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Spencer, Pietramala lead Boys' Latin lacrosse past McDonogh, 13-9, in MIAA quarterfinal play

Spencer, Pietramala lead Boys' Latin lacrosse past McDonogh, 13-9, in MIAA quarterfinal play
Boys Latin Lakers teammates celebrate a goal against the McDonogh Eagles by attackman Riar Schell during the MIAA boys' lacrosse quarterfinal game Fri., May 10, 2019. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

Boys’ Latin wasn’t fazed a bit trailing by three goals early against the hottest area boys lacrosse team not named Calvert Hall in Friday’s Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference quarterfinal against visiting McDonogh.

The No. 6 Lakers called timeout, regrouped and then systematically outplayed the No. 5 Eagles the rest of the way to advance with a 13-9 win.

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Senior attackman Cameron Spencer scored once and added seven assists, freshman Dominic Pietramala scored four goals and junior goalie JT Morton turned back 10 shots in the win.

Boys’ Latin (11-6) will take on No. 2 St. Mary’s (11-5) in the late semifinal game at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium. Two-time defending champion and No. 1 Calvert Hall will meet No. 3 Loyola Blakefield – a 13-12 winner over No. 4 St. Paul’s in Friday’s other quarterfinal – at 5 p.m.

Heavy rain hit the Lake Avenue school Friday afternoon, delaying the 4:15 start by more than half an hour and moving the game to the upper field.

Once play began, the visiting Eagles, who won their final six regular-season games to reach the playoffs, picked up right where they left off with a dominating start.

Goals from Matt McMillen, Matt Hilgartner and Harrison Beattie had them feeling good with a 3-0 lead and 6:34 left in the first quarter.

The Lakers called timeout and they returned to the field a different team.

“We’ve been down before this season, and it’s the first quarter and we knew we had a lot of game left. So we composed ourselves in the huddle and got a couple goals after that and got ourselves rolling,” Spencer said.

Spencer found Avery Tankersley with an important first goal a little over a minute after the timeout and Pietramala got his big game started with a goal less than a minute later.

While McDonogh faceoff specialist Gable Braun had another fine performance, the Lakers compensated with ground balls wins in the middle, strong team defense and execution on attack.

They took their first lead three minutes into the second quarter at 4-3 when Spencer found Pietramala. The Lakers were always able to stay a goal or two ahead of the Eagles until taking over the game’s final eight minutes.

Spencer, an All-Metro first-team point guard in basketball, showed the same fine distribution ability on the lacrosse field.

With the lead at 10-9, he found Garrett Glatz for a goal and then fed Ben Smith twice for goals late to seal the win.

“That was basketball Cameron right there, huh?” Boys’ Latin coach Brian Farrell said. “I tell you one thing, in clutch situations I would take Cam Spencer on my team every time. The guy loves to win, he loves to win and you saw that today.”

Spencer was quick to call it a complete team win.

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“Guys were getting open on the cuts, so I really didn’t have to do too much -- just find them on the inside and all credit to them,” he said.

The Eagles, who strongly banded together to overcome a disastrous 0-4 start in league play, were distraught following the game. It was the Lakers who handed them their last regular-season loss and they had the better of it again on Friday.

McDonogh coach Andy Hilgartner saw a number of costly mistakes all over the field that he hadn’t seen in the extended win streak. The season as a whole and the adversity the team overcame outweighs Friday’s tough loss.

“I told the seniors if they live the rest of their lives the way they’ve been this season, than they’re going to have great success and, obviously, that’s why we’re out here doing what we do,” Hilgartner said.

The Lakers, who reached the title game last year, will next get a second crack against St. Mary’s, which beat them, 9-8, on April 16.

“I’m feeling good about it,” Spencer said. “We lost by one to St. Mary’s earlier in the year – a game I thought we should have had. I feel like we’re much more experienced. This is a young group. We hadn’t played too much before that and that was the middle of the season and now we’re at the end of the season and I think we’re moving pretty well right now.”

Goals: M – M. Hilgartner 2, Beattie 2, McMillen 2, Swanson, Powderly, Ward; BL – Pietramala 4, Glatz 2, Evans 2, Erickson, Spencer, Smoth 2, Tankersly. Assists: M – Powderly 2, M. Hilgartner; BL – Spencer 7, Evans, Smith, Tankersley. Saves: M – Long 7;

BL – Morton 10. Half: BL, 7-6

Friday’s other semifinal

No. 3 Loyola Blakefield 13, No. 4 St. Paul’s 12: The host Dons (10-6) tied the game three times in the fourth quarter and Charlie Koras scored the game-winning goal with 10.8 seconds left in a come-from-behind win over the Crusaders (10-6).

Loyola advances to face top-seed and No. 1 Calvert Hall in Tuesday’s semifinal at 5 p.m. .

The 13th goal was the only lead taken by the Dons in the entire game. Penalties troubled Loyola and led to extra-man opportunities that St. Paul’s capitalized on. The Crusaders’ last two goals came on EMOs: Connor Slein’s third goal for an 11-10 Crusaders lead with 6:52 left and Peter Sheehan goal for a 12-11 lead with four minutes left.

Loyola’s defense got two goals scored by long poles with 31 seconds left in the third quarter and 4:38 left in the game.

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