Green Hope’s young boys lacrosse team has surprised itself with a deep run in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A playoffs, but they’ve learned they’re not yet a mature squad.
“We have to learn we can’t let up,” said sophomore Harrison Wynne.
Wynne and Nolan Paussa both scored four goals to lead the visiting Falcons to a 14-11 win over Wakefield in a third-round match that included some anxious moments Tuesday.
Green Hope jumped out to a 5-1 lead as the Falcons’ controlled the game’s momentum until midway through the second quarter. That’s when Wakefield suddenly answered with back-to-back goals from Casey McKaskel to close the deficit to 5-4 late in the second quarter.
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Green Hope managed a 6-4 lead at halftime, but Wakefield basically played the Falcons even the rest of the way.
“We came out hot and scoring goals,” Wynne said. “I think we thought this was going to be easy and we got a little lazy. They came back on us, but we started scoring goals again and were able to finish off the game.”
Green Hope tallied the first four goals of the third quarter for a 10-4 lead, but Wakefield rallied again with goals from McKaskel and Michael Sawh to trim the deficit to 10-6. It was soon 10-7 when Green Hope was a man down after a penalty and Logan Goss scored for the Wolverines.
But then Paussa and Sean Husk responded with goals to bump the lead to 12-7.
“We have a solid core of seniors, but for the most we’re a young team,” Green Hope coach John Larkin said. “We’re trying to get these guys to play together. We’ve been able to put it together the playoffs.”
Green Hope, which finished fourth in “Conference 3,” the NCHSAA name for boys lacrosse teams from the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference, improved to 13-7 with its third playoff victory and fourth win in a row overall. Wynne said the Falcons overcome their youth with familiarity.
“A lot of us have been playing together for a long time,” he said, referring to youth leagues. “Nolan and I have been playing together since fourth grade. We always know where we are on the field.”
In all, seven Green Hope players scored. Wilson Booth tallied two goals while Will McClain, Sean Husk, Tucker Burkinshaw and Dana Kelly added one each.
McKaskel was the game’s high scorer with five goals for the Wolverines. Sawh and Goss added two goals each. Reeves Felton and Marcus Abrams both added one apiece.
Wakefield was third in Conference 4 and finished with an 8-5 record.
“We started out slow, and I don’t know why,” Wakefield coach Greg Cox said. “But we went a lot further this season than we expected. We won some big games during the season and made it to the third round. We’re a lot better team now than we were at the beginning of the season.”