SACO — The Thornton Academy boys’ lacrosse team had dual motivation in Wednesday’s Western Class A quarterfinal.
The Trojans were playing for a teammate whose mother was diagnosed with breast cancer last week.
And they were playing to show the other teams in the state that they will be a factor this postseason.
Poor Biddeford never stood a chance.
No. 3 Thornton Academy got four goals each from Zach Bryant and Isaac Sinclair to roll to a 15-1 victory over the Tigers (6-7).
“Lately, we’ve been pretty flat,” Bryant said. “We had a reason to play today, and we came out fired up.”
Coach Ryan Hersey told the team about the cancer diagnosis Tuesday evening. He declined to say which player’s family is affected, but the game served as a fundraiser for the family. Spectators were asked to make donations. The players did the same.
“On the back of our regular shirts this year, it said, ‘Brotherhood.’ We feel like we’re a big family and it’s important that when something like this happens, that you’re taking care of them. Lacrosse at this point isn’t the most important thing,” Hersey said.
The Trojans (10-3) responded with a tremendous first half in which Biddeford was able to muster only one shot. By the fourth quarter, the clock was running nonstop as Thornton Academy emptied its bench and prepared for Saturday’s showdown at defending state champion Scarborough.
Cody Falton added three goals for Thornton Academy and junior defenseman Tyler LaPointe brought the crowd to its feet with a fourth-quarter dash through half of the Tigers’ team to score. Alex Ruck scored Biddeford’s goal.
“We really just wanted to stick it to them early, get the score up, show other teams that we do mean business and Thornton Academy can stay with the high-class teams and we’re going to make a run,” Sinclair said. “Not only is Biddeford our rival, we were trying to make a statement with this game. I think we did.”
Scarborough defeated Thornton Academy in double overtime this season, and also has ended the Trojans’ postseason in three of the past four Junes.
“We have the talent, we’ve just got to go out and prove it,” Hersey said of his team’s attempt to end Scarborough’s four-year reign.
“We have to possess the ball more. Because they pressure you so much, you feel like you have to go at the cage, and that’s not always the case. … We tried to force it way too many times into a spot that wasn’t open.”