Mars can’t capitalize on strong start, loses PIAA Class 2A boys lacrosse championship game

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Saturday, June 12, 2021 | 7:58 PM


Senior Nick Crowley scored the first goal of Saturday’s PIAA Class 2A lacrosse final, and veteran coach Bob Marcoux liked what he was watching.

Mars led Allentown Central Catholic 1-0 midway through the opening quarter.

“I liked the energy we came out with early on,” Marcoux said. “I thought we were ready, we were prepared. We just kind of ran into a buzzsaw.”

That buzzsaw proceeded to score eight straight goals, and Allentown Central Catholic overwhelmed Mars, 14-5, to capture the state championship at West Chester East’s Harold I. Zimmerman Stadium.

Mars, the first WPIAL program to play for a state lacrosse title, concluded the season with a 22-1 record.

The District 11 champion Vikings, who finished 23-1, scored the final two goals of the first quarter to take a 2-1 advantage into the second period. That’s when things turned ugly for the Fightin’ Planets.

Allentown Central Catholic, the first District 11 team to reach a PIAA final, scored six goals in a five-minute span to turn a one-goal deficit into an 8-1 deficit for Mars. Senior Jack McGorry, the Vikings’ leading scorer who entered play with 91 goals this season, had two of those goals. Senior Tyler Schifko capped the spurt at the five-minute mark.

“It all starts with possessions,” Marcoux said. “They were winning a bunch of face-offs, and they capitalized on some of those possessions. We probably weren’t tight enough in transition on a couple of the goals they scored on fast breaks. When you give a good team that many chances, they’re going to score.”

Allentown Central Catholic won eight of the 12 face-offs contested in the first half.

“A lot of it was transition,” Vikings coach Dan Dolphin said. “I mean we were running up and down the field and our team has great overall speed. When we get into that man-up situation, that’s tough for any team to stop. We were able to capitalize on those. The kids were shooting lights-out, too. In that second quarter, everything was going into the net.”

The seven-goal deficit was unfamiliar to a Mars team that outscored opponents this season by a combined 395-72.

Marcoux’s Fightin’ Planets fought the entire 48 minutes. They scored the game’s final two goals, and Wes Scurci and Nick Crowley finished with two tallies each. Scurci, the WPIAL’s player of the year, finished his junior season with 88 goals.

McGorry, Kuczynski and Ben Scandone contributed three goals apiece for Allentown Central Catholic. Senior Davis Ike starred in goal for the Vikings, registering 13 saves.

“They were about what we expected,” Marcoux said. “We saw them on film and we knew they were really, really good. We knew they had no weaknesses.”

Mars claimed its fifth consecutive WPIAL crown this spring and the Fightin’ Planets look like they’ll be a force in upcoming years.

Marcoux graduates nine seniors off this year’s roster but returns a strong nucleus in 2022, led by Scurci.

“We talked about wanting to make history this year,” Marcoux said. “We wanted to make a little more history than this but I’m very, very proud of these guys. They competed hard all year and they did something no other Western PA team has done.

“Absolutely this is a stepping stone,” he continued. “And this shows us what the level of competition is like when we get to this point. I think we need to step up our game. But absolutely, I like where we are and I like the guys we’ve got coming back. It’s hard right now but I like our program.”

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