The Northport team celebrates their Class A victory at the...

The Northport team celebrates their Class A victory at the Suffolk boys lacrosse finals on Tuesday, May 30, 2023 at LaValle Statidum in Stony Brook. Credit: Dawn McCormick

Nick Tzimas knew he’d regret it if he didn’t say something.

The senior on Northport’s defense found words to rally his teammates during halftime of Tuesday night’s Suffolk Class A boys lacrosse championship at Stony Brook University’s Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.

Trailing 1-0 after 24 minutes, Tzimas and the No. 3 Tigers only allowed one second-half goal to No. 5 Smithtown East and won 5-2 for their third consecutive county title.

“I was scared, and I think everyone was scared,” Tzimas said about his halftime message. “But we can’t let that fear destroy us. We can use it to be better and drive us to achieve things that we didn’t think were possible.”

Michael Tittmann stopped six shots, and Luca Elmaleh scored twice with an assist for Northport (16-3), which didn’t score until the 9:25 mark of the third quarter.

The Smithtown East (12-7) zone defense prevented Northport from finding open looks in close, and Brendan Carroll made 12 saves.

But Tzimas’ words at halftime impacted his teammates. Tied at 2 after the third quarter, Logan Cash snapped a righthanded bounce shot past Carroll and gave Northport a 3-2 lead with 4:53 left in the fourth.

“We were shooting high the whole game, and I tried changing it up a little at the end,” Cash said.

“Once we got our outside shots flying [Smithtown East] started respecting us more and making more space for us to go in through the crease,” Elmaleh said. “We had the momentum out of the second half and just kept it.”

Long stick midfield Andrew Miller fired a lefthanded shot from 15 yards out and expanded Northport’s lead to 4-2 with 3:39 left. Elmaleh scored his second with 25 seconds to play.

Brendon Marz and Cameron James scored for Smithtown East, who beat No. 4 Huntington and No. 1 Connetquot to reach the Suffolk final.

Tzimas guarded Smithtown East’s top scorer Ryan Rooney and prevented him from finding the net. Miller gathered six ground balls between defensive positioning and playing the wing on faceoffs.

“We studied that team a lot. We made sure we understood their cuts, their plays and what they wanted to do,” Miller said. “We just put our guys on their guys and won the battles today. Tzimas played great on their best player, and we all played together as a unit.”

Northport, which reached the Class A state final last spring, has won the Suffolk Class A crown all three seasons of Larry Cerasi’s tenure as coach.

Cerasi credited the Northport community, players’ parents and alumni support, along with senior leaders, such as Miller and Tzimas, for the program’s success.

"It's been a great ride, and we hope to continue," Cerasi said.

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