Dec 04, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
It didn’t take long – one game, to be exact – for the Skaneateles boys basketball team to write up the most exciting ending of the early portion of the 2013-14 season.
Trailing Syracuse Academy of Science for much of Tuesday night’s opener, the Lakers stormed back, forced overtime – and with the game still in doubt, saw sophomore Bobby Leslie drain a 3-pointer at the horn to produce a 68-65 victory over the Atoms.
An appearance in last year’s Section III Class B final at the Carrier Dome excited the Skaneateles faithful, but so did the fact that the Lakers returned three starters from that team – Leslie, plus seniors Collin Jones and Chris Knupp.
Of course, eight seniors did depart, including the likes of Alex Brownlee, Austin Gardner, Matt Delasin, Ben Eppolito, Luke Drancsak, Mike Card, Steve Bright and Conor Herr.
Thus, head coach Karl Norris had to find all sorts of new faces to give Skaneateles enough depth to get through a tough OHSL Liberty division – one that included SAS, coming off a 2012-13 season where, in its Class B debut, it reached the sectional quarterfinals before losing by one point, 66-65, to Clinton.
SAS dominated the first quarter, jumping out 20-7 on Skaneateles. What the Atoms could not do, though, was pull further away, this despite a game-high 25 points from Jason Brower.
Shaking off that bad start, the Lakers played on even terms in the next two periods, gradually decreasing the deficit to 45-37. Then, in the fourth quarter, it reeled SAS in, with Jones leading the comeback as he would finish with 24 points.
Regulation ended in a 59-59 tie, and they stayed even through most of the four-minute OT period. But just when it looked like a second extra frame would be required, Leslie flashed open and hit the long-range shot that won it at the buzzer.
That gave Leslie nine points, the same total as newcomer Jake Peterson, while Chris Knupp finished with 11 points and his younger brother, Pete, also ended up with 11 points in his varsity debut.
Now Skaneateles hoped the excitement from this win carried over into Thursday’s encounter with Westhill, who beat the Lakers in two of the last three sectional finals, including a 63-51 decision in the 2013 title game at the Carrier Dome.
But the Lakers were overwhelmed at the start, and could not recover in an 86-48 loss to the Warriors. Led by junior Tyler Reynolds, who had 13 of his 18 points in the first quarter, Westhill bolted out to a 23-5 lead and would never get caught.
To its credit, Skaneateles hung in for a while, actually outscoring the Warriors 20-18 in the second quarter to stay within 47-28 at halftime.
But Westhill proved too difficult to stop, Reynolds getting help from Jordan Roland, who had 15 points, and Ryan Roland, who added 11 points off the bench.
In defeat, Chris Knupp picked up 18 points to match Reynolds’ total, with Leslie adding 10 points and Jones contributing seven points. Skaneateles stays on the road next week with two more tough tests as it visits Bishop Grimes on Wednesday and Cazenovia on Dec. 13.