With about three seconds remaining in regulation May 16, the Pickerington High School Central boys lacrosse team celebrated its pending victory over Pickerington North by dumping a cooler of ice water on coach Pete Campbell.
For Campbell, it was a fitting end to the best regular season in program history.
The Tigers rallied from a 5-4 halftime deficit to beat the Panthers 12-8 and earn the outright OCC-Central Division championship at 6-0.
Last season, Central shared the league title with Delaware and Westerville Central at 5-1.
"Our boys didn't quit and didn't give up," Campbell said. "We did a very good job of shutting down their transition in the second half. We started to take that away finally. Our boys left it on the field."
The win improved Central to 14-2 overall. Senior midfielder Devon Maki had three goals and an assist, senior midfielder Brent Walton had five goals and junior attacker Zane Kenney added three goals.
Senior goalkeeper Cole Naylor made 12 saves.
The Tigers defeated Wellington 10-3 on May 15 in their last non-league game of the regular season. Their only losses entering the tournament came by one goal to St. Charles (9-8 on April 25) and Thomas Worthington (8-7 on May 8).
Central, which received the fourth seed for the Division I Central Region tournament, opens the postseason Saturday, May 25, at home against fifth-seeded St. Charles. The winner plays second-seeded Worthington Kilbourne, Westerville Central or Gahanna in a regional semifinal Wednesday, May 29. The regional final is June 1.
"We talked about the ability to win faceoffs (against Pickerington North) and we did that," Campbell said. "Devon Maki came to play."
North got two goals from senior attacker Austin Brady and sophomores Logan Murphy (midfielder) and Jordan Smith (midfielder). Senior goalie Nate Hess made 20 saves.
The Panthers, who also lost to Olentangy 9-6 on May 14 and closed the regular season at 9-9 overall, tied Delaware for second in the OCC-Central at 4-2.
North opened the Division I Central Region tournament May 22 at Dublin Coffman in the play-in round. The winner plays Saturday, May 25, at third-seeded Thomas in a first-round game. That winner faces top-seeded Upper Arlington, Westerville North or Westerville South in a regional semifinal Wednesday, May 29.
North girls fall to St. Ursula
The North girls team lost to Cincinnati St. Ursula 11-8 in the second round of the Division I South/Central Region tournament May 15.
The Panthers, who opened the postseason with a 16-8 win over visiting Watterson on May 13, finished 10-6-1.