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Northport's Emerson Payne scores late to take LI Class A boys lacrosse championship

Northport FO Tyler Kuprianchik wins the face off

Northport FO Tyler Kuprianchik wins the face off over Syosset FO Luca Accardo, Saturday, June 19, 2021, at the Long Island Class A boys lacrosse final at East Islip. Credit: George A Faella

Emerson Payne took a long pass in transition and saw all the green grass in front of him.

With a little more than two minutes remaining and a one-goal lead, he had a split-second decision to make.

"It looked like a normal fast break and none of the defenders were coming at me and I said this is the chance," he said. "It was a close game and it looked like an empty net and I just had to put it in."

Payne fired the shot and paid the price, taking a big hit to score the winning goal in Northport’s 11-10 win over Syosset to capture the Long Island Class A boys lacrosse championship Saturday at East Islip Middle School.

After momentarily being down on the field, the Northport faithful chanted his name as he walked back to the sideline.

"That was amazing," Payne said. "I felt like it was the culmination of all the work put in since the second grade. There were no words to describe how it felt."

The Tigers got off to a quick start in a first quarter in which both teams peppered the back of the net with goals.

Mike Meyer scored in transition off an assist from Ryan McCarthy to put Northport (15-3) ahead 6-2, which marked the largest lead either team would have.

After that, Syosset (12-3) slowly took control, scoring seven of the next nine goals. They finally took a lead when Danny Garone scored his third of the game to put Syosset ahead 9-8 midway through the third quarter.

"We had a little lapse in the middle of the game but we never stopped working," Meyer said. "We just never gave up and hard work has been our motto all year."

Jack Helrigel tied the score for Northport later in the third and found a cutting Tristan Triolo with 11:15 remaining in the game to give the Tigers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

"It’s an honor for me to be in the middle of those plays," Helrigel said. "We’ve been working toward this since the beginning of the season and we manifested it and knew it was going to come."

The win gave Northport its first Long Island championship since 2002.

"This season wasn’t easy," Northport coach Larry Cerasi said. "It was jam packed, so as coaches we had to be smart and manage their health. Our start wasn’t great. We were 2-3 and we kind of started to have a little bit of doubt. But then we came together and rallied and we went on a run."

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