DR. PHILLIPS — The Dr. Phillips boys lacrosse team made it back-to-back district championships — good for its third in four years — by defeating The First Academy on Friday in the District 13 Championship, 10-5.
The Panthers (15-5) were knotted up with the Royals at halftime, 4-4, before going on a 6-1 run to close the contest and extend their dominant run of 14 wins in their past 15 games.
"Our defense stepped up," Ian Decker said. "We were able to control the ball better on offense; we had a lot of underclassmen step up on offense that put balls in the back of the net and really changed the momentum of the game."
As his team celebrated another district title, coach Charlie Battaglini reflected on the run his program has been on over the past few years.
"The program has come a long way and that's due to the hard work of these kids," Battaglini said. "They've put in work over the offseason — it's hard to get some of these guys off of the field shooting sometimes."
Dr. Phillips will now take on West Orange in a first round play-in game, with the contest set for 7 p.m. on April 17 — with the Warriors listed as hosts at FHSAA.org, though it is unclear at the time of publication where the game will take place due to the program's unplayable turf field.
Wherever the game occurs, the Panthers and the Warriors should make for an entertaining matchup.
"West Orange is always a very highly emotional game for everybody," Battaglini said. "It's pretty much a big rivalry game for us; we've played them very close in the past years."