48.

It's what the Duxbury Dragons boys lacrosse team shouts as they break a huddle, and it means “play hard for all 48 minutes of the game.”

On Saturday afternoon, it became more than just a slogan as the Dragons needed just about every second of the game to defeat Billerica 13-12 on a grey, drizzly turf at Duxbury High School.

Although Billerica struck first on a goal by sophomore attack Cameron Slatton – who who scored four goals for the visitors –– Duxbury dominated the first quarter with unassisted goals from Nick Woodgate, Ricky Armstrong, John Ricciardi, Paul Hellar and Will Siefert.

The score was 5-2 going into the second quarter, but Billerica chipped away at Duxbury's lead. After Indians goalie Daniel Smith pulled a possible score off the goal line before it could cross, Slatton struck again, and midfielder Ross Murphy added another score to come with in a goal.

Siefert added a quick-strike score with 5:47 left to go in the second period, but Billerica answered quickly with two goals to tie the game at 6. The tie breaker by attack Grant Whiteway for the visitors caused the Indians' bench to erupt, and momentum was on Billerica's side, leading them to two more goals. Another goal by Siefert kept it close going into the half, but Billerica's crash-the-net offense was clearly disrupting the Dragons' defense.

Duxbury Head Coach Chris Sweet rallied his troops at halftime, and the Dragons came out playing their offensive game –– putting on a passing clinic in front of Smith until sophomore attack Seamus Connelly put on in the back of the net off an assist from Hellar to make everything even at 8-8.

From there, the game turned into a back-and-forth slugfest. Neither team could get much separation on the scoreboard, and although the Dragons were winning most of the ground ball battles it wasn't always translating into a goal.

Finally, after a Billerica holding penalty gave Duxbury possession, Bryan Barry scored while diving across the crease to make the score 12-12 with only a few minutes remaining in the game. After some key saves by Duxbury goalie Mickey Zaverucha, Ricciardi scored to put his team up by one. However, a technical foul on a holding call gave the ball back to Billerica and left the Dragons a man down with about 37 seconds on the clock. But the defense held, and at the end of the game the white jerseys swarmed Zaverucha as an emotional Indians squad slumped off the field.

“Defense got us to where we were,” said Sweet after the game. “And in the end, it won it for us.”

He said a seven-minute stretch of poor play allowed the Indians to catch up, and make the rest of the game a brutal back and forth struggle.

“I told them [at the half] that if they played hard and stayed out of the penalty box they'd win,” he said. “Heart and character won this game for us.”

Seifert finished the game with four goals, followed by Ricciardi's three, including the game winner. Woodgate, Armstrong, Hellar, James Burke and Barry had one each.