La Salle tops Conestoga in lacrosse

Brett Baskin is quite good at lacrosse and has been for some time.

The senior attacker for La Salle possesses quick feet, a precise shot from various angles and the toughness to maneuver within the interior of a defense.

All of his skills were on display Tuesday as the visiting Explorers dominated Conestoga, 12-5.

Baskin netted five goals, including three in an early four-goal run that seized control. Later, he added two assists.

For all of his talents, however, what motivates the Johns Hopkins commit is the devastation of last season's PIAA runner-up finish.

"Going home with that silver medal," Baskin said. "We talk about it every day. We're just working for the gold. We're just trying to get ready for the playoffs. Trying to get better each day."

"This was a big game," he said of Conestoga. "This is a good PIAA team that we could see later down the road. To get this win under our belt is big, but it doesn't mean anything yet. It's still the regular season, but it's a good confidence-builder."

The Explorers lost last season to Springfield Delco in the PIAA final. This season, La Salle (6-1) has impressive wins against Conestoga and Malvern Prep.

Tuesday's quality all-around performance had a reptilian quality, according to coach Billy Leahy.

"We compare it to a boa constrictor," Leahy said. "Win your faceoffs. Value the ball. Put it in the back [of the net], and do it again. And you could feel that today as it just tightened, tightened, tightened, and then the clock begins to go against" the opponent.

La Salle senior faceoff man Anthony Giuliani was the head of the snake, winning 16 of 19 opportunities.

His efforts put Conestoga in a defensive position throughout.

Senior attacker Chris Hladczuk added two goals and three assists, while junior middie Brendan Meagher supplied two goals and two assists. Goaltender Michael Clibanoff stymied 11 shots.

Conestoga was led by two goals from Hunter Gregory, a senior midfielder. Scott MacMillan added 11 saves.

Meanwhile, the Explorers' defense was stout and steady thanks, in part, to junior Joseph Burnham. Burnham was disruptive throughout even after going to the bench in the final frame when the bridge of his nose was bloodied after he intercepted a pass.

A trainer's assistance helped stall the blood loss, and within a few minutes Burnham was back in action.

"Our team all across the board, we're a really close-knit group," Baskin said. "We all hang out together. It kind of translates on the field from defense to offense because everyone's on the same page, and we all work together well."

La Salle 7 5 - 12

Conestoga 2 3 - 5

LS: Brett Baskin 5, Brendan Meagher 2, Chris Hladczuk 2, Matt Clibanoff 2, Joe Taylor.

Con: Hunter Gregory 2, Henry Berg, Tom Sopko, Nick Braendel.

Saves: LS- Michael Clibanoff 11; Scott MacMillan 11.