Princeton-bound Ryan Boyle of No.1 Gilman was considered the cream of the recruiting crop entering this, his final high school lacrosse season.
Yesterday against No.2 Boys' Latin, that cream rose to the top.
The two-time, All-Metro attackman led the Greyhounds (16-1) with four goals and an assist in a 10-8 victory over the Lakers (16-4) for Gilman's first Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title since Boyle's sophomore season.
For Gilman, winner of three crowns in the 1990s, Boyle's first goal tied the game, 1-1, and his second and third closed out a 4-0 first-half run that gave Gilman a 6-3 halftime lead before a capacity crowd of 5,000 at Towson University.
And when the Lakers pulled within 8-6 and 9-7 in the fourth, Boyle fed two-time All-Metro Andrew Lucas (two goals, one assist) for a goal. Boyle then took a pass from Kevin Boland (one goal, two assists) for a goal of his own.
It was Gilman's first title under second-year head coach Dave Allan, a former assistant to John Tucker."Regular season, I'd been content to step back and let other guys step up since we have so much talent. Playoffs are a different story," said Boyle, who had three goals and three assists in a semifinal win over Loyola.
Gilman's first seven shots of the game were on goal, with keeper Ryan Lafferty (eight saves) stopping five. Gilman's midfield won seven of nine first-half faceoffs, including six by J.D. Nelson (one assist).
Gilman's often-maligned defenders came up huge in the first period, either blocking shots or checking balls out of sticks. Boys' Latin scored twice in seven extra-man situations against Gilman's Tom Coughlin, David Taler, Mike Rodgers and James Cleland.
Lawson Grumbine contained Maryland-bound Boys' Latin All-Metro Dan LaMonica (two goals, one assist), and keeper Jay Pfeifer (12 saves) had six of his eight first-half stops in the second quarter.`They scored 12 goals the first time we played them, nine the second, and now, only eight," said defender Franco Gould, whose team LaMonica exploited for seven points in their previous meeting. "We took this as a personal challenge."
The game was tied three times in the first half before Gilman took a 6-3 lead - its halftime advantage - by scoring four straight goals over a span of 1:38.
The Greyhounds led for good, 4-3, with 3:12 left in the half, as Lucas scored off Boland's pass, then assisted Rob Lindsay. Only 47 seconds separated the two goals.
Midfielder Lance Zimmerman (one goal, one assist) applied constant pressure before making it 8-5, after the Lakers had pulled within a goal. Zimmerman scored from the doorstep with 14 seconds left in the third period, and assisted the first of the fourth quarter by Richard Tuohey.
Having been stopped on three of his four previous point-blank shots, one of which bounced from one pipe to the other and out, Zimmerman said: "I knew sooner or later I'd stick one in."
The Lakers' attack of LaMonica, Nee and Dan Berger had produced 61 points in its previous four games. Yesterday, however, LaMonica (two goals, one assist) and Brian Nee ( two goals) scored, but Berger did not.
The Lakers' six-game winning streak had included victories over Gilman, St. Mary's and St. Paul's - teams they had lost to earlier in the season.
Boys' Latin was denied its fourth title under 21st-year coach Bob Shriver - the school's eighth overall - and Boyle was the main reason.
He pivoted around Matt O'Malley, the Lakers' ace defender, for Gilman's 5-3 lead."I don't hold back in the playoffs," he said. "I'd have liked to have won as a freshman and junior, but going out a winner's pretty special."
Spalding 10, Annapolis Area Christian 7: Matt Latonick and Derek Platt each had three goals and three assists, and keeper Andrew Eser had 14 saves to lift Spalding (14-5) to its first MIAA B title over last year's two-time C Conference champ.
Kyle Dixon had a goal and three assists for the Cavaliers. AACS (13-4) was led by Kevin Dennstaedt (three goals).
Saints Peter & Paul 11, Glenelg CS, 6: John Mulflur had four goals and two assists, and Jason Scairato had three goals as Saints Peter & Paul (16-2) downed Glenelg Country School (14-3).