For spectators, yesterday's Atholton-vs.-Pallotti boys lacrosse game for the championship of the second annual Norman Flecker memorial tournament was a delight -- plenty of scoring and a down-to-the-wire finish.
It just didn't end the way the Raiders had expected.
Pallotti's Justin Smith scored the game's final two goals -- the last one with 4: 39 left -- to edge the host Raiders, 12-11. The game was played on Atholton's practice field at Clemens Crossing Elementary School because its stadium field was closed.
Hammond defeated Wilde Lake, 10-5, in the consolation game.
Atholton (3-6) had beaten Pallotti, 13-8, earlier this season. But the Panthers (10-4) started quickly and took a 4-0 lead three minutes into the game.
"I think we thought we would beat them and didn't come out ready to play," said Atholton junior Denis Cook, who scored a career-high seven goals. "They played well. I think both teams played a really good game."
Atholton battled back and tied the game at 4 on James Wilkins' goal with 2: 21 left in the second period. The game was tied six more times after that.
Goals by Wilkins and Cook gave Atholton its biggest lead, 7-5, midway through the third quarter, but Pallotti, which was led by Smith's seven goals, took a 9-8 advantage into the final period.
Atholton led twice in the fourth quarter, the last time when Cook scored to make it 11-10 with 6: 04 remaining. Smith tied the game with 5: 31 to play, then scored the game-winner 52 seconds later.
The Raiders had opportunities to tie it again, but fell short.
"Pallotti looked like a different team from the first time we played them," said Atholton coach Wendell Thomas, whose team was missing three starters. "And we didn't play as well as we're capable of playing."
In the consolation game, Hammond (4-7) got five goals from Brent Smith to beat the Wildecats (1-8) for the second time this season.
Wilde Lake led 3-0 in the first quarter, but could not overcome Hammond's numerous extra-man opportunities.
"We gave it away with stupid penalties in the second half," said Wilde Lake coach Mike Jones. "They scored at least five extra-man goals."
Hammond coach Dave Griffin, whose team was down five starters, said he was disappointed with his team's lack of intensity at the start, but "very happy" at how his players came back.
The tournament is named for Norman Flecker, a 1992 graduate of Atholton, who died in a 1998 helicopter crash in Korea while serving in the Army.
A player from each team was given a plaque -- the Norman Flecker Memorial Award -- representing "academic achievement and unquestionable character and integrity."
The award winners were: Wilkins, Atholton; Kevin Chrapaty, Hammond; Steven Jefferson, Wilde Lake; Tony Flick, Pallotti.