WESTBROOK — The Thornton Academy boys’ lacrosse team learned firsthand the difference between doing what you want to do and doing what you should do to win a game.

“We talked about freelancing in the first half, when we were doing what we wanted and that outcome,” Thornton Academy Coach Ryan Hersey said. “We compared that to the second half, running the plays we want them to run and looking at the outcome. It’s night and day.”

Daybreak came for the Golden Trojans as the third quarter gave way to the fourth. Thornton scored four goals in less than three minutes to rally to a 14-10 victory over Westbrook in a Western Class A game at Olmsted Field.

So why do players sometimes freelance in the early going?

“A lot of the time it’s just reaction,” said Isaac Sinclair (4 goals, 1 assist for Thornton). “You’re in the moment. You want to react to the play a certain way. But in reality you’re supposed to do another thing. We just realized we had to take a deep breath, slow it down and make the smart play.”

The Trojans (8-2), who entered ranked No. 4 in Western A, won their fourth straight since losing to No. 1 South Portland 8-7 on May 13.

It was a second straight loss for Westbrook (7-3). The Blue Blazes fell to Cheverus 18-11 on Friday.

“We played about a half of really good lacrosse,” Westbrook Coach Josh Plowman said. “We’re on our way to where we want to be. But to get there, we need to close out games. Against a team like Thornton Academy, every possession counts and you have to finish strong.”

The possessions that turned momentum the Trojans’ way came with 57.9 seconds to play in the third quarter, when Cam Cadorette made it 8-8. Forty seconds later, Zach Bryant gave Thornton its first lead of the game, 9-8.

Sinclair scored twice in the opening 1:45 of the fourth quarter to build an 11-8 lead. His first goal of the quarter finished off a nice end-to-end play by the Trojans. Season-long backup goalie Kyle Holman (12 saves) stopped a shot, cleared the ball to Charlie Katz in midfield and Katz found Sinclair, who beat Westbrook goalie Alex Leblanc (12 saves) in close.

“We were really pushing it in transition, which is one of our greatest strong suits,” Sinclair said. “We can get going in transition like that, with boom-boom passing.”

Curtis Knapton (3/3) and Noah Oliver (2 goals) sandwiched a goal by Justin Masteller to make it a two-goal game, 12-10 with 4:58 to play.

Bryant (4:00) and Masteller (1:51) finished off set plays to put the game out of reach at 14-10.

The Trojans played without midfielder Gregory Ruff (foot injury) and star keeper Chris Camire (mononucleosis).

“I learned at about 1:30 p.m. that Chris would be out indefinitely,” said Hersey, who started Holman in a 19-4 win over Biddeford and played him in the second half of a 20-0 win over Bonny Eagle. “Kyle stepped up with some big saves, especially in the fourth quarter. Our defense stepped up as well to protect (Holman).”

Sinclair said the lesson of the day will stick with the Trojans.

“This was a motivation booster for us,” he said. “Now we see where we can go and what we can do when we play our game. We want to keep that energy going.”

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