Boys' Latin's coach Bob Shriver isn't concerned whether his team looks like "the team of the century," a phrase sarcastically applied to his team by a losing coach.
It matters more that his top-ranked Lakers play well enough to win daily in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association's A Conference, which Shriver calls "the best high school league in the country."
Yesterday at Boys' Latin, the Lakers (7-0, 2-0) did little to damage their credibility as the league's premier team, hammering No. 8 Mount St. Joseph, 12-5, in a Division III contest.
"Being ranked No. 1 doesn't give you any special privileges. It just means you have to put your nose to the grindstone that much more," said Shriver, who has won two league crowns with five second-place efforts over 16 seasons.
"The kids have been around long enough to know that rankings are out there for somebody else to look at. We just happen to be in the catbird seat, so I guess we're a big target."
The Lakers were on target again yesterday, out-shooting the Gaels, 26-10, for a 9-1 first-half lead, and 37-21 for the game.
Attackmen Chris Turner (three goals, three assists) and John Fuller (three, one) led the Lakers, who employed a sharp half-field offense, relentlessly whipping the ball around the crease and so often beyond the stick of keeper Jason Born (12 saves).
The Lakers scored just four fewer goals than the Gaels have (16) in three games combined, getting assists on all but two goals. Boys' Latin's 12-2 lead heading into final period allowed Shriver to play his bench, and the Gaels to score three times.
Only one Lakers score was not within six yards of the goal, an unassisted shot by Scott Hockstadt (two goals), who skipped in a 15-yarder to the right of Born for a 7-0 lead 5:12 before halftime.
Four minutes later, the Gaels' Matt Lenahan scored his first of three goals off an assist from Rob Lanoue (one goal, two assists), who had gone coast to coast before passing off.
"There were doing a lot of cross-crease feeds that were hard to stop," said Born, coming off a 16-save effort in Tuesday's loss to No. 7 Calvert Hall. "There were just drilling them, mostly on
Turner set the tone from behind the goal 1:50 into the game, firing the ball to Fuller, whose bounce shot from five yards away went in unhindered to the left of Born.
The next couple of volleys, by Gilroy (one goal, two assists) and Aaron Vercollone, caromed off the pipe. But Fuller, off another behind-the-goal feed, found Pat Radebaugh inches from Born for a 2-0 lead with 3:05 left in the first period.
Turner-from-Shure and Fuller-from-Gilroy were scored just 30 seconds apart for a 4-0 lead heading into the second period.
"We're always looking for that next pass to get a layup," said Turner, who slipped an underhanded four-yarder past Born 6-0 lead. "It's just the way that we play from game to game, knowing how to read each other to work the ball in."
J. D. Radebaugh and Ian Shure (each with a goal and an assist), along with Jeff Jeffers and Mike Smith (each with an assist), were among the Lakers' nine-point earners in the game.