BETHESDA – Wednesday was the first day of Maryland’s high school boys lacrosse state playoffs, as No. 4. Walter Johnson hosted No. 5 Bethesda-Chevy Chase in a 4A West regional quarterfinal matchup.
The Wildcats were able to capitalize behind Noah Diamond’s four goals for the 9-7 victory over the Barons to advance to the next round. However, Walter Johnson would ultimately lose in the regional semifinals against Churchill two days later.
“We just got the ball over well in transition,” said Diamond. “Our poles did a good job of getting downfield. We caught them off guard when we were on transition and fastbreak situations.”
While Diamond accounted for four of Walter Johnson’s nine goals, Henry Dash, Ryan Gardner, Jalen Scott, Jonah Levy and J.R. DuBois also put the ball in the net.
“They were always getting good clears,” Wildcats head coach Jacob Anderson said. “In the middle of the game, we were struggling to clear the ball upfield, but we cleaned that up, got that fixed, and it really helped out.”
These two teams previously met on April 15, where Walter Johnson held on for a 7-6 win despite a multigoal comeback by Bethesda-Chevy Chase.
“We were not going to let that happen this time,” said Gardner. “We wanted to go out aggressive in the second half and not let up, so we could put more points on the board and secure the win.”
B-CC’s Aaron Tiao scored the game’s first tally, leading the Barons with three goals in the loss and reaching 100 total points on the season.
“For my money, Aaron Tiao is the best player in the county,” said Bethesda-Chevy Chase head coach Jesse Rutter. “He has to do everything for us. We don’t have a lot of help off of him.”
However, the Wildcats responded with consecutive goals from Dash and Gardner to take a 2-1 lead at the end of the quarter. The lead grew in the second when Diamond scored his first of four goals.
“I was cutting very well off the ball,” said Diamond. “My teammates did a good job finding me when I was open.”
The Barons responded with two consecutive goals of their own – thanks to Danny Loughlin and Diao – to tie the game before halftime.
Things changed in the third quarter as Walter Johnson fired off five goals with with Diamond scoring three times, while Scott and Levy also contributed.
“He’s never afraid to shoot,” Anderson stated about Diamond. “Always got a great shot, and he buried it when he had the opportunity.”
Down by four goals heading into the fourth quarter, the Barons attempted a late comeback with Loughlin, Evan Williams, and Logan Davis all scoring. However, the rally attempt fell short as the Wildcats celebrated on the field after the final whistle.
“I thought our guys played hard,” said Rutter. “We’ve battled injuries and close games all season, and they’ve never quit on us.”