It will be an all-Bradenton final in tonight's District 5 boys championship as fourth-ranked Bradenton Christian faces third-ranked Bradenton St. Stephen's at 7:30.
St. Stephen's (15-1-1) got a scare from scrappy Lakeside Christian (9-5-2) but prevailed 5-2. Falcons striker Tyler Pullen had a hat trick in the first half, but his team could not quite put Lakeside away.
With 17 minutes remaining in the first, Lakeside's Andy McManus finished on a cross from Brain Hutchison to pull within 3-1. Midway through the second half, Matt Hutchison headed in a cross from John Kahajas to make it 4-2. The game was not out of reach until the Falcons scored on J.B. Tucker's 25-yard blast with 8 minutes left.
"In the first half, they were beating us to the ball a lot," Lakeside coach Rick Abasial said. "In the second, we stepped up and got a little more aggressive, but it was too late. We showed a lot of heart to stay in it."
Host Keswick Christian (14-8-1) ended its season on a strange note with a 3-0 loss to Bradenton Christian. The field lights went out after 18 minutes, and it took 45 minutes for them to come on again. After the break, Keswick outplayed Bradenton for 62 minutes. Unfortunately for the Crusaders, they had already given up three goals before the break.
"If we could have just played like we did the rest of the game in the first few minutes, it might have been a lot different," Keswick midfielder Joe Patterson said.
Patterson led the Keswick attack in the second half with one shot that hit off the post and another that was deflected on a save by Panthers goalie David Sandhoff.