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Lake Norman nips Gibbons in NCHSAA men's lacrosse final
May 21, 2012North Carolina
CARY -- Lake Norman rallied in the second half and then held off Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons 9-8 in a dramatic North Carolina High School Athletic Association's state men's lacrosse championship Friday night at WakeMed Soccer Park.
Lake Norman seemed to have things under control late in the third annual championship, but Jeff Williams of Gibbons tallied with 15 seconds remaining to cut it to 9-8 and then a last second shot by the Crusaders hit the post.
Lake Norman scored twice within less than 50 seconds midway through the fourth quarter, with goals by Austin Grassey and John King breaking a 6-6 tie and giving the Wildcats the lead. The Wildcats were able to maintain possession of the ball for a good portion of the remainder of the game, although Cardinal Gibbons did have two excellent opportunities in the final 1:30 in addition to the late goal.
The game was tied at 3-3 at the end of the first quarter, but the Crusaders took command and held Lake Norman scoreless in the second period to forge a 5-3 halftime advantage. Then the Wildcats came back, rallying in the third to tie the game at 6-6.
Junior defenseman Kyle Gradert of Lake Norman, with an excellent all-around game, was selected as the game's Most Valuable Player. He scored a goal and also had a huge defensive stop in the third quarter. Gibbons goalie Pete Shammas also came up with several outstanding saves throughout the night.
The championship was a battle of undefeated teams, with Lake Norman finishing a perfect 23-0 season while Gibbons wound up 20-1.
The lacrosse state championships are currently conducted as an "open" tournament, with all classifications competing for a single crown. Myers Park and Northwest Guilford won the two previous NCHSAA men's lacrosse titles.
NCHSAA STATE MEN'S LACROSSE CHAMPIONSHIP
WAKEMED SOCCER PARK, CARY
Cardinal Gibbons 3 2 1 2 -- 8
Lake Norman 3 0 3 3 -- 9