Cicero In the pursuit of something larger and quite historic, the Jamesville-DeWitt boys lacrosse team nearly forgot about snaring its fourth consecutive Section III Class B championship.
But the Red Rams broke out of its doldrums in ample time and, with two big third-quarter runs, got away from pesky Carthage to prevail 13-7 in Wednesday's Class B final at Cicero-North Syracuse's Bragman Stadium.
"In our big games, the third quarter was the difference," said head coach Jamie Archer. "We had to see how our kids reacted to adversity."
Jordan Evans, in particular, reacted well, the junior attacker pouring in four goals and three assists, including one in the waning seconds of that pivotal third period that made it 11-6, ultimately out of the Comets' reach.
"We had to keep the intensity and take the wind out of their (Carthage's) sails, and we did," said Evans.
Carthage has faced its own sort of adversity through the last year, starting with the news in July 2011 that long-time head coach Kirk Ventiquattro had Stage Four prostate cancer.
With his trademark intensity and determination, Ventiquattro has worked his way back, and the cancer is currently in remission. As a fund-raiser for cancer research, Carthage has been selling light-blue T-Shirts with the number 24 on the back, and the Comets got light blue jerseys with red numbers to wear for this season.
Inspired by their coach, and determined to take down the two-time defending state Class B champions, Carthage played a superb first half, claiming face-offs and slowing down the game's tempo, keeping it from the potent Rams' attack as much as possible.
"They (J-D) had to play to beat us," said Ventiquattro. "We were proud of our effort."
The Comets took a 3-2 lead to the second quarter. Even after Evans hit on back-to-back goals and Mike Engstrom converted to put J-D ahead 5-3, the Comets came back and, with goals from Chris Gamble and Paul Bracy, tied it 5-5 early in the third period.