WRIGHT TWP. — Judging by Crestwood’s celebration, it might be easy to forget that it was the Comets’ third championship in four years.
Equipment was shed like dirty laundry. The goalkeeper was somewhere in the bottom of the dogpile. Snapchats were taken with the trophy. A handful of players’ pads mysteriously landed over the netting.
Perhaps justifiably so.
Crestwood put up its most dominant performance of the season to claim its second straight District 2 Class 2A boys lacrosse championship. Playing against each other for the fourth time this season, the Comets ransacked rival Scranton Prep for a 21-8 victory Thursday on their home turf.
“It’s tough to put into words,” Crestwood goalkeeper Reed Karaska said. “This team is really something special. Our coaches and players work really hard. It’s important. It is important to me to remain calm and keep complacent for the younger kids.”
Karaska and the Comets’ defense changed the course of the game. As opposed to the past three meetings — all high-scoring slugfests with Crestwood taking two of three — the Comets limited the Cavaliers to just eight goals.
Defenders Kevin Kusawicz, Patrick Colo, Gabe Chmiola and Chase Passman kept Scranton Prep without a goal for the first 18:30 of the game. Meanwhile, the Comets’ offense helped provide a seven-goal cushion that put Scranton Prep in an insurmountable hole well before the first half’s completion.
Karaska played the “game of the season,” according to Crestwood coach Brian Zabroski, with 14 saves and four ground balls. He made a point-blank save with 15 seconds left in the second quarter, and the Comets’ Trey Zabroski scooped a ground ball and went coast-to-coast to give Crestwood a 10-3 lead at the half.
“The credit goes to the defense,” Karaska said. “It’s easy for that credit to be deflected to me as the goalie from the scoreboard. But it’s really credit to defense. They limited those shots, and I came up with the saves.”
Crestwood advances to the state tournament to face District 4 winner Selinsgrove on Tuesday.
Anthony Caporuscio again was keystone to the Comets’ offense with 10 points. Caporuscio tallied four goals and six assists.
Trey Zabroski was the Comets’ leading goal-scorer with five, in addition to a pair of assists. Wyatt Malia scored four goals and an assist, and Matt Tirpak finished with a hat trick. Chandler O’Farrell had a game-high eight ground balls.
“Our goal in the past couple of days has been to get our defense up to speed to really meet those guys,” coach Zabroski said. “They’ve taken to us for three games so far this season. With that focus in mind, we needed to step up in the midfield, get our defense to stay solid and put some pressure on our offense to get our wheels going there.”
The district championship began out of fashion for the two teams. Following Crestwood’s opening netter directly off of the faceoff, both teams went 11 scoreless minutes before another digit added to the scoreboard. Caporuscio scored from 12 yards out with 66 seconds remaining to provide the Comets with a slim 2-0 lead through the first stanza.
Crestwood had the benefit of both teams starting the second quarter with an unreleasable stick violation. The Comets made the most of the extra space on the 5-on-5 opportunity, tacking on four goals in 1:49. Caporuscio tap-danced his way around a Cavaliers’ defender to rifle a shot from 13 yards into the net to go ahead 5-0. Sean Murphy added one more before the penalties’ end with a one-time at 9:04.
“We were able to take care of that situation with four goals,” coach Zabroski said. “That got us rolling. That’s when the offense started clicking, the championship butterflies left their stomach, and we got to play the game we’re used to playing.”
Prep’s Daniel Hinton gave the Cavaliers some momentum with three goals in two minutes to trim the deficit to 8-3 with 3:46 left in the first half. But Crestwood responded by scoring six of the next seven goals over the next minutes.
“You can’t take your foot off with those guys,” coach Zabroski said. “They are capable of coming back and putting points on the board really fast … because the atmosphere on the sideline was not that we had this in the bag.”
H.S. BOYS LACROSSE
District 2 Class 2A Championship Game
Crestwoood 21, Scranton Prep 8
Scranton Prep — Fisher 3g-2a, Hinton 3g, Pettinato 2g-2a, LJohnson 1
Crestwood — Anthony Caporuscio 4g-6a, TJ Kulak 1a, Wyatt Malia 4g-1a, Matt Tirpak 3g, Sean Murphy 2g, Owen Grigas 3g-2a, Trey Zabroski 5g-2a
Shots — SP 42, CRE 41. Saves — SP 10 (Reihner), CRE 14 (Reed Karaska)
Reach Jay Monahan at 570-829-7143 or on Twitter @TLsports