WHITE PLAINS – Brendan Johnson has company.
He was the first and last name on scouting reports when the season got under way, but White Plains is branching out. Miles Tillman and Eric Brotmann delivered timely goals on Monday, leading the Tigers to a 13-12 win over North Rockland in the opening round of the Section 1 Class A tournament.
It’s no longer a one-man show.
“We lost to them in the first game of the season, but we were a much weaker team,” said Johnson, who managed four goals despite a Red Raiders attempt to lock off the powerful attackman. “The offense relied a lot on me then. Now we have a bunch of kids scoring. It’s pretty sweet. We’re a lot more balanced. I still worry, but I trust our offense to get it done.”
Next up is a quarterfinal game against top-seeded Lakeland/Panas.
White Plains had a 3-1 lead at the end of the first quarter, but soon lost momentum. Steven Apicella sparked the comeback. Tyler Senatore knotted the score. Joey Corbett put North Rockland in front.
At halftime, the Red Raiders were up 8-5.
There was one major concern. Kyle Michella suffered a painful elbow injury late in the second quarter. He was a factor, getting two goals and four assists before heading for the sideline. Michella attempted to go after the break and was unable to function.
It was a double whammy.
“We were trying to work with the trainer and get back in a soon as possible, but at the end of the day I couldn’t go,” said the senior attackman, who finished 14 points behind Section 1’s all-time scoring leader Henry Grass with 148 goals and 248 assists. “It was killing me. Obviously, it’s rough going out this way, losing. I wasn’t really worried about the points.”
Johnson opened the second half with a pair of quick goals.
Tillman knotted the score 8-8, then Brotmann picked up a loose ball and gave the Tigers a lead. North Rockland had no answers. Tillman netted his third of the game two minutes into the fourth quarter and Johnson made it 11-8.
Style points were unimportant.
“They locked off Brendan and were running a zone, so you really had to dodge, draw the slide and dump the ball,” Tillman said. “We dropped the ball a lot. We had a lot of turnovers, but we made up for it.”
Nerves did come into play.
Senatore got the Red Raiders within 12-11, but a stumbling Brotmann gave White Plains wiggle room with 1:41 to go. Apicella made it a one-possession game 26 seconds later, but the rally died there.
Player of the game: Johnson. He did not always have much room to operate, but the senior attackman powered into traffic for goals that let the Tigers play with a lead.
Turning point: After storming back and taking an 8-5 lead into halftime, North Rockland went into a fog, getting outscored 4-0 in a pivotal third quarter.
Stat line: Leo DeSousa added one goal and one assist for White Plains. Austin Burns, Tommy Avery and Liam Broderick also scored for the Tigers. … Tyler Senatore had four goals and one assist for the Red Raiders. Appicella finished with three goals and one assists. Corbett added one goal and three assists and Dylan Senatore added two goals.
Quotable: “We played a terribly at the beginning of the game with a lot of turnovers in the first quarter,” Grasso said. “Then we played awful in the third quarter. We turned the ball over way too many times. We had a really good group that has been playing for the last four years. I feel bad for them.”