By the time Cooper Richards had spun in the air and rifled a behind-the-back past goalie Gene Martin, the point was already loud and clear.

Richards' shot was almost overkill, underscoring the obvious theme.

"They can shoot, man," said Moorestown boys' lacrosse coach Baron Walenhurst after his team's 10-6 loss to Northern Highlands in Wednesday night's Group 3 state championship at Shore Regional. "That's a very good shooting team."

The Quakers were far from mistake free on Wednesday, but were ultimately overtaken by a more seasoned, deeper team.

That fact seemed to make it easier for the players and coaches to put the game in perspective afterward.

Most in the state expected this season to be a rebuilding one for Moorestown — many didn't expect the Quakers to make it out of South Jersey.

Walenhurst, after the game, even noted that his team entered this season having to replace more than 280 points on offense from last year's team that won the state championship.

"We knew if our heart was in it and we cared about each other, we'd be fine, even though we were replacing so much," said Martin, who proved to be one of the state's best goalies this season and recorded 6 saves on Wednesday. "I'm definitely proud of the way we played this year."

After not having a single meaningful possession in the third quarter — and being outscored 4-0 in the period — Moorestown (16-6) actually mounted an impressive comeback attempt in the fourth.

The Highlanders (21-2) — led by Lane's five goals — took a 10-3 lead with 10:41 left in the game.

But, at a time when the game appeared to have slipped through its fingers Moorestown — led by two goals by Trevor Jones — continued to play with energy, scoring three goals over the next five minutes.

The team's final goal came off a sequence in which Ryan Pozaga bulled over a defender, gained possession of the ball and outran the rest of the defense to the goal.

That final effort wasn't enough to win the game, but it was enough to show what got the Quakers there in the first place.

"It's always tough to lose, but I'm really proud of the kids and how hard they fought and how hard they worked," Walenhurst said. "They gave everything they had. I was really happy with them."

Moorestown's ultimate downfall in the game was its inability to contain an offense that was as polished as any they had seen all season. Despite winning most of the game's faceoffs, the Quakers had trouble keeping possession — which the Highlanders consistently made the Quakers pay for.

"We have a lot of weapons and a lot of guys we can lean on," said Highlanders coach Kyle Ojakian. "Moorestown did a nice job of knowing what we wanted, but when you take one thing away, there's another guy ready to step up."

Moorestown               1 2 0 3 —  6

Northern Highlands   3 2 4 1 — 10

Goals: M- Trevor Jones 2, Connor McDonough, Vinny Capraola, Sean Capraola, Ryan Pozaga; NH- Christian Lane 2, Cooper Richards 5, Max Paparozzi, Charles Ratner 2.

Saves: M- Gene Martin 6, Jack Avis 1; NH- Conor Breen 5.