A lightning flash sent the Cardinal Gibbons and Laney girls lacrosse players into the Crusaders’ gym for a weather delay before their N.C. High School Athletic Association playoff game.
Waiting out the 50-minute delay at one end of the gym, the host Crusaders shot basketballs as Fleetwood Mac and Michael Jackson music blared over the speakers. At the other end, the Laney girls from Wilmington huddled in a corner passively.
Did the Gibbons’ girls waste energy or stay loose? Once the teams took the field, the answer came within the first 11 seconds.
Gibbons sophomore Elizabeth Wilson scored the first goal that quickly to spark the Crusaders to a 19-2 victory over the Buccaneers in Friday’s second-round match.
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The Crusaders (18-0) remained unbeaten with the victory in first half of a girls-boys playoffs double-header. In the nightcap, Gibbons’ boys defeated Green Hope 12-6 in their second-round match.
To start the girls’ game, the ball flipped high out of the draw at midfield towards Laney’s goal, but Gibbons defender Grace Nelson reached high to snare it. Her long pass to senior Morgan Winstead got the ball up the field and Winstead fed Wilson attacking down the middle for the sudden score.
“We focus on moving the ball on transitions,” Wilson said. “That’s how we get a lot of our goals.”
Gibbons junior Jordan Lappin scored two of her team’s four goals in the opening four minutes and finished with seven on a night eight Crusaders scored. Wilson added three and senior Erica Skowran and freshman Ela Reaves Vaughan two each.
Despite the 4-0 lead, Lappin said the Crusaders were “playing sloppily” until the midway point. Laney rallied with back-to-back goals to trim their deficit to 4-2 with 18:19 left until intermission.
“Our coach (Patricia Alexander) wasn’t happy and called a timeout,” Lappin said. “We cleaned some things up and started passing the ball and playing better.”
Last-minute goals in the second and third periods by Gibbons’ Jack Shelton and Connor Scanlin preserved comfortable leads to help the Crusaders (15-2) advance past Green Hope (13-5) in the second-round match.
Shelton scored the second of his two goals with 51 seconds left in the first half for a 6-2 halftime lead and Scanlin his lone goal with 13 seconds remaining in the third period for a 9-5 lead entering the final quarter.
“I was huge to get those goals,” said Shelton, a senior. “They were a tough team. We expected a good battle from them and that’s what we got. We did what we had to.”
Gibbons goalie Wes Wagner’s strong play also helped preserved the leads. He had eight saves at halftime and 10 for the game.
Gibbons’ Kevin Barry and Mark Schachte each scored their third goal of the night in the fourth period to lead the team. Green Hope’s Nolan Paussa scored two goals.
Green Hope opened the second half with goals from Paussa and Tucker Burkinshaw with goal to trim Gibbons’ lead to 6-4, but the Falcons would get no closer. Schachte and Will Moran answered for an 8-4 advantage and then Scanlin found the next with his last-minute goal.