The No. 1 McDonogh boys lacrosse team appeared to have the momentum over Boys’ Latin to start the second quarter of Tuesday’s playoff game, having scored with two seconds left in the first for a two-goal advantage.
But the No. 4 Lakers instead took firm hold of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference semifinal and never let go.
Sophomore Payton Giberson continued to get the Lakers the ball with dominant work on faceoffs and fellow sophomore Brendan Grimes made the most of the team’s time with the ball on attack. At the other end, senior goalie Chris Brandau was sensational with timely stops.
In the 20 minutes that followed the first quarter, Boys’ Latin scored six straight goals. The extended stretch of excellence carried the Lakers to an 8-5 win over the Eagles at Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium.
Boys’ Latin (14-4) advances to Friday’s championship game against either No. 2 Calvert Hall or No. 3 Loyola Blakefield. That semifinal matchup was postponed Tuesday night because of weather and is set to be played Wednesday at 4 p.m.
Giberson helped the Lakers win 11 of the 16 draws, Grimes contributed four goals and an assist and Brandau made 11 saves.
“We lost to them with two seconds left and we knew we had to come back really fired up,” Grimes said. “This team also beat us a couple years in a row to knock us out of the playoffs, so we came out fired up and did a really good job today.”
The game started with a hint at what lay ahead as Grimes scored nine seconds into play, but the Eagles controlled the rest of the first quarter and got a goal from Jack Sweeney with two seconds left to take a 3-1 lead.
But the Lakers were able to dig in. Giberson won four of five draws in the game-changing second quarter with Grimes scoring two goals and adding an assist that helped the Lakers to a 5-3 halftime lead.
Nothing changed at the start of the third quarter with Basil Aburn and Grimes adding goals to make it 7-3. The Eagles ended a 20-minute scoring drought when Matt Hilgartner scored with 4:03 left and again in the final minute of the quarter to make it 7-5, but Cole Erickson gave the Lakers an 8-5 lead with 6:08 to play and Brandau had some of his finest work in the fourth quarter to hold off the Eagles.
Next up for the Lakers is Calvert Hall or Loyola Blakefield and Brandau is well aware it’s going to take much of the same Friday to win.
“It’s going to take everything we got,” he said. “We have a bunch of great kids that are putting everything they have into this team. I’m proud of all these kids on this team and I know we’re going to gut it in this last game. We’re just playing for the time left we have together and going to embrace these last couple days we have together.”
Goals: BL—Grimes 4, Caplin, Crouse, Aburn, Erickson; M—Simmons, Powderly, Sweeney, Hilgartner 2. Assists: BL—Crouse 2, Erickson, Grimes; M—Walsh, Simmons, Swanson. Saves: BL—C. Brandau 11 M—Long 5. Half: BL, 5-3