On Friday, the Boys' Latin lacrosse team stayed away from the late-game drama that has been present in the past couple meetings with McDonogh.
No last-minute goals or saves needed, and no one-goal margins.
The No. 4 Lakers took charge with four unanswered goals in the third quarter and never let go, enjoying a dominating defensive performance in a 7-3 win over the visiting No. 5 Eagles in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference quarterfinals.
In last year's quarterfinal round, the Lakers came away with an 8-7 win over McDonogh, and the teams played to the same result in Tuesday's regular-season finale. With two goals each from senior attackman Greg Pyke and sophomore midfielder Tally Bruno, and the strong defense led by seniors Brandon Cherry and Mac Pons, the Lakers (14-6) had an easier time moving forward.
They will face No. 1 Calvert Hall in the semifinals Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Towson University.
After going through a four-game slide that included an 0-2 start in league play, the Lakers have shown resiliency to reach the semifinals and get another crack at Calvert Hall, which handed them a 12-5 setback in their league opener on April 10.
"We got behind the eight-ball pretty quickly at 0-2, and we've really played well since then," Boys' Latin coach Bob Shriver said. "We've only lost the game to Gilman in overtime so we're 7-1 since. So the kids stayed the course, stuck with it and really deserve much of the credit."
With the game tied at 2 at the half Friday, the Lakers couldn't have asked for a better third quarter. They won all five faceoffs, scored two goals in a 30-second stretch midway through the quarter and then again in the closing minute to take a 6-2 lead going into the fourth.
After McDonogh jumped on a man-advantage opportunity when freshman midfielder Robby Black scored his third goal to cut the lead to 6-3 with 9:53 to play, Pyke ripped a shot from the left side for a man-advantage goal with 8:05 left to reclaim the four-goal margin.
"It was a good shot, but I got pretty lucky too," said Pyke, who has signed to play football at Georgia next year. "We did the wheel, I got an open shot, got my hands free and luckily canned the shot."
For the third straight year, McDonogh's season ends against Boys' Latin. The Eagles (9-8) graduated a talented class last year but saw younger players step up to again reach the playoffs. One of the season highlights was handing Calvert Hall its only league loss.
"Definitely proud of the guys," McDonogh coach Andy Hilgartner said. "It's a tough feeling, a bitter feeling for our guys, especially since this is the third straight year that BL has ended our season. Obviously it's a credit to their program, but disappointing."
No. 3 Gilman 13, No. 6 Severn 7: Although Gilman's Thomas McBride admits to being a little nervous before his first playoff start Friday against Severn, coach Brooks Matthews wasn't worried about how the junior goalie would fare subbing ailing senior Bryan Moore.
"We're blessed to have two great goalies," Matthews said. "And we are confident in Thomas' ability to have a big game."
McBride didn't disappoint.
He was a rock between the pipes in his second straight start, making a dozen saves, and his offense did the rest as the Greyhounds made it look easy. They advance to face No. 2 Loyola in the second game of a conference semifinal doubleheader Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. at Towson University.
Gilman (12-3) gave McBride all the cushion he would need, racing to a 9-0 lead early in the third quarter. Junior attackman Max Greene led the Greyhounds with five goals and two assists, and Jake Matthai added three goals and an assist.
Towson Times reporter Nelson Coffin contributed to this article.
No. 4 Boys' Latin 7, No. 5 McDonogh 3