Graber leads Prep lax past BC High to clinch CC title share

DANVERS — As Harlan Graber walked through the locker room tunnel to Glatz Field Wednesday, he did so with resolve. Understandably, as the Wenham native was set to make his first career start for St. John’s Prep.

Based on how things shook out once the game started, it would appear that the Eagles made the correct choice with their promotion. In a rematch of last year’s Div. 1 boys lacrosse title game, the junior buried four goals as St. John’s Prep registered a statement victory with a 14-6 romp over bitter rival BC High.

“Anytime we get a win over BC High, it’s great,” Graber said afterward. “They’re a tough team to play against, one of the top (programs) in the state. First varsity start, and it was just a blast to be out there.”

The victory clinched at least a share of the 2022 Catholic Conference title for St. John’s Prep (12-1). In addition to Graber’s performance, the Eagles received hat tricks from Jimmy Ayers and Charlie Wilmot.

It didn’t exactly take too long for Ayers to leave his imprint on the game as Chris Esposito won the opening faceoff and fed the junior in transition. He proceeded to snipe a goal three seconds into play to give St. John’s Prep an immediate 1-0 edge.

The sequence was simply a foreshadowing of what was to come.

Ayers and Graber combined to tally four goals in the opening quarter. Graber buried his third goal to complete the hat trick with 7:15 to play in the second stanza as St. John’s Prep took a 7-2 advantage at the half.

The Eagles were far from finished, outscoring BC High 5-2 in the third quarter. Tommy Sarni netted a pair of goals in the frame, helping St. John’s Prep coast to the fourth comfortably ahead, up 12-4.

“I think that’s the result,” said St. John’s Prep coach John Pynchon. “We played really well. A complete, full game.”

Sophomore Jake Vana also had a great game for St. John’s Prep, notching

(051122 Danvers, MA): Saint John’s Prep’s Jimmy Ayers celebrates his goal with teammate Tommy Sarni during the lacrosse match against Boston College High on Wednesday,May 11, 2022 in Danvers, MA. (Staff Photo By Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

two goals to go with a pair of assists.

Will Emsing finished with a hat trick himself for BC High, with Tim Rogers (two goals) and Ronan Bailey (goal) providing an additional boost.

“The point is to play our best lacrosse in June,” Pynchon said. “I’ll be disappointed if this is our best game of the year. At this point, it’s our best game of the year, but we know we’ve got plenty more tests coming up…We’ve got CM next Tuesday. We’ll get back to work, and keep getting better.”