EAST GREENBUSH — In less than eight minutes, Griffin King put his name among the elite performers in the history of the Section II boys’ lacrosse championship games.
His six goals during that stretch to start the second quarter turned around Friday’s Class A final that Niskayuna won 20-9 over Shenendehowa on Columbia’s turf field. King finished with nine goals to tie Niskayuna’s title-game record, and he also picked up an assist.
“He’s a smart player,” Niskayuna coach Mike Vorgang said of his junior midfielder. “He is going to make the right play, whether it’s a pass or a shot. Tonight the right play was to take the shot. They didn’t slide to him much.”
King scored single goals in every quarter but the second to pull even with Basil Daratsos, who scored nine goals when Niskayuna beat Guilderland 19-5 for the Section II Class A title in 2005. Mark Bryan had three goals and eight assists in that final, and the Silver Warriors would go on to play for their first state championship.
Both King and Daratsos scored big in a key spot. King’s six goals came in a 9-2 run that gave Niskayuna a 14-4 lead. King scored three goals 43 seconds apart. He also scored 33 seconds after a goal by Gabe Nish, and 29 seconds after another goal by Nish. Daratsos scored four goals in a 6-0 third-quarter run after Guilderland crept within 9-5.
“We moved the offense around, and they weren’t on his hands,” Vorgang said of King, who has committed to Brown. “That never happens with him. His hands were free, and he got in a groove.”
Here’s a few more clutch scoring efforts from championship games.
Of Johnstown’s 17 goals, Kevin Hunt had a part in 13 of them when the Sir Bills outlasted Schuylerville 17-14 in the 2008 Class C final. Hunt collected five goals and eight assists in the Sir Bills’ last title-game win.
Colton Barber had seven goals for the Black Horses that day in what stood as the highest-scoring final before Glens Falls and Scotia-Glenville matched it last year in a 21-10 Indians’ win (Class C)., and Glens Falls and South Glens Falls matched it again Saturday in a 17-14 Indians’ win (Class C).
REVERSAL OF FORM
Held to a single assist in a 9-1 regular-season loss to Niskayuna, Shenendehowa’s Shane Koppens produced five goals in an 8-7 overtime Class A win in 2004. One of the greats in Plainsmen lacrosse lore, Koppens notched the game-winning goal 69 seconds into overtime.
Only two Class A finals have been decided in overtime. Shenendehowa clipped Bethlehem 6-5 in double OT in 2010 when Brandon Connors tied it late in the fourth quarter and then won it.
Niskayuna’s 81-game win streak against Section II teams was stopped when Matt Stucchi generated seven goals and Owen Putman had five in Shenendehowa’s 15-14 Class A win in 2016. Stucchi scored the Plainsmen’s last goal in what is considered among the most thrilling of all large-school finals.
It wasn’t Evan Nusbaum’s point total (three goals, one assist) that stood out, but rather, when the Burnt Hills senior scored that made such a difference in the Spartans’ first title-game win in 2011. Nusbaum scored twice in a 16-second stretch late in the first half as BH-BL cut a Queensbury lead to 7-6. BH-BL ran with the momentum in a 12-9 Class B win. Nusbaum had won three Section II football titles before adding a lax title.
Lucas Quinn last year had seven goals and an assist in Niskauna’s 18-6 Class B title-game win over Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake. John Prendergast scored seven goals for Niskayuna in a 14-7 Class A title-game win against Shenendehowa in 2014.
Brian Rogers had seven goals and eight points when Shenendehowa beat Shaker 18-10 for the 2013 Class A crown. Mark Leeson had seven goals and two assists when South Glens Falls topped Burnt Hills 13-5 in the 2008 Class B final.