A common saying in sports — it’s not how you start, but how you finish that matters most — pertains to the Newtown High School boys’ lacrosse team which, after a 3-5 beginning to the campaign, won six of seven games heading into the season-finale against Xavier of Middletown on May 16.
Newtown topped Masuk of Monroe 14-6 at Treadwell Park under an on and off, heavy at times rain on May 9, and beat Hall of West Hartford 13-6 at Blue & Gold Stadium two days later to carry a 9-6 record into the Xavier game. The South-West Conference tournament gets going with quarterfinal round action on May 20 and Newtown earned the SWC’s third seed and an opening round home against Weston to kick off the postseason. The Nighthawks defeated Weston, on the road, 8-2 earlier this season.
Another frequently heard line in spots is that defense wins championships. That said, and considering the Nighthawks have held opponents to six or fewer goals in six of the last seven games, they certainly have to be considered a threat. Newtown’s most lopsided loss was a 9-4 setback to Joel Barlow of Redding, and its other defeats, save a 13-2 setback to nonconference foe Staples of Westport, were all by three or fewer goals.
In the win over Masuk, Jake Ball led all scorers with six net-finders. Newtown led 7-3 at halftime and saw the Panthers close to within two goals early in the third quarter before Ball scored three unanswered goals in a span of 2:47 to help the Hawks seize control.
“We work on the offense a lot so it’s nice to finally get some reward out of that,” said Ball, who matched his season-high scoring effort (he also had a double hat-trick in a 16-3 win over West Springfield).
Dan Hebert had three goals and three assists, and Alec Beauchemin and Graham Derrickson both scored twice in the win over the Panthers. Connor Hanley won 18 of 22 faceoffs, had 12 of the team’s groundball scoops, helping the team finish with a 33-16 advantage in grounders.
Newtown Coach Glenn Adams was pleased with his team’s all-around performance in the victory.
“We did a really good job in the defensive end. We did a good job facing off and in ground balls. We were patient and got some good looks,” Adams said.
Newtown continued its winning ways in the triumph over West Hartford behind the efforts of Tom Bauer, who scored five times. Hebert had two goals and five assists, Ball scored twice and set up three goals, and Beauchemin and Derrickson also scored twice each.
The only loss Newtown has had in the past few weeks was a 9-7 setback to non-SWC team East Lyme in early May. Adams and his team members are hopeful late-season tests against tough nonconference teams will have the Hawks playing at a high level once the playoffs roll around.
“If we’re moving the ball and getting good transitions, and our defense is clicking, we’re a tight team and we’ve got a good chance,” Ball said.