All of the late-season struggles that the Skaneateles boys lacrosse team faced would get smoothed over with one great performance in the Section III Class C playoffs.
The Lakers, a no. 7 seed (much lower than in seasons past), went up against no. 2 seed Westhill in Saturday’s Class C quarterfinal, and led for large portions of the game – only to surrender that advantage in the last 12 minutes and fall to the Warriors 13-10.
This was, above everything else, a game where timing mattered, never more so than in the waning moments of the third quarter. At that point, Skaneateles led 9-8 on a goal by Owen Kuhns, and it had won the ensuing face-off, giving the Lakers a chance to double its margin and put the Warriors in further trouble.
But the Warriors forced a turnover and frantically drove down the field in the waning seconds. Off a scramble in front of the Lakers' net, Luke Longo scooped up the ball and sent it past Skaneateles goalie Max Smith with just 0.7 seconds on the clock.
That goal did more than tie the game 9-9. It gave Westhill all the momentum going into the final period, and it never gave that momentum back.
Longo scored again 1:35 into the fourth quarter, and the Warriors, up 10-9, got a further boost when the frustrated Lakers started committing penalties in its own end.
With man-up situations, Ryan Suddaby pounced. Already with four goals on the afternoon, Suddaby found the net a fifth time with 8:50 left to make it 11-9.
Though Kuhns cut the margin to one two minutes later, another Skaneateles penalty led to another Suddaby goal with 5:47 to play, and he iced it by scoring for the seventh time with 3:11 left.
It all was a far cry from how the game started. Out to avenge a 6-2 defeat to Westhill nine days earlier, Skaneateles, with far more experience in post-season situations, grabbed a quick 2-0 edge on goals by Tyler Strods and Sam Duggan.