Regis Jesuit Wins First Colorado Boys' Lacrosse Title

After years of falling just short of a state title, the Regis Jesuit boys' lacrosse team finally broke through in 2011.

Behind five goals and a pair of assists from junior Ryan Ball, Regis Jesuit defeated Kent Denver 11-10 on Saturday in the Colorado High School Activities Association boys' lacrosse championship at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. After finals appearances in '99 and '10, plus a number of Final Four berths, Regis Jesuit is now just the fifth team to win a state title in Colorado since boys' lacrosse got sanctioned in '99. The program joins Arapahoe, Fort Collins, Kent Denver and Cherry Creek as state champions.

Ball was instrumental in his squad breaking away from a talented Kent Denver (12-5) team late in the third quarter. After more than two-plus periods of back-and-forth scoring and seeing the teams deadlocked at 7-7, Ball found the back of the net with just one-tenth of a second left on the third quarter clock. The clutch goal proved to be a turning point in the pinnacle contest.

Once Regis Jesuit (18-1) grabbed the lead to start the fourth quarter, the squad never relinquished it. Soon, the Raiders' advantage grew to 10-7 by the midway point of the fourth and then 11-8 by the final minute of regulation. However, Kent Denver had one last comeback up its sleeve. Attackman Bailey Tills scored with 32 seconds left in the fourth before midfielder Collins Gantz tallied just a few ticks later on the heels of a face-off win and quick transition break.

With the score 11-10 and just seconds remaining, Kent Denver won the final face-off and had a last chance to tally the equalizer. However, with the Regis defense holding strong and Kent Denver unable to get a quality look on cage, the Raiders were able to secure their first-ever state championship.

Derek Ball added three goals for Regis Jesuit, while teammates Blake Knobloch, Sean Offner, and Luke Leathers each had one tally. Goalie Rhody Heller made eight saves in the win for the Raiders, plus Logan Stelzner and Kevin Greenberg combined for five assists.

As for Kent Denver, Tills led the way with three goals, while Gantz, Jackson Arnold, and Zach Cowan each registered two scores. Goalie Sam Van Hook notched 12 saves in the loss for the Sun Devils.

The victory for Regis Jesuit also avenged an earlier season loss to Kent Denver, when the Sun Devils won 7-3 back on April 18. The result was the only defeat of the season for the Raiders.

Girls' Update: Cherry Creek, Air Academy to Face Off for Championship

After an exciting Final Four weekend, Cherry Creek and Air Academy have emerged as finalists in CHSAA girls' lacrosse. Top seed Cherry Creek continued its impressive playoff run by downing No. 4 Centaurus, 23-10, in semifinal action on Saturday. Senior Kiki Boone and junior Anya Gersoff each tallied seven goals in the win for Cherry Creek. Centaurus junior Emma Lazaroff led the way for her squad with a team-high six goals. The Bruins have now scored 70 goals in just three postseason games.

In Saturday's other semifinal match-up, Air Academy edged Kent Denver, 15-14, in a thriller. Lifted by a six-goal run midway through the first half, Air Academy stormed out to grab an 8-3 lead. The Kadets were ahead 15-10 late in the second half before Kent Denver tallied four-straight goals to make it a one-goal contest. Despite a final draw win and a pair of chances by Lucy Dikeou, including a shot that hit the post, Kent Denver still couldn't find the back of the net during a heart-pounding final seconds.

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