Hilliard Bradley High School boys lacrosse coach Andy Buck saw an intensity April 19 that he had not seen earlier this season from his team.
The Jaguars showed passion and drive during a 9-4 victory over Darby in an OCC-Ohio Division contest.
"We grew up a little bit (against Darby) and we got a taste of unity and now we have to work as hard as ever before," said Buck, whose team was 3-4 overall before playing Watterson on April 24 and is 1-1 in the OCC-Ohio. "Even in the locker room, I felt the electricity that comes before a game and saw their desire to overcome their opponent. They came out firing on all cylinders. Mentally, they had the confidence that you need and then they went out and played a nearly flawless game."
Senior attacker Nick Biller said he and his teammates always get fired up to play the Panthers.
"I think we are driven to beat Darby because we played with those kids growing up before the schools split," said Biller, a team captain who had three goals against Darby. "As long as we play with that kind of intensity, we can do a lot better."
Against Darby, junior attacker Chris Apollonio added three goals and one assist, junior attacker Connor McDunn had two goals and two assists, freshman midfielder Drake Stephens had one goal and one assist and sophomore goalkeeper Jake Angelo had 13 saves.
"We played well as a team," Angelo said. "We had great communication. We were great at getting to groundballs and we were great at keeping possession.
"We were able to keep our heads on a swivel, which is important on defense. That keeps guys from getting around you."
Buck said his players did not make the mistakes they had made earlier in the season.
"We had us with only three turnovers, and that can go a long way," Buck said. "We had been averaging five (turnovers) a quarter or about 20 per game."
The Jaguars are halfway to winning the Hilliard Cup, which goes to the team with the best record against its fellow school district members. Bradley won the inaugural trophy in 2011 and Davidson earned it last season. The Jaguars and Wildcats meet May 10 at Bradley, and Darby plays host to Davidson on May 11.
"We have to move on and play with this same intensity against everyone," Angelo said. "We now are halfway to the Hilliard Cup, and it's one of our goals to win that again."
Darby was 2-5 overall and 0-3 in the OCC-Ohio before playing Olentangy Orange on April 24.
"Our inexperience and youth really showed (against Bradley)," Panthers coach Rob Schmeling said. "We definitely learned we have a long way to go. We have to get back to the fundamentals of the game."
Sophomore attacker Max Weese led the Panthers against Bradley, scoring three goals. Sophomore attacker Ryan Rampi had a goal and an assist and junior goalie David Black had four saves.
"In a game like lacrosse, you talk about momentum swings," Schmeling said. "When you're down a couple of goals, that doesn't mean you're out of it. We need to battle for four quarters.
"I thought at times our riding defense did well, but we didn't play up to our expectations."
Davidson boys close in on 2012 win total
The Davidson boys team was 5-4 overall and 1-1 in the OCC-Buckeye before playing Upper Arlington on April 24.
Last season, the Wildcats finished 8-10 overall and 1-5 in the league.
Davidson lost to St. Charles 12-8 on April 18 but rebounded to beat Centerville 11-5 on April 20.
Against St. Charles, junior attacker Luke Myers had three goals, senior attacker Samuel Lieburn had two goals and junior goalie Seth McCall had seven saves.