It was the longest state championship game ”“ boys or girls ”“ in Maine high school lacrosse history. It may have also been the best. It almost certainly was the most exciting.

Anyone fortunate enough to be at Fitzpatrick Stadium on Saturday afternoon ”“ and there were plenty of fans filling nearly all of the main stand and the hills to either side ”“ won’t soon forget the Class A girls state championship game between Massabesic and Cheverus.

After 63 minutes and 38 seconds of play, the Mustangs’ Karlie Pike won the game when she scored off a beautifully unselfish pass from Jackie Guillemette. It was the final, and most important, act in a drama full of great performances on both sides.

Both goalies played wonderfully. Both sets of midfielders ran their hearts out. Both defenses remained cool and composed under tremendous pressure as the overtimes wore on.

Overall, it was an outstanding way to bring down the 2013-14 high school sports season, and both sets of players deserve all the credit in the world.

But perhaps the most-impressive part of the afternoon didn’t come on the field from the players, but off of it, in a quiet moment between the teams’ head coaches that was witnessed by few but should be appreciated by many.

With the game heading into triple ”“ meaning sudden death ”“ overtime after the Stags had completed a momentous comeback in the second extra period, Cheverus’ Mallory Pelkey and Massabesic’s Brooks Bowen gathered their teams in huddles.

At that point, after 56 minutes of high tempo on a hot day, made all the more sweltering by the Fitzy turf, there wasn’t much to say, Pelkey admitted. It was “next goal wins,” and everyone knew it.

But that didn’t mean the coaches didn’t have something to say to each other.

“Do you see these gray hairs?” Pelkey, a 2007 Cheverus graduate, joked as the pair met at the midway line for a handshake before the third OT started.

Bowen, smiling, took off his yellow hat and rubbed his bald head, replying he didn’t have the same problem.

Under the most stressful situation imaginable for a coach, it was a moment of levity that was refreshing to see considering how lacrosse sidelines can, at times, descend into shouting matches, and, on occasion, disgraceful chaos when the heat is turned up in the final moments of an important game.

Pelkey and Bowen again shook hands before the fifth overtime, and came together for one last time with a hug after Pike’s game winner, Pelkey magnanimous in defeat, just as Bowen had been the year before, when Cheverus got the better of a one-goal battle in the title game.

They were small moments between a pair of coaches who didn’t let the occasion get too big for them, soon to be forgotten in the ecstasy of victory and the heartbreak of defeat that followed, but ones that should be kept in mind by coaches, players and fans alike.

— Staff Writer Cameron Dunbar can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 323 or [email protected]

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