GRANITE BAY — The Davis High boys’ quest for a third consecutive league tournament title — and its second straight in the Sacramento Valley Lacrosse Conference — was blocked by rival Granite Bay in a feisty championship game Friday night.
The Grizzlies, who also edged the Blue Devils for the SVLC regular-season crown, defeated DHS, 9-4.
“Urgency and intensity,” said Devil head coach Nick Juri when asked what was missing from his team’s performance. “We had opportunities and we reverted back to things that we had talked about. We didn’t capitalize on opportunities and, in fact, we played right into their hands.
“With the amount of mistakes we made, it’s hard to win a game.”
Granite Bay scored just over a minute into the game — and did not relinquish that lead for the remainder of the contest. While the Grizzlies’ disciplined defense, quick rotations and physicality did severely limit the locals’ scoring opportunities, Davis didn’t help itself either.
“We were our own worst enemy on offense,” Juri said. “We got away from our game plan, which was to continually move the ball. We knew their goalie was solid, but we continued to take outside shots.
“We didn’t get the ball inside midrange where we know we can score from. We kept dodging the alley and taking outside shots that are essentially turnovers.”
Down 2-0, the Blue Devils finally broke through with 30 seconds remaining in the first period when Ryan Amesbury finished a shot to cut the lead in half. However, a cherry-picking GBHS player got the goal back with 0.3 seconds remaining in the quarter, and the tally seemed to take the wind out of DHS’ sails.
The Devils’ offensive woes continued in the second period as the Grizzlies were assessed a three-minute penalty for using an illegal stick, but Davis came up empty in the man-up situation.
Still, the 4-1 halftime deficit didn’t faze the locals, who had mounted comebacks of that magnitude several times this season. Granite Bay had other plans, however, pushing the lead to 7-3 by the end of the third period.
DHS’ offense looked better in that quarter, scoring a couple of nice goals. In one of the rare opportunities to get through the Grizzly defense, Devil Liam Neville drew a double team and used great vision to find a wide-open Mark Bruemmer across the goal. The senior sent the ball into the net and let out a scream of jubilation.
Amesbury also got his second tally of the night — the most of any Davis player — in that period by getting a shot to bounce off of the post and roll into the goal.
Another highlight came when Kian Reno scored a rare behind-the-back goal after he caught a high pass in traffic outside the crease and finished, but that was all the offense the Blue Devils could create in the fourth period.
“We felt that we had these guys,” Juri said. “Had we stuck to the game plan and had a little bit more urgency, we would’ve. We knew what we had to do to beat these guys: good shots, controlling the ball and ground balls; and I don’t think we did any one of those three. Doing those three things would’ve made it a different game.”
DHS will have a chance to redeem itself as it earned a seventh seed in the North Coast Section tournament and opens Wednesday (7 p.m.) at No. 10 Foothill High (Pleasanton).
Notes: Three former Devil stars — Mikie Schlosser, Rudy Buhlman and Will McPherson — were at the game, half-cheering, half-coaching from the Davis sideline. … With the win, Granite Bay finished unbeaten in SVLC play.
— Reach Thomas Oide at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterThomas