Garden City boys repeat as state lacrosse champs, 13-8
PITTSFORD, N.Y. - To Garden City's lacrosse players, the boos were like cheers, supplying sweet background music to a triumphant, well-orchestrated performance.
"We tried to block them out, but we heard them. We just kept doing what we do. It's what got us here," senior attack Justin Guterding said.
What the Trojans did was draw the ire of a large group of fans from Jamesville-Dewitt who made the hour-and-a-half trip from the Syracuse area expecting to see their team's high-powered offense light up the scoreboard.
Instead, Garden City won its second consecutive state Class B boys lacrosse championship and sixth in school history with a 13-8 victory Saturday, utilizing a patient, precise offensive approach to control the clock and dominating the faceoff "X'' to control possession. On an unseasonably cold, damp day on the campus of St. John Fisher College near Rochester, the Trojans were in concert all afternoon.
"This feels amazing. Our team chemistry just kept getting better and better," said junior Cody George, who was voted the game's offensive MVP with a five-goal, one-assist performance. "I tried to tune out the boos, but they gave us more confidence."
That's because every time the crowd booed, it meant Garden City was doing what it does best -- maintaining possession, denying the Red Rams scoring opportunities and, by the way, scoring eight goals in the third quarter to break open a game that was tied at 3 at halftime.
George and Jack Worstell each scored twice during the surge, which also included a solo dash by defenseman Ed Blatz and a goal by Lucas Clay off a feed from George that made it 9-3. That deficit was too much to overcome, even for Jamesville-Dewitt (20-2), which averaged 18 goals a game entering the state final.
"Their offense is unbelievable, but our defense did an incredible job," said Guterding, who had two goals and three assists and finished with a team-leading 102 points. "We kept our cool and kept doing what we do. It won us a state championship."
So did the work of sophomore faceoff specialist James Sullivan, whose stirring solo acts helped keep the ball out of the hands of dangerous attacks Jordan Evans (80 goals, 180 points) and Griffin Feiner (95 goals), who scored only one goal each Saturday after totaling 17 points in the semifinal game. Sullivan won 18 of 25 draws, including the first six of the third quarter as the Trojans took control.
"It feels amazing to repeat, and to do it after so many people doubted us makes it feel 10 times better," said George, who revealed that he broke his hand in the team's first playoff game and shifted from midfield to attack "because I couldn't play much defense."
The switch worked out well as George has been a solid second scoring option to Guterding throughout the playoffs. He had three goals and two assists, including the feed that set up the game-winner, in Wednesday's 10-9 semifinal victory over Niskayuna.
"I'm pretty comfortable at attack," George said.
The Trojans made it thoroughly uncomfortable for the Syracuse-bound Evans, who had the third-highest-scoring season in state history but was held to two points by the duo of Blatz and Scott D'Antonio.
"That was a two-man job and we have two great defensemen," said Garden City coach Steve Finnell, dripping from a chillier-than-usual postgame ice-water dousing in 60-degree temperatures.
Solos, duets and a full symphony of complementary players all shared the stage for Garden City Saturday.
"Everyone knew their job and everyone did their job," Guterding said.
It was enough to mute a discordant chorus.