Brendan Grimes, Chris Brandau and Peyton Giberson give the Lakers the edge over top-ranked McDonogh (VIDEO HERE!)
by Gary Adornato
Already a star as a sophomore, Boys’ Latin attackman Brendan Grimes took another huge step towards the forefront, Tuesday evening at Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium, as he and classmate Peyton Giberson, as well as and senior goalkeeper Chris Brandau, keyed the fourth-ranked Lakers’ 8-5 win over No. 1 McDonogh School in the MIAA A Conference lacrosse semifinals.
The victory, which reversed a one goal loss to the Eagles during the regular season, vaulted the fourth-ranked Lakers into the league championship game, Friday night at Towson.
Tuesday’s other semifinal, between No. 2 Calvert Hall College and third-ranked Loyola Blakefield was postponed until Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. due to thunderstorms which struck the area shortly after the conclusion of the first semifinal.
Grimes needed just nine seconds to score the first of his game-high four goals as Giberson, who won 11-of-16 draws, scooped the opener, delivered a pass to Brendan Crouse, on the break, and Crouse fed Grimes on the right side for a lightening quick strike and a 1-0 BL lead.
McDonogh, however, got the equalizer from Jack Simmons, 94 seconds later, and then got a pair of goals in the final minute of the first period, one each from Liam Powderly and Jack Sweeney to get the early 3-1 advantage.
When the second quarter got underway, Giberson’s brilliance became evident as he won four of five draws, allowing the Lakers to own possession for a majority of the quarter and they capitalized with four unanswered goals, including two by Grimes to claim a 5-3 halftime advantage. Grimes also assisted on a score by Crouse during the flurry and Konner Caplin, with a feed from Cole Erickson, provided the other.
“We picked up some ground balls, we got great goalie play and we settled into the game a little bit,” said Boys’ Latin coach Brian Farrell in explaining how his team battled back. “Some guys started to win their individual match-ups.”
The streak stretched to six straight BL scores, in the third quarter, as Basil Aburn, from Crouse, and Grimes pushed the Laker lead to 7-3. Matt Hilgartner got both of those goals back for the Eagles, in the final four minutes of the third, but McDonogh would not score again.
“We didn’t have the ball much early, but we were able to hold it for most the second and throughout the whole game we were able to capitalize on our possessions,” said Grimes. “We did a really good job of making some slides come to us. After some slides we did a really good job of moving the ball and finding an open man on the crease.”
The Eagles did turn up the heat in the fourth quarter but so did Brandeau in the goal, as the senior recorded five of his 11 saves, several of the brilliant variety to help the Lakers close it out. With 6:08 remaining, Ericsson score an unassisted tally to set the final score.
“They got up on us early, but our defense did a good job of regrouping,” said Brandeau. “We packed it in and played really tight, making their offense uncomfortable. We did a good job of getting aggressive and getting sticks on their gloves to make their shooters take shots they did not want to take. It made the goalie’s job easier. I think the defense played incredible. They should be getting a lot of credit for that.”
“He’s a phenomenal young man,” Farrell said of his net-minder. “He has worked tirelessly to be where he is as a lacrosse goalie and he’s one of the best leaders you will ever meet, and one of the best kids you will meet. We’re real proud of him.”
McDonogh coach Andy Hilgartner explained what he saw.
“They dominated face-offs, especially in that second quarter, and I think we had two possessions the whole second quarter,” said Hilgartner, who was trying to lead the Eagles into the final for a third straight year. “I kind of figured coming into the game that X factor was going to be Brandau in the nets and he was sensational, as he has been all year. Any good opportunities we had, he took away from us.”
Hilgartner praised his 19 seniors for what they achieved in their careers, as well as the Lakers for their performance on Tuesday.
“I just give them a lot of credit,” he said. “They were smart offensively. They took advantage of every lapse we had, but when you’re getting the ball that often… Credit to them; they played hard, they dodged hard. They did a great job picking up the ground balls in the open field.”
Farrell said his team did a good job in executing.
“We felt we had some decent match-ups,” said Farrell. “McDonogh has so much talent, it was really hard to pick where we were going to attack. We just wanted to play selfless lacrosse, not force anything, make the right pass and find the open man. I am really proud how we moved the ball.”
MIAA A CONFERENCE LACROSSE SEMIFINAL
at Johnny Unitas Stadium
NO. 4 BOYS’ LATIN SCHOOL 8, NO. 1 MCDONOGH SCHOOL 5
BL 1 4 2 1 — 8
McD 5 0 2 0 — 5
GOALS: BL-Brendan Grimes 4, Brendan Crouse, Cole Ericson, Konner Caplin, Basil Aburn; MCD-Matt Hilgartner 2, Jack Sweeney, Jack Simmons, Liam Powderly.
ASSISTS: BL-Brendan Crouse 2, Cole Ericson, Brendan Grimes; MCD-Jack Simmons, Dane Swanson, Nathan Walsh.
SAVES: BL-Chris Brandeau 11; MCD-Evan Long 5.
SHOTS: McDonogh, 38-30.
GROUND BALLS: Boys’ Latin, 21-14.