Slow starts in games had become an annoying part of the Jamesville-DeWitt boys lacrosse team's routine throughout its undefeated 2010 run.
It became more than an annoyance in Thursday's state Class B semifinal against Irondequoit at Cicero-North Syracuse's Bragman Stadium, as the Red Rams faced its first three-goal deficit of the season and didn't even get on the board until the fourth quarter.
Still, J-D proved to be better than the Eagles, even though it waited until the fourth quarter to apply the final touches to an 8-4 victory.
"We haven't been a strong team in the first quarter all season," senior captain Mac Feiner said. "But once we get going, we don't stop."
"It's never ideal to go down 3-0," J-D head coach Jamie Archer said. "But now we know that we can come back strong. The kids showed a lot of heart."
Not much, other than frustration, was on display in the first half, most of which belonged to Irondequoit, who stunned state no. 1-ranked Canandaigua on its way to the Section V title, then beat Hamburg in the regional round as J-D was routing Corning West.
Buoyed by goalie Tyler Nash making 12 first-half saves, Irondequoit showed poise and control on both ends of the field. Mike Utz put the Eagles on the board 5:51 into the game, and Emmy Poccia converted late in the first period to make it 2-0.
Archer said his team's rough starts could be attributed to the process of looking at an opponent up-close, to witness their tendencies and then make appropriate adjustments.
By the time this happened against Irondequoit, the Eagles were up 3-0, thanks to Utz's second goal early in the second quarter.
Finally, J-D's drought would end when Joe Shepard and Peter Goss scored 23 seconds apart midway through that period, and Cam Stone tied it two minutes later. An exchange of goals - Ian Brooks hitting for Irondequoit, Tim Edwards answering 17 seconds later - kept it even, 4-4, going into halftime.