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Brendon Richardson’s four goals help SJB defeat St. Dominic

St. John the Baptist's Brendon Richardson (5) carries

St. John the Baptist's Brendon Richardson (5) carries the ball upfield in the fourth quarter during a CHSAA boys lacrosse game against St. Dominic on Tuesday, May 10, 2016, at St. John the Baptist High School. Credit: Bob Sorensen

Brendon Richardson was mid-answer during a postgame interview Tuesday, sharing his thoughts on St. John the Baptist’s second straight CHSAA ‘AA’ regular-season title.

He had just scored four goals. Three came in the third quarter, and the last sparked a 21-second, fourth-quarter burst in which his boys lacrosse team scored three times and opened a seven-goal lead in the clinching 15-10 win over St. Dominic.

So as Richardson spoke, two teammates rewarded their second-half star with a surprise. They dumped ice water on him, drenching him and sending the team and its fans into a frenzy.

“That says it all,” Richardson said, flashing a wide smile.

The Cougars (3-0) fell to Iona Prep in last year’s intersectional championship. The memories from that loss fueled this team, which knew winning the regular-season title could help secure a favorable seed in the intersectional bracket and a trip upstate.

They were right about the former, at least. Coach Tom Gilmartin said St. John the Baptist will take a bye into intersectionals as the No. 1 seed.

“This was our main goal coming into the season,” Richardson said. “We wanted to make it a two-peat. To end up doing it, it feels great.”

After St. Dominic’s Jack Pucci (four goals) scored 31 seconds into the game, St. John the Baptist went on an 8-2 run and took an 8-5 lead into halftime. Corey McMahon scored three of his four goals during that stretch.

With a man-down in the first two minutes of the second half, Cougars goalie Jack White (12 saves) made a pair of point-blank stops. Kyle Portera (two goals, two assists) and Richardson followed with goals at the 8:16 and 7:38 marks to open a 10-5 lead.

St. Dominic (1-3), which battled out of a 12-5 hole before falling 14-12 in its first match with St. John the Baptist, cut the gap to 12-8 on Pucci’s goal with 6:36 left in the fourth quarter. Shortly after a timeout, Stephen Becker (two goals, three assists) fed Richardson, who cut down the middle and scored with 3:58 left. McMahon followed 12 seconds later and Becker capped the spurt at the 3:37 mark.

All this to avoid feeling as they did after last year’s intersectionals.

“Honestly, losing does help,” McMahon said. “I think we have more of a chip on our shoulder to come out in big games and pick it up.”

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