The Blackwell Blog

Stick check

It's been a while since I've written a blog entry - a full month, to be precise.

Too much time spent watching consequential basketball games, and even a few that weren't. Too little time spent with family at Easter. A fair amount of time working, and then working, and then working some more for sheer variety, even on the weekends.

In that time, (1) SU men's basketball got back to the final four, (2) SU women's basketball got back to the NCAA's, but no further, (3) baseball started, (4) NBA and NHL continued, (5) Louisville won it all, (6) so did UConn with Breanna Stewart in the starring role, (7) the Adam Scott-won Masters was rather interesting....and likely Taylor Swift met and broke up with at least four boyfriends.

Okay, the last part isn't true (I think), and I wish the part about a mad person setting off two bombs near the finish line of the wonderful Boston Marathon, on Patriot's Day, wasn't true either. Keep all of the families of victims in your thoughts and prayers, and stand strong with Boston. They'll get through this and emerge stronger.

Yes, and a spring sports season started around here. Really.

There's been a rumor of spring - a warm day here, a sunny day there - but most of the last few weeks were cold, or wet, or both. And that's caused the obligatory havoc with schedules of baseball, softball, tennis, golf, track....even lacrosse has seen postponements.

Still, it's the boys and girls with sticks that have enjoyed the most on-field activity, and enough of it has taken place (some teams have played half nearly half their 16 regular-season games) to take stock and see where we're headed.

Remember Class A boys, the world where you could just about mark down a West Genesee title before a single face-off? Not anymore, and not just because Liverpool dethroned the Wildcats a season ago.

The Warriors, who had to replace most of its offensive production, has not reached 10 goals in a game yet, and while it still beat WG again, it also has taken a pair of frustrating one-goal losses at home to Baldwinsville and Auburn, each of them games where they had second-half leads. An omen?

As for Mike Messere's charges...WG already has three losses, part of a very tough April slate that includes Saturday's visit from J-D. Even with guys like Ted Glesener and Dan Ginestro, these Wildcats do not scare the way past teams did.

That leaves F-M as the current favorites. From the firepower of Kevin Lux and the Arnold brothers to the all-around play of Dan Cahill and the defense from the Pulver brothers, Chris Kenneally seems to have all the pieces in places. That was said before, though, and the Hornets have gone 20 years without a championship. So seeing is believing.

Class B is easier to explain. There's this J-D side that's frightening on the attack thanks to Jordan Evans, a defiant north country challenger in Carthage who hasn't allowed more than four goals in any game this season....and then the Grand Canyon, or some other deep and wide chasm, to the rest of the field. Case in point - Cortland was 5-0, and then lost to J-D by a modest 24-4 margin.

In Class C, the list of contenders is long. Homer, the reigning champs, plays up in Class B for the regular season and is 3-3, but all the losses have been tight ones, so don't worry yet.

The two Lakers, Cazenovia and Skaneateles, are in good working order, Caz still undefeated behind returning Player of the Year Connor Cannizzaro and Skaneateles getting out 6-0 before falling to LaFayette, another side that will be tough. Marcellus and Westhill both have solid, consistent teams that will be heard from.

The real wlid card, though, is CBA. Ric Beardsley's coaching takeover has turned the Brothers into a high-flying, fast-paced show that features the likes of Cody Radziewicz, J.R. Zazzara, Jack Zerillo and Jack Jeschke. In five games, they've scored 97 goals, nearly 20 a pop. They are fun to watch.

Now, for the girls side, where the big change from 2012 to 2013 was seeing CBA move up from Class C to Class B, causing hallelujahs among the small schools and groans among the medium-sized.

On the one hand, Marisa Romeo, Taylor Poplawski and the rest of the Brothers' stalwarts don't figure to get challenged too hard, by Watertown or anyone else, on the sectional side. On the other hand....Garden City is out there, the Long Island powerhouse that has owned the state title for much of the last 15 years. Can they possibly be dethroned?

This isn't West Genesee's problem, though. The reigning state Class A champs lost a ton of senior talent from 2012's title run, but Bob Elmer always has someone else ready to step in, players like Vicki Graveline and Hannah Elmer that do everything well.

So far, the Wildcats haven't been knocked off. Liverpool (who seems way off last year's finals side), C-NS and F-M have tried. All have come up short. That leaves Baldwinsville, who played just two games prior to this week, but will get its shot at WG on April 26, glad to unleash hyper-talented sophomore Taylor Gebhardt on the world.

Class C already feels like a Skaneateles-Marcellus show. The neighbors and rivals got together Monday night and played an overtime classic.

Though the Lakers pulled it out 14-12, there seems little doubt that their May 8 rematch will only be a harbinger of a possible sectional final. It's doubtful that anyone else, whether it's LaFayette, Westhill or Cazenovia, can piece enough things together to challenge the Mustangs or Lakers.


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