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ELBRIDGE — Jordan-Elbridge slowed down Tully in the second half, but it wasn't enough.

The Eagles and the Black Knights each scored four times in the final two quarters, but the Jordan-Elbridge boys lacrosse team fell to Tully 17-10 in the regular season finale at John Howes Stadium Tuesday night.

For coach Rick Young, it was just another tough league game for the 7-9 Eagles. Section III, Class D boasts three teams in the top seven of the New York State Sportswriters Association rankings.

"The biggest problem is the league is just so strong," Young said. "The last two years we've been independent, so we've had a bit more success. This year this league is probably the best in the state. We have 10 teams in this league and eight of them are in the top 20. ... For a school like us, it's a dog fight all the time."

Wade Brunelle led the way for Jordan-Elbridge with five goals and an assist. Griffin LaFleur and Jeremiah Sparks each scored twice, Luke Pinckney added one goal and one assist, Deacon Hill had a pair of helpers and Caleb DeCola had one assist.

Steve Tripp made 14 saves for the Eagles.

Jordan-Elbridge finishes out its first varsity season since splitting last season as a partial junior varsity program. Instead the Eagles had enough to field a JV program of their own this season.

"We're inexperienced, and the kids go from eighth grade to varsity," Young said. "Very few people do that unless they're really good. That's what hurts us."

Sparks, one of the four seniors, spent his first season with the varsity program after competing with Jordan-Elbridge's track and field team the last few seasons. One of the fastest players on the field, Sparks turned into one of the Eagles' top scorers.

"He came from nowhere and you saw what he could do," Young said. "He loves to compete and has a smile on his face. We ask him if he needs a break and he says 'I'm good.' I get tired watching him."

Tully built up an 8-2 lead in the first quarter, and although LaFleur, Brunelle, Sparks and Pinckney each added goals in the second, Jordan-Elbridge trailed 13-6 at the break.

Each team tallied one goal in the third quarter. The Black Knights netted the first two of the fourth before Brunelle scored back-to-back goals. Tully scored again and Sparks tallied his second of the night with 1:25 left, but the Black Knights prevailed.

Jordan-Elbridge's regular season may be over, but the Eagles will have a sectional matchup coming up. There's still plenty to look forward to after this season.

"We only lose four kids, so that's nice for the future," Young said. "We have 23 kids total, we're going to lose four. Nineteen kids back and we might get some from the modified. That's encouraging. If we continue to get better each time ... I'm encouraged. The thing is our kids need to play out of season and right now, most of our team is playing basketball, wrestling and football. They feel they can't do it. The other kids are doing it. ... They don't have to specialize in lacrosse, but play it when they can. That's what you need to do to be competitive."

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Sports writer Jeremy Houghtaling can be reached at 315-282-2256 or at jeremy.houghtaling@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @CitizenHough.

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