DARIEN — It was a battle of champions and states.

Darien, who won Class L in Connecticut last year, held off a late run from Niskayuna, the defending New York Class A champs 20-16 Saturday afternoon at a rainy, crowded Darien High School.

Darien, No. 6 in the Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse national poll, got off to a hot start and took a 12-6 lead into the half, but second-half runs from Niskayuna gave the Wave all they could handle until the final minute.

“We just made enough plays,” Darien coach Jeff Brameier said. “I don’t think we played great defense in the second half but we obviously have a lot of offensive weapons — our attack was on fire today, all five of them, we did a lot of things from the attack that were pretty outstanding.”

Kevin Lindley paced the Wave with seven goals and two assists while Colin Minicus chipped in six goals and three assists.

After the Silver Warriors (2-1) scored five straight goals to start the fourth, clipping Darien’s (3-0) lead to just one, Minicus and Lindley alternated scores and Lindley hit Jack Book with a perfect pass to ice the game with just under a minute left.

“We just told the guys to take it one play at a time and one goal at a time,” Niskayuna coach Mike Vorgang said of his team’s late run. “And that’s what we try to do, win a faceoff and create a goal and then make the next play. It’s just the way the game goes, this game is a game of runs, and that was our run and our opportunity.”

Leading that charge was senior attack Dylan Pantalone, who scored four goals and notched three assists while dominating from the faceoff X. Pantalone had two goals and an assist in the fourth quarter alone.

“He’s a really good player,” Vorgang said of Pantalone. “He was an All-American as a junior last year so we expect him to play well and he did well off the faceoff X and definitely offensively.”

Despite the loss, Vorgang was still happy to see the way his team responded to an early deficit on the road against a nationally ranked opponent.

“It’s a good game,” Vorgang said. “They’re a great team and it’s a good opportunity for us to see where we are; I’m very happy about the comeback after the first half we played.”

Brameier was also excited about the result, not just because of the win, but because it came against another quality opponent which the Wave have no shortage of this year — still having to face UA/IL No. 18 Manhasset and 11th-ranked New Canaan.

“That’s why you schedule who you schedule,” Brameier said. “This is the kind of game you know you’ll get better from, obviously we did a lot of nice things offensively that we’ll learn from, and I hope we’ll learn on the defensive side what we didn’t do well.”

aparelli@bcnnew.com @reportedbytheAP

DARIEN 20,

NISKAYUNA (N.Y.) 16

NISKAYUNA 3 3 4 6 — 16

DARIEN 7 5 4 4 — 20

Records: Darien 3-0, Niskayuna 2-1. Scoring: N—Dylan Pantalone 4 goals 3 assists, Evan Maloney 2g 1a, Jonathan Pfohl 1g, James Sexton 3g 3a, Lucas Quinn 1g 1a, William Malerk 1g, Michael Doxie 1g 1a Griffin King 1g, Aidan Byrne; D—Colin Minicus 6g 3a, Jack Kniffin 4g 2a, Christian Trifone 1g, Kevin Lindley 7g 2a, Hudson Hamill 3a, Riley Stewart 1g 1a, Jack Book 1g 1a. Goalies: N—Jack Lynch (7 saves), Alex Izzo (1); D—Ryan Cornell (3). Shots: N—33; D—45.