SOUTH PORTLAND – In recent practices, the young South Portland boys’ lacrosse team has focused on playing a full 48-minute game.
The Riots had to play nearly 54 minutes Wednesday night to pull out an 8-7 win against Kennebunk in an SMAA game at Martin Memorial Field.
Thomas Leddy scored his second goal of the game 1:21 into the second overtime as South Portland eked out the victory after withstanding a furious fourth-quarter rally.
“A big theme of this week’s practices was being able to play a 48-minute game,” Leddy said. “In the past we’ve had a first half, then a second half sort of fluctuating, but today we were able to come back and pull it out in the end.”
The Riots (9-2) may have nailed down a first-round bye in the upcoming Western Class A playoffs.
It was third consecutive defeat for the Rams, who reeled off eight wins to open the season.
South Portland held a 6-3 lead at the end of the first half as it took a while for Kennebunk to get untracked offensively.
The Rams played with a man advantage for three minutes during the first 24 minutes of the game but were able to score just one goal during that span.
The Riots opened a 6-2 lead during the final minute of the first half when Duncan Preston and Andrew Whipple scored 14 seconds apart.
Patrick Rimmer scored with less than 10 seconds left in the second quarter to help kill some of South Portland’s momentum going into the break.
“We came out hot in the first half and that break at halftime is always tough,” Leddy said. “You either get psyched up and you mellow out a little bit, and I think we mellowed out. It’s definitely a blow to morale when they score so close to the end of the period like that.”
The Riots held a 7-4 lead at the end of the third quarter, but Tyler Elkington scored his second and third goals of the game during the first four minutes of the final period, and Jacob Boothbay sent the game into overtime when he turned a feed from Keenan Beaudette into a goal during a fast break to tie the score with less than three minutes left in regulation.
“In the fourth quarter, I think my kids started to press a little too much and (Kennebunk) adjusted their offense a little bit,” South Portland Coach Tim Fiorini said.
Statistically, Kennebunk held a decided edge, 39-26 in shots, 13-6 in the control of draws and 32-20 in ground balls. But much of the Rams’ advantage in those categories came during the fourth-quarter rally.
The Rams maintained possession for most of the first four-minute overtime, including two 30-second segments during which they held a man advantage but were unable to get off a quality shot.
“We juggled our (defensive) slide package a little bit and that seemed to shut (Elkington) down during overtime,” Fiorini said. “Kennebunk made adjustments in the second half. Luckily for us we made adjustments in the overtime that made a difference.”
Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at firstname.lastname@example.org