Jan 10, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Back-to-back runner-up finishes in large-scale tournaments at South Lewis and Port Byron had the Skaneateles wrestling team in a confident mood going back into the OHSL Liberty division fray.
What awaited last Wednesday night, though, was the Lakers’ trip to Phoenix, and the Firebirds would prevail in 11 of 15 bouts, handing Skaneateles a 50-23 defeat.
Even with two state champions (Nick Tighe and Rowdy Prior) who graduated after the 2012-13 season, Phoenix, coached by Gene Mills, is still one of the area’s strongest programs, and its move from the OHSL Freedom division to the Liberty league meant that the Lakers would get a close-up look at them each winter.
Mike Goetzmann did give Skaneateles a victory in the 152-pound opener, pinning Alan Ashby 41 seconds into the second period, but the Firebirds won each of the next four bouts to take control, even though Connor Gray (182 pounds) was tough in a 4-0 defeat to William Hilliard.
Cooper Pitman got the Lakers back on the board at 220 pounds when he pinned Austin Wirth midway through the third period. Two matches later, at 99 pounds, Christian Daley recorded an 18-3 technical fall over Malachi Santiago.
Phoenix won six of the remaining matches, with only Maverick Janes (138 pounds) breaking that spell with his pin over Adam Pinzer with 33 seconds left. Joey Brillo, at 113 pounds, lost, 3-1, to Ross McFarland, with Josh Brillo (132 pounds) taking a 9-7 defeat to Brad Dietz and Andrew Newton (145 pounds) falling to Kyle Demo 6-2.
Just 24 hours later, the Lakers were back home, facing Morrisville-Eaton, and it quickly returned to the win column, pushing its way past the Warriors 42-27 in a thriller that included three overtime bouts and three others decided by two points or less.
That began at 99, where J.W. Simmons lost, 5-3, to Beau Burke, part of a streak where M-E won the first three bouts, including an overtime classic at 112 where Max Collier fell to Tyler Ayers 11-9.
But starting at 120, the Lakers won five in a row. Forfeits to Joey Brillo and Matt Goetzmann preceded a 132-pound match where Josh Brillo, with a single escape, had enough to edge past Rodney Buyea 1-0.
After all the early drama, the Lakers were glad to see Janes pin Alejandro Fuentes in 2:42, but at 146 it turned tense again, Mike Goetzmann pushed to overtime by Josh Farrar before a takedown in the extra frame gave Goetzmann a 6-4 decision and the hosts a 24-12 lead.
Even though Skaneateles would lose the next four bouts, it didn’t hurt them too much, for a pair of reasons. First, Newton (who lost 5-3 to Andrew Bikowski), Francis Lombardi (who took an 11-9 overtime defeat to Nick Christman at 152 pounds) and Pat Greenfield (who fell to Brett Lewis 5-0 at 160 pounds) went six minutes or beyond, denying M-E the full points it needed.
More importantly, the Lakers, trailing 27-24, knew that the Warriors had to forfeit matches at 195 and 220 to Gray and Joey McIntyre, giving them the points it needed to clinch the meet before Pitman closed it out with a third-period pin over Connor Cleveland.
This improved the Lakers’ mark to 12-3 for the season, as it readies to visit neighbor and rival Marcellus this Thursday night and go to Cato-Meridian on Jan. 23.
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