DeWitt Saturday afternoon's match-up between two of the premier boys lacrosse programs in Central New York offered an unusual storyline.
Both West Genesee and Jamesville-DeWitt appear vulnerable, with the Wildcats a week removed from a 10-1 loss to Fairport, and the Red Rams humbled 11-10 by East Syracuse-Minoa earlier this month.
The heavyweight bout saw J-D burst out to a 5-2 halftime lead, but the Wildcats fought back, showing grit and determination en route to an 11-9 comeback victory.
After Ryan McDonald scored the first goal of the game with 9:24 to play in the first quarter, J-D’s potent offense took off, rattling off four unanswered goals before Pat Hanley found the net with 2:45 left in the half.
While the first half score didn’t reflect it, the WG defense was stifling all game. Most notably, Alex Tripodi shut down J-D’s leading scorer, Griffin Feiner, with tough, physical pressure, limiting Feiner to just one point off an assist in the first quarter.
“We knew that if we could shut [Feiner] down, we could probably shut the team down,” Tripodi explained.
The Wildcats’ logic proved true, but it took until the second half for the results to show.
WG head coach Mike Messere explained that his halftime talk was positive despite the 5-2 deficit. “They weren’t patient to get the good shots,” Messere said. “A few times we took some shots that were just like giveaways, like passing it to your grandmother.”
The Wildcats adjusted in the second half, rattling off three straight goals from Derek Farrell, Mike Geremia and Tyler Brown to cut the lead to 8-6.
“They slowed down and realized they could do it, and off they went,” Messere said.
WG also won the face-offs it had struggled with so mightily in the first half, taking nine of the 15 draws and turning the tables on the Rams - which ultimately helping them secure the lead.