COLONIE — Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake girls’ lacrosse coach Katie Kerner didn’t have to say much more to her team than “Last year” and “Queensbury” prior to Thursday’s Section II Class C championship game with Albany Academy.
They all knew what it meant.
“Before the game, she was saying how last year our championship game was rough,” junior midfielder Ella Blesi said following the Spartans’ 17-7 win over the Bears on the turf at CBA. “She asked us, ‘What are you going to do?’ We were hungry.”
Blesi and Maggie Lescault scored five goals apiece, MK Lescault delivered four goals, including her 100th this season, and the Spartans used a dominant first half to set the tone for the program’s seventh Section II title and fourth at the Class C level.
“Since we hadn’t seen Albany Academy before, we wanted to see what they had,” said Blesi, who, after a feeling-out process, began the Spartans offensive barrage 3:34 into the contest. “Then we kicked it into gear.”
Burnt Hills built a 13-4 halftime lead, with the Spartans opening the game with three straight goals and ending that stanza with four in a row, including a Blesi tally with 16 seconds left. There were also goals scored 11 seconds apart by Blesi and Caroline Kogut.
“Our draws helped us, and the whole game we were pushing the ball,” said MK Lescault, a junior midfielder. “We knew we were going to execute.”
Burnt Hills didn’t do that enough in last year’s area Class B final when Queensbury prevailed 17-11. In that one, the Spartans went the first nine minutes without a goal, and only twice scored consecutive goals while Queensbury did that five times.
“One of the things I said to the girls was, ‘Remember what it was like to be on this stage last year. We lost that game to Queensbury,’” Kerner said. “Today, they weren’t even looking at the scoreboard. They were just playing.”
Blesi scored all five of her goals in the first half, and assisted on goals by each of the Lescault sisters in the second half. Blesi managed a goal and two assists in Tuesday’s 17-7 semifinal win over fifth-seeded Glens Falls.
“After our last game, our coach took me aside and told me what I needed to fix,” Blesi said. “I was winding up too much on my shot. I kept it closer to my body and worked more with my wrists.”
MK Lescault and Maggie Lescault both notched three goals in the first half, with MK Lescault’s second goal booting the US Lacrosse All-American’s season total to 100.
“Before the game she [Kerner] said the returnees know how it felt last year,” said MK Lescault, who finished with a trio of assists to go with her four goals. “We had to get it together. We had to find the fire.”
“They played a full game. No plays off,” Kerner said. “That’s our motto. That’s what they did.”
Thursday’s victory which also included a three-goal, two-assist showing from Kogut capped a sensational regular season and Section II tournament run for the Spartans (15-3). They scored at least 14 goals in 15 of those wins, put together win streaks of eight and five games, and lost only to Class A Bethlehem twice — including a 10-9 setback — and to Queensbury.
“We’re getting better every game, but it’s not peaking,” Kerner said. “Even though they played well today, they can be better.”
Burnt Hills will meet Saugerties (12-2) Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Rondout Valley in a sub-regional game. Saugerties beat Goshen Thursday in the Section IX title game 11-8 behind Addiron Costello’s four goals.
“There’s a lot of excitement right now,” Kerner said. “We’ll enjoy this and then get back to work and focus on our next opponent.”
Burnt Hills won three consecutive Class C titles from 2017-19, and previously earned Class B championships in 2011, 2013 and 2014. The 17 goals scored Thursday were the most by the Spartans in a Section II championship game.
Second-seeded Albany Academy (15-3) got three goals from Emily Smith and two from Ava Sperling. A Smith tally pulled the Colonial Council champs within 6-3 in the first half before Blesi scored and Kogut notched two in a row. Kogut was among the standouts in Tuesday’s semifinal win over Glens Falls with five goals.
Later Thursday, top-seeded Schuylerville captured its second straight Section II Class D title with an 18-4 triumph over second-seeded Cohoes. Schuylerville improved to 14-2 with the win, which saw Eliza Barton register six goals and one assist, and Macey Koval add four goals and three assists.
Halftime score: Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake led 13-4. Albany Academy scoring: S. Sperling 1-0, Smith 3-0, Phelan 1-0, A. Sperling 2-0, Ottati 0-1. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake scoring: MK Lescault 4-3, Ma. Lescault 5-0, Blesi 5-2, Kogut 3-2, Tullock 0-1. Goalkeepers: Albany Academy, Pavelka, 6 saves; Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Morrison, 6 saves; Donahue, 1 save.