For one half, "we were even up with them," said Gilman second-team All-Metro lacrosse midfielder Mark Cornes.
Gilman's Maryland Scholastic Association Division I meeting with visiting St. Paul's yesterday was tied five times in the first half, including 3-3 after the first period and 6-6 at halftime.
In the end, however, the top-ranked two-time defending champion Crusaders (10-0, 8-0) made the second-ranked Greyhounds (7-2, 6-2) just another statistic -- their 31st straight victim -- after a 12-10 victory.
Gilman's loss was worse than an earlier 8-7 overtime defeat against the Crusaders. It also put a damper on a brilliant four-goal effort by Gilman freshman Chase Martin, who has nine goals and eight assists this year, and sophomore Lorne Smith (two goals, one assist), who has 15 goals and nine assists.
The Greyhounds had trailed 1-0 after Tucker Radebaugh's first of two goals in the game. But Smith collected his own rebound to tie the game at 6:19 of the first before feeding Martin at 4:32 for a 2-1 lead.
Gilman led 3-2 when Martin scored off a pass from Matt Buck, but an over-the-goal effort by the Crusaders' All-Metro attackman Michael Watson -- his first of four goals -- tied the game with 2:29 left in the period.
St. Paul's led 5-3 with 8:38 left in the half after Watson's assist to Jamie Pollock -- his first of two assists -- and Watson's goal on a feed from Radebaugh. But the game was tied again with 5:42 left in the half after Gilman's Thomas Coleman fed Dylan Schlott, and Bryan Smith found Cornes, who scored twice and helped his club out-shoot the Crusaders 22-14 in the first half.
It was 6-6 after Matt Mueller countered a goal by Watson, and Cornes said, "We thought we had them where we wanted them."
In the second half, however, the Crusaders' defense dug in, anchored by keeper Sean "Shorty" Keenan (23 saves), as the Greyhounds were outscored 3-1 in the third period and 3-0 to start the fourth.
St. Paul's midfield kicked in behind junior John Solter as the Crusaders won the faceoffs battle, 16-8, with Solter (one goal, one assist) taking 10 of them and freshman Chris Berrier (two goals) getting six.
"We're definitely a second-half team, and that's where we put it to them," said Keenan, who stopped eight of 12 third-quarter shots.
St. Paul's was out-shot 40-33 for the game and was penalized eight times compared to six for Gilman.
Solter took the opening faceoff of the fourth period, stormed downfield and scored to make it 10-7. Berrier scored twice more to give the Crusaders a 12-7 lead with 7:38 left in the game.
"We had the ball the whole second half," said Solter. "When we can control the ball on offense, we know we're going to go down and score a couple of times."
Keenan got help from defenders Pat Doyle, Ryan Grimes and MacMcCulloch on three man-down situations in the period.
"I think Doyle and McCulloch are about as good as anyone in the league," said St. Paul's coach Mitch Whiteley, who watched unheralded players like attackman Joe Unitas (two goals, two assists) and midfielder Brad Read (three assists) step up when Watson (27 goals, 20 assists) and Radebaugh (17 goals, 27) were keyed on.
With 7:15 left in the third period, Read fed Unitas, who slipped his shot past Corey Popham (nine saves) to put the Crusaders ahead 7-6. Then Unitas twice found Watson -- the second time on a slick relay from behind the goal -- to give St. Paul's a 9-6 advantage with 2:39 left in the period.
"A couple of times, they went into a zone and had a short stick put the lock on me, but that just opened it up for others," said Watson, whose 138 goals and 57 assists are 39 points shy of the school record (234). "This showed that we have a lot of weapons. And once we get the transition going, the ball finds the back of the net."