BURNT HILLS — Using good ball movement, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake’s boys’ lacrosse team had Scotia-Glenville right where it wanted Monday.
The second-seeded Spartans scored two of their first four goals on fast breaks, saw each other well the whole game and assisted six of their goals in a 14-2 Section 2 Class C semifinal win.
Burnt Hills (9-8) will play top-seeded South Glens Falls (15-2) in the championship at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Shaker — a rematch of last year’s final won by Burnt Hills on its way to the state semifinals.
After Colden Swisher’s goal put Burnt Hills ahead 1-0, he struck again by finishing a fast break on a pass from fellow attackman Shane McClernan with 9:02 left in the first quarter. Then the Spartans notched their third goal 21 seconds later on the first of midfielder Ryan Lussier’s four goals. On another fast break with 7:10 left, McClernan fed Jackson Frame for the score and a 4-0 lead.
“We’re picking up [the ball movement], we’re getting there,” Burnt Hills coach Jason LaPietro said. “There’s definitely some stuff we’ve got to work on [Tuesday] in that regard.”
That may be, but it looked crisp enough to Scotia-Glenville.
“They are a very skilled team,” Tartans coach Brett Campbell said. “Our game plan was to try and slow them down, and unfortunately, with the skill they have and the way they move the ball, it’s hard to stick with it.”
Burnt Hills led 6-0 after the first, but showed its quick-strike ability more in the second quarter. Cody Sharp scored at 8:07, and then freshman Ronan Kuhn scored 15 seconds later to make it 8-0. The Spartans’ ninth and 10th goals later in the quarter came 38 seconds apart.
Scotia-Glenville hurt itself with several long clearing pass attempts that didn’t reach their target.
“We struggled with the clears a little bit this year, especially when they put a lot more pressure on our clears than other teams do. It made it harder for our guys to get open, and feeling you’re running out of time, you’ve got to get up and down the field,” Campbell said.
Scotia-Glenville got on the scoreboard with 1:51 left in the third on Nick Lemp’s goal. Dylan Bzdell scored the other one in the fourth quarter, and goalie Bryce Layton was sharp in the cage, making 17 saves.
Another reason Burnt Hills was so hard to stop Monday was because of its faceoff tandem of Lussier and Kuhn, who won 14 of 20 faceoffs.
“They both did a great job, so it was good to see them both have success, good to have the ball in the offensive end,” LaPietro said.
Having lost a bunch of players from last year’s team to graduation, the Spartans feel like it’s finally starting to come together as intended.
“We’ve been getting better game by game,” Lussier said. “We haven’t had our whole team until now because of suspensions and injuries, so we’re finally getting everyone back. We have real good chemistry because everyone’s been playing with each other since second or third grade.”
“We’re still figuring out parts of things, but yeah, there are guys that have stepped up and done some things, younger guys. We played six freshmen in the first half today, so it’s a good thing. … We talked about this thing being a puzzle in the beginning, and we’re getting the pieces where they need to be. Now we’ve just got to stay focused and get through things.”
For Campbell, this year’s team was an improvement.
“My defense and goalie are all seniors, but the rest of the field is filled with a lot of underclassmen,” Campbell said. “I have a lot of skilled players coming back; just have to replace that defense, which is always a challenge to do.
“Good season,” Campbell added, “finished 9-8 this year. Last year I think we were 6-10. Last year we were, I think, sixth in the Foothills. This year we were fourth, so a little improvement there as well.”
Scotia-Glenville 0 0 1 1 – 2
BH-BL 6 5 1 2 – 14
Scotia-Glenville scoring: Lemp 1-0, Bzdell 1-0. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake scoring: Lussier 4-0, Swisher 3-2, McClernan 2-2, Tullock 1-0, Sharp 1-0, Frame 1-0, Olsen 1-0, Kuhn 1-0, Donahue 0-2. Goalies: Scotia-Glenville, Layton, 17 saves. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Pickard, 2 saves; Swift, 1 save; Skinner, 2 saves.
Contact Will Springstead at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @WLSpringstead.
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