For years, forever really, Shoreham-Wading River has been a Phantom menace to Bayport-Blue Point’s boys lacrosse program.
“They’ve been a thorn in our side, our Achilles’ heel, whatever you want to call it,” Bayport-Blue Point coach Mike Luce said of the Wildcats’ mastery.
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You can call it history now. Jack White scored on a feed from Chris Pickel with 5:57 left and the host Phantoms held off Shoreham-Wading River, 11-10, Monday in a battle of unbeaten teams in Suffolk II. It was Bayport-Blue Point’s first victory over SWR in boys lacrosse and also gave Luce his 100th win.
“This feels great! First time ever beating Shoreham,” said a jubilant White, who scored four goals. “One thing we haven’t had in the past is heart. But this team has a lot of heart.”
The Phantoms (10-0) also showed a lot of soul by rallying from a 5-1 second-quarter deficit. Chris Gray, who leads Long Island with 49 goals, and Jason Curran scored four goals each for the Wildcats (8-1).
But Bayport-BP had answers, beginning with goals by Pickel (two goals, two assists), Jake Weinman (two goals and an assist) and a beauty by Seth Valestrand on a spin dodge three seconds left before halftime that closed the deficit to 5-4.
“We’ve been down before. We were down 10-3 to Miller Place,” Luce said, referring to another second-half flurry that produced a 12-11 win April 5. “Our kids have a special something this year.”
The Phantoms were extra special in the third quarter, scoring five straight goals after Curran finished with a slick dodge to put the Wildcats ahead 6-4. White scored consecutive goals, followed by tallies from Weinman, Pickel and Jimmy Ringer that built a 9-6 advantage heading into the fourth. The Phantoms outshot the Wildcats 14-3 in the period, scoring on five of their 10 shots on goal. Defenseman Vin Lombardi scored early in the fourth for a 10-6 lead.
“Fouls hurt us early and we weren’t winning faceoffs, so every ground ball had to be a war,” Luce said. “That’s how we came back. And it seemed whenever we got the ball, we got a good shot.”
But Shoreham-Wading River showed its own special character in the frenetic fourth. Gray scored twice in 32 seconds to make it 10-8. Only 16 seconds later, White converted Pickel’s pass for what proved to be the game-winner. But not without some anxious moments. Curran and Kevin Cutinella scored to make it 11-10, and the Wildcats could have won if goalie Derek Strine hadn’t made five of his 10 saves under duress in the final quarter.
“When you start making saves, you’re dialed in and fired up,” Strine said. “This is an unreal feeling.”
But a very real piece of school history.