Greely boys lose to Kennebunk in finale, playoff hopes extinquished

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In a sight that no Greely fan wanted to see, Kennebunk’s boys’ lacrosse team celebrates its 15-5 victory Wednesday, a decision which knocks the Rangers out of the playoffs.

Chris Lambert photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Kennebunk 15 Greely 5

K- 6 3 3 3- 15
G- 1 2 1 1- 5

First quarter
8:04 K Whitten (Thibodeau)
5:52 K DeLorenzo (Lovejoy)
5:15 K Gassman (Whitten) (MAN-UP)
2:55 K Whitten (C. Connor) (MAN-UP)
1:56 G Kennedy (Borden)
1:00 K Bush (Thibodeau)
13.9 K Beveridge (Gassman) (MAN-UP) 

Second quarter
8:09 G Krott (unassisted)
5:14 K Lovejoy (unassisted)
3:24 K Thibodeau (D. Connor)
1:38 G Wetmore (unassisted)
1.5 K C. Connor (unassisted) 

Third quarter
8:22 G Lawless (Kennedy)
6:35 K Whitten (C. Connor) (MAN-UP)
6:19 K Whitten (Thibodeau)
1:06 K D. Connor (unassisted) 

Fourth quarter
10:54 G Peck (unassisted)
8:09 K DeLorenzo (Lovejoy)
6:37 K Whitten (unassisted) (MAN-UP)
6:07 K Thibodeau (unassisted) (MAN-UP) 

Goals:
K- Whitten 5, DeLorenzo, Thibodeau 2, Beveridge, Bush, C. Connor, D. Connor, Gassman, Lovejoy 1
G- Kennedy, Kroot, Lawless, Peck, Wetmore 1

Assists:
K- Thibodeau 3, C. Connor, Lovejoy 2, D. Connor, Gassman, Whitten 1
G- Kennedy, Wetmore 1

Faceoffs (Kennebunk, 14-8)
K- Gassman 11 of 13, DeLorenzo 3 of 9
G- Coyle 5 of 13, Williams 3 of 9

Ground balls (Kennebunk, 44-30)
K- Gassman 13, D. Connor 6, Thibodeau 4, C. Connor, DeLorenzo 3, Beveridge, Campbell, Lovejoy, Mooney, Ross, Schindler, Whalen 2, Lacasse 1
G- Coyle 6, Graham, Kroot, Peck, Trelegan 3, Lawless, Wood 2, Borden, Grandchamp, Hall, Kennedy, O’Keefe, Sinclair, Sullivan, Wetmore 1

Turnovers:
K- 14
G- 22

Shots:
K- 40
G- 26

Shots on cage
K- 29
G- 13

Saves:
K (Ross) 8
G (Sinclair) 14 

CUMBERLAND—Entering Wednesday afternoon’s regular season finale, the mission was simple for Greely’s boys’ lacrosse team.

Win or go home.

The Rangers are going home.

Thanks to a surging opponent that might just make a lot of noise before the month is out.

The Kennebunk Rams, coming off a huge home win over Falmouth, made quick work of Greely, scoring four goals in the first 9 minutes, 5 seconds to seize control.

A man-up goal, the Rams’ third of the period, from senior Boden Beveridge with 13.9 seconds remaining made it 6-1.

Rangers senior Alex Kroot got a goal back early in the second quarter, but Kennebunk was relentless and with 1.5 seconds showing, an unassisted tally from junior Camden Connor stretched the lead to 9-3.

Greely junior Josh Lawless got a goal back early in the third quarter, but that’s as close as the hosts would get, as junior Brenden Whitten scored consecutive goals to open up a 12-4 advantage.

In the fourth period, the Rangers got one final goal from senior Sam Peck, but the Rams scored three more and they went on to slam the door and prevail, 15-5.

Whitten scored five times as Kennebunk closed its regular season at 8-4, secured the No. 3 seed for the upcoming Class B South playoffs and ended Greely’s year at 5-7, handing the Rangers their fourth straight defeat in the process.

“Obviously, Kennebunk came out and played well,” said Greely coach Mike Storey. “They’ve come on strong at the end of the season. I think they have a shot at doing really good things in the tournament.”

Desperation

Despite some strong showings this spring, Greely entered Wednesday’s game in need of a victory to make the playoffs for the 17th straight season.

The Rangers won their first two games, 7-3, at North Yarmouth Academy and 19-3, at home over Lake Region, then held their own at home against perennial powers three-time defending Eastern B champion Yarmouth (16-10) and three-time defending Class B champion Cape Elizabeth 12-6. After dropping a tough 6-5 decision at Kennebunk, Greely rallied to down visiting Cheverus in a crossover, 11-9, scored in the waning seconds for a 10-9 victory at York, then handled visiting Freeport, 10-2. The fun ended with losses at Thornton Academy (12-5), Falmouth (14-1) and most recently, at NYA in overtime (7-6).

Kennebunk has not been boring this spring, earning some key victories and nearly knocking off the three-time defending Class B champs.

The Rams opened by winning a slugfest at Fryeburg Academy (15-13), then falling at Falmouth (10-5) and Cheverus (9-7). Kennebunk then almost upset Cape Elizabeth, but lost by a goal in the home opener, 9-8. A five-game win streak followed. It began with a 10-9 victory at NYA, continued with a surprisingly easy 16-6 home win over defending Class A champion Brunswick and also included triumphs over visiting Greely (6-5), Freeport (16-3) and host York (20-5). After a 15-13 setback at Yarmouth, the Rams edged visiting Falmouth, 9-8, Friday.

The Rangers not only wanted a win Wednesday to secure a playoff berth, they were also seeking to snap a two-game skid against Kennebunk. Last year, Greely won both regular season meetings: 13-9 at home and 12-9 in Kennebunk, but in the Western B quarterfinals, the Rams scored in overtime to prevail, 9-8.

Kennebunk had the answers again in the season finale and Greely gave the Rams some help by taking an abundance of penalties.

After an early goal by senior Spencer Thibodeau was waved off, Kennebunk went o top for good with 8:04 to play in the first quarter, as Thibodeau set up Whitten for a shot which eluded Rangers senior goalie Dylan Sinclair. 

With 5:52 to go in the first, freshman Dante DeLorenzo got the in scoring column, finishing a feed from freshman Cam Lovejoy.

Storey called timeout to try and stem momentum, but it didn’t work, as a slashing penalty on Greely set the stage for the Rams’ first man-up goal, senior Patrick Gassman from Whitten, with 5:15 to play in the quarter.

Kennebunk scored again man-up with 2:55 to go, as Whitten took a pass from Camden Connor and scored.

The Rangers broke the ice with 1:56 left, as sophomore Ben Kennedy got a pass from junior Billy Borden and beat Rams senior goalie James Ross.

Kennebunk would finish the period strong, however, as freshman Tripp Bush (from Thibodeau) scored with a minute to go and with 13.9 seconds showing, Beveridge (from Gassman, again man-up) scored to make it 6-1.

Early in the second period, Thibodeau hit the post and Greely answered and pulled within 6-2 when Kroot scored unassisted.

The Rams weren’t fazed, however, as Lovejoy scored unassisted and Thibodeau (from senior Donovan Connor) scored in transition to make it 8-2 with 3:24 remaining in the half.

With 1:38 to go in the half, senior Alex Wetmore scored unassisted, but with 1.5 seconds remaining, Kennebunk got a huge momentum lift when Camden Connor scored unassisted to make it 9-3 at halftime.

The Rams enjoyed a 24-15 shots advantage (19-8 on cage) in the first half and only 10 saves from Sinclair kept it somewhat close.

Greely tried to rally in the third quarter, but Kennebunk extended its lead.

With 8:22 to go, Lawless scored for the Rangers, but Whitten (from Camden Connor) scored man-up with 6:36 left, Whitten (from Thibodeau) scored 16 seconds later and with 1:06 remaining, senior Donovan Connor scored unassisted, man-up after intercepting a clearing pass and the Rams took a 12-4 lead to the fourth period.

Sixty-six seconds into the final stanza, Peck put on a show, racing three-quarters of the field before beating Ross to cut the deficit to 12-5, but DeLorenzo answered (from Lovejoy) with 8:09 to play.

Whitten’s fifth goal (unassisted and man-up) came with 6:37 remaining and 30 seconds later, Thibodeau bulled his way over Sinclair and finished to make it 15-5 and that’s the way ended.

At 5:52 p.m., Kennebunk made it official and Greely’s playoff hopes were dashed.

“After a good win against Cheverus, we’ve melted down ever since,” Storey said. “We haven’t done things consistently and when you shoot yourself in the foot, you get in trouble, especially against a good team.”

The Rangers got goals from Kennedy, Kroot, Lawless, Peck and Wetmore and assists from Kennedy and Wetmore. Sophomore Tim Coyle had a team-high six ground balls. Sinclair made 14 saves.

Greely was done in by 22 turnovers.

Kennebunk’s offense was paced by Whitten, who matched Greely’s production with five goals. DeLorenzo and Thibodeau both scored twice. Beveridge, Bush, Camden Connor, Donovan Connor, Gassman and Lovejoy all had one goal. Thibodeau had three assists, while Camden Connor and Lovejoy both had two and Donovan Connor, Gassman and Whitten had one apiece. Ross made eight saves.

The Rams won 14 of 22 faceoffs, thanks in large part to Gassman prevailing on 11 of 13 chances. Gassman also had a game-high 13 ground balls.

Kennebunk had a 40-26 shots advantage (29-13 on cage) and overcame 14 turnovers.

“Early in the season, we were trying to get the right personnel in, then we found it and things are clicking and guys are doing the right things,” said Rams coach Dan Seavey. “We’ve gotten into a groove and we’ve been pretty successful. Greely always plays us tight. I told the guys before the game to win the possession battle and work the ball for shots.”

Playoffs for one

Kennebunk will play either York or Fryeburg Academy in the quarterfinals next Wednesday. If the Rams, as expected, advance, they’ll go to Falmouth for what could be an epic semifinal. A win there would send Kennebunk to Cape Elizabeth.

The sky’s the limit for this group.

“When we’re on, we’re on,” Seavey said. “The guys are ready to do it. We have a strong senior class. We’ve played well for the past seven or eight games. We’ll see how badly the guys want it. The talent is there, no question.” 

Greely, on the other hand, finished in the No. 7 spot in Class B South, but only six teams qualify, meaning the Rangers will have to look ahead to 2017.

“We imploded, so it’s back to the drawing board,” Storey said. “We’ve got a lot of good young guys coming back.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter:@foresports.

Greely senior Sam Peck winds up for a shot.

Greely senior Dillon Trelegan gets a step on Kennebunk senior Jesse Lecasse.

Greely senior Alex Kroot shoots and scores.

Greely sophomore Andrew Eckhardt tries to keep up with Kennebunk senior Boden Beveridge.

Kennebunk senior Matthew Whalen lays a hit on Greely senior Alex Wetmore.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.