By Jeremy McDonald
KEIZER, Ore.– This was what it was all about. Championship Night.
West Salem and McNary Lacrosse met up for the North Valley Championship Monday night and it was more intense than their previous meeting on April 29.
It was tied at two at half, three after three as it came down to the fourth quarter between the two great Lacrosse teams.
McNary ahead 4-3 pretty quickly into the start of the fourth quarter. Scoring with 10:44 left in the game as Jesse Dyer adds to the lead six minutes later after minutes of nail biting back and forth.
Passion. Fire. Aggression for the Championship.
“Honestly. It definitely came down to heart definitely. I knew our guys wanted it more. You could see it in their eyes,” West Salem’s Mason Murray said, who had four goals in the game.
“It was a pretty good game,” smiled McNary’s Tyler Cleveland.
For the Titans, they’ve been in this big title game before, having won their fair share of titles along the way. But the McNary Lacrosse team hasn’t broken the curse and won a league championship yet with the streak seemingly coming to an end when they took a 6-3 lead with 4:02 left. Their coach, Sean Litrakis, had won five titles while being the Head Coach of the program and had set his eyes on bringing one home to McNary.
Although, his former team in West wasn’t quite done yet as Eric Ramirez scored with under three to go. Soon after it 6-4 as the Titans attempted a comeback. Eventually tying it at six with 1:30 left as the game went into overtime where the first goal wins the game. But as if that wasn’t enough. Both teams raised the stakes as they went into double overtime tied at six.
But that’s when tragedy struck for the Celts and victory for the Titans.
Forty-five seconds in double overtime, Mason Murray finishes off the comeback. Giving the Titans the 7-6 win over the Celtics as his team swarmed around him as they move on to the State Tournament..
“It’s unbelievable, it’s my second time doing it last year. I don’t know. I did it for my brother, he’s a senior this year and we got to go out as conference Champs,” Murray said.
And as much this hurts, this defeat will serve McNary well as they too will advance to the State Lacrosse Tournament. Knowing that they’re good enough to turn some heads, but just need to clean up the little things along the way.
“We worked hard until the end…until the final buzzer and it just didn’t go our way. We know next time it will,” Cleveland said. “This loss will make us hungry, we’ll come out in the playoffs pretty hot, we’ll upset somebody. Just the little mistakes (to improve on). Just when we’re up down here and not giving up three goals in two minutes, giving them the ball on offense. Just the little things that we could get better at.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald