Last-second goal sends No. 4 Battle Mountain boys lacrosse to state semifinals

Carter Shonk scored with 3.6 seconds left to give the Huskies a 12-11 win over Telluride

Battle Mountain defeated Telluride 12-11 in Tuesday's 4A state lacrosse quarterfinal match in Edwards.
Rex Keep/Courtesy photo

Tuesday’s 4A lacrosse state quarterfinal in Edwards was worth the price of admission: physical defense, back-and-forth offense, a last-second goal and a historic victory.

“Man what an unbelievable game,” Battle Mountain head coach Pat Doherty said after Carter Shonk’s game-winner sent the Huskies to their first-ever boys lacrosse state semifinal. “First and foremost, I have to give all the credit to Telluride for fighting the way they did. What a game.”

Telluride arrived in Edwards boasting a perfect 13-0 record largely because of Lucas Betz. But the Huskies bottled up the senior scoring savant in the first half as Telluride’s 2-0 first-quarter lead came courtesy of Marty White and Henry Pettinos.

Keelan Losa scored three goals in the first-quarter to spark Battle Mountain to a 6-4 first-half lead.
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“Whenever you’re facing a kid that has 100 points, you have to figure something out, so a majority of our game plan was focused around stopping Lucas,” Doherty said of Betz, who is headed to Limestone University next year. “Our plan all along was to force him to do things he didn’t want to do.”

While sophomore defenders Griffin Smith and Caeden Kackman stifled Betz, Keelan Losa sparked the Husky offense with three-straight first-half goals.

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Garrett Ast gets in close during Battle Mountain’s in over Telluride on Tuesday in Edwards.
Rex Keep/Courtesy photo

Carter Shonk gave the Huskies their first lead with 5:32 remaining in the half off a nice pass from Thomas Dekanich to make it 4-3. Garrett Ast scored a minute later and then Shonk — who described his role on the team as distributor and “playmaker” — set up Ast again during the Huskies man-up advantage, increasing the lead to 6-3.

“A lot of times I try to utilize my teammates and I think tonight I just wanted to show what my position on this team was,” Ast said. The four-year varsity veteran led his senior-heavy team with four timely goals.

“I mean, we’ve got a group of dogs. Eighteen seniors — we wanted it badly.”

Battle Mountain senior Thomas Dekanich backs his way toward the net during the second quarter of Tuesday’s state quarterfinal game against Telluride.
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The Huskies’ momentum carried into the third quarter. Joe Dekanich dashed from the 50-yard line right up to the doorstep for a layup to open the scoring. Betz finally got on the board with a rip shot three minutes later, but Ast responded quickly with a lefty bounce to make it a three-point game again. The Miners, however, refused to keel over.

“They have a ton of good players, so we knew they’d never be out of this game,” Ast said.

Goals by Loudon Doemland and Bernz Kurtz right before the buzzer made it 8-7 going into the final period. The Huskies found themselves a man down to begin the fourth, and Telluride made them pay. Betz found Langston Silbergeld 14 seconds in to tie things up.

“I don’t think they’ve been down all season, so that was new territory for them, and they fought back,” Doherty said of the Miners. “But our guys — we talked about being gritty the entire day. The entire week. And to finish the way we did is just such a great feeling.”

“We just wanted to keep attacking,” Ast added. “Every time we got the ball our objective was to score.” 

The Huskies and Miners combined for five goals in a back-and-forth, 80-second fury that ended with Ast putting the Huskies up 11-10 with 8:54 remaining. The physicality of play picked up until Carson Dunn rammed a Telluride screener to the ground behind the net, eliciting a penalty with five minutes left. The Huskies successfully killed the Miner’s man-up opportunity, but struggled with turnovers. With 2:06 to go, Kurtz tied things.

“They kept the game interesting and definitely made us work for it,” Ast said.

“We had a lot of penalties,” Doherty said before noting a pre-game discussion point-of-emphasis. “We wanted to make sure that they knew we were here,” he continued. “We wanted to be physical.”

In the final 90 seconds, Jack Kovacik nailed the crossbar and Jack Pryor couldn’t convert from in close. The Huskies, still controlling possession, called for time with 1:16 remaining. Ast curled off a screen and dodged his way to within 10 yards on the drawn up play coming out of the huddle, but his bouncer deflected out of bounds.

Thomas Dekanich and Jack Pryor celebrate a goal during Tuesday’s state quarterfinal game between Battle Mountain and Telluride.
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With 15 seconds left, Jack Kovacik drove right from 30-yards out. He carried two Telluride defenders all the way to the net before being forced to drop it off to Thomas Dekanich at ‘x.’ Dekanich reversed the ball toward his bench and the Huskies swung it around to Shonk standing straightaway at the 30-yard line.

“I knew we needed to get a shot off,” Shonk said. “I knew we could take them in overtime, but I wanted to finish it.”

The Huskies celebrate Carter Shonk’s game-winning goal in the 4A state quarterfinals.
Rex Keep/Courtesy photo

Shonk rifled in the game winner with 3.6 seconds left.

“I was talking to the guys all game about pushing the ball forward,” Doherty said. “We knew we could bounce from the middle of the field, and if we moved the ball just that one extra pass, we were probably going to get a look.”

“It was so surreal,” Shonk said, adding that he knew his dad was yelling from his perch in the press box. “You can practically hear him from the field.”

Battle Mountain advances to face either No. 1 Erie or No. 8 Dakota Ridge at the University of Denver on Saturday. Erie’s head coach also coaches Denver Elite, Shonk’s club team.

“They’re a good team,” Shonk said. “We’re definitely going to need to come out hot.”

“That’s not going to be an easy game at all,” added Ast. “I think we can win. I think we have the team to do it this year more than ever and we just have to go prove it.”

“They just made history,” Battle Mountain lacrosse coach Pat Doherty said after the Huskies defeated Telluride 12-11 to advance to the state semifinals. “For these 18 seniors to go to the state semis and have a season they are having is an amazing feeling for them and an amazing thing to be a part of. I’m really proud of them.”
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