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Ballston Spa defends lacrosse title

Ballston Spa defends lacrosse title

Scotties complete sweep of BH-BL
Ballston Spa defends lacrosse title
The Ballston Spa boys' lacrosse team celebrates after winning the Section II Class B title Friday.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber/Gazette Photographer

EAST GREENBUSH — Round three between Route 50 rivals Ballston Spa and Burnt Hills-Ballston Spa had same outcome as the first two, but it was nowhere near the same.

The Scotties needed a second half push to gain the upper hand, and fended off a final gasp by the Spartans to win their second consecutive Section II Class B lacrosse championship Friday at Columbia High School.

Ballston Spa prevailed 13-7, after rolling to 18-9 and 15-2 victories over its neighbor during the regular season.

"That's the best they played, for sure," Ballston Spa coach Lucas Snow said. "We knew we were going to see something different."

University at Albany commit Darien LaPietro played only his second game for BH-BL after sustaining a shoulder injury early in the season and collected two goals and two assists. His first goal capped a 3-0 run that had Burnt Hills trailing 6-4 late in the second quarter.

"They had a couple of kids coming back. Darien, and some long poles that missed our last game with them," Ballston Spa senior Ethan Thomas said. "We knew they'd be better."

But not quite good enough to derail the balanced Scotties (No. 1 seed, 14-4), who got three goals and three assists from Demetri Yerou, three goals and two assists from Peyton Walsh and a hat trick and an assist from Thomas. Thomas had the first and last goals in a key 4-0 spurt to begin the third quarter as the Scotties advantage grew to 11-4.

"We wanted a good start to the [second] half," said Thomas. "We wanted to put the metal to the pedal, and we wanted to keep playing like that."

Burnt Hills (No. 3, 10-8) wanted something else, and in a display of determination, strung three goals to get within 11-7 early in the fourth. JD Townsend notched two of those goals and LaPietro had one in between.

"They [Burnt Hills] made us work for it," Ballston Spa assistant coach Jason Ohnsman said. "We knew they had some seniors over there. They knew what was on the line."

Townsend delivered the final goal for BH-BL with 8:39 left in the fourth. Ballston Spa padded its lead afterward on goals by Walsh and Yerou. Lucas Bennice set both of them up, and finished with two goals and four assists for the state's No. 12 team.

"We were right there," LaPietro said. "It's tough."

.Ballston Spa will meet the Section I champion John Jay-Cross River in a sub-regional game Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Columbia. The Scotties went 1-1 in regional competition last year with a win over Warwick and then a loss to John Jay after knocking off Queensbury for their first Section II title.

"We wanted a two-peat," said Thomas, one of only six seniors on the Ballston Spa roster. "We lost a good class and had a lot of doubters. We used that as motivation."

Ballston Spa led 4-1 after one quarter and 6-1 in the second after a pair of goals by Yerou. Caden LaPietro scored twice for BH-BL before his older brother made it 6-4.

Antonio Rossetti gave Ballston Spa a 7-4 halftime lead, and Bennice and Walsh also scored when the Scotties strung their four goals to begin the second half.

"We've got a hard working group of guys," said Darien LaPietro. "I'm proud of all of them."

Burnt Hills goalkeeper Chris Serafini was one of the reasons the game was close, with the senior's 15 saves including five in the first quarter and four in the second quarter.

Burnt Hills won Section II titles in 2016 (against Ballston Spa) and 2011 (against Queensbury), yet hurt itself Friday with eight penalties.

BH-BL 1 3 2 1 — 7

Ballston Spa 4 3 4 2 — 13

Burnt Hills scoring: McHerron 0-1, C. LaPietro 2-0, D. LaPietro 2-2, Townsend 3-0. Ballston Spa scoring: Bennice 2-4, Thomas 3-1, Yerou 3-3, Rossetti 1-1, Walsh 3-2, Gottmann 1-0.

Goalkeepers: Burnt Hills, Serafini, 15 saves. Ballston Spa, Dort, 11 saves.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Jim Schiltz at 518-395-3143, [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.

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