Babylon's Keven Bonilla (11) moves the ball in the second...

Babylon's Keven Bonilla (11) moves the ball in the second quarter during the Suffolk Class D boys lacrosse final between Babylon and Mattituck/Southold on Wednesday May 22, 2024. Credit: Bob Sorensen

Babylon made the Suffolk Class D final in boys lacrosse last year, then fell to Mattituck/Southold. But 2024 turned out to be the year of the Panthers.

They beat the Tuckers in a county championship game rematch Wednesday at Longwood.

Freshman midfielder Keven Bonilla delivered three goals and one assist and senior attackman/midfielder Ben Dellafranca also scored three goals, and top-seeded Babylon walked off with an 11-3 win over the No. 2 Tuckers after falling 12-5 in the 2023 title round.

“The kids took that kind of personal last year,” Panthers coach Scott Jankow said. “As soon as the fall sports season ended, we got together and practiced once, twice a week. Our slogan is ‘Play for May.’ ”

They were rewarded for their hard work and for going through hard times. It was Babylon’s first county title since 2017.

“I’ve been wishing for a county ’chip,’ county ’chip’ after county ‘chip,’ ” Dellafranca said. “We went 1-14 two years ago. Last year, we were able to step it up a little bit. And then this year, this really means a lot to me, Hunter [Busch], to all the seniors.”

So Babylon (10-5) will play for the Long Island D title at 4 p.m. next Wednesday at Hofstra against the winner of Thursday’s Nassau final between two-time defending state champ Cold Spring Harbor and Friends Academy.

Dellafranca scored three minutes into the game, beating Andrew McKenzie (10 saves) from 15 yards out off a feed from Shane Dellafranca, Ben’s brother.

Shane Dellafranca doubled the lead with a shot from a left angle with 3:28 left in the first quarter.

By halftime, it was 3-0.

Babylon, which got quality work at the faceoff X from sophomore Brady Shaw, put a quick dent in any comeback hopes.

Colin O’Brien scored 31 seconds into the second half. And 45 seconds later, Bonilla scored after a burst down the middle.

“At the half, we just all got together,” Bonilla said. “ . . . We just said, ‘Twenty-four minutes and we’re champions.’ ”

Ben Dellafranca sandwiched two more goals around O’Brien’s second, and it was 8-0.

Then Tanner Vacarella beat Patrick Costa (four saves) for the first goal for the young Tuckers (5-12) with 2:56 left in the third.

“It was a repeat from last year and they came out hungrier than we did,” coach John Amato said. “I think the lights were too bright [for us] in the beginning.”


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