Pick a number, any number.
The domination of New Hampshire Division I that has grown in the Pinkerton Academy-Bishop Guertin boys lacrosse rivalry resumes Saturday night (7:30 p.m.) as expected as the two teams collide on the turf at Exeter High’s Bill Ball Stadium.
It is the seventh straight Astros-Cardinals D-I boys lax state final.
And that is where the two veteran coaches like to manipulate a digit or two.
Bishop Guertin’s Chris Cameron talks of his team looking to make it 8 of the last 10 Division I titles and that Pinkerton has not won two straight championships since its run of four (1999-2002).
Pinkerton’s Brian O’Reilly, who has the ammunition to go old school if he wants to (11 titles overall, compared to Guertin’s 9), but the veteran and dean of coaches in New Hampshire likes to live life in the present, or at least the immediate past, pointing out that the two teams have split the last four evenly, two apiece.
Oh yeah, these two programs live out the term “rival”
A Guertin team with 23 seniors, including current North Carolina Tar Heal Brian Cameron, was stunned by the Astros in the 2018 title game, 11-9.
It was not the best day to be a Cardinal and coach Cameron knows it.
“It’s one game and anything can happen,” said the Guertin mentor. “Last year, they faced off and made saves. They had 15 or 16 saves. That never really happened to us. The way we are shooting it, it’s not going to happen again.
The Cardinals tuned up for the title game, crushing fourth-seeded Souhegan, 17-3, while Pinkerton struggled some with No. 3 Exeter, before escaping with a 12-7 decision.
“We’re not going to be flat like we were last year,” said Cameron.
“Obviously, there’s a lot on the line. We’re more a more battle-tested team this year.”
Of course, junior Sean Cameron makes the Cardinals attack special, but over the long haul, which has included a 4-1 mark against Bay State competition, the Bishop Guertin offense has bloomed and spread.
“Early on we weren’t getting (scoring balance),” said coach Cameron.
“Now, we have that balance. It’s not just Sean scoring. We’ve got Ben Abladian scoring. Dawson Clark has been our second leading scorer.”
One other key for the Cards could come in goal, where James Heitmiller has a championship game under his belt. He’s looked mighty sharp in spite of a lack of chances.
Pinkerton again is Pinkerton, fast, strong, deep defensive and dominant in the faceoff circle with Gennaro Marra.
“We’ll be happy winning 25 percent (of the draws),” said Cameron. “But this one is all about us getting defensive stops.”