State boys lacrosse preview
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Lacrosse royalty will be on display in the A and B classifications of the boys lacrosse state tournament finals at St. John Fisher College near Rochester, and Long Island's two teams are a strong part of that lineage, including the nation's No. 1-ranked team, Ward Melville. The state's top-ranked Class C team, Shoreham-Wading River, was upset by Bronxville in Wednesday's semifinals, ruining Long Island's chances for back-to-back A-B-C state title sweeps.
WARD MELVILLE (21-0)
vs. WEST GENESEE (15-5)
Saturday, 4 p.m.
How the Patriots got here: Ward Melville defeated Shenendehowa, 13-6, and West Genesee beat Penfield, 11-6, in Wednesday's semifinals.
Ward Melville, the state and nation's No. 1-ranked team, and coach Mike Hoppey are looking for their first state boys lacrosse title since 2000, when it made its last appearance in the final. The Patriots won seven state crowns under previous coach Joe Cuozzo in their previous 11 trips here. A four-pronged offensive attack features Jack Bruckner (five goals in semifinals), Christian Mazzone (51 goals), Danny Bucaro (team-high 58 goals for the sophomore, three on Wednesday) and Brendan Hegarty (42 goals). Goalie Danny Nemirov has had a big year.
West Genesee is the king of boys lacrosse in the state, with 15 titles in 21 previous finals appearances, but hasn't been here in five years. Coach Mike Messere has the most career victories of any coach in state history (Cuozzo is No. 2). Ryan St. Croix scored six goals in the semifinals and goalie Matt Koziol made 15 saves.
GARDEN CITY (18-3) vs. JAMESVILLE-DEWITT (20-1)
Saturday, 11 a.m.
How the Trojans got here: Garden City beat Niskayuna, 10-9, and Jamesville-Dewitt defeated Hamburg, 18-5, in Wednesday's semifinals.
Garden City, the defending state champion, was ranked No. 1 in the country last season. The Trojans won five state crowns in eight previous appearances here but didn't figure to return to the state final. However, the state's No. 3-ranked Class B team is riding an 11-game winning streak behind a stifling defense featuring Ed Blatz and Scott D'Antonio and an opportunistic offense led by Justin Guterding (97 points, 54 goals). Guterding had two goals and four assists in the semis. Dale Stasco scored the game-winner with two seconds left in the semifinals to oust No. 1 Niskayuna.
Jamesville-Dewitt, ranked No. 2 in the state in Class B, has won four state titles in seven finals appearances and won the title in 2010 and 2011. Syracuse-bound Jordan Evans had two goals and eight assists in the semifinals. Griffin Feiner netted seven goals Wednesday. Defenseman Scott Firman also is headed to Syracuse.