In the end, it was too much Shack Stanwick for No. 2 St. Paul’s School to handle when the Boys’ Latin School lacrosse star scored three goals and added six assists in the No. 1 Lakers’ 18-12 triumph Tuesday afternoon at Duncan Smith Field in Roland Park.
The senior headed to Johns Hopkins University had plenty of help, mind you, including a big boost from face-off specialist Hunter Moreland in helping BL finish its second consecutive unbeaten regular season and earn its 35th victory in its last 36 games.
The Lakers (16-0, 9-0 MIAA A) are the again the odds-on favorite to claim their first MIAA A crown since 2006. Boys’ Latin missed a chance at a crown and the mythical national title last year, losing to Loyola Blakefield in the title match at Unitas Stadium.
Tuesday, the top-seeded Lakers return to the U where they will play McDonogh School-St. Mary’s winner in a semifinal contest. The Eagles and Saints meet in the opening round Friday afternoon in Owings Mills.
St. Paul’s (12-6, 7-2 MIAA A) will enjoy a bye as the No. 2 seed. The Crusaders will meet the Calvert Hall College-Gilman School survivor from Friday’s other quarterfinal match.
The Lakers were sizzling early Tuesday in beating St. Paul’s for the fourth year in a row, jumping out to a 12-3 halftime advantage fueled by Moreland’s domination at the face-off X and Stanwick’s eagle-eye feeds.
Having jumped ahead, 7-2, after the opening period, BL scored five of the game’s next six goals with Moreland winning six consecutive draws — and even scoring once just seconds after winning a face-off — while Stanwick notched a goal and an assist.
“Just like the game against Gilman (a 15-9 victory last Friday), everyone was ready to play,” said Stanwick, the consensus No. 1 recruit in the nation. “We got off to a good start early, but credit St. Paul’s for making it a close game in the fourth quarter.”
The second half was more to the Crusaders’ liking, considering they outscored the Lakers 9-6 during that span.
“I think they scored seven or eight goals just in the fourth quarter (actually six, to the Lakers’ three),” Stanwick added. “I think we might end up seeing them again, and hopefully, we can stop that from happening again.”
As is usually the case with St. Paul’s, senior attackman Mikey Wynne was its most dangerous weapon. The Notre Dame recruit scored the first two goals of the final period to finish with a team-high five (and one assist) as the visitors cut a nine-goal deficit to five with five minutes remaining.
The bottom line, though, was Moreland’s success at the X, especially before halftime, winning 15 of 17 faceoffs. The Hopkins-bound star did not take as many draws in the second half because Lakers coach Bob Shriver chose to rest the senior’s gimpy knee.
“Fifteen of 17 (faceoffs) Hunter won in the second half,” St. Paul’s coach Rick Brocato said. “When you give a team like that that many possessions, they’re going to score. But he’s been doing that all year. We didn’t have an answer for him.”
Stanwick’s fellow attackmen Patrick Spencer, Colin Chell and Devin Shewell combined for four goals and three assists while seniors Keegan O’Connor (3 goals) and Tally Bruno (2) led the charge from the midfield.
In addition to Wynne’s outburst, junior attackman Carter Flaig recorded three goals for the Crusaders.
No. 1 Boys’ Latin School 18, No. 2 St. Paul’s School 12
Goals: St. Paul’s – Anderson, Wynne 5, Flaig 3, Riehl, Pollard, Witzler; Boys’ Latin – Stanwick 3, Chell 3, Moyer, O’Connor 3, Bruno 2, Peters, Brown 2, Shewell, Dempsey, Moreland
Assists: St. Paul’s – Anderson 2, Wynne, Rockhill
Saves: St. Paul’s – Barretto 13; Boys’ Latin – Pezzulla 10
St. Paul’s 2 1 3 6 – 12
Boys’ Latin 7 5 3 3 – 18