WASHINGTON, D.C. — Dylan Watson, a Georgetown commit, is only a junior but the attacker is already making himself at home in the District of Columbia.
Thanks to seven goals by Watson, including four in the first half, The Hill Academy (Ontario, Canada) rolled to its second consecutive GEICO High School Lacrosse Nationals title, defeating Salisbury School (Salisbury, Conn.) 15-12 Tuesday at Catholic University.
It was also Watson’s second consecutive Most Valuable Player award in the tournament’s championship. Last year, in the inaugural GEICO High School Lacrosse Nationals, he had four goals in his team’s 12-6 championship defeat of Georgetown Prep (North Bethesda, Md.).
“It’s just the tournament itself,” Watson said. “They bring all the best teams here and it amps up everything. We want to do it for one another here. It’s just a big family. Whenever I’m in the game, wherever I catch it, I’m going to shoot it. I don’t think about it.”
Watson’s final goal Tuesday came with just under a minute left as Salisbury was throwing every attacker up in a desperate effort.
“He’s got a really calm, steady, confident demeanor,” The Hill coach Brodie Merrill said. “But he’s a sniper and he scores in bunches. Over the course of the year, he’s been our most consistent scorer.”
Amos Gilbert scored his second goal of the second half to cut The Hill’s lead to 14-12 with just over a minute to go, but Salisbury could get no closer.
The Crimson Knights have 21 seniors, one reason they kept responding to The Hill’s challenge.
“Hill is so athletic and so talented and they got us on our heels pretty quickly,” Salisbury coach Bobby Wynne said. “The energy that it takes to get back into it and settle the ball down made it tough. To our guys credit, I’m proud of the effort we did for 48 minutes. They fought really, really hard. It wasn’t our best lacrosse but I never questioned their effort and their heart. We had 21 seniors and seven have been starting since their sophomore year. That group of seniors has brought us to heights we hadn’t been.”
The Hill (13-5) took a 8-6 lead in the first 24 minutes, thanks to four goals by Watson and two goals and two assists by Josh Zawada, who was the overall tournament MVP. Watson scored his fourth goal of the half just under two minutes to go off a pass by Dyson Williams.
The Pride came out and jumped to a 4-0 lead in the first quarter. Zawada came from behind the net and hit a backhander with 9:04 to go in the first quarter. Less than a minute later, Watson hit an underhanded scoop shot and the Crimson Knights (16-2) called a quick timeout. Watson made it 3-0 in heavy traffic with a goal with 5:38 to go in the first quarter. Billy Coyle came from behind the net with a goal with 3:58 to go.
John Lombardi Jr. and Teioshontathe McComber each scored two goals in the first half for Salisbury. Lombardi, dogged by The Pride defender Jake Saunders, found an opening in the goal circle and cut The Hill’s lead to 6-4 for his first goal. Lombardi scored again to make it 6-5 with 7:00 left in the first half when he got a short pass in front from McComber.
McComber’s first two goals were crucial because they came when The Pride was up 4-0 and threatening to run away with it. With 3:39 to go in the first quarter, Joe Neuman won the faceoff and McComber scored in heavy traffic. McComber scored again from the right side with just 21 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Follow Jim Halley on Twitter at: @jimhalley