GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — The Absegami boys lacrosse team needs to be playing its best this week with games against Mainland Regional and Ocean City looming. The Braves worked out some of the weekend kinks in an 18-8 win over Cedar Creek on Monday, and while the score makes it look like a convincing win, the Braves know there is plenty to clean up before taking on Mainland on Wednesday.

Absegami (7-1) jumped out to what looked like a commanding 8-3 lead after the first quarter, but the Pirates (0-5) battled back to cut the lead to 10-6 by halftime. The Braves responded by scoring five unanswered goals to start the second half and put the game out of reach.

"We weren't expecting it, but when they came out of the gate hungry, we knew we had to play tough," said Absegami senior defenseman Jerry Breitzman. "At halftime, we said we had to really pull it together because the next two games coming up are against very tough opponents, and that's going to be our season, basically. We have to get ready for that, and to do that we had to get ready (against Cedar Creek).

"We have some things we have to clean up, but I'm pretty confident we can come away with some solid results (this week)."

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"It was a fun game. Offensively, we played pretty well throughout the game. The defense struggled a little bit in the first half, but we brought it together, like we normally do," said Evan Sibson, who led the Braves with five goals.

Absegami's Quentin Jennings makes a move toward the goal during the Braves' 18-8 win over Cedar Creek on Monday. (Glory Days Magazine photo/Dave O'Sullivan)

Sibson and Randy Collins started off hot, combining for five goals in the first quarter. Tyler Hone, Mickenzie Restle and Quentin Jennings also scored for Absegami in the first quarter. But Cedar Creek responded with a pair of goals early in the second quarter to cut the deficit to 8-5.

That's as close as the Pirates would come, however, as Sibson and Collins scored consecutive goals to give Absegami a 10-5 lead and a little breathing room. The Braves stretched the lead to 13-6 with three quick goals to start the third quarter, then Hone scored with a nifty behind-the-back shot to make it 14-6. Jennings then fed Collins in close for a goal that pushed the lead to 15-6.

Jennings finished with a pair of goals and four assists, and Collins chipped in with four goals. Hone added two goals and an assist for the Braves, who have won five straight since a loss on April 5 to Ocean City. That streak included wins over Winslow Township, Middle Township, Atlantic City and Vineland.

The game against Cedar Creek got a little chippy at times and featured a host of personal fouls and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.

"It's a rivalry, naturally, because they are in the Greater Egg Harbor Regional School District, and we don't want kids to go to Cedar Creek rather than Absegami," Sibson said.

Sibson said the Braves will take the win, but they know that have some things to clean up before facing Mainland and Ocean City.

"I think we are playing well, but not to our full potential. We've had moments when we've played great. I think Middle was our best game," Sibson said. "I think we have a little more to show against a team like Mainland. We did much better in the second half than in the first (against Cedar Creek), and we have to play like that all the time. We have to win ground balls and clear the ball. We could have maintained a lot more possession today."

Contact Dave O'Sullivan: sully@acglorydays.com; on Twitter @GDsullysays