Aug 04, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
In what was a busy and exciting weekend for local high school lacrosse, Jamesville-DeWitt and Fayetteville-Manlius had a memorable showdown during the final game of last Saturday’s Wildcat Invitational at West Genesee High School.
Each year, as part of the John Pepper Memorial Tournament weekend, 16 teams, representing the Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo areas, plus North Carolina and Georgia, gather for four games apiece in front of more than 90 coaches from dozens of college programs.
This was one of the first times J-D was on the field since dropping last June’s state Class B final to Garden City, not long after F-M was denied again in an overtime defeat to West Genesee in the Section III Class A title game.
Placed in the same division and time brackets, J-D and F-M would both open with three consecutive victories. The Red Rams started the morning with a 10-5 win over Canandaigua, while the Hornets, in a defensive struggle with Baldwinsville, prevailed 6-3.
Two hours later, J-D survived a close call with Webster Thomas, from the Rochester area, 8-7, but F-M had an easier time in its own game with Canandaigua, winning 9-5. Then, in the first afternoon game, J-D got past B’ville 10-6 and F-M, by that same four-goal margin, defeated Carthage 11-7.
This all led to the final showdown. For a pair of 23-minute halves, J-D and F-M went back and forth, the two defenses unable to stop each other. Finally, the Red Rams moved out in front and held on for an 11-10 victory.
Had they tied, F-M and J-D would have shared runner-up honors with West Genesee’s JV team, who went 3-0-1, topping even the varsity Wildcats. Instead, the Red Rams and Timon/St. Jude, from Buffalo (who outscored its four opponents by a combined 47-16 margin), shared the best 4-0 marks of the day.
As this went on, East Syracuse-Minoa’s Dan Lewis was part of the Central regional team that, from Thursday to Sunday, competed in the Empire State Cup at Onondaga Community College.
Started in 2012, the Empire State Cup was designed to provide a tournament similar to that seen in the Empire State Games, which last took place in 2010. So Central, Western, Hudson Valley, Adirondack, Long Island and New York City squads came to OCC, with New York City the defending champions from the inaugural event.
Starting fast, Central beat Adirondack 13-1 on Thursday morning as Cazenovia state championship hero Ryan Cook gathered up three goals and one assist. Later that day, with Cook improving his total to four goals and two assists, Central won again, 14-7, over Hudson Valley,using a 7-2 run early in the second half to break the game open as Mann contributed key face-off wins.
Things began to turn on Friday. Central scored all 10 of its goals in the first half against Western, Cook getting half of them. But a second-half shutout forced Central to hang on for a 10-9 victory, an ominous sign of second-half struggles ahead.
Sure enough, in the fourth game Central took its first loss, 8-3, to Long Island, again unable to find the net in the second half after only trailing 4-3 at the break. Then Central had a 4-1 halftime lead against New York City, but again went into a second-half slump and lost, 6-5, costing it a chance to improve its position for Saturday’s playoff round.
Earning a semifinal spot, Central got a second victory over Adirondack, 10-4. Here, Cook served as a distributor, dishing out four assists to go with his lone goal.
In the semifinals, though, Central dropped a 10-6 decision to Long Island. This time around, a slow start, not a poor finish, doomed Central as it fell behind 8-2 halftime and could not make it all up, despite Cook contributing four goals to give him 12 for the tournament, tops among all individuals.