Lacrosse boys reclaim state title

The boys varsity lacrosse team celebrates its win over Mercer Island to reclaim the state lacrosse title. - JIM WHITING/Staff Photo
The boys varsity lacrosse team celebrates its win over Mercer Island to reclaim the state lacrosse title.
— image credit: JIM WHITING/Staff Photo

For opposing teams, the most frightening thing about the Bainbridge A lacrosse team’s 14-6 thumping of Mercer Island on Saturday to reclaim the state title trophy may have happened after the game.

After the entire team happily hoisted the trophy for a barrage of pictures, someone yelled, “Seniors only.” Only five members of the 23-man roster stepped forward.

As newly elected tri-captain Spencer Evans and a first-team all-state selection said, “We’ll be even better next year.”

Virtually the entire defense – the heart of the team – returns. Both goalies and all the middies, including Evans and second-team all-state selection Sam Cameron, will be back. While first-team attackmen Adam Smith and Jacob Hayashi graduate, sophomore Joe Picha and freshman David VanderHoek are poised to take up the scoring slack.

But as the team took the field against the Islanders, their thoughts weren’t on the future, just getting the trophy back. They faced an obstacle almost immediately, as a pair of quick whistles gave Mercer Island a two-man advantage.

Not a problem. Bainbridge held them at bay, then opened the scoring five minutes into the game on a pass from Evans to VanderHoek. Four minutes later Hayashi curled behind the goal and fired to Cameron, who put the ball in for a 2-0 lead.

The Islanders halved the margin at 2:00, but Hayashi – who put on a series of sparkling offensive moves all night and finished with a team-high four scored – put in a jumper with 40 seconds left for a 3-1 lead.

Bainbridge scored twice more midway through the second period – Ross Maloney putting in a rebound and VanderHoek making a spectacular double-pump – before Mercer scored. Hayashi took the ball just behind the center line with 13 seconds left, ran downfield and with impeccable timing got off a shot with two seconds left for a 6-2 halftime lead.

Bainbridge put the game away with six goals in the third period. Smith had a hand in the first four, scoring two himself and feeding Hayashi and Andy Kelly. Tyler Bural added the fifth on a nifty spin move and then fed Cameron for a 12-2 edge with a minute remaining. Mercer outscored Bainbridge 4-2 from that point to make the final score somewhat more respectable.

In the jubilant aftermath – a far cry from the stunned silence of a year ago – a composed coach Ryan Painter said that “we expected to win. The last two weeks pretty much foretold our future.

“Tonight’s game was pretty much par for the course. We were hungry for victory and wanted to redeem ourselves for last year.”

Smith, recently selected as one of the state’s three All-Americans, said, “This put an exclamation mark on our season. This is by the most chemistry we’ve had in four years.

“It showed a level of play that Washington state has never seen before.”

Disappointing loss

Panthers 7, Bainbridge B 2 – “Nobody came to play,” fretted one team member after the Division II title game, which preceded the Division I final.

Coach Kii Yette saw it slightly differently.

“It was a tough loss,” he said. “They wanted it more than we did.”

During a scoreless first period, the Panthers set the tone for most of the game, dominating possession, playing an aggressive defense that often slapped the ball away from Bainbridge players and scooping up nearly twice as many ground balls.

The Panthers scored early in the second period, but Bainbridge responded on a pass from Justin Davis to Trevor Charles to tie the game. The Panthers had two goals a minute apart late in the period to take a 3-1 halftime lead and iced it with three more goals in the third quarter. Matt Browning’s goal with two minutes left in the game on a pass from Davis closed out the scoring.

“We had a terrific season,” Yette said, as the team finished 12-2. “It was the best B-team record ever, I think. We went one step further than we did last year, when we lost in the semis. The program is getting stronger.”

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