GORHAM – The way the Gorham High girls’ soccer teams play defense, a one-goal lead can mean everything. But could the Rams get that goal?

Hallie Shiers obliged.

Her early score gave the Rams momentum and her second goal in the closing minutes sealed it Wednesday as top-seeded Gorham beat second-ranked Scarborough 2-0 to win the Class A South championship.

Gorham (16-0-1) advanced to the state title game for the second straight year, Saturday in Portland against Camden Hills (16-1), a 3-2 upset winner against Bangor in the Class A North final Wednesday.

Bangor beat Gorham in the state title game last year.

Scarborough (12-3-2) was the only team not to lose to Gorham in the regular season, playing to a 0-0 tie in September.

“They’re a very good team,” Gorham midfielder and co-captain Meghan Perrin said. “We knew we had to come out hard and keep possession.”

And that’s what Gorham did.

“Their midfielders did a great job, especially in the beginning,” Scarborough Coach Mike Farley said. “They put us back on our heels in the first half.”

Perrin and fellow midfielder Jenna Cowan served the ball up to Gorham’s talented forwards, including Shiers, Tiril Wiig and Alexis Fotter.

Early in the half, Wiig had possession on one side and saw Shiers in the box, although crowded by defenders.

“Tiril popped it through,” Shiers said. “I just got a lucky little breakaway and popped it in.”

The goal came 8:50 into the first half. The Rams’ early possessions paid off.

“When our midfield can get its rhythm going, when they find their spaces and their passes, they do a really nice job,” Gorham Coach Jeanne Zarrilli said.

Then the Rams went to their strength – defense.

“That (first goal) really put us behind the 8-ball and it was tough to get the momentum back,” Farley said.

“We were playing really well in the playoffs. Unfortunately we didn’t have our A-game going. All of that has to do with Gorham. You have to hand it to them. All of their players were going hard to the ball.”

The Rams’ defensive corps featured Narissa Libby, Avery Germond, Caitlin Callahan and Maddie Hincher. They protected goalie Emma Smith, who made seven saves (as did Scarborough keeper Emily Royce).

“My defense is the heart of the team. It’s really great how well they play together,” Smith said.

Scarborough’s best chances came on well-placed corner kicks by Gaby Panagakos.

“We know about her dangerous corner kicks,” Smith said. “We know we have to follow our marks hard.”

Scarborough had six corners and the Rams’ defenders, with Smith, stifled any threats.

Panagakos did produce the Red Storm’s best chance with 17 minutes left. She beat her defender in the box and was about to let a shot go when Smith came sliding in, kicking away the ball.

“She’s very fast,” Smith said. “She got through. I thought to myself, ‘this is everything you worked for, so go and get it.’ Hesitation will kill you in soccer so you have to commit.”

With 2:56 left, Shiers launched a long-range shot that tucked under the crossbar for a 2-0 lead.

“I really didn’t think it was going to go in,” Shiers said. “I just was looking for the corner of the net and went for it.”

And soon Shiers was in a huddle of Rams, celebrating a second straight trip to the state final.