Ali-Frazier Redux: #2 AH-Plantation in OT Over #3 King’s Academy 9-8!

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Stuck that title item due to AH-Plantation Head Coach Chad Moore’s comments after the game, as you’ll see in the Periscope interview.

Last night was something worthy of a Final Four game.  A little of everything.

Including a fluke ending that came about probably because of the unique property of the lacrosse ball itself. One of the fascinating things a player learns while playing on a hard surface (or while practicing alone on concrete or similar) is that the lacrosse ball will reverse direction on alternate bounces.  As a little kid I remember something called Superball:

 

 

Note later in the video that the ball can change directions.

I’m waiting for the video to see if it confirms what I saw last night on the OT game winning sequence.  But I had a great view right in front of me and the bounce of the ball kept it from an over and back violation on the only possession in OT.

Fascinating.  We talk about some sports being a game of inches.  This one is harder to categorize.

Either way it ended or whoever won, the fans in attendance will not forget this one for a long time.

 

 

 

Terrific faceoff battle between Daniel Haimes and Michael Smith, two of the best in the area.

Also two of the best goalies in the area that affected the game two different ways.  AH-P’s Jake Marek made 14 saves while King’s Tommy Null only made 5 but that was partly because AH-P shot poorly (14 for 32 on cage) and you’d think some of that was thinking they needed to hit corners.

Only 3 penalties in one of the best reffed games I’ve seen, with the teams playing smart and knowing where the line was drawn, leaving little to interpretation.

Teams that like the settled situation and are just as comfortable in it as they are able to take advantage of a fast break.  And defenses that play well together too.

Made for a grind it out game that also had some art to it.

Which played right into Kadin Schillo’s hands . . . and he made the difference when it was needed, leading to Ethan Heim’s game winning opportunity.

Kadin was the answer to one of my greatest mysteries last year; how the heck did Cooper City go 12-2 in 2018?  Learned last year.  Reinforced that last night.

 

 

 

The game went back and forth through 3 quarters, until the 4th, when Marek dueled with King’s offense after Schillo gave the Pirates the lead with the only shot on goal that AH-P got that quarter.  King’s huffed and puffed but Marek held steady until Aidan Aitken made one of those individual efforts that represents the least appreciated facet of the sport, courage.  A loose ball scramble about 5 yards in front of Marek, with Aitken outjumping the rest, coming down and maneuvering in a phone booth (kids, that was an invention before all of us had cell phones and it was tailored for those 150 lbs or less – they only exist in movies now) to somehow get his hands loose for the game tying goal.

And if I get the video of the OT winner, from parabolic pass on ward I’ll post it here.  If it is what I remember it will also go in the Weekly poll article too.

What is definite is that these two teams made me look pretty good on Sunday, as they earned their rankings the right way, on the field, not from my keyboard.  They could meet in the FHSAA first round too.  Of course, there are about 6 schools that have a shot at that first round matchup so permutations are high.  Either way, make sure to see these matchups down here when you get the opportunity to.

 

 

 

King’s opened the scoring early in the first, on EMO, as Aitken found Trace Hogan on the left wing from up top for the stepdown right hand to the low right corner.  AHP responded with 3 goals in 89 seconds to grab the 3-1 lead.  Heim broke through a double team on left wing and managed to power one through Null short side and that was followed by Ryan Robins dodging from top left down the right alley and firing low left.  Haimes then found Zak Bitar on the left wing from left GLE for the right hand short side laser for 3-1.

King’s immediately responded twice in less than a minute and a half to tie it up.  Coby Mcdonald found Aiden Collier from up top on the left wing for the stepdown on the short side and Chris Erneston face dodged off the right wing, taking advantage of a mismatch off a switch, to finish high short side.  Hogan used a stop and start hitch to gain the right alley for 4-3 with 41 seconds and King’s finished the run with no time left on the clock as Erneston found Brad Wharton alone left of the crease and Wharton was able to get the shot off before the clock hit 0:00 to give King’s the 5-3 lead.

The 2nd quarter slowed down considerably as AHP got sloppy and Marek made 5 saves.  King’s took the 6-3 lead at 9:25 on Aitken’s curl from the right side and finishing on the low wing with the jump shot on the short side but Heim got that one back with his own curl from behind left to make it 6-4 at the half.

 

 

 

Schillo finally got an isolation on Jacob Webb early in the 3rd, (this was one of those matchups within a game that the serious fan should want to focus on) and Schillo hit the top short side from low right at 11:16.  Schillo then tied it up with 2:42 to go as he got just enough room to fire to the top right from distance.  Skip Cooledge fed Heim on right wing 45 seconds later and the step down found the top right corner to put AHP in front.  Smith tied it up for King’s 38 seconds later, taking advantage of an over and back possession to dash and dodge down the middle, fighting off the trail check and finishing the breakaway to take us to the fourth tied at 7.

With 7:46 to go, it was Schillo able to get a little space on right wing, fending off 2 defenders and hitting the low left corner for 8-7, with Aitken evening it late with the goal mentioned above, sending us to OT.

Bitar had the ball near left GLE and tried to pass.  The King’s defender got on the stick and the ball looped towards the center line with most of the players on that half going after it.  The ball took the funny bounce, and inches from being a violation it was scooped by the AHP middie, who then avoided a few checks and found Heim behind the net.  The defender took a path that allowed Heim a brief window to curl behind left and finish from the crease while falling down.

At least I hope my memory saw all that!

A terrific way to finish a terrific game . . .

 

 

 

Both teams have big-time games on Friday.  AHP travels to Palm Beach Gardens to take on a Benjamin team that remembers last year’s game quite well.  King’s will host a huge matchup with district rival Oxbridge, as those two, with SA, will play to earn what might be a VERY important #1 seed in the district playoffs.  Fans up north county need to take advantage of these two games!

#TAFTAG!

 

Team Statistics

Faceoffs:  AHP  11-9

Shots:  32 each

Shots on Goal:  King’s  22-14

Turnovers:  AHP  12-8

Penalties:  AHP  3-0

 

Individual Statistics

 

AHP

Ethan Heim  4G

Kadin Schillo  3G

Ryan Robins and Zak Bitar with 1 goal each

Skip Cooledge and Daniel Haimes with 1A each

Jake Marek with 14 saves

 

King’s

Aidan Aitken  2G/1A

Trace Hogan  2G

Aiden Collier and Chris Erneston with 1G/1A each

Brad Wharton and Michael Smith with 1G each

Coby Mcdonald  1A

Tommy Null with 5 saves

 

 

Thanks to Coach Moore and Coach Webb for talking to me before and after the game.