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SGR: Niceville 12-8 over Gulf Breeze – First Win for NHS over GB!

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submitted by Harry Guthmuller

Scores by Quarter

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 T

Niceville 3 1 7 1 12
Gulf Breeze 1 5 1 1 8

Leading Scorers per Team

#19 Gavin Gifford (Sr) 4G 1A 5 pts
#32 Ren Nielson (Fr) 3G 1A 4 pts
# 2 Jackson Kane (Sr) 2G 1A 3 pts
# 3 Christian Carlee (Sr) 2G 1A 3 pts
# 9 Jake Ryan (So) 1G 1A 2 pts
#8 Max Diehl (So) 1A

Gulf Breeze:
# 5 Austin Mickler (So) 3G 3 pts
#21 Roger Ostrander (Sr) 2G 2 pts
# 2 Colin Leveille (Sr) 1G 1 pt
#47 1G 1 pt

Goalies and Number of Saves

#53 Rhett Thorson (Sr): 14 saves on 22 shots on goal

Gulf Breeze:
#5 Cody Lee (Jr): 5 saves on 17 shots on goal

Noteworthy events during game

Eagles Conquer Gulf Breeze for the First Time in Boys High School Lacrosse

Friday night the much improved Niceville Eagles lacrosse team defeated Gulf Breeze by the score of 12-8 for the first time in its lacrosse history. Coming into this game Niceville stood at 9-1 and Gulf Breeze at 6-2. Last year Gulf Breeze won by the score of 12-7.

Gulf Breeze has been the top high school lacrosse team in the area for several years now and the players on both teams have played against each other before as they grew in the game by playing each other in youth lacrosse league games. But this year, teams like Niceville, Pensacola Catholic and Leon are vying to replace Gulf Breeze as the year’s best team in the Florida panhandle. Last night’s game was the first between any of these teams so far this year. Pensacola Catholic is in District 1 of the 1A league. Niceville, Gulf Breeze and Leon are in District 1 of the 2A league and will likely face each other again in the District playoffs in April.

With Niceville’s #19 Gavin Gifford (co-Capt) managing the offense like a basketball point guard, #3 Christian Carlee “drew first blood”. Gifford would then score twice and the first quarter ended with Niceville leading 3-1. Not letting themselves get discouraged by a team they’ve never lost to, Gulf Breeze stormed back in the 2nd quarter by outscoring Niceville 5 to 1. The second quarter showcased the powerful shooting ability of Gulf Breeze’s #5 Austin Meckler who scored 3 goals in the quarter alone. It would have been nice to have a speed gun measuring the booming shots Mickler threw at Niceville’s goalie, #53 Rhett Thorson. The prettiest goal of the game though came in the second quarter when Niceville’s #2 Jackson Kane got free on the Gulf Breeze crease and scored a behind the back goal (see below) on a feed from #9 Jake Ryan. Needless to say that goal pumped up the Niceville team, but Gulf Breeze still went on to lead by 2 (6-4) at the half.

In past games with Gulf Breeze, Niceville had been down at half but never rallied to win. This game would be different though because Niceville became unstoppable in the third quarter as they scored 7 goals to Gulf Breeze’s 1. Most exciting during this quarter was the play of Niceville’s smallest player, Ren Nielson, a Freshman. Moving exceptionally well without the ball and having box-lacrosse like stick handling skills, Nielson scored three goals in the quarter. Nielson’s scoring prowess, #19 Gavin Gifford’s additional two goals as well as goals by # 2 Jackson Kane and #3 Christian Carlee brought Niceville from behind to lead 11-7 at the end of the third quarter. The fourth quarter saw the same spirited play from both teams but each team scored only one goal in the quarter. Great coaching on both teams was evidenced by the sportsmanship displayed by the players as well as the time outs taken just at the right moments of the game. Niceville’s Gavin Gifford led all scorers with 4 goals and 1 assist.

In the end, Niceville got the victory over Gulf Breeze that had eluded it for so long and showed the heart of a champion by coming back in the second half to win the game. Both teams have talent in depth and future games are sure to be ones you won’t want to miss. The 2A District 1 playoffs begin in early April.

Niceville next plays three very tough teams: Pensacola Catholic (10-1) on Tuesday (28th), the 7th ranked team in Georgia, the Fellowship Christian Paladins (9-2) on Friday (31st) and Leon (9-1) on 3 April. The first two games will be played at Eagle stadium and the last at Leon HS in Tallahassee. Pensacola Catholic will play Gulf Breeze on the 31st. Leon does not play Gulf Breeze nor Pensacola Catholic this year.