GREENWOOD VILLAGE | The Hammer is having a bit of an identity crisis lately.

The sledgehammer traveling trophy that has been a part of the boys lacrosse rivalry between Eaglecrest and Smoky Hill since 2006 got really comfortable with the Buffaloes for eight straight seasons in the early going, but has been traded back and forth quite often of late.

The Raptors got the prized Hammer back Wednesday night at Stutler Bowl with a 16-8 win over the Buffaloes in a game that was closer than the final score indicated and featured plenty of passion and intensity on both sides.

Smoky Hill got the trophy back last season with a thrilling 11-10 victory, but coach Hayden King’s Eaglecrest team came out determined to get it back from the start this time. The Raptors (5-8 overall, 2-4 in Centennial League) built an 11-3 lead at halftime.

Coach Gerry McCullar’s Buffaloes got some fire back in the third period with a four-goal burst led by senior James Bowers, who finished with a season-high five goals.

Sophomore Matthew Lash’s score on the run with just under two minutes left in the third period closed the gap to six going into the final quarter, but consecutive scores by Eaglecrest junior Preston Wakefield reversed the momentum again.

Wakefield scored three of the Raptors’ four goals in the final period as they sealed the result.

When the game was finished, Smoky Hill captains presented Eaglecrest captains with the Hammer and the Raptors took custody of it for the third time in the past four seasons and fourth time overall. The Buffaloes have had possession nine times.

Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Sentinel Prep Sports

EAGLECREST 16, SMOKY HILL 8

Score by quarters:

Smoky Hill  2  1  4  1 —   8

Eaglecrest   4  7  1  4 — 16

Smoky Hill goals: James Bowers 5, Matthew Lash, Carson Lowe, Ryan VanEtten