SCARBOROUGH — The Scarborough boys’ lacrosse team planted some doubt in the top seed Thursday.

South Portland had spent 11 games building an aura this spring, only to see it dented by a familiar foe, finding itself manhandled 14-8 by the Red Storm in the regular-season finale.

It was the first loss for the Red Riots but they’ll need to shake it quickly. The playoffs start Wednesday.

Scarborough, meanwhile, seems to have overcome the malaise that led to three consecutive losses earlier this season. The Red Storm captured the second seed in the Western Class A playoffs and wore the swagger befitting a team that has won the past four state titles.

“We wanted it more than them,” Scarborough freshman Sam Neugebauer said after scoring a career-high four goals.

“This is the biggest rush of my life right now. It gives me confidence. Just hanging with these guys (his teammates) makes me happy.”

Neugebauer is typical of the lineup shuffling that Scarborough Coach Joe Hezlep has had to do this spring. Neugebauer didn’t earn a starting job until midway through the 9-3 season.

“He’s just got a knack for putting the ball in the net and that’s something we’ve struggled with all year. So to get a kid like that in the lineup, I don’t care how old he is, really makes a difference in our offense,” Hezlep said of Neugebauer.

It showed Thursday, when Scarborough moved the ball better than it has all year to solve top-notch goalie T-Moe Hellier. Christian Neelon and Cam Loiselle had three goals apiece, and Chris Cyr and Nate Howard each scored two.

Howard, a spunky faceoff specialist, set the tone with two of the Storm’s first three goals.

“I typically like to score a couple of quick goals. It sends a message to the other team,” Howard said. “And when you get up, you kind of start to get into a groove, I think.

“But the key was our defense. We were shutting guys off. When you shut a team off like that, they have to work on the fly and it kind of rattles an offense.”

Howard will attend a summer seminar at the U.S. Naval Academy from June 14-20, which will force Hezlep to make yet another shift in his lineup, although he’s delighted to do so under those circumstances. The senior would be back for the state final June 21, but Hezlep isn’t looking that far ahead.

South Portland players were clamoring for a rematch as soon as Thursday’s game ended, noting this one would be at their field. But Coach Tom Fiorini said his team would need to learn its lesson first. The Red Riots hadn’t been dealt any adversity, and their response was to get sloppy with the ball and complain about the officiating.

Thomas Leddy led the Red Riots with three goals; Ben Bilderback and Jack Fiorini each had two. But it was a huge letdown for a team that scored 91 goals in its previous four games.

“I think we got a soft part of our schedule and our kids forgot, since the Yarmouth game (May 16), what it takes to win a game like this,” Fiorini said.

“We did get a little frustrated. We’ve had it pretty easy this year and we’ve kind of had our way with teams and they weren’t used to that. You lose, it’s never a positive. But we’re going to put a positive spin on it and going into the playoffs, we’ll be a little smarter. I think we’ll see them again and maybe it will be a different outcome this time.”

Mark Emmert can be contacted at 791-6424 or

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Twitter: MarkEmmertPPH