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Cyclone comeback leads to Hammond heartbreak

Hammond’s Drew McCall tries to get by Porter-Gaud’s Grayer Hyatt as Ben Heroman sets a pick.

Hammond’s Drew McCall tries to get by Porter-Gaud’s Grayer Hyatt as Ben Heroman sets a pick.

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The Porter-Gaud Cyclones overcame a 4-1 second quarter deficit to down the Hammond Skyhawks 8-7 in the SCISA Boys Lacrosse State Championship held at Hammond Friday, May 5.

The Skyhawks got on the board first with a goal from Landon Verano at the 10:47 mark of the first quarter. Less than a minute later, Drew McCall worked from behind the net and snuck a shot in from the right side for a 2-0 Hammond lead.

The Cyclones cut the deficit to 2-1 with 6:20 left in the quarter when Jack Livingstone’s shot bounced in. Hammond came back with 11.2 seconds left to spare when Ben Heroman found Stephen Glick for a goal and a 3-1 lead.

The Skyhawks’ advantage grew to 4-1 with another Heroman to Glick connection to start the second. However, Verano was not on the field due to an injury, and from there, the Cyclones turned the tide. Mac Grubb hit a sidewinder at 9:06, and then Shay Dotterer worked from behind the net to sneak one in cutting Hammond’s lead to 4-3.

Hammond’s Landon Verano and Porter- Gaud’s Hank Davall battle for a faceoff.

Hammond’s Landon Verano and Porter-Gaud’s Hank Davall battle for a faceoff.

Grubb tied it up with a blast four minutes into the third quarter, and then Keagan Delaney gave the Cyclones their first lead of the game at 5-4 two minutes later.

That lead grew to two after another goal from Dotterer, but McCall came back with 7:43 left in the third hitting on low blast to cut the Porter-Gaud advantage to 6-5.

After back-to-back point blank saves from Cyclone keeper Jaser Amer, Grubb intercepted a pass and raced to the goal to put Porter-Gaud up 7-5 with four minutes left in the contest.

Once again McCall came through cutting in front and then bouncing one in to get Hammond within one with 2:55 to play.

The Cyclones responded once more when Thomas Kanich found Kane Pritchett for a point blank shot to give Porter-Gaud an 8-6 lead with 2:33 remaining.

The Skyhawks kept coming as McCall sent a long pass to Glick for a goal with 14 seconds left in the game.

Porter-Gaud was awarded the ensuing faceoff, but Hammond got a steal and one more opportunity with 7.2 seconds left. Unfortunately for the Skyhawks, the Cyclone defense was able to knock the ball away and the Porter-Gaud celebration commenced.

Hammond’s Stephen Glick collects a pass against Porter-Gaud.

Hammond’s Stephen Glick collects a pass against Porter-Gaud.

“We rose to the occasion, and Porter-Gaud played absolutely amazing tonight,” Hammond head coach Jonathan Patterson said. “They never stopped fighting. Our boys fought to the end, and we just came up short. They gave it their all.”

Before Verano was forced to leave the game with the injury, he won all five of his faceoffs and scored a goal. Hammond led 4-1 and had outshot Porter-Gaud 13-6. After his exit, the Cyclones outshot the Skyhawks 23-11 and won or were awarded eight of 13 faceoffs. Verano came back in to start the fourth but limped off in pain seconds later.

“When the injuries happened, it kind of messed up a little bit of our game plan and what we were trying to do,” Patterson said. “It honestly kind of took the wind out of our sails.”

McCall and Glick finished with three goals each, and Verano had one for Hammond. Goalie Noah Eargle collected eight saves.

Grubb led Porter-Gaud with three goals. Dotterer added two, and Livingstone, Delaney, and Pritchett each had one. Amer finished with eight saves, stopping several that looked like sure goals for the Skyhawks.

“Hard loss,” Patterson said. “But that’s the reason why we love playing sports because you get victors and you get losers, and it challenges you to be great in the good and in the bad. So today’s a little bit of the bad, but hopefully, we continue to work hard, and hopefully, we come back next year.”

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