A cousin-to-cousin connection, played out countless times at family get-togethers and vacations to the Jersey Shore, gave the Avon Grove boys' lacrosse squad its first PIAA District 1 title.
With 0.8 of a second remaining in Thursday night's final at West Chester Henderson, freshman Bryce Reid converted a pass from his cousin Tanner Peck to lift the 10th-seeded Red Devils to a 5-4 victory over fifth-seeded Garnet Valley.
After the Jaguars' Jon Vandenberg evened the contest with 11 seconds to go, Anthony Cardile won the faceoff to set in motion the last-second tally. Peck, with defenders converging on him, dished to Reid.
Said Peck, a junior midfielder: "The coaches were yelling at us, 'Push it, push it.' I kept my head up, looking for the open man. Bryce was bottom left, and I gave it to him."
It marked the second time this season that Reid, a 5-foot-8, 131-pound freshman, had scored a deciding goal on a feed from Peck. The first came in overtime of a regular-season game against Central Bucks East.
"I had a feeling they were going to slide toward Tanner at the end," Reid said. "We had been talking about it all game."
Next for Avon Grove is a first-round state matchup vs. District 3 third-place qualifier Hershey on Wednesday at a time and site to be determined.
Garnet Valley will open against Great Valley, District 1's fifth-place qualifier.
The Red Devils, in their 13th season, went in front, 4-3, on Matt King's five-hole goal with 3 minutes, 38 seconds to play. It was the senior's second score of the game.
"It's the greatest feeling I've ever had playing lacrosse," King said. "We're really close as a team. We're almost like brothers. We hang out all the time."
Avon Grove (19-3) was scoreless through the first 19 minutes. King's second-period score, with an assist from Ryan Cook, trimmed Garnet Valley's lead to 2-1.
Freshman Beau Kush provided the equalizer in the first minute of the third period. Reid, after earlier being denied by the crossbar, made it 3-2 midway through the same stanza.
Brock D'Annunzio scored twice for the Jaguars (17-6) in the opening 17 minutes.
Avon Grove 0 1 2 2 – 5
Garnet Valley 1 1 0 2 – 4
Goals: AG-Matt King 2, Bryce Reid 2, Beau Kush; GV-Brock D'Annunzio 2, Kyle Roberts, Jon Vandenberg.
Saves: AG-Will Schreiner 8; GV-Mitch Rose 8.