MOUNT PLEASANT -- The Wando boys lacrosse team outscored its first two playoff opponents by a combined 38-5 margin, and third-seeded Hilton Head Island High School became the latest victim of a lopsided defeat Tuesday evening in the Lower State championship.
The Warriors claimed their second Lower State title in the three years lacrosse has been sanctioned as an SCHSL sport with a 17-1 blowout of the Seahawks at Wando Stadium.
The victory was Wando's 11th straight and marked the third successive year the Warriors defeated Hilton Head High in the playoffs following a 14-10 Lower State championship triumph in 2010 and a 7-6 quarterfinal win in 2011.
The Warriors outshot the Seahawks 31-18 and held a 42-28 groundball advantage.
"I expected it to be a little bit closer," Wando coach Lance Renes said. "But ... our guys are fired up and they're not letting anybody get in their way.
"From the first minute to the last, they did not let up. It was one of the best offensive games that I've seen and the best defensive series I've seen as well."
It took just 31 seconds for the Warriors to get on the scoreboard. After losing the opening faceoff, Andy Cole gathered the ball in front of the Wando net, split three defenders and cruised into the offensive end. Cole dished to an open Tucker Dodson for an uncontested shot from 12 yards out, and the junior calmly deposited the ball over Hilton Head High goalkeeper Madison Gayle's shoulder.
A clinical Dodson-to-Connor Johnson-to-Stephen Smilak combination allowed the Warriors to take a 2-0 lead with 6:45 remaining in the first quarter. It was a sign of things to come, as Wando continued to work the ball around quickly and methodically.
The top-seeded Warriors (12-1) found the net twice more before the quarter came to a close and cruised to a 9-0 halftime lead.
When the Seahawks (10-5) did threaten, Wando goalie Logan Windham was up to the challenge. The senior made seven saves, and, with the help of his defensive unit, kept Hilton Head High off the scoreboard until Tucker Roberts' tally with 5 minutes left in the game.
The Warriors were also successful executing fast breaks following Seahawks turnovers.
"That's one of our strengths," said Renes. "We're a run-and-gun team, (but) we do know how to be patient and settle the ball and move it as well."
Smilak led Wando with five goals, and he also chipped in a pair of assists. Cole, Dodson and Johnson finished with three goals apiece, and Johnson also recorded a game-high five assists.
White Knoll High School will host the state championship contest, which will pit the Warriors against Upper State championship and top seed Dorman at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
Wando 17, Hilton Head High 1
Halftime score: Wando 9, Hilton Head High 0
Goals -- Wando: Stephen Smilak (5), Andy Cole (3), Tucker Dodson (3), Connor Johnson (3), Adam Johnston (2), Martin Huff (1). Hilton Head High: Tucker Roberts (1).