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good com­pe­ti­tion go­ing into the play­offs,” Bucs head coach Davey Jones said. “We came out a lit­tle lack­adaisi­cal in the first half. We weren’t talk­ing on de­fense. We weren’t play­ing the game that we usu­ally play. It took us to half­time. At half­time, in­stead of talk­ing to them, we got them into some 4 v. 3s and then from there on out we were good.”

The Clip­pers opened the game with a 2-0 lead. Tan­ner Farro net­ted a left­hander at 10:56 af­ter cir­cling from the crease and Braden Grushakow slung in a right-han­der off a feed from West­ley Inger­soll at 9:50. But the Bucs coun­tered with three straight goals. Bran­don Gal­loway fired in a right-han­der from di­rectly in front of the goal from 14 yards out at 8:58, and D.J. Gal­loway an­gled in a left-han­der from the left side of the goal area at 8:06. Bran­don Gal­loway then scored high off an as­sist from Jack­son Kra­tovil (three as­sists) to make it 3-2 with 7:17 re­main­ing.

The Clip­pers, mak­ing their first Bay­side Con­fer­ence ti­tle game ap­pear­ance in boys’ lacrosse, didn’t fold.

Inger­soll beat Chaney (eight saves) with a low shot to the left side of the cage at 5:43 to tie the game at 3-3. Af­ter col­lect­ing a pass from Alex Sewell, a wide open Luke Nestor slung in a high left-han­der for a 4-3 lead at 1:27, which ended the first-quar­ter scor­ing.

Kent Is­land’s Smith, af­ter grab­bing a pass from Dixon, scored from eight yards out in front of the cage to tie the game at 4-4 with 10:03 left in the sec­ond quar­ter. The Bucs took a 5-4 lead with 6:35 re­main­ing in the quar­ter when Mooney slung in a sub­ma­rine shot high into the net from nine yards out.

“I don’t think we were used to get­ting be­hind like that,” Mooney said, “but when we do get be­hind like that we have to come to­gether as a team and get each other’s backs and come out fired up for the next quar­ter, try to get one goal at a time. Our de­fense played fab­u­lous the sec­ond, third, fourth quar­ter, and Josh played very well. Austin Ryan played well, Mike Scott, D.J., Paul, Quinn.”

With just 29 sec­onds left in the half, Nestor scored on a fast break off a pass from Farro, ty­ing the game at 5-5, but that was the end of the Clip­pers’ scor­ing.

D.J. Gal­loway was flagged for two penal­ties, a slash and a hold, 16 sec­onds into the sec­ond half. But in­stead of the Clip­pers gain­ing an ad­van­tage, Kent Is­land’s de­fense dom­i­nated with Ryan pick­ing off a pass to gain pos­ses­sion. And the Bucs’ mo­men­tum grew from there.

“We’ve had a lot of penal­ties this year,” Ryan said. “We’ve been two-men down a lot this sea­son and we just know how to play. We know how to jump passes and read the of­fense.”

“We have a re­ally stout, ag­gres­sive de­fense,” Jones said. “The down­side of that is you oc­ca­sion­ally find your­self in the penalty box. But our mandown de­fense did a great job to­day. We were able to get the ball back. We were able to burn all the penal­ties that we had in the sec­ond half. It’s def­i­nitely some­thing we’ll be talk­ing to the guys about, play­ing a lit­tle bit more dis­ci­plined de­fense. But def­i­nitely in the sec­ond half, I’ll take that trade­off of get­ting ag­gres­sive and get­ting af­ter it.”

Mooney scored high again af­ter col­lect­ing a missed shot to put Kent Is­land ahead 6-5 with 7:40 left in the third quar­ter. Tub­man bounced in a shot af­ter a feed from Mooney to make it 7-5 at 6:11 in the third.

Dixon scored the last goal with 9:26 left in the game. He caught a pass from Smith and fired the ball past Clip­pers goalie Ian Hois­ing­ton. Hois­ing­ton played well, fin­ish­ing the game with 13 saves, al­though the Bucs’ shoot­ing could have been bet­ter, ac­cord­ing to Jones.

“We could have done a bet­ter job shoot­ing to­day,” Jones said. “I think we hit the goalie a cou­ple times, so def­i­nitely some work to do there.” Fol­low me on Twit­ter @csknauss / email me at ck­nauss@star­dem.com

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