For the second time in as many games, Wantagh boys lacrosse saved its best play for the second half.
Ethan Insinga scored three goals and had two assists and Thomas vonBargen scored four second-half goals to lead No. 2 Wantagh over No. 3 Bethpage, 12-8, Friday afternoon in a Nassau Class C boys lacrosse semifinal at Hofstra. The score was tied at 5 at halftime, before the Warriors outscored Bethpage 7-3 in the final two quarters.
Wantagh, which also outscored Locust Valley 8-3 in the second half in its 14-9 quarterfinal win, will play No. 1 Cold Spring Harbor for the county title at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Hofstra.
“We’ve been a second-half team all year, especially in the playoffs,” Insinga said. “Our goal is to wear teams down. We came out flying in the second and we just kept going.”
“I told the guys at halftime, ‘this is why we run all those sprints and do all that conditioning,’ ” Warriors coach John Cuiffo said. “We’re made for games like this. We’re made for the heat. We played about 25 guys today, Bethpage didn’t play that many, and I think in the second half, it showed.”
Wantagh (12-5) did not take its first lead until vonBargen scored with 7:29 left in the third quarter to break a tie at 6 and spark a 3-0 Warriors run. Bethpage (11-6) responded with a pair of goals to cut the lead to 9-8, before vonBargen scored two consecutive goals and Insinga scored with 6:21 left to cap the scoring.
“We were moving the ball quicker and doing it a lot more in the second,” vonBargen said. “And it helps when you have Anthony DiMatteo winning almost every faceoff and giving us those chances.”
DiMatteo won 17 of 23 faceoffs, including 8 of 12 in the second half. DiMatteo, vonBargen, Insinga and Nick Teresky (who had two goals against Bethpage and seven against Locust Valley) are all sophomores who have played key roles for the Warriors this season.
Insinga credited the team’s seniors for allowing the underclassmen to blossom in their roles. “The seniors have been with us all the way, knowing we’re a big part of this and they want us to be a big part of this,” he said. “They’ve helped us and guided us and it’s worked out great.”
Syosset advances to Class A final. Max Verch and JP Lannig scored two goals and Anthony Celauro made six saves to lead No. 3 Syosset (10-5) to a 9-4 win over No. 2 Farmingdale in a Class A semifinal. The Braves will face No. 1 Massapequa in the championship at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
Kevin McCormick scored for Farmingdale (14-3) to cut Syosset’s lead to 5-3 early in the fourth quarter, before Jack Pucci, AJ Alexander and Verch responded with goals for Syosset to put the game away.