The Montclair Mounties celebrate, holding the Gibbs Cup high after beating Columbia 11-8.

by Andrew Garda

It’s  been a long season for the Montclair High School Boys Lacrosse team.

Before Wednesday night, the tale of the season might have boiled down to a new coaching staff, a new system, and a lot of struggling.

After Wednesday night? Well, the tide might be turning.

After avenging a close loss to West Essex in the Essex County Tournament with a 9-8 win on Monday, the Mounties took possession of the Gil Gibbs Cup from rival Columbia in a 11-8 win which wasn’t really all that close. That makes it two wins in a row for MHS, with a shot to make it three when they travel to face Bergen Catholic on Friday.

A three-game win streak before heading into what will likely be a road game for the beginning of the New Jersey State Tournament?

They’ll take that.

Head Coach John Scanlan hoists up the Gibbs Trophy after his team beats Columbia 11-8.

First they took the Gibbs Cup, though, which Columbia was not going to give up easily. Head coach John Scanlan started a lineup of seniors on Senior Night, including Wiley Cates in goal. Cates had injured his hand in preseason and while he had seen the field once before, had not started a game for the Mounties since his injury.

By the end of the first quarter, the Mounties were down 3-1. MHS jumped out to a 6-3 lead by halftime, but the Cougars came back in the early third quarter, pulling to within one goal at 6-5.

The Mounties turned up the juice after that, scoring  four goals before the end of the quarter and entering the final quarter in firm control.

Along with the win, the team got a lift from the play of Cates. Despite not playing for several months, Cates didn’t look like he had much rust to deal with. He made great save after great save for the Mounties, especially down the stretch.

Now the Mounties look to Bergen Catholic and hope to make run in the NJSIAA Tournament.

For a complete in depth look at the Mounties Gil Gibbs Cup victory, check out the May 18th edition of the Montclair Local.