PORTLAND – Six minutes into a scoreless Class A boys’ lacrosse state championship game Saturday, John Wheeler decided it was time to take matters into his own hands.
“I knew one of us had to get going,” said the Scarborough senior, “so I chose to get the offense started.”
Wheeler scored four first-half goals and set up four others as Scarborough cruised to a fourth straight state title, 15-4 over Cheverus at Fitzpatrick Stadium.
Scarborough (14-1) and Cheverus (12-3) met at Fitzpatrick for the second straight year, although the Stags brought a new defense and a new coach, Bill Bodwell.
“We’re a young team,” Bodwell said. “We’re really a year away. The fact we won Eastern Maine, I’m incredibly proud. That was a good accomplishment for us.”
Wheeler scored twice in the first quarter, including redirecting a pass from behind the net with one second left, and a stout defense did the rest.
Any chance for Cheverus to keep the contest close disappeared early in the second quarter when Scarborough goalie David Pearson swallowed up three dangerous shots.
“It was a good thing I was seeing the ball well,” said Pearson, who finished with eight of his 10 saves in the first half. “My defense was giving me shots I could see. They played great.”
Scarborough’s three main defenders — Nate McLellan, Brendon Smith and Anthony Quintiliani — continually pressured Cheverus attackers, which led to 11 first-half turnovers.
“They’re very aggressive,” said Cheverus attacker Jack Sutton. “They press out really hard. They come out and they challenge you when you have the ball, and they don’t back off until you can gain their respect.”
The Red Storm opened leads of 6-0 and 8-1 before Nick Schleh scored for Cheverus in the last minute of the half. Scarborough put it away with six third-quarter goals to make it 14-2.
“We started off great,” Sutton said. “Then they got up and we just never gained the defense’s respect. We kept turning the ball over and they were out on us the whole game. We couldn’t get any breathing room.”
In addition to Wheeler, the team’s leading scorer all four years of his high-school career, Scarborough received two goals each from Jurien Garrison, Cam Loiselle, Christian Neelon, Austin Doody and Dalton Finley. Nathan Howard also scored.
Eight players notched an assist for Scarborough.
“We definitely had a lot of people putting the ball in the back of the net,” Wheeler said, “which has been our recipe to success this whole playoff run.”
Sutton, Hilmar Smith and James Kane scored for Cheverus, in addition to the goal from Schleh, who also had an assist. James Biegel made eight saves.
“It certainly wasn’t easy,” said Scarborough Coach Joe Hezlep. “It should have been a much closer game than it was. We played pretty well on defense, but they have some really talented players who created a lot of opportunities, but (Pearson), as he always does, continued to stand on his head.”
Pearson (University of New England), Wheeler (Bentley) and McLellan (Maine Maritime) all plan to continue their careers in college.
“It’s a pretty surreal moment, to win that fourth title,” said Wheeler. “It was good to wrap it up early and start celebrating.”
Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: