ALBANY — Stevie Finnell and Jack Archer provided all the offense that Garden City needed to punch its ticket to another state final.
Archer and Finnell each scored four goals as the defending state champs defeated Niskayuna, 12-6, in the state Class B boys lacrosse semifinals on Friday night at the University of Albany.
Garden City will face Victor (Section V) in the state championship game at 12:30 p.m. Sunday at Hofstra.
“It’s pretty special to get back to this game,” Finnell said. “It’s right in our backyard at Hofstra — that makes it even better.”
Archer scored two consecutive goals in the second quarter that tied it at 4 with 3:44 left in the half. Finnell scored with 1:36 remaining left to give Garden City a 5-4 lead at halftime.
“We were man-up and they fed me when I went inside,” Finnell said. “Everyone collapsed on me, and we lost the ball, but I got it back and went lefty.”
Davey Caroll scored for Niskayuna with 6:48 left in the third, ending a 19-minute scoring drought and tying it at 5. Andrew Ottomeneli scored a minute later as Garden City regained a 6-5 lead.
“We started to possess the ball better, win some more face-offs,” Garden City coach Steve Finnell said. “RJ Vortruba, Brayden Robertiello did a nice job and Cole Webber was unbelievable on the wing.”
Archer and Finnell scored back-to-back goals in the final two minutes of the third quarter to make it 8-5. They both hit the four-goal mark in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, and it was 10-5.
“The defense played amazing, letting up just two goals over the last three quarters,” Archer said. “They really locked in and just executed what we wanted to do.”
Carson Kraus and Henry Gibbons added goals in the fourth quarter. James Paisley and Finnell each scored goals in the first quarter, which ended with Garden City trailing 4-2.
“Doing this is a lot harder than I think most people realize,” the elder Finnell said. “My coaches do an unbelievable job and the kids buy in and sacrifice a lot.”
Garden City’s win helped complete a Nassau sweep in the state semifinals, as Farmingdale, Manhasset and Cold Spring Harbor all advanced to their respective championship games.
“Long Island is the pinnacle of lacrosse,” Archer said. “All our teams winning shows that we’re a hotbed.”