In a contest filled with end-to-end action, near misses, brilliant saves, and furious finishes, it took a slight defensive lapse and a timely shot by McDonogh senior attacker McCabe Millon to propel the top-seeded and No. 1 Eagles past fifth-seeded and third-ranked Boys’ Latin, 8-7, in overtime in a MIAA A Conference semifinal contest Tuesday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

After surviving a pair of late scoring chances by Boys’ Latin, including a pivotal kick-save by sophomore goalkeeper Aiden Seibel, along with two more Lakers’ opportunities to start overtime, the Eagles settled the game’s furious pace on their first possession. That decision to work the ball around during such a tense part of the match seemed to lull the hyped-up crowd and the Boys’ Latin defense into a false respite, freeing up just enough space for Millon to find the back of the net with a laser beam shot with 1 minute, 54 seconds left in extra time.

“In that zone (defense by Boys’ Latin), we had been running a bunch of different looks out of it,” said Millon, whose squad will look to repeat as league champions Friday at Loyola University’s Ridley Athletic Complex. “Credit to them, they were running a really good zone, and we struggled to find some looks, so we just kind of decided to freelance a little bit. I kind of saw a little bit of an opening where they weren’t covering from that top side. Saw it and took it. Just happy one was able to go in.

Thanks to Millon, the nation’s top player according to Inside Lacrosse, the Eagles (16-1 overall) will get the chance to defend their crown. McDonogh will play No. 2 and second-seed Calvert Hall - an 11-7 winner over No. 5 and third-seed Loyola Blakefield - for the nation’s most coveted boys lacrosse championship, Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Loyola University’s Ridley Athletic Center.

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Trailing by four goals after one quarter of play, Boys’ Latin (12-6), which captured the MIAA crown two years ago, outscored the Eagles, 7-3, during the rest of regulation play to force overtime. Face-off specialist Parker Hoffman, who had three crucial goals in his team’s 15-11 quarterfinal victory against fourth-seeded St. Mary’s last Friday, knotted the score for the first time with 8:46 left in the match as he snared control of the ball, juked out the first defender he faced, and then split two more before finding the back of the net.

“Credit goes to the seniors to step up when you need it the most,” Lakers coach Brian Farrell said. “They led during a hard time. It’s a lot of who we are as a team, and that’s what I’m going to remember about this team.”

Farrell’s squad, which won the crown in 2021 as the No. 5 seed, looked poised to cap that rally with a victory as the Lakers fired off two late shots in regulation. Seibel kicked one away while George Insley’s last-second attempt went wide of the target.

“I just reacted,” Seibel said. “Although it wasn’t a clean save, it was the save we needed, and I just couldn’t be more happy with my teammates, couldn’t be prouder. Going to the finals.”

Hoffman won the opening faceoff to start overtime, and his squad fired off two shots, including one that was saved by Seibel, before McDonogh gained the final possession of the contest.

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“We’ve got a heck of a group of 34 guys,” Eagles coach Andy Hilgartner said. “Just awesome kids that care about each other, and they play with a lot of guts. It wasn’t our prettiest game. We had a ton of opportunities. I thought that was going to be the story of the game: our squandered opportunities, especially in the first half, but we stayed with it.

“Seibel made huge saves for us. Our defense came up big. At the biggest moments, you want your best players to come up, and that’s what happened with McCabe on the last goal.”

A year after his brother Brenden was the hero in the MIAA A semifinals, McCabe Millon helped McDonogh back to the championship game. The senior scored with 1 minute, 54 seconds left in overtime, lifting the top-seeded Eagles past No. 5 seed Boys' Latin at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis. (James Peters)

Late-game heroics looked to be the last thing the Eagles would need as they completely controlled the opening quarter with Bogue Hahn netting a pair of goals en route to a commanding 4-0 lead. Three of those four scores came off either scooped-up initial saves or on a scramble for a ground ball.

Millon followed up one of those saved first attempts for the first of his three goals while Luke Miller turned a ground ball retrieved near the crease into the four-goal lead with 3:18 remaining in the quarter. Defensively, McDonagh limited the Lakers to one wild shot in the final four seconds of the quarter.

Brenden Millon opened the second quarter with a deep line drive shot for a 5-0 McDonogh lead about a minute into the second 12 minutes, but Boys’ Latin, finally finding their groove offensively, rallied for three goals in the second quarter on a pair of strikes by Insley and one from Jackson Walsh, who assisted on Insley’s second goal with 1:54 left in the opening half, helped trim the deficit to 5-3. Boys’ Latin outshot the Eagles, 10-6, in the quarter, which was a stark turnaround from the first quarter that saw McDonogh hold a 14-1 advantage.

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The two squads traded a pair of scores in the third quarter as the Eagles carried that two-goal lead into the fourth quarter following a score in transition by Ben Firlie, who fired in a wide-open look on a pass from Hahn (two goals, two assists).

The Lakers rallied in the fourth, setting up yet another epic ending between the rivals. A year ago at Navy, McDonogh got a goal from Brenden Millon as the buzzer sounded in regulation for an 11-10 victory and ending Boys’ Latin’s reign as MIAA A champions.

Tuesday, it was McCabe Millon, who put McDonogh on the verge of becoming just the third team (Loyola Blakefield, 2007 and 2008; and Calvert Hall, 2017-2019) to go back-to-back in the nation’s toughest high school boys lacrosse league.

“This is euphoric. There were moments in that game (where) things weren’t going our way, but I had confidence in all of our guys, and I knew we were going to be able to pull it out,” said McCabe Millon. “It just means so much to have another day with these guys.”

MIAA A CONFERENCE SEMIFINAL

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at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium

NO. 1 MCDONOGH 8, NO. 3 BOYS’ LATIN 7 (OT)

Boys’ Latin 0 3 2 2 0 - 7

McDonogh 4 1 2 0 1 - 8

GOALS: Boys’ Latin - Jackson Walsh 3, George Insley 2, Parker Hoffman, Tyler Owings; McDonogh - McCabe Millon 3, Bogue Hahn 2, Luke Miller, Ben Firlie, Brenden Millon

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ASSISTS: Boys’ Latin - Spencer Ford, Jackson Walsh, Tyler Owings; McDonogh - Bogue Hahn 2

SAVES: Boys’ Latin - Dylan Cadigan 11; McDonogh - Aiden Seibel 13

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