Posing for a picture with some of his teammates after last night's Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference final, Gilman goalie Corey Popham took a knee, and just seconds before the photographer snapped the shot, raised his forefinger, signaling something that everyone in the capacity crowd at UMBC knew -- Gilman is No. 1.
The Greyounds (15-3) proved it by defeating top-ranked Boys' Latin, 11-6, for their second straight A Conference title.
"I think people have underestimated our ability all year long, and now I think we'll get our just respect," said Gilman coach John Tucker. "BL has been ranked No. 1 all year and we don't get much respect and our kids felt it and they wanted to show everyone who the best team in the state is."
Senior Lorne Smith, who was hampered by a sore shoulder when Gilman ended the Lakers' winning streak at 14 games late in the regular season, showed what he could do when he is healthy as he scored a game-high four goals, including two in the tempo-setting first quarter.
Scott Banerjee (three goals, one assist) scored Gilman's other first-quarter goal on a feed from Chase Martin and put the Greyhounds ahead 4-0 with 8:49 left in the second quarter when he took a pass from junior Kirk Caldroney, leaped over a defender and stuffed one past Lakers goalie Andrew Hampson (five saves).
Tim Berger ended the Lakers' scoring drought 26 seconds later with an unassisted goal, but Smith, Martin and Lawson DeVries followed with unassisted goals within 1 minute, 11 seconds to put the Greyhounds out front 7-1.
Aaron Vercollone (two goals) gave Boys' Latin (16-2) some momentum at the half when he scored with 51 seconds left, but James McIntyre countered with a goal 17 seconds later to give the Greyhounds an 8-2 lead.
After a scoreless third quarter when Popham made four of his 12 saves, Boys' Latin began to make its run at the defending champ.
Ian Shure started with a goal 57 seconds into the quarter and pulled his team to within three at 6:04, when he scored on an assist from John Fuller.
McIntyre crushed the Lakers' playoff hopes with a goal that put Gilman ahead 10-6 with 4:44 left.
The Lakers had other opportunities to narrow the margin down the stretch, but shots by Gilroy and Patrick Radebaugh ended up in Popham's stick.
"The whole year, these kids have taken cheap shots from other players and other coaches and not one time did a BL kid handle himself with any thing but incredible class and dignity," said Lakers coach Bob Shriver. "They could have folded up big time in the second half, and they showed what kind of kids they were.
"The difference in the game was, Popham made the saves. Andrew [Hampson] came back and played a very good second half, but by then it was a little bit too late."
The C. Markland Kelly Award, given each year to the outstanding player in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association's A and B conferences, has been renamed to include the name of Kevin Reichardt, a former St. Mary's lacrosse player who was murdered in Chapel Hill, N.C. in January.
The winners of this year's C. Markland Kelly/Kevin Reichardt Award are Loyola senior midfielder Scott Diggs and Friends senior goalie Mike Fine.