For more than 2,500 days, beginning in 2003, there was one undisputed, unmistakable truth regarding North Shore high school boys lacrosse.
That year, Beverly High completed its ascent to the top of the Massachusetts lacrosse world, shocking a dynasty-in-the-making and putting this corner of the commonwealth on the sport’s grid.
The Panthers of ‘03 were a dazzling combination of grit, hustle and skill. Their 22-1 record was loaded with wins over state heavyweights like Lincoln-Sudbury, Malden Catholic, and a pair over Duxbury, including an 8-7 victory over the then-defending state champion Dragons in the Division 1 final.
They were the best. No discussion. No debate.
On that day — June 9, 2003 — a dynasty began to take shape, only it wasn’t Beverly. Remaining at the top of the heap proved to be difficult for the Panthers. While the title didn’t propel the program to sustained dominance, the ‘03 Panthers’ legend continued to grow with each passing year as Duxbury rolled to state title after state title, winning six in a row.
For 2,564 days, Beverly’s title team was the best the North Shore had ever seen. No discussion. No debate.
Then, on the 2,565th day, a new North Shore team emerged.
St. John’s Prep, a program that chased the success of the Beverly teams early in the 21st century, began making a move toward state contender around 2008.
The Eagles turned in a tremendous season in 2009, going 19-3 and ending Duxbury’s in-state winning streak at 99 games with a 12-10 regular season victory on the road in early May. The Green Dragons got revenge with a one-goal win in the state final.
St. John’s got better by one game in 2010, finishing 20-2 and breaking through on June 16, dropping Duxbury, 12-11, in overtime to capture the Division 1 state championship, ending the Green Dragons’ six-year reign.