Scarborough pulls away in second half to win at NYA
YARMOUTH—It might take the Scarborough boys' lacrosse team a little while to kick into gear, but when the Red Storm is clicking, you can see why it won the 2010 Class A championship and is considered the favorite to do it again this spring.
Saturday afternoon, in a crossover game at longtime contender North Yarmouth Academy, the Red Storm only held a 5-4 lead with just under eight minutes to go in the third period, but by the time the quarter was over, the bulge was seven goals.
That was thanks in large part to sophomore standout John Wheeler, who scored four times in the period and had five for the game as Scarborough went on to its fourth consecutive victory and seventh in eight contests this season, 12-5, over the Panthers, who fell to 3-4.
"We tried to do a little more than we should in the first half, but in the second half we came out and played our game and had some fun goals in the third quarter," said Red Storm coach Joe Hezlep.
Scarborough came on at the end of the 2010 season and won the Class A title, 8-6, over Portland, perhaps arriving a year ahead of schedule.
This season, as the favorite, the Red Storm hasn't disappointed and has made Western A their personal playground. Scarborough opened with an 11-0 home win over South Portland, held off host Cheverus in the rain (4-1) and downed visiting Noble (14-2), before running into powerhouse Falmouth and losing at home, 13-3. The Red Storm bounced back with easy wins over host Thornton Academy (10-0), Kennebunk (9-1) and Bonny Eagle (17-5).
NYA hoped that this would be the year it would leapfrog Yarmouth in Eastern Class B, but the Panthers lost at home to the Clippers in their opener, 6-2. They bounced back with a thrilling 10-9 home win over Greely (in triple overtime) and a 14-4 triumph at Oak Hill, then fell at Falmouth (14-2) and Cape Elizabeth (17-2) before holding off host Freeport, 11-8, Tuesday.
A year ago, in a penalty-plagued affair, the Panthers won at Scarborough, 8-6.
This time, the Red Storm had too much.
Scarborough got the game's first goal when senior Peter Moore scored unassisted, but unassisted tallies from seniors Tim Millett and Finn Hadlock put NYA up, 2-1, after one period.
The Red Storm's first offensive surge of the afternoon came in the second quarter as they took the lead for good.
With 10:26 to go before halftime, senior Tim Smith scored unassisted to tie the game. An unassisted goal from junior Jon Blaisdell a minute, 28 seconds later, put Scarborough on top to stay.
With 6:34 to go in the half, Wheeler set up senior Nate Hopkins to make it 4-2 and with 4:12 left, Moore assisted on a goal by junior Nick Mercer for a 5-2 advantage. WIth 1:06 remaining, NYA snapped the 4-0 run and a 16 minutes, 37 second drought when sophomore Isaac Lipton set up classmate T.J. Daigler for a goal, cutting the deficit to 5-3 at halftime.
When sophomore Jacob Scammon assisted on a goal by junior Forrest Milburn a minute, 9 seconds into the third period, the Panthers were down only 5-4 and looked to be in good shape, but the Red Storm would erupt to put the win away.
Wheeler got in the goal scoring column with 7:58 remaining in the quarter (assisted by Blaisdell). The tandem struck again with 5:59 left and the lead was 7-4. At 3:50, Wheeler scored unassisted.
With 1:57 to go in the period, Moore scored an unassisted goal and off the ensuing faceoff win, Moore set up junior Andrew Jones for a goal. Seventeen seconds after that, Wheeler (from Moore, in transition) capped a three-goal, 24-second uprising with this fourth tally of the quarter to make it 11-4 Scarborough.
"It was nice to see John got into the game, finally," Hezlep joked. "He came out and played really well.
"Peter Moore had a great goal. Andrew Jones came down with the longstick off the next faceoff. That was a pretty good stretch for us, it got us going. The attack made a couple adjustments on their own and it made life easier for them. Blaisdell had a great game beating his man and getting the offense started. We have a few guys who are really starting to help out and find their role."
Wheeler scored his and the team's final goal a minute, 16 seconds into the fourth. With 2:20 to play, Hadlock set up Scammon to end the Red Storm's 7-0 run and the Panthers' 20:31 drought, accounting for the 12-5 final score.
"We just possessed the ball, got our opportunities and finished and then our fastbreak opened up and we got more opportunities," Wheeler said. "We needed to get back to our basic stuff on offense and defense. It's a good win to have. It gives us momentum and confidence."
Wheeler led all scorers with five goals. Moore scored twice, while Blaisdell, Hopkins, Jones, Mercer and Smith had one goal each. Moore finished with three assists, while Blaisdell had two and Wheeler one. Jones had a team-high eight ground balls, while senior Brett Leighton finished with five. Sophomore goalie David Pearson made 10 saves.
For NYA, Daigler, Hadlock, Milburn, Millett and Scammon scored. Hadlock, Lipton and Scammon all had an assist.
NYA is fourth in the Eastern Class B Heal Points standings. Six teams make the playoffs and the Panthers appear to be postseason-bound, but they could still use a big victory or two to help their seeding and allow them to potentiall avoid Yarmouth until the regional final. NYA's schedule gets no easier as it goes to the Clippers Wednesday and plays host to Cape Elizabeth Friday. A trip to Waynflete and home tilts versus Falmouth and York close the season.
As for Scarborough, which appears to have a stranglehold on Western A, it's home against Windham Wednesday, plays at Gorham and Massabesic, then has a huge test in its finale, June 1, versus Portland, in a rematch of last year's state final and perhaps a preview of this season's finale.
"The pieces are coming together and we're looking pretty good," Wheeler said. "We have some big games coming and of course, the season-ender against Portland."