Atholton put together one of its best games of the season Wednesday and defeated visiting Reservoir, 13-3, in the opening round of the 3A East region playoffs.
Nolan Krasnick won 11 of 19 faceoffs and scored a game-high five goals, while Justin Ahmuty had a hat trick and Brian Tarantino added two goals and two assists to advance the Raiders (6-9) to a Friday night matchup at No. 1 seed Centennial. Ben Dotson made 13 saves, including four in their five-goal first quarter.
UMBC commit Talon Campbell scored twice in his final high school game to lead the Gators (4-11).
Atholton needed all 14 goals to beat Reservoir by one on April 29 but “focus from the team top to bottom,” coach Alex McCoy said, was the reason for the 10-goal victory on Wednesday.
“Keeping the intensity and pushing through tough moments,” he added. “I firmly believe that throughout the year we demonstrated that the only team that can beat Atholton High School is Atholton High School. ... I think we showed up today with a purpose.”
While Reservoir outshot Atholton, 11-9, in the opening 12 minutes, the home team was much more consistent at finding the back of the net. Malcolm Jones set the tone by running over his defender and firing a perfectly-place bounce to score the game’s first goal and they never relinquished their lead. A left-handed rip by Campbell answered a second goal by Ahmuty to make it 2-1, but Atholton scored three more times — a long shot from Krasnick, another by Ahmuty and one by Jay Desmarais with just 1.6 seconds on the clock — before the end of the frame to take a comfortable 5-1 advantage into the second quarter.
Another goal by Krasnick and Tarantino’s first early in that stanza put them in front 7-1 and they were never really tested the rest of the way, although the scoring binge continued in the second half. They scored four goals in the span of 2 minutes, 12 seconds late in the fourth quarter to reach double-digit tallies, a mark they have reached in all six victories this season. They failed to score 10 or more in eight of their nine defeats.
Atholton and Glenelg were the only teams in Howard County during the regular season to have five players register 20 or more points. All five scored on Wednesday — Krasnick, Tarantino, Ahmuty, Hudgins and Jones — and while it’s been an up-and-down season, that offensive consistency is part of the reason why McCoy is excited about his team’s chances moving forward. When they do the “little things” and they “come to play,” McCoy said, they are tough to beat.
“The most important thing about the year is preparing for now and getting everything in order to show up for round one and being able to compete,” he said. “The ups and downs of the season shaped our team. We had some really difficult learning moments and I think in the long run it’s going to be a major benefit to the program because we know where we want to be and we have to learn what it takes to be where we want to be.”
On the other side, Campbell’s historic career in a Gators uniform came to a sudden end. The senior entered the contest with the most points in Howard County — 82 points and 62 goals in 14 games, which is nine more than anyone else — and finishes the year 84. He had 48 goals and 62 points as a junior and a county-best 49 goals and 69 points as a sophomore, and earlier this season he became Reservoir’s all-time points leader.
“Anytime you lose a kid like Talon it sucks ... but it’s the start of a new chapter and I’m excited for him,” Gators coach Bryan Cole said. “While he plays at a high level in club lacrosse, he’s about to step into a different realm [at UMBC] and I’m looking forward to it, seeing him experience that and see how he handles it.”
Atholton (6-9) — 13, Reservoir (4-11) — 3
Goals: A — Nolan Krasnick 5, Justin Ahmuty 3, Brian Tarantino 2, Malcolm Jones 1, Jay Desmarais 1, Alex Hudgins 1; Re — Talon Campbell 2, Michael Gonzales 1
Assists: A — Tarantino 2, Jones 2, Desmarais 1, Hudgins 1; Re — None
Saves: A — Ben Dotson 13; Re — Nick Hoover 10
Halftime: 7-2, Atholton
2A South region, Section I quarterfinals:
River Hill (7-8) — 17, Oakland Mills (6-7) — 7
Goals: RH — Jack Burns 8, Ryan Henry 3, Josh Weingrad 2, Max Friedman 1, Christian Bond 1, Tyler Hopkins 1, Jimmy Reeves 1; OM — Patrick Jones 2, Alex Lee 2, Joe Thompson 1, Kai Castle 1, Chase Williams 1
Assists: RH — Hopkins 4, Friedman 3, Weingrad 2, Andrew Skalny 1, Kurt Bentson 1, Eli Adams 1, Tony Lazzari 1; OM — Williams 1, Dallas Briggs 1, Jonald Semprit 1
Saves: RH — Kyle Henry 8, Liam Slade 1; OM — Ahsan Kersey 8
Halftime: 12-2, River Hill
Wilde Lake (8-5) — 12, Hammond (1-10) — 0
Goals: WL — Jonathan Fontana 5, Jackson Pittman 3, Quinn Sutker 1, Nile Lawrence 1, Jarrett Monah 1, Davin Jackson 1
Assists: WL — Justin Dougherty 2, Jackson 2, Adam Loudin 1, Dominic Facchiano 1, Pittman 1, Adam Blair 1
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Saves: WL — Nathan Cho 9