Yellow Jackets enjoy home lacrosse finale, top Gators

By JERRY BYRD JR., Journal Sports

On Friday nights in the fall, Byrd seniors Andrew Black, James Basco, and Ryan Pearson were in the stands at football games leading Byrd’s infamous Hive, the school’s student section.

Last night, in the shadows of Centenary College’s Gold Dome, playing their final high school lacrosse game in Shreveport against their rivals, it was their turn to lead the Jackets. It was spring, and it was on the field to delight an appreciative crowd as Byrd beat Captain Shreve 9-4.

The game was closer than the score indicated.Black scored the first and final goals. The opener came with 7:40 remaining in the first quarter. The finisher landed with 1:45 left in the game.

“We just wanted to get out here and score some goals to get the momentum going,” Black said. “We are trying to run through anything in the state. The last goal, was just for fun.”

Basco, who led the Yellow Jackets with three goals, called his teammate’s final goal a “rocket.”

“I knew I had to score a lot,” Basco said. “Score for the team. We had to beat this team. Last game for me in Shreveport, I just had to put it in the net and have fun.”

Pearson had two assists and managed the game well for the Byrd offense, including the final moments when he threw the ball high into the air.

“You always have to have that team play,” Pearson said. “It was a great crowd out here tonight. Shreve was definitely physical, but we were hitting harder. You got to love that.”

Byrd head coach Steve Martino certainly did love it.

“It was critical that we came out and set the tone,” Martino said. “We had great face off wins all night with Dixon Poirier, and our senior leadership propelled us to victory here.”

It was that senior leadership, and a goal from junior Hunter Thrasher, which helped build a 3-1 first half advantage for Byrd.

The Gators battled back. Freshman Danny Wade made quick work of the Jacket defense in the early stages of the second half, scoring to narrow Byrd’s lead to one.

Shortly after, Shreve’s Liam Johns, playing on the Centenary field where he will continue his lacrosse career, tied it up by finding the back of the net with 4:48 left in the third quarter.

But Byrd’s underclassmen answered to help the Yellow Jackets pull away. Sophomore Ian Dawson scored with 3:23 left in the third to give the Jackets the lead. Thrasher added another goal late in the period with 2:26 to go, and then —just 10 seconds later — Poirier, a sophomore, won a face off and took it up the middle of the Captain Shreve defense to double the lead.

Despite Shreve gaining the momentum early in the second half, Pearson said the Jackets never blinked.

“I know our offense,” Pearson said. “We always come back. We can put the ball in.”

Along with Johns and Wade, Captain Shreve head coach Garrett Faktor was impressed with the play of the Gators’ Will Moore.

“Every game, he is a leader for us,” Faktor said. “He caused turnovers tonight, chased down loose balls, and was a monster. He does the same things for us that Pearson does for Byrd.”

The victory for the Yellow Jackets comes on the heels of a rollercoaster in South Louisiana last weekend.

Byrd defeated Catholic 5-4 on Friday before falling to Newman, 8-3, on the following day.

Another date with Newman looms large for the Yellow Jackets as they prepare for their Super Eight quarterfinals in Lafayette, hoping to make a return appearance in the state championship game.