Cicero Mostly thanks to the dazzling offensive contributions of Ryan Cook, the "Redemption Tour" that the Cazenovia boys lacrosse team set out on at the start of the Section III Class C playoffs has reached a successful conclusion.
The Lakers defeated top seed LaFayette 15-9 in Saturday's Class C final at Cicero-North Syracuse's Bragman Stadium to claim its second sectional championship in three years on the same field where it fell to Homer in last spring's title game.
And Cook, by himself, outscored the Lancers with a single-game career-best total of 10 goals, constantly eluding LaFayette's defenders and finding the net any time his team appeared to be in trouble.
All through this season, Cazenovia's opponents have faced a simple dilemma - namely, trying to contain the Lakers' vaunted offensive senior tandem of Cook and Connor Cannizzaro.
Whatever plan an opponent on the sectional playoff "Redemption Tour" has chosen has backfired. In the quarterfinals against Homer (whom Cazenovia lost to in last year's sectional final), the Trojans focused on Cannizzaro, and Cook responded with seven goals and three assists in a 17-5 win.
Then, in the semifinals against Westhill (who beat the Lakers 9-8 in overtime early in May), the Warriors managed to keep Cook quiet - but Cannizzaro still burned them for six goals and the Lakers prevailed 10-6.
Now, against LaFayette, the only other team to beat Cazenovia this season (12-11 on April 26), the Lakers quickly found out that the Lancers were intent on limiting Cannizzaro's touches, especially after he flicked in a one-handed goal 1:32 into the game to open the scoring.
Cook broke a 1-1 tie and struck for the first time when he deflected in Henry Mann's pass late in the opening period, and he got the second goal on a nifty shot fake two minutes later.