Right in their own backyard, three local athletes represented their region proudly on the national level.
Calvert Hall graduates Ryan Brown and Kelton Black had a pair of goals each and Gilman's Gordie Koerber found the back of the net three times to lift the South over the North, 12-11, in the seventh annual Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Classic at Towson University's Johnny Unitas Stadium on Saturday night.
Koerber, with his team up just a goal with less than three minutes to play, took a feed from Spencer Parks (St. Paul's) behind the net and ripped a shot low past North goalie William Ryan. The midfielder, bound for Denver next season, was named the game's Most Valuable Player after scoring on all three of his shots.
"We knew the North was going to come back strong after the first half," Koerber said. "But I just got that great pass and I was wide open in front and buried it low."
A slashing penalty by the North with less than a minute to play seemingly iced the game for the South, who won the game for the second straight year.
With three seconds to play, South goalie Luke Aaron fended off a tough shot from the North's Mikey Morris, who was coming across the right side and shooting across his body. The save prevented overtime and marked the second time in the game's seven-year history that it was decided by just a goal.
The South, which led 9-5 at halftime, got seven first half saves from Alex Joyce, a former Landon School star headed to Maryland. The Duke-bound Aaron also made seven stops while the North's goalies, Ryan and Dan Marino, posted just three saves each.
The North finished with an 18-8 edge in the faceoff circle and a 25-18 advantage in shots on goal, but 14 total saves from the South's netminders helped keep their team on top.
Brown said the pace of Saturday night's game was a good indication of the level of play he will be facing next year at Johns Hopkins.
"It's fast out there," he said. "That's really the biggest difference, but it's cool to be out here with all these kids that are going [Division] I."
For Koerber, it was a fitting end to a phenomenal high school career. He scored 32 goals this spring, earning first team all-conference and All-Metro honors.
"It was a good ending to my high school career but there's so many guys around me helping me tonight," Koerber said. "It's a great showing for the MIAA guys. Ryan Brown played great and our defense was lock down."
The Baltimore area was well represented on the South roster with three players from Calvert Hall and three from Gilman. Brown said it's nice to see teammates and rivals on the field together one last time before everyone heads elsewhere for their collegiate careers.
"It's always good to get one last time out here with our boys," Brown said.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun