes sequel had Skaneateles repeat its earlier feat, bolting ahead 23-10 by the end of the first quarter as full-court pressure led to Golden Knights turnovers and baskets on the other end.

Still ahead by that same margin (39-27) at the half, the Lakers this time avoided any kind of letdown, outscoring HP 18-10 in the third period to get away.

Offensively, the Lakers were as well-balanced as it had been all season. Brandon Barron led with 17 points, while Ryan McQuiggan dominated in the paint with 14 rebounds to go with his 12 points. Jimmy Atkinson managed 14 points and Ben Eppolito matched McQuiggan with 12 points.

HP’s strong pair of forwards, Nick Roberts (21 points) and Nate Palmer (20 points), still had strong outings, but otherwise the Golden Knights had just four field goals, three of them from Matt Curtis, who finished with eight points.

Now the Lakers meet no. 3 Bishop Grimes in Friday night's Class B quarterfinal at 7 p.m.

The Cobras ripped past Skaneateles 66-48 in their lone regular-season encounter on Jan. 17 and crushed Mount Markham 82-28 in the opening round of the playoffs. The Lakers want payback, and a win would get them into the semifinals against General Brown or Vernon-Verona-Sherrill.

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