The Bonney Lake boys soccer team has made its living this year by slowing the game down and controlling possession. To advance to the 3A...

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PUYALLUP — The Bonney Lake boys soccer team has made its living this year by slowing the game down and controlling possession. To advance to the 3A state championship, however, the Panthers needed a pair of quick strikes.

They scored in the sixth minute of the match to take an early lead, then a minute into the second half to double their advantage. Those two goals held up against Hanford, and Bonney Lake edged the Falcons, 3-1, in a semifinal at Sparks Stadium.

In between those two goals, though, coach Luke Helling-Christy saw something that concerned him heading into Saturday. His Panthers will meet Shorecrest at 2 p.m. in the state title game, also at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup.

“We’re definitely going to have to play more intense than we did today,” Helling-Christy said. “I thought we were a little casual, maybe because we were able to move the ball so well in the first 20 minutes that we took our foot off the gas pedal.”

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Tyler John got the scoring started early with a free kick from the edge of the penalty area. Yet Hanford controlled much of the rest of the first half, as midfielder Mario Zarate led repeated forays into the attacking third for the Falcons (15-7).

In the 41st minute, Bonney Lake defender Colton Tracy cut the ball across the penalty box onto the foot of Brody Fitzsimmons, who scored to make it a 2-0 Panther lead.

Hanford scored its only goal in the 57th minute, when Kelly Smith vaulted over a Panther defender as he headed the ball in off a corner kick. Fitzsimmons put the game out of reach for Bonney Lake (18-4) in the 76th minute, when he scored his second goal off an assist from Suwilanji Silozi.

Shorecrest 3, Bainbridge 2

The defending champs never knew what hit them.

Shorecrest scored the first three goals of the game, all in the first half, on its way to eliminating Bainbridge and advancing to the 3A state title game Saturday. The Spartans won state last season and lost in the title game in 2011.

“Bainbridge is a great team,” Shorecrest coach Drew Thompson said. “In that first half, coming out fast and playing well, I think, was the key for us. And then we just kind of locked it down defensively and tried to hold on.”

Alex Day scored Shorecrest’s first goal in the 15th minute, and forward Axel Wickstrom took over from there for the Highlanders (16-3-4).

Wickstrom was a terror with the ball at his feet all match, but scored goals in the 25th and 35th minutes with his head off a pair of set pieces.

First, he nodded a long throw-in into the back of the net. Ten minutes later he headed in a corner kick past Bainbridge goalkeeper Bryce Frederickson.

Forward Will Economy got the Spartans (12-5) on the board in the 39th minute, scoring with his left foot. Economy also scored his team’s final goal, in the 74th minute.

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