The year is coming to an end, so the Times put together a countdown of the top high school sporting events covered in 2019.
A Times reporter had to be present for the game to qualify for our countdown. Significance of the event played a major role, as did any championships at stake. We will unveil the top 15 five at a time, concluding with No. 5 through No. 1 today.
5. Boys Soccer: Century outlasts Oakdale in penalty kicks to win 2A state semifinal
Date: Nov. 9
How it happened: Sophomore Colin Williams, who insisted in the week leading up to the Knights’ matchup with the Bears that his team would prevail in penalty kicks, converted in the eighth round of PKs to help send Century to the 2A state final. After a 1-1 game through regulation and two overtime periods, the teams went back and forth during PKs before Williams scored to put the Knights ahead, and goalie Ethan Ricketts came up with a save against Oakdale to seal it.
Significance: Century reached the championship game for the first time since 2003, then edged La Plata 1-0 to take the crown.
Quotable: “I just thought all season, what if the last game comes down to the eighth penalty?” Williams said. “You’re always thinking it’s going to end in the first five. I was always saying it was going to come down to the eighth penalty.”
4. Boys Basketball: Liberty rallies to beat Century in OT for Carroll County Athletic League win
Date: Jan. 11
How it happened: The Lions erased a 22-point deficit and junior forward Peyton Scheufele sank a layup with six seconds remaining in OT to give Liberty its first lead, and the 79-78 victory to remain undefeated on the season. School officials had to keep Liberty’s student section from streaming onto the court at the sound of the final buzzer. The Lions scored the final six points of the game to cap the comeback.
Significance: Liberty remained undefeated and also handed Century its first county loss of the year. The Knights got revenge in the rematch in February, and the rivals shared the Carroll County Athletic League title for 2018-19.
Quotable: “It was a blast, I love it for the community and I love it for Carroll County and high school sports," said Liberty coach Brian Tombs. “If you were in attendance tonight, you had to enjoy that regardless of what side you’re on.”
3. Football: Westminster edges Liberty in overtime thriller to win Carroll County title
Date: Oct. 25
How it happened: Senior running back Nate Mattingly punched in a 1-yard touchdown to secure the 34-31 victory, and the Carroll County Athletic League title for Westminster. The Owls rushed the field to celebrate with their teammates as they won their sixth straight game. After a back-and-forth battle, and a 34-yard field goal from Liberty’s Sean Disbrow in OT, Westminster needed a field goal to tie or a touchdown to win the game. Westminster took a 28-21 lead with an 11-play drive, but Liberty quarterback Nate Kent connected with Paul Libbee for his fourth passing TD of the night less than 3 minutes to make it 28-28.
Significance: For the first time in 30 meetings, Liberty and Westminster needed overtime to determine a winner. And the Owls improved to 6-2 (5-0 CCAL) after eight weeks of the season en route to a spot in the Class 3A playoffs.
Quotable: “I think it’s nice to be playing in a big game like this at the end of the year,” Owls coach Chris Bassler said. “We have a ton of respect for Liberty, their players, and their coaching staff.”
2. Field Hockey: Westminster comes back to clip Urbana in OT to win 3A state championship
Date: Nov. 9
How it happened: The Owls fell behind 1-0 in the second half on a penalty stroke, but scored 10 minutes later to tie the score at 1-1. Westminster totaled five penalty-corner tries in the second half and kept surging going in overtime before freshman Miranda Moshang found herself in a great spot during the second corner try of the OT. Moshang’s goal with 7:49 remaining preceded a celebration in front of Urbana’s cage.
Significance: Westminster finished the season 14-5 and claimed the 10th state championship in program history.
Quotable: “It’s hard to score one goal, and it’s also hard to come back,” Westminster coach Laurie Naill said. “You just have to keep working, and I thought that they did a great job all season. I told them all season, if you keep working, and you keep hustling and give it 110%, you’re going to come up with something.”
1. Girls Lacrosse: South Carroll tops Hereford in overtime to win program’s first state championship
Date: May 21
How it happened: The Cavaliers fought off Hereford all night in the Class 2A final at Paint Branch High School, and didn’t grab their first lead until less than 2 minutes remained. The Bulls drew even in the final seconds, and OT was needed. Almost all of it, in fact — SC senior midfielder Shannon Finch scored with 12 seconds to go with a nifty move through the crease, and the Cavaliers prevailed 10-9.
Significance: South Carroll (16-1) earned the first girls lacrosse state title in school history in thrilling fashion while handing Hereford, the reigning state champion, its first loss of the spring. Times Player of the Year Riley Evans netted four goals and Finch had two, none bigger than the one she converted with the game on the line. The Cavs came up big on defense, too, with several drawn charges, backed by eight saves from goalie Julia Weiss.
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Quotable: “It’s unbelievable honestly,” Evans said. “It’s just a crazy feeling because you think about it when you’re younger, of winning a state championship. You see other teams winning and that’s kind of the goal in high school, to get to the state championship. I think it’s even better that, as a senior, and for or four other seniors, it’s a really good feeling.”