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Top Sports Stories 2016: SWR lacrosse wins L.I. title

At halftime of the Class B county championship game between the Shoreham-Wading River boys lacrosse team and Sayville, the Wildcats found themselves staring at a 5-2 deficit. Five days earlier, they had been in a similar position when trailing Comsewogue in the semifinals, 4-2.

The Wildcats liked to save the best for last in their 2016 playoff run. Shoreham bounced back to win both those games, and in an 11-5 victory over Sayville in June, clinched the program’s 11th county championship.

“Everyone talks about our offense,” Shoreham’s second-year coach, Mike Taylor, said after the game. “I have to start giving some credit to our D. Two shutouts in two second halves in two playoff games. That’s pretty huge.”

The Wildcats followed that with an 8-6 victory over Garden City to clinch the Long Island Championship. Kevin Cutinella scored four goals in the win and goalkeeper Jimmy Puckey made nine saves, several from close range, against the attacking Trojans.

The magical ride came to an end in the next game when the Wildcats couldn’t overcome a late deficit in a 7-6 loss to Yorktown in the state semifinals. It marked the end of an 18-3 season for the Wildcats as they fell short of their pursuit of the program’s first state title in Class B; their three championships had all come in Class C.

The Wildcats got a gutsy performance from Gray, who played despite having suffered a deep left quadricep contusion when he was kneed in the game against Garden City.

“These guys are my family, so I just put it all on the line for them because they deserve that,” Gray said after the game.

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