Competition rules during Gil Gibbs All-Star games

By Mark Kitchin

Morriscountylacrosse 

MADISON– Call it a parting shot. Madison’s Michael Clemente was thrilled to be able to stick one more goal in the net of his home field one last time. Only he didn’t do it for the Dodgers. He did it for Mohawk Nation.

In the Gil Gibbs All-Star showcases, players come from all over the Garden State to play for teams named after Indian tribes. It was all part of the New Jersey Lacrosse Jamboree, the end of the season scholastic showcase sponsored by the North and South New Jersey Chapters of U.S. Lacrosse.

The games are a rite of passage for many New Jersey Lacrosse playing seniors who will continue to play competitively in college or hang up their stick after one final fling. The blue-clad Mohawk team edged the maroon-clad Seneca team 11-10 in the closest contest of the four senior showcases for boys and girls.

“I think it’s a fun game but we are all competitive,’’ Clemente said. “That’s why we are here. There’s always that competitive edge to win. It’s a fun way to end the year after putting in so much hard work during the season.’’

Clemente pumped in his goal on a feed from Lawrenceville’s Steffan Gratch with 7:25 left in the third quarter to make it 7-5. Clemente enjoyed the chance to compete and to play with his Madison  teammate Billy Battaglia in familiar surroundings.

Chatham’s Cory Heideran winds up to fire a shot during a Gil Gibbs Senior All-Star Games at the Lacrosse Jamboree. Photo by Mark Kitchin

“It’s bittersweet,’’ Clemente said. “I’m going to miss my high school career but I’m going to Marquette and play there. I’m just excited about the future.

“Me and Billy have a chemistry that goes back a long ways, since we were little. That’s something I’m going to miss but something I definitely enjoyed.’’

Clemente was one of several athletes recognized as Academic All-Americans. He and Morristown’s Stephen Delargy were two of twelve lacrosse players honored between jamboree showcases.

“I just worked hard in school and did my best,’’ said Clemente who logged a 4.5 grade point average. “During the season it was easier to keep up my grades. I kept myself on track and stayed focused.’’

Battaglia had an assist and Kinnelon’s Kobi Frankel had a goal for the Mohawk team.

Chatham goalkeeper Cory Fritts prepares to stop a shot during a Lacrosse Jamboree contest on Sunday. Photo by Mark Kitchin.

The Maroon-clad Seneca team was dominated by the defending champion Bridgewater-Raritan team which defended its Tournament of Champions title on Saturday night. Six Bridgewater players competed including top-notch scorer Scott Bieda who registered a goal and an assist.

Their play made an impression on their Seneca teammates including Chatham’s Matt Proto.

“I’ve never seen a group of kids work that well together,’’ Proto said. “Even in an all-star game when their whole team is not there, they make everyone else playing around them better. It looks amazing.’’

Proto, Thomas Stephan, Kyle Howard-Johnson, Corey Fritts and Corey Heideran represented the Group II champions proudly. Howard-Johnson may have made the shot of the day. A hard righty offering that blasted against the back of the net and caused the announcer to exclaim “Wow!”

Due to a schedule mix-up the Mendham contingent of R.J. Harrington, Stephan Graziano and Tyler Avallone arrived fashionably late. They calmly picked up their shirts, stretched out and joined the action in the fourth quarter. Avallone, the Syracuse-bound goalie, made a couple of memorable saves for Seneca. Bobby Collins of Mahwah notched the game-winning goal off a pass fromGlenRidge’s Matt Lander pass with five minutes left to make it an 11-8 game then the Mohawks survived a late Seneca rush to earn the triumph.

Mountain Lakes’  Dylan Muti readies to catch a pass in Gil Gibbs Senior All-Star Game action. By Mark Kitchin.

Cayuga 17, Onondaga 8

Ridge’s Connor Meth and Seton Hall Prep’s Paul Werner scored four goals apiece to lift red-shirted Cayuga to victory. Delbarton’s John Shaffer scored twice and Connor Bilby and Cole Riccardi each registered assists for Cayuga. Green Wave’s Kohl Geibel also contributed on defense and Morris Knolls’ Dmitri Paleocostas added a goal for the winners.

Montville’s Ryan O’Lear and Raf Correa scored two goals apiece for the green-shirts of Onondaga. Morristown’s Stephen Delargy scored a goal. Mountain Lakes Jon Broome also notched a score and his Lakers teammates Rob Orazietti and Dylan Muti saw plenty of time on the field. Goalies Brandyn Merkle of Mount Olive and Parker Fairey of Morristown saw stretches between the pipes. Mount Olive attackman Conor Buoye, defenseman Nick Verrone, Morristown’s Matt Drake and Morris Hills Anthony Vergera also made contributions. The Onondaga were coached by Dave Gallucci of Mount Olive and Terry Reilly of Morris Hills.

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About mcvbb

Mark Kitchin is a boys varsity basketball writer for the Morris County New Jersey area

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