The last time it was on the court, the Skaneateles boys basketball team was getting cast out of the Section III Class B playoffs by Westhill, who were on the way to yet another championship.
Now, though, when these two sides gathered for last Wednesday’s 2018-19 season opener, it was the Lakers who asserted itself, going out in front in the middle stages and hanging on late to stun the Warriors 64-56.
It was true that Skaneateles was catching Westhill at the perfect time, the Warriors having graduated four starters from last season’s squad, each of whom were key parts of back-to-back sectional champions and a 2017 run to the state Class B title.
Meanwhile, the Lakers had far more stability on its roster, and that continuity would key the win at Westhill as it went out in front during the second quarter, ultimately taking a 30-26 lead to halftime.
Not content with that, Skaneateles built the margin to 48-40 by the end of the third period, and as the Warriors charged at them late, the Lakers answered each of these threats with confidence and poise.
Jack Canty led the way with 17 points and Nate Fouts was close behind with 16 points. Jack Whirtley was close behind them as he earned 14 points, help coming from Andrew Neumann (eight points) andTommy Reed (seven points).
Zach Brown, Westhill’s lone returning starter, led his side with 17 points, while Dan Washburn had 12 points and Charlie Bolesh, a key contributor to the Warriors’ state Class B championship boys soccer team, had 10 points.
Now the Lakers got to host Chittenango on Friday, with the Bears, like Westhill, having to replace most of its starting lineup after getting to the sectional finals a season ago.
And it proved a near-duplicate of what happened against Westhill with a slow start redeemed by a tremendous third-quarter effort, ultimately helping Skaneateles beat Chittenango 63-51.
The Lakers got held to four points in the first quarter, and despite finding its rhythm still trailed 26-22 at halftime. Again, the adjustments made during the break worked as the Lakers pounded the Bears 25-10 in the pivotal third period.
Canty worked his way to 24 points, while Fouts put in 18 points. Neumann and Whirtley got seven points apiece, all of which helped negate the 20 points by the Bears’ Paul Wood.
Skaneateles would get another chance to entertain the home crowd when it meets long-time rival Marcellus this Friday night.