Cherry Creek had been a second-half team all season and on May 20 stormed past Kent Denver to win the CHSAA State boys lacrosse championship with a 12-7 victory at All-City Stadium in Denver.
The Bruins outscored the Sun Devils 7-2 in the second half of the game, which was played in miserable weather conditions. The contest started with heavy rain falling and then heavy, wet snow started came down and covered the field in the second half.
“It was an incredible setting for a championship game,” Creek coach Matt Bocklet said. “We talked about a possible thunderstorm but nothing like this snow. When we came out for the second half, we said shoot, shoot, shoot. There's no way anyone can see the ball. We couldn't see but somehow Chandler (Bruins goalie Chandler Nayman) was still making saves at the end. This is just incredible.”
Cherry Creek (17-2) won its Colorado-best seventh state boys lacrosse championship and the third in five years.
“We talked at halftime about being confident in each other,” said senior midfielder Connor Terrell. “We've played second halves like this all year. We knew we were going to do it. We were confident the whole game so the weather didn't affect us.”
The conditions got so bad that officials switched from white balls to yellow ones to help players see the ball. All-City Stadium workers kept shoveling snow from the midfield line, sidelines and around the goals.
“It was getting tough to catch and throw,” Terrell said. “When we came out for the second half I couldn't see. Obviously their goalie was having a tough time. We made it work. It feels good to win. We worked the whole season for this. Definitely, I won't forget this game.”
Kent, which finished with a 15-4 record, jumped to a 2-0 lead before the Bruins got their first possession with 3:40 gone in the first quarter. The game was tied at 5-all at halftime, but Creek took a 9-7 lead with 36 seconds left in the third quarter on a goal by Terrell.
Creek controlled possession and dominated the final quarter, outscoring the Sun Devils, 3-0
Kent Denver defeated the Bruins 9-8 in overtime in the final regular-season game on May 3 but gave up five goals in the fourth quarter of that game before prevailing in the extra session.
“Luke Rios did a phenomenal job winning face-offs and gave us plenty of possessions and our offense did a great job as well,” added Bocklet. “We took advantage of all our opportunities in the second half and our defense locked down. Even when we didn't score, our midfield did a phenomenal job of driving the ball back. And every time they got a stop and got the ball, we would get the ball back.”
Terrell paced the Bruins' offense in the title game with four goals. Aiden Burke, the team's point leader for the season, and Dante Orlando each had three goals. Morry Stein and Henry Olson had the other goals.
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