Yorktown's Conor Vercryusse jumps into the arms of teammate Brian Quigley after scoring the winning goal in sudden death to defeat John Jay 9-8 in the boys Class B final Wednesday. / Frank Becerra Jr./The Journal News
WHITE PLAINS — Every ground ball inspired a massive collision.
It was clear Yorktown and John Jay were schooled all week on the value of each and every possession. When the ball hit the ground, sticks tangled and pads crunched. The rivals are so familiar with each other, both had to focus on the smallest details.
“When both teams know each other like we do, it’s usually about getting the ground balls,” ’Huskers coach Dave Marr said. “You’d like to have pinpoint execution, but you’re not going to get that in high school lacrosse.
There simply wasn’t any wiggle room.
Connor Vercruysse gave Yorktown a 9-8 overtime win in the Section 1 Class B final on Wednesday at Loucks Field after Austin Fusco scooped up an Indians drop at the other end of the field. The assist came from Conor Gately. John Jay scored twice in the last 40 seconds of regulation to force overtime.
Tommy Beck hauled in an outlet from John Jay goalie Tom Branca midway through a scrambled first quarter and simply ran through a retreating defense for a fast-break goal to put the Indians in front. Ryan Lee leaned in two minutes later and extended the lead.
It was the kind of start that had to inspire thoughts of an upset.
“You have to believe Yorktown has the advantage going in just because that program has played in so many big games,” said John Jay coach Tim Schurr, who is a former standout at the school. “A lot has changed since the first time we played them.”
The Cornhuskers won that showdown 8-6. Both teams are noticeably improved since that March 31 meeting, but Yorktown is still prone to struggling at the start, and was again on the outside looking in early on. The ball was moving, but the ’Huskers were not able to get inside the perimeter and rattle Indians goalie Tom Branca.
The minutes ticked off. Frank Fusco threw in a laser from 15 yard out off a rebound with 1:12 to go in the first to get top-seeded Yorktown (15-4) started. Brian Prestreau knotted the score early in the second quarter, then Connor Vercruysse gave the ’Huskers a 3-2 lead with a man-up score.
The assists on both goals came from Conor Gately. Beck headed off with a hand injury, but Andrew Duffy picked up the slack and made it 3-3 when he took a pass from Shawn Smith and finished. Matt Ferentini sent John Jay (12-7) off with a 4-3 lead when he posted up and narrowly beat the buzzer.
The answer came in the form of a 4-0 run. Connor Vercruysse got the rally started three minutes after halftime, then Nick Mariano dodged left and zipped one in. An illegal hit by Doug Brown in the heat of a high-intensity moment proved costly. Mariano and Prestreau made the Indians pay, and got the ’Huskers up 7-4.
The run ended when Ferentini rolled back and scored with 2:25 to go in the third. Brown got the next one, with six minutes left in the game, to make it 7-6. Fusco got some room when he came upon another rebound and ripped in another, but in the final minute Frazier Bostwick and Daniel Lobosco scored to get the Indians even