Hosting its first ever playoff game in 6A/7A play, the Boys Varsity lacrosse team faced the River Ridge Knights in the first round of the state playoffs, Tuesday, May 2nd.
The Bears jumped all over the Knights from the opening face off scoring quickly on a goal from Senior Jake Meyerholt. The first half dominance was led by a trio of Senior offensive players—Jake Meyerholt, Austin Darnell and Zach Furr. These three either scored or assisted on 10 of the first 12 goals leading to a commanding 12-0 halftime lead. After Darnell's loose ball grab at midfield at the end of Q1 in which he sprinted down the field for a crafty dodge and weave score, the offense began to click. Darnell's assist on Bryson Hawkin's goal, created by face-off specialist Evan Finelli's quick stick at midfield, began the impressive display of points as the Bears outscored their opponents 9-0 in the 2nd quarter.
Despite having success during the game at gaining possession on face-offs, the Knights simply couldn't get breathing room to make any kind of a run on the Bear's defense. The defensive line smothered Knight attackers causing multiple turnovers leading to efficient possessions where the Bears executed together for the commanding lead. Ryan Richardson's sweet shot into the net just before halftime put the final touches on a 1st half to remember ultimately leading the team to a big first-round win, 15-7.
The Knights were able to put together a few good possessions in the 2nd half but time and again the Bears would match scores. After two quick scores by the visitors, Senior Tyler Davis came through with a dodge and score early in the 3rd quarter. Delivering his first multi-goal game of the season, McGregor Rowland delivered two of the three second half Bear goals, one off a brilliant feed by Junior Gavin Gianelli. Showing the team's depth, Gianelli played a key role in stuffing the Knights during the final minutes achieving several face-off wins and creating offense via fast breaks after a defensive clear.
By game's end, the team had seen contributions from nearly every rostered player leading to a clear victory helping to continue the dominance and poise this team has played with over the past six weeks. Now having won 10 out of 11 games, the Bears season will be put on the line as they get a rematch with North Gwinnett who is the number one seed in bracket play on Monday, May 7th. Game will be at North Gwinnett at 7pm.