LATHAM — A six-goal lead at halftime of the Section II Class D boys’ lacrosse championship game seemed comfortable, but the Schuylerville Black Horses knew they’d let some opportunities for a bigger advantage slip away.
Two minutes into the second half, the lead over Stillwater/Mechanicville was 10, and the path to a Section II title was clear.
“Knowing that halftime was a little closer than we expected and wanted, we said, ‘We might as well kick in in gear in the second half,’” said Schuylerville freshman midfielder Hansen Peck, who put up two goals and six assists in an 18-8 championship win on Wednesday at Shaker High School. “We came out firing, and that’s how we had to do it.”
Ollie Bolduc scored four second-half goals for Schuylerville, including two during the Black Horses’ 4-0 burst in the first two minutes of the third quarter that made it 13-3. Zach Bowen added three goals and three assists and Nate King chipped in three goals and two assists.
Schuylerville (No. 2 seed, 14-4) advances to the state tournament, where it will face Section I’s Briarcliff in a regional final on Saturday at 10 a.m. back at Shaker.
For the Black Horses, Wednesday’s victory provided a measure of redemption after the team fell 10-9 in overtime to Johnstown in last year’s Class D final.
“Last year, we didn’t come out with this win, so this was pretty big for us — especially for those seniors and the other kids that’ve been around,” Schuylerville coach Morgan Cornell said.
Schuylerville went in front when Peck scored 51 seconds into the game and rarely looked back.
Stillwater/Mechanicville (No. 1 seed, 16-2) was rarely able to get into an offensive rhythm as Schuylerville’s aggressive ride forced a litany of turnovers and seldom led the No. 1 seed get settled.
“We knew that if we worked out freaking guts off and did our best to get on guys’ hands, have the [longstick defenders] carry and lock up those middies, then we’re going to have them make decisions that aren’t the best decisions — and it worked in our favor,” Cornell said.
“It was definitely important,” King said, “to make sure we were riding hard.”
Stillwater/Mechanicville coach Rip Carlin could see his team — in just its second year at the varsity level as a merged program — often had trouble getting out of extended funks.
“I’ve been preaching all year that it comes down to details, and stacking up the details,” Carlin said. “Some of the things we weren’t too keen on at times. It’s a young program, second year at the varsity level. There’s plenty of potential, plenty of talent. It’s just a matter of getting that lax IQ built up so we can be in better positions.”
Schuylerville 4 5 6 3 — 18
Stillwater/Mechanicville 1 2 3 2 — 8
Schuylerville scoring: King 3-2, Bowen 3-3, Ol. Bolduc 4-0, Peck 2-6, Ot. Bolduc 2-2, Abruscato 2-0. Stillwater/Mechanicville scoring: Dyer 3-0, Paffen 0-2, Marinello 2-0, Sgambati 3-0, Robinson 0-2. Goalies: Schuylerville, Harrison, 6 saves. Stillwater/Mechancville, Halse, 18 saves.