Where Pat Aiello is from – Long Island, New York, arguably the epicenter of lacrosse in this country – the best high school players averaged between 80 and 90 points in a single season. The Pinecrest Academy boys lacrosse coach, who went on to both play and coach in college, had 75 points in his best high school season as a senior. The gold standard for a special individual season was 100 points.
That’s why late this past season, Aiello began paying close attention to Jack Binkley’s statistics during the final few games. Binkley had just 20 points as a sophomore, but after a year of development and playing football for the first time the junior attack was having a breakout season for the Paladins. With two games remaining, Binkley sat at 94 points.
Binkley eventually eclipsed the 100-point mark, finishing with 34 goals and 72 assists for 106 total points, one of four players in Forsyth County to reach the point milestone.
“The fact for a kid to have 100 points or more in boys lacrosse is pretty impressive,” Aiello said.
Indeed, Binkley was the only boys player in the county to reach 100 points this past season, whereas three girls players reached the mark: Pinecrest’s Molly Dankowski (136), and West Forsyth’s Madison Mueller (128) and Sarah Grady (109).
Binkley and Dankowski’s achievements felt even more significant for Pinecrest considering each program’s brief histories (the boys program started in 2014, the girls in 2015), but each came to the milestone in contrasting ways.
Dankowski is a pure lacrosse player, a sophomore attack who has already verbally committed to play at Mercer. Dankowski has been a natural finisher on offense, Lady Paladins head coach Jillian DiFazio said, and it showed again this season. Her 87 goals were second in the county for all girl players.
But DiFazio said Dankowski became an even more complete player this season, contributing at draw control and facilitating Pinecrest’s offense. Her 49 assists were also second in the county.
“The growth in her game was with the assists,” DiFazio said. “She was making the plays happen.”
Binkley is just starting to find himself as a lacrosse player, and Aiello credits a season on the football team under head coach Todd Winter for much of his development.
“It gave him that hard-nosed grit,” Aiello said. “He really hit the weight room. His confidence just went through the ceiling.”
Binkley and junior Carson Holler combined for a potent duo at attack for Pinecrest – Binkley had 34 goals, Holler a school-record 49 – but Aiello said Binkley was “the QB of the offense” as evidenced by his county-best 72 assists.
Binkley’s emergence was a big reason Pinecrest’s boys team improved from three wins to seven this season. Dankowski’s standout season helped the Lady Paladins fall just one win short of reaching the state playoffs for the first time in school history.
Both return next season looking to make an even bigger mark on Pinecrest lacrosse.
A look at Forsyth County high school lacrosse players who eclipsed 100 total points this past season.
Player School Goals Assists Points
Molly Dankowski Pinecrest Academy 87 49 136
Madison Mueller West Forsyth 101 27 128
Sarah Grady West Forsyth 70 39 109
Jack Binkley Pinecrest Academy 34 72 106