The method was the same; the results, however, were stunningly different.
“We didn’t exactly reinvent the wheel,” Garden City coach Steve Finnell said. But the Trojans certainly spun a different tale after falling behind by foul goals late in the second quarter.
Jamie Atkinson and Finn Gibbons scored three goals each and J.P. Basile had two goals and three assists as the Trojans rallied to outlast host Shoreham-Wading River, 12-11, Saturday before a large crowd in the annual Lax Out Cancer non-league game. For the occasion and to raise awareness of cancer, SWR (11-3) wore pink jerseys and GC (11-3) wore pink socks.
“We hadn’t been playing to our full potential, and it was a little frustrating,” said Gibbons, who scored all of his goals in the second half, including what proved to be the winner with 6:33 left. “We didn’t do anything different. We just executed better. We got a little bit relaxed, slung the ball around and played our game.”
The slinging began right after Kevin Cutinella scored the third of his five goals to give the Wildcats a 7-3 lead with 1:36 left in the half. “His shot is ridiculous,” Finnell said of Cutinella, who burned the Trojans for four goals in SWR’s Long Island Class B championship game victory over Garden City last year.
But Atkinson scored two goals in 24 seconds to make it 7-5 at the half, and Garden City was just getting started. The Trojans took an 8-7 lead with three goals in 14 seconds — by Basile, Sean Coughlin and Gibbons — and concluded a remarkable 7-0 run on goals by Gibbons and Kiernan Gunn, both on feeds from Basile.
“Jamie and J.P. are four-year starters. Finn is a three-year starter. They’ve been around,” Finnell said. “You need your veteran guys if you’re going to make a run.”
The Wildcats had veterans who also produced. Cutinella, a senior, scored a man-up goal with a blast from the top of the slot to make it 10-8. After Luke Keating scored unassisted for Garden City, seniors Colin Flannery and Chris Gray (third of the game, Long Island-leading 64th of the season) answered to make it 11-10 with 7:27 left.
Less than a minute later, Gibbons gave Garden City a two-goal lead by scoring from close range. “We were trying to slow the ball down a little, but we had numbers,” Gibbons said.
Cutinella scored from the top slot on a feed from Tim Cairo (three assists) to make it 12-11 with 5:48 left. But the Trojans used two long possessions and solid defense to effectively run out the clock without another shot on goal by either team.
“We have a lot of good shooters,” Gibbons said.
It just took a while to hit their targets.