2013-06-21 / Front Page

WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS!

Lacrosse team continues dominance
By Jack Flagler Staff Writer


Senior John Wheeler, who scored four goals and four assists in last Saturday’s state championship game, brings the state title plaque to the Scarborough fans after the 15-4 victory. (Jack Flagler photo) Senior John Wheeler, who scored four goals and four assists in last Saturday’s state championship game, brings the state title plaque to the Scarborough fans after the 15-4 victory. (Jack Flagler photo) PORTLAND – When John Wheeler of Scarborough High School stepped onto the field his freshman spring in 2010, he immediately became the top scorer on a Red Storm team that won a Class A state title.

Wheeler stepped off the field at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland Saturday, June 15 as a four-time state champion after leading his team to a 15-4 rout of Cheverus High School.

Wheeler said each of the state titles have been important and memorable, but leading the team along with senior cocaptains David Pearson, Nate McLellan and Dalton Finley set this year’s tournament run apart from the others.

“Each year it gets sweeter. My role on the team has increased as it goes. I thought this year, as captains, it was our responsibility to lead them back here, which we did,” Wheeler said.


Senior Jurien Garrison fires a shot past James Biegel, the Cheverus goalkeeper, to put Scarborough up 4-0 early in the second quarter of the Class A state championship game at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland Saturday, June 15. (Jack Flagler) Senior Jurien Garrison fires a shot past James Biegel, the Cheverus goalkeeper, to put Scarborough up 4-0 early in the second quarter of the Class A state championship game at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland Saturday, June 15. (Jack Flagler) “The past three (titles) were good, but this one’s especially sweet as captain of the team.”

The Red Storm finished the year 14-1, while Cheverus ended with a 13-3 record. Scarborough defeated every Class A team it faced, but lost to Class B opponent North Yarmouth Academy 8-5, April 27. The Red Storm never faced a close game in the playoffs, winning all three of their tournament matchups against Marshwood, Kennebunk and Cheverus high schools by at least eight goals.

The state final began as a defensive struggle, with each team missing opportunities and failing to score for most of the opening quarter. Sophomore Nathan Howard broke the scoreless tie with an unassisted goal with 5:24 remaining in the first, then Wheeler followed with his first goal to stretch the lead to 2-0.

Just before the end of the quarter, Scarborough scored again in a pivotal moment that frustrated a Stags team which, up to that point, had played the Red Storm evenly.

Scarborough took possession of the ball off a turnover with less than a minute left in the quarter and brought the ball into the offensive zone. After a high shot sailed over the net, possession went back to the Red Storm because a Scarborough player was closest to the ball when it crossed out of bounds.

With time ticking down, junior attack Christian Neelon found Wheeler cutting in front of the net unmarked. Wheeler buried an easy goal with one second remaining from close range, increasing the lead to 3-0 and opening the floodgates for the Scarborough offense.

In the next two quarters of play, the Red Storm scored 11 goals, and the lead had ballooned to 14-2.

For the most part, the Red Storm attack was led by its seniors. Wheeler finished the game with four goals and four assists, doing most of his damage in the decisive first half. Attack Jurien Garrison added two goals and two assists, and co-captain midfielder Dalton Finley contributed two goals and an assist.

Finley, who has played varsity for three seasons, agreed with Wheeler that the title as a senior was more special than the previous two.

“When you’re a junior, you’re like alright, I’ve still got another year, but when you’re a senior, it’s remarkable,” Finley said.

Although Scarborough relied on its seniors throughout the year, in the second half, its attack was mostly led by players who will return to the team next season.

The Red Storm’s depth and speed proved too much for Cheverus, as Scarborough continually added to its lead by finishing goals on odd-man rushes off the fast break.

Juniors Austin Doody, Cam Loiselle and Christian Neelon finished with two goals each, and five of the trio’s six goals came in the second half.

Scarborough head coach Joe Hezlep said he’s not worried about his team’s motivation to keep winning in future years, because there are so many talented players waiting for an opportunity to start and make their mark on a program that has separated itself from the rest of the field in Class A.

“We have a lot of seniors that play, and there’s a lot of juniors and sophomores that don’t get a lot of playing time simply because they have seniors in front of them,” Hezlep said.

Although Hezlep said the team will miss the leadership presence of Wheeler and the rest of the seniors, he believes the talent pool is there to fill the void, as it has been in previous years.

“There’s going to be an opening and someone’s going to have to step up and play. John will be a big loss, but they all are,” Hezlep said. Want to comment on this story? Login to our website at leader.mainelymediallc.com and let us know your thoughts.

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