Photo: David McGregor
Peachtree Ridge's Tanner Botts (40) looks to work his was around Wesleyan's Nick Schroer during the second quarter of the Gwinnett County Lacrosse Tournament finals on Saturday.
SUGAR HILL — In last year’s inaugural Gwinnett County Lacrosse Tournament, Wesleyan held on for an 8-6 win over Peachtree Ridge.
However, the Lions weren’t about to let history repeat itself.
In Saturday’s Gold Bracket final, the Lions used five-straight goals in a 4:46 span between the first and second periods to beat the Wolves 15-5 at Gary Pirkle Park.
“We were aggressive and that led to the win,” said Lions’ head coach Bob Basher said. “We played our offense and defense and didn’t allow them to control the game.”
Peachtree Ridge got on the board 41 seconds into the game when Steven Lee capitalized on a Wesleyan (7-6) mistake, picking up the ball in the offensive zone and passing it to Cory Hall, who put it in the back of the net for the goal.
The Lions (11-2) added their second goal when Tyler Botts spun out of the way of a defender, finding clearance for a shot, that also found the goal.
Wesleyan scored its first goal when Harrison Cheeley took a pass from Connor Breslin to bring the Wolves within 2-1.
“We knew he was their main threat,” Basher said. “We made sure to slide down early on him (when he got the ball).”
However, from there, it was all Peachtree Ridge. The scoring got started on defense for the Lions. With an open net, Wesleyan looked to tie the game. However, Lions’ goalie Greg Rose moved back into position just in time to get the save. Less than a minute later, Botts scored his second goal of the match, this time on an assist from Hall.
On the ensuing face off, neither team could gain possession as both fought for the ball. After the Lions came up with the loose ball, Hall slammed the ball into the net on an assist from Tyler Botts, giving the Lions a 4-1 lead heading into the second period.
Peachtree Ridge scored three goals in a 29-second span to go up 7-1, with two goals being scored by Michael Ruffcorn and the other by Tyler Botts. Wesleyan added its second goal of the match when Cheeley again moved around defenders for the goal. The Lions added three more goals before halftime to take a 10-2 lead.
After the break, defense reigned supreme as both teams could only score one goal in the third quarter, as Cheeley scored at the 5:51 mark for Wesleyan, while Hall scored with 1:20 left for Peachtree Ridge.
The fourth period saw Cheeley score his fourth quarter of the game for the Wolves. Although the game was out of reach, the goal was a moment of accomplishment for Cheeley as he broke the school record for goals in a season with 61.
Goals by Hall, Ruffcorn and Tyler Fortier closed out the scoring for the Lions, while Breslin scored as time expired for the Wolves.
Rose finished with 10 saves in goal for the Lions.
“Our goalie played solid,” Basher said. “He made some excellent saves.”
With the win, Basher said his team is two games away from one of their goals this season. With county games against region-foes Collins Hill (Thursday) and Brookwood (April 26), the Lions feel confident heading into those games.
“We wanted to go undefeated in Gwinnett County,” he said. “For our boys, it’s a matter of pride.”