Lacrossers ready to defend title

Bainbridge lacrosse co-head coach Jack Visco talks to the players Monday at practice. The Spartans return several members as they make a run toward another state title this season. - Brad Camp/Staff Photo
Bainbridge lacrosse co-head coach Jack Visco talks to the players Monday at practice. The Spartans return several members as they make a run toward another state title this season.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photo

Spartans eager to show they’ve still got the goods.

After the past few seasons ended one game short of a championship, the Bainbridge boys lacrosse team did not want to end the season without a state title.

They did just that, going undefeated in state in the process in earning their first varsity A championship since 2003.

Now, the Spartans are put to the task of defending their title – but co-head coach Dejon Hush said they’re up for it. After a sucessful season last year, the Spartans are showing they’re still a force to be reckoned with this season.

Bainbridge is 5-1 on the season, with two wins in state – a 6-0 shutout versus Skyline March 12 and a 8-4 win versus Garfield last Friday – and wins against the top ranked teams on the West Coast including Oregon Episcopal School and North Idaho champs Lake City.

Their only loss came at the hands of Araphoe (Colo.), who are ranked sixth in the STX Lacrosse/West Side Lacrosse Top 25 poll.

“We’ve had some really good competition this year,” Hush said. “We’ve gotten to judge where we’re at early in the season instead of midway through the season, which is good.”

Senior co-captain Casey Weisner felt there’s still some work to do.

“We’re doing all right but we need to work better as a team,” he said. “We have some people that are starting that weren’t on the field much last season and we lost Bryan and Dylan. That’s huge.

“Other guys have to step it up.”

The team loses several players from last season including top players and All-Americans attackman Dylan Masi and defenseman Bryan Gilbreath. Hush said the offense will have to learn how to create its own scoring opportunities instead of letting someone else do the work.

“It used to be everyone would watch Dylan go to the cage and then they could get their points because Dylan would feed them,” he said. “Now they’ve got to work together to get each other points and not necessarily watching. They’ve got to become part of the team.”

Several players return for Bainbridge, including senior co-captains, defender/long stick midfielder Dayton Gilbreath, attackman/midfielder Jordan Foster and Weisner.All three were Division I all-state selections last season.

Also returning for the Spartans are senior defender Trent Burroughs, senior attacker Evan Wright, senior midfielder Garrett Lund, senior midfielder Max Olson, junior attackman Sam Snow and junior goalie Bryce Stevenson.

“We’re pretty well rounded,” Weisner said.

Having their starting defense – Burroughs, Weisner and Dayton – back will be huge, Hush said.

“Our defense has been strong,” he said. “Those guys have played varsity since their sophomore year so they’ve become a unit together and working really well. We’ve had a couple second-tier defenders step up (and contribute.)”

Hush also feels they can become a more versatile offense instead of funneling the work through just one player.

“The emphasis this year isn’t going to be just slow one guy down so the team can be better – we’re going to speed the other guys up so the team can become better,” he said. “It’s going to take a team effort to push us into the championship game. The stick skills and the athleticism is there, it’s just everyone stepping into a role that they’re comfortable with and pushing each other to be better every day.”

Several players ready to step up and get more playing time include junior midfielder Sam Deery-Schmitt – “He’s got a great shot from the outside,” Hush said – junior defender Dugan McDermott who will take over Bryan’s position as a long stick midfielder – “Not necessarily trying to get him to fill those shoes, but just to play within himself,” – and sophomore attackman Jordan Wagner.

“We’re going to give a lot of (playing time) to him,” Hush said of Wagner, who was the starting quarterback for the football team. “He’s a big kid, very athletic. He controls the different dimensions of the game – passing, running, shooting – very well.”

The new players will come in handy against not only some tough out of state competition, but some strong in-state teams eager to knock Bainbridge off their perch as top bird.

Chief among those is arch-rival Mercer Island, who had won the last four state championships.

“It’s always the battle of the islands,” Hush said.

Hush also felt that Issaquah will be a legitimate title threat.

“They’ve got some kids that are really good on the offensive end and the defensive end,” he said. “They’re well coached and they feel this is their year. Hopefully it won’t interrupt our goal of winning a state championship.”

That goal is what motivates the team and Hush feels they can still have the fire inside to succeed.

“Last year they all looked to Bryan Gilbreath and Dylan Masi to carry the team,” he said. “This year, the motivation is can they step up into those roles and become all-state (players)? Can they be the players that people look up to?”

Weisner acknowledged there is pressure on them to repeat, but “we don’t need to worry about that right now,” he said.

“Just focus on the main goal right now.”

Foster felt they can defend their title.

“As long as we play smart and everyone comes together I think we can definitely do it,” he said.

The Spartans played Vashon yesterday. Thursday, they take part in the second annual Jerry Langkammerer Tournament in San Francisco, where they’ll play top ranked St. Ignacius Prep.

The next home game is April 8 against Lynnwood.

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