May, 18, 2011
By Scott Barboza
DANVERS, Mass. — Grant Whiteway was oblivious to the fact he was closing in on yet another milestone.
While it came as a surprise to the decorated Billerica lacrosse attack — who set the Massachusetts single-season goals and points records last season — Whiteway entered Wednesday’s game at No. 16 St. John’s Prep nine points shy of 500 for his career.
“Did I hit it?” Whiteway shot back when asked if he knew about the impending achievement.
Not quite. But Whiteway and his mates put on quite a show in an emphatic 13-6 win over the Eagles.
The UMass commit tallied an eight-point game with four goals and four assists, meaning Whiteway will likely hit No. 500 during Friday’s Merrimack Valley Conference test against No. 14 Andover.
When he hits 500, Whiteway will join an exclusive club of five previous high school players nationwide to earn the distinction. He will not be the only Massachusetts native represented. Duxbury legend Max Quinzani — whom Whiteway dethroned last year while setting the state single-season marks — is the nation’s all-time leading scorer with 577 points.
“He’s a special player,” Indians head coach Craig Flynn said of Whiteway. “Guys like him don’t come around that often. Once he gets the ball in his hands, it’s exciting to watch.”
Aside from history, No. 3 Billerica (15-2) set out to avenge last year’s drubbing at the hands of Prep (7-7) on its march to the state Division 1 title.
Although things were all even, 3-3, after the first quarter, the Indians began to separate in the second. Then Billerica kicked off a parade of nine straight goals that stretched from the 7:12 mark of the second until the Eagles’ next marker with 1:56 remaining in the game.
The ever-potent Indians offense flexed its muscle with attack Nick Morello netting four goals, while Cam Slatton (3G, 2A) and Ben Melaugh (2G, 2A) also got in on the fray.
However, the most significant change to the game’s complexion started in Billerica’s defensive end.
“Defensively, it’s just playing solid team defense,” Flynn said. “D.J. Smith came up huge in goal for us and made some big saves for us. If we get the ball on offense, we know we can find the net, it’s just a matter of getting the ball down there.”
Indians longstick Ian Abrahamson turned in a strong game, devouring ground balls and setting up the transition game.
“The offense was moving really good,” Whiteway said. “We had a lot of transition that was good. The way we were going on offense, we felt like we could pretty much run anything.”
Billerica still has other impending business to take care of against Andover on Friday. That’s securing the MVC Large title.
Then, there’s the matter of No. 500.
But even after his latest performance, Whiteway had just one thing on his mind — his cell phone.
He hid his mobile in his sneaker to avoid getting it wet in the rain. But, as he changed out of his game cleats, he realized water had still seeped through.
“I should’ve wrapped my jacket around it,” Whiteway said while stuffing the phone into his sock.
Then, from out of his other sneaker, he pulled an iPod, which he then slid into his right sock.
Surprises? The kid’s full of them.