Cannon helps Suffolk Rising Juniors win

Suffolk #23 Brian Cannon of Northport looks to Suffolk #23 Brian Cannon of Northport looks to pass in the second period of the Long Island Lacrosse Showcase Rising Juniors game vs. Nassau County at Adelphi University. (June 21, 2012) Photo Credit: James Escher

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Boom! A cannon shot in the closing seconds gave Suffolk an 11-10 victory over Nassau Thursday night in the Rising Juniors game of the Long Island Showcase tripleheader at Adelphi's Motamed Field.

Make that a Cannon shot.

Brian Cannon of Northport scored his third goal of the night just inside the left pipe. "I just closed my eyes and let it go," said Cannon, who scored 37 goals with 36 assists in his just-completed sophomore season.

Kieran Mullins of Islip, who scored two goals, set up Cannon for the winner. He took possession after a loose-ball push on the faceoff, dodged past two defenders and hit Cannon on the wing. "I've never had a game-winning goal in the final seconds like that. It's a great feeling," said Cannon, who made a verbal commitment to North Carolina before his sophomore year. That's a trend in college lacrosse these days, as more and more coaches put emphasis on summer ball to recruit players early.

That's why both sidelines were lined with college coaches Thursday night. No fewer than 25 coaches sat in directors' style chairs in an assortment of hats and chair shades for protection against the 90-plus degree heat. The extreme weather pushed the start time for the first game back a half-hour and the rules were altered to include mandatory water breaks.

Nassau and Suffolk also squared off in the Rising Senior and Rising Sophomore games for the event that was sponsored by the Nassau and Suffolk coaches associations and Lacrosse Unlimited. The Rising Junior and Senior games were telecast by MSG Varsity and will be replayed later this summer on Cablevision Ch. 14. Check local listings for dates and times.

The Nassau-Suffolk angle was no small matter. Both counties take extreme pride in their lacrosse and there was a lot of hard-hitting and intense play. Rising Senior Tim Rotanz, the leading scorer on the Shoreham-Wading River state Class C champion, already has committed to Maryland but participated in the Showcase because he wanted to help Suffolk win. He got his wish when Casey Hickey of Westhampton, in transition, beat Ryan Feit of Syosset, who had been spectacular in the second half, with a low bouncer to give Suffolk a 6-5 victory.

Cannon, another player who wasn't auditioning for the college coaches Thursday night, said he played "because I wanted to represent Suffolk County and I wanted to prove who is better. We showed them."

Ryan Keenan, who has committed to Penn State, also scored two goals for Suffolk. James Byrns of Massapequa, who has not made a college choice, scored four goals to lead Nassau and Patrick McCormick of Hicksville, a North Carolina recruit, had three.

McCormick scored with 1:21 left to make it 10-9 and James Farrell of Manhasset tied it with 55 seconds left. But Nassau jumped the gun on the ensuing faceoff, giving Suffolk possession and Cannon a chance to win it in the final seconds.

"Mostly, I like to be the quarterback on offense," Cannon said. Then he added with a laugh, "But with my last name, I've got to be known for my shot, too."

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