The City boys lacrosse team played in the Baltimore City Division A championship game Monday night with a wide range of emotions.
The Knights were heartbroken after one of their own, junior captain Ray Glasgow III, was slain Saturday night. They also were determined and driven.
While they started fast, worked hard throughout and finished valiantly with two goals in the game's final minute, defending champion Mervo was simply the stronger team.
Behind a sensational performance from junior attackman Charles Pitt, the Mustangs claimed a 9-7 win over City to win their second straight championship at Poly.
Pitt was a close friend of Glasgow's and honored him by wearing his No. 10 jersey. He finished with four goals and two assists to lead the Mervo attack. Fellow junior Ramone Alleyn helped with three straight goals in the second quarter to give the Mustangs a 5-2 lead they never relinquished.
"To see him go out like that hurt me, hurt me a lot," Pitt said "You never know when your time is up, so I wanted to give it up for him. That's why I wore his number."
The Mustangs built a 7-3 lead late in the third quarter and had answers to close out the win.
City freshman D'Andre Chaney (three goals, two assists) scored with 12 seconds left in the third quarter and Malik Hamm opened the fourth quarter with a goal to make it 7-5 with 8:54 to play, but Pitt scored twice in less than two minutes to push the lead back up to 9-5 with 6:55 to play.
Playing hard to the last whistle, Chaney scored twice in the final minute, the last coming with five seconds to play.
Glasgow was fondly remembered and honored throughout the night. There was a moment of silence, and his City teammates took his jersey to the captains' meeting in the middle of the field before the game. He was introduced before and after the game, with loud applause each time his name was called.
After the Mustangs celebrated their victory, the teams came together in the middle of the field and said a prayer.
City coach Anthony "Merc" Ryan, who was consoling many of his tearful players after the game, was proud of his team's resilient performance.
"They kept on fighting throughout," he said. "We were tired, limited in numbers and, of course, we were limited without our main guy — No. 10. ... We tried the best we could, we did an outstanding job and I'm proud of them. I couldn't have asked for anything more."
Goals: C—Chaney 3, Hamm 2, Brown, Allison; M—Pitt 4, Alleyn 3, Busby, Patterson. Assists: C—Chaney 2, C James, Hamm; M—Busby 2, Pitt 2, Brown, Georges. Saves: C—Welch 8; M—Abdul-Ghani 6. Half: M, 4-2.
Forest Park 10, Bluford Drew Jemison 3: Senior attackman Justin Leach scored seven goals and added an assist as the Foresters claimed the program's first championship since 2010.
In a rematch of last year's game, Leach and the Foresters (8-2) would not be denied. With the game tied at 3 at the halftime break, they scored seven unanswered goals — Leach scoring five straight — to roll to victory.
"We came out a little flat in the first half, not playing how we usually play and we just had to come out with a little more enthusiasm, We had a good halftime break, got everybody situated and come out and ball hard," said Leach, who has 41 goals on the season. "This feels great, especially my senior year happy to bang out with a championship."
In the teams' regular season April 12, Forest Park beat the Rockets, 11-2.