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By MIKE FLANAGAN

BOSTON — It was about as crazy and electric of an atmosphere as a high school lacrosse game possibly could be on Friday night in Dorchester, Mass. The No. 1 team in the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) St. John’s Prep (Danvers, Mass.), traveled to Boston College High School (Boston. Mass.) in a rematch, with the Catholic Conference regular-season championship on the line.

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Entering at 7-1 (all conference games) with their only defeat of the season coming to Prep (14-5) back on May 17th, BC High needed a win to have any chance at a conference title in 2021. A win against St. John’s Prep (9-1) followed by a St. John’s Prep loss to Catholic Memorial on June 8 would give BC High the outright league title. A win against Prep along with a Prep win against CM would result in both Eagles teams sharing the conference title as co-champs. 

After a back-and-forth game, which saw the lead change hands on numerous occasions, it would BC High who would end it in overtime, on a Carter Rice (Syracuse, Laxachusetts) goal with 1:23 remaining in the extra frame – giving BC High an 8-7 victory.

Horton Anchors the D

Unlike the first matchup between these two heavyweights where Prep’s offense had its way with BC’s defense, Friday’s rematch displayed the significant improvements made to BC’s defensive unit.

“Coach {Michael} O’Brien did an awesome job,” said head coach Marcus Craigwell of his defensive coordinator following the game. “We respected them but at the same time, we wanted to execute our defense. We packed it in tight with a lot of communication and that resulted in making key stops.”

“They were awesome,” Rice said following the game. “Our defense was incredible. They were the reason why we were in this game. They stepped up and gave our offensive guys a chance.”

Throughout the first two quarters, BC’s defense held Prep’s high-powered offense to just two goals to go along with eight first-half saves made by goalie Jamie Horton (Laxachusetts). Jamie’s twin brother and BC midfielder, Vincent Horton (High Point, Laxachusetts), opened the scoring just 2:40 in. A lefty snipe by Will Emsing (Kings) at the tail end of the first quarter along with a nice dodge and lefty bouncer down the right alley by Kevin Sheahan (Hawks, Bentley) gave BC a 3-2 lead at halftime. 

SJ Prep’s Resitance

Luke Surette tied the game at three for St. John’s Prep in the opening minute of the third quarter by finishing a feed from Michael Kelly (Princeton, 3D) up high. Tim Rogers (True) gave BC back the lead about two minutes later at 4-3, bouncing home a feed from Rice off transition. Prep responded almost immediately, however, as a quick-stick finish by Lucas Verrier (Laxachusetts) at the net-mouth off a feed from Thomas Sarni (3D, Providence) at X tied the game at four for Prep at the end of three quarters. 

Jimmy Ayers (3D) gave Prep its first lead of the game at 5-4 with 7:17 to play by finishing an inside feed from Sarni stick-side high. Patrick Atkins (Fighting Clams, Connecticut College) stung home a shot just 1:20 later from the center-box to make it a two-goal game and give Prep a little breathing room at 6-4. 

Following a man-up goal by Owen Porter (Dickinson, Laxachusetts) cut the deficit down to one for BC, Prep’s Charlie Wilmot (3D) buried an empty-netter to deliver what appeared to be the dagger, giving SJP a 7-5 lead with 1:27 to play.

BC High Fights Back

Connor Kelly (Richmond, 3D) won a ground-ball battle on the ensuing face-off to give Prep possession and the chance to run out the clock. However, Adam Nigrelli (Laxachusetts) forced a turnover on Prep’s Patrick Atkins at GLE to give BC the ball back. On the ensuing clear, Carter Rice found Rogers opened on the left side of the net for an easy dump-in to make it a one-goal game. A face-off win by Joe LaRosa followed by a timeout gave BC back the ball with the chance to tie it. With seven seconds remaining, Emsing stung home a lefty rocket down low off a feed from Rice to tie the game at seven.

A face-off win by Graham Tyson (Bryant, Fighting Clams) and timeout gave St. John’s Prep one last chance to win in regulation. Prep stacked the front of BC’s net and had Michael Kelly launch a 50-yard heave on the restart. Somehow, Kelly’s shot made it through a series of bodies and was scooped up by Surette. Surette put a shot on the cage that would have counted had it gone in but the ball was stopped by the left hip of Horton to save the game for BC and force sudden-death overtime.

“I can’t say enough about Jamie Horton,” said Craigwell on his goaltender following the game. “He made a lot of key stops.”

A face-off win by Tyson and a huge ground-ball battle win by Michael Ayers (Tufts, 3D) gave Prep the ball first in overtime. However, a turnover by Atkins on the outside of the box allowed a fast break the other way for BC’s James Carroll (Laxachusetts). Carroll settled the ball to Rogers who worked it over to Vincent Horton. Horton found a cutting Rice in the center box as Rice unleashed a lefty dart up high for the game-winning goal, followed by a Ryder Garnsey dead-fish celebration as he was mobbed by teammates.

The King Fish

“I blacked out for a second,” said Rice on his game-winning goal. “I just saw an open lane down the middle there and they were giving me top side with my left hand and I just let it go. Shots weren’t falling for me all day so I just knew that I had to get it done in the end.”

As for his celebration? Rice admitted he was taking after Garnsey’s famous flop. 

“Ya definitely a little bit,” said a laughing Rice when asked if he was emulating the former Notre Dame star. “I had to do it. I had in it in my mind for a little bit.”

“This win just gives us so much momentum moving forward. We lost by almost 10 goals the first time we played them, so getting this win at home on a senior night just means everything for these guys and for these seniors. It’s a lot of momentum going into playoffs and that’s what we needed.”

Craigwell agreed with Rice’s assessment that a win like this against St. John’s Prep can bode well for BC High as they gear up for the postseason. 

“It just shows these guys what we’re capable of,” said Craigwell. “We had to dig deep for four quarters against a great team. John {Pynchon} is doing a great job over there. We knew this game being senior day, a Catholic Conference matchup, they haven’t lost yet. We had nothing to lose really. We just went out and played our hardest I said ‘don’t leave any regrets and we didn’t and came out on top.”

Game Video

 

BC HIGH – ST. JOHN’S PREP STANDOUTS 

Carter Rice, Midfield, ’21, BC High (Syracuse, Laxachusetts)

BC High head coach Marcus Craigwell said it best. 

“I needed senior leadership today, and Carter is one of our guys. We stressed ‘no hero ball’ in the huddle, but if you get a look take it. Carter has been doing it all year and he just took it over.”

Carter Rice is a big game player and Friday night proved it. Rice said it himself that shots weren’t going for him and it was causing frustration. Rather than let the frustration get to him, he found other ways to facilitate the offense. Rice assisted on both goals in the final minute of the fourth quarter to tie the game before stinging home the game-winner in the sudden-death overtime. Heroic.

Jamie Horton, Goalie, ’21, BC High (Laxachusetts)

Horton was nails all throughout for BC High, registering 13 saves on the night. Horton’s biggest save came at the fourth-quarter buzzer, stoning Luke Surette at the net-mouth. How this young man went un-recruited boggles the mind. Like his senior counterpart Carter Rice, Horton will also be attending Syracuse. He has definite walk-on potential with the Orange. 

Will Emsing, Attack, ’22, BC High (Kings)

The shot of Will Emsing was put on full display in this one, as the junior stung home the game-tying goal with seven seconds to play in regulation to go along with another lefty snipe midway through the first quarter. A quick-release along with incredible shiftiness on his dodges allows Emsing a lot of versatility. He will quarterback the BC attack unit in 2022 and be a hot commodity for schools looking to add a sharpshooting lefty to their man-up.

Kaden Quirk, Goalie, ’21, St. John’s Prep (St. John’s, 3DNE)

Quirk did all he could to help Prep secure a victory on Friday. Of his 10 saves, none were bigger than the final one he made with two minutes to play on Louis Timmins (Tufts, Laxachusetts), which lead to SJP’s empty-net goal down the other end to go ahead by two with 1:27 remaining.

Michael Ayers, LSM, ’21, St. John’s Prep (Tufts, 3DNE)

An absolutely perfectly timed stick check and caused a turnover on Carter Rice with just over four minutes remaining was the play that really stood out from Ayers. The Tufts commit plays a very well-balanced game, rarely overcommits while defending, and does an exceptional job as a wing one face-offs. Ayers won the ground-ball battle on the opening face-off of overtime to give Prep a chance to win it. He will be a force for Tufts.

Box Score

BC High 8, St. John’s Prep 7 OT

BC – 2,1,1,3,1 – 8

SJP – 1,1,2,3,0 – 7

BC High

Carter Rice – 1g,3a

Will Emsing – 2g,1a

Vincent Horton – 1g,1a

Tim Rogers – 2g

Kevin Sheahan – 1g

Louis Timmins – 1a

Owen Porter – 1g

Jamie Horton – 13 saves

Joe LaRosa 7-of-20 face-offs

St. John’s Prep

Jimmy Ayers – 2g

Luke Surette – 1g,1a

Thomas Sarni – 1g,2a

Michael Kelly – 2a

Lucas Verrier – 1g

Patrick Atkins – 1g,1a

Charlie Wilmot – 1g

Kaden Quirk – 10 saves

Graham Tyson – 9-of-12 face-offs

Owen Umansky 4-of-8 face-offs

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