Down by two goals with four minutes left, it was do or die time for the Davis High boys lacrosse team on Tuesday night at Brown Stadium. The Blue Devils went with Option A, pulling out a thrilling 13-12 overtime victory over Oak Ridge in the semifinals of the Sacramento Valley Conference playoffs.
DHS used a team effort to claw its way into a 12-12 tie at the end of regulation, with Sam Eaton and Ryan Amesbury scoring the necessary goals.
Eaton’s tally came after a Devil defenseman pickpocketed an Oak Ridge player, then flipped the ball to Griffin McNamara. The Davis junior then rifled the ball to Eaton, who slipped it past the Trojans’ goalkeeper to make it 12-11 with 3:22 left in the fourth period.
A minute later, Amesbury had the equalizer, juking a couple of defenders and finding the net with 2:30 left. Neither team scored again through the rest of the period as both played stout defense to force sudden-death overtime.
“I think our experience (helped us in that situation),” said Blue Devil coach Nick Juri. “We knew we had to be urgent, but we also knew that we had to get good looks.”
The extra period came to the delight of a raucous crowd that was in no hurry to leave. And, after DHS’ Jake Hammond controlled the face-off, the Devils set their offense in motion.
A couple of passes later, the locals missed a shot with the ball ending up loose behind the Trojan goal. With the game on the line, both teams scrambled frantically for control, until McNamara emerged with the ball.
Despite being swarmed by Oak Ridge defenders, he continued on to the goal area where he jumped and, as the Trojans’ goalie rushed at him with stick held high, flicked the ball into the net for the game-ending score.
It was a fitting conclusion to a wild match that saw runs by both teams, some interesting officiating and very physical play.
Oak Ridge opened up on a roll, taking a 2-0 lead before goals from Amesbury and Daniel Rowen tied things up, setting the stage for the exciting back-and-forth affair.
“Amesbury had four goals; it was great,” Juri said. “We had to come back several times. I don’t even want to know how many times we had to come back.”
In addition to Amesbury’s team-high total, Davis senior Kian Reno scored a hat trick and classmate Mark Bruemmer had two goals and a couple of assists. Logan Davis, Rowen, Eaton and McNamara had one goal apiece for the locals, who advance to the SVLC championship contest.
That game will be at Granite Bay on Friday night in a rematch of an April 29 battle between the two teams that the Grizzlies won 6-5 to capture the league’s regular-season title. GBHS used some late-game magic of its own to beat Jesuit in the other semifinal Tuesday.
— Reach Spencer Ault at [email protected]