Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Peachtree Ridge Michael Ruffcorn (27) celebrates one of his five goals in the game against Newnan during boys high school lacrosse action in the first round of Class AAAAA playoffs at Peachtree Ridge High School on Tuesday. Peachtree Ridge defeated Newnan 13-5.
SUWANEE -- Peachtree Ridge closed out its regular season with two straight losses, not exactly the streak the Area 4-AAAAA champs wanted to be riding going into the state playoffs.
But those losses were to top- 10 teams, and that competition paid dividends on Tuesday night as Peachtree Ridge opened the Class AAAAA state playoffs with a 13-5 win over Newnan.
The Lions (11-8) had a tough time shaking Newnan in the first half, holding a 7-4 lead at the half, but both offenses and defenses clicked in the second half as the Lions pulled away for the win.
"We didn't look good last Friday but we played a complete game tonight," Peachtree Ridge head coach Bob Basher said. "We really needed that to build our confidence back. It's been one of those seasons where you don't know which team will show up.
"We're banged up, one guy has mono and (Michael) Ruffcorn has a bad shoulder, but we really pulled it together tonight."
Ruffcorn led the attack on offense for the Lions, scoring five goals while assisting two others. Trevor Lee also came up big with three goals, while Jacob Lee chipped in with two goals and two assists.
The Cougars (9-9) drew first blood when Bradley Roberts scored about 90 seconds into the match. The 1-0 lead would stand for about four minutes when Trevor Lee took a feed from Ruffcorn and came around the left post for his first goal of the game.
Peachtree Ridge would take control with the next three goals, getting scores from Rouleau, Ruffcorn and Jacob Lee, but Newnan rebounded with a goal from Bruce Powell.
The Cougars also got two quick goals in the middle of the second from Kyle Ward to get within one at 5-4, but the Lions again regained control with two unanswered goals late in the second to carry a 7-4 lead at the half.
Newnan opened the third period with Ward scoring his third goal of the night, but the Lion defense clamped down from that point, keeping the Cougars out of the net for the remainder of the game.
"Our defense is all senior driven and they play each game like its their last," Ruffcorn said. "Our goalie had a chip on his shoulder tonight and proved that he is one of the best in the state."
The play of Peachtree Ridge keeper Greg Rose was one of the reasons the Cougars had just one goal in the second half and he finished the night with 17 saves.
Miller Hollstein, who also had a goal and an assist, helped the Lions control possession with five groundballs, while Garrett Miller anchored the back defense with four groundballs.
Up next for the Lions in the second round is the Milton-Walton winner. Peachtree Ridge, which is playing in its third playoffs in just its fourth varsity season, looks to advance past the second round for the first time.
"It's a great feeling to get a playoff win, especially in my senior year," Ruffcorn said. "We can beat anybody, it's just all mental for us. We're getting confident even though we had some tough losses at the end of the year. It's bringing us together as a team."
Jarrett Lowery also had two assists for the Lions, with Matty Ledon adding a goal and two assists.