With so many potent scorers on the field for Connetquot and the ball moving as if it were on a roulette wheel, sometimes you just have to wait for your number to come up. “Be patient,” midfielder Steven Pinto kept telling himself.
G.Q. Grippo, Tyler Cordes and George Wichelns were hot in the first three quarters, but Pinto knew his time would come. He scored three of his four goals in the fourth quarter, including the winner with 3:39 left, as Connetquot outlasted host Huntington, 15-14, on Friday in a Suffolk I lacrosse shootout.
“It was the best time of my life,” Pinto said of playing in a fast-paced game that was tied 11 times before the Thunderbirds improved to 4-0. “We had to value every possession.”
That’s because the Blue Devils (0-4) matched Connetquot goal for goal, thanks to Garrett Moya (four goals, four assists) and Colby Martin (four goals), and took a 12-10 lead early in the fourth quarter.
But the T-birds tied it with goals 16 seconds apart by Pinto and Jerry Millan. Then, in an extra-man situation, Pinto took a feed from Justin Crowe and finished with a shot from the perimeter for a 13-12 lead.
Despite being closely guarded, Moya scored unassisted on a turnaround shot with 7:40 left to tie it for the last time. Michael Carere, on another feed from Crowe, untied it. Two minutes later, Pinto raced down the field in transition, whipped it to Cordes on the right wing, cut to the slot and finished a give-and-go from Cordes to make it 15-13 with 3:39 left. “My guy slid off me and Tyler passed it to me for a dunk,” Pinto said.
Moya scored on a spin dodge with 2:15 left but was stopped by Andrew Pinto a minute later, the Blue Devils’ final scoring chance.
“We have a bunch of hard-working young guys and we move the ball,” Connetquot coach Brett Jeffares said. One of those young players, Cordes, is only a freshman, but he played like a veteran with three goals and three assists.
“He’s a real strong ninth-grader who made some solid dodges to score,” Jeffares said. “He did a real nice job with the matchups.”
So did Steven Pinto, Cordes, Grippo, Crowe (two goals, two assists) and Wichelns (one goal, five assists). “George and Justin work well from behind [the cage],” Jeffares said. Which allowed the Thunderbirds to come from behind.