GARDINER — The disparity between lacrosse in central Maine and teams to the south remains significant.

The gap in talent, tradition and scheduling was displayed Wednesday night at Hoch Field, where sixth-seeded Yarmouth handled top-seeded and previously unbeaten Gardiner 13-2 in the Class B North championship game.

Yarmouth (9-6) advances to its fifth straight state championship game Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland, where it will face Cape Elizabeth. The Clippers have won four state titles, the last coming in 2009. Gardiner, which has played in three regional finals without a victory, finishes at 14-1.

That the Clippers lost six regular-season games is no surprise. They fell to Class A finalists Scarborough and Brunswick, and twice each to Class B South powers Falmouth and Cape Elizabeth, arguably the four best teams in the state.

“We’ve played the most difficult schedule of any team in the state of Maine,” Yarmouth Coach David Pearl said. “The tempo and the pace that our younger players are playing at, I think it’s paid off in their development. This whole team has really skyrocketed.”

The Clippers built a 6-0 lead in the first quarter, getting two goals from Silas Chapelli, and one each from Remi LeBlanc, Cooper May, Anders Corey and Henry Venden. Chapelli finished with three goals and Venden scored four.

“We’ve brought in a lot of freshmen who have contributed a lot, especially in the midfield,” Venden said. “We knew that transition for us was key, especially on defense. It mostly came down to us playing our game.”

After being outshot 16-0 in the first quarter, Gardiner regained its composure and matched Yarmouth’s four shots in a scoreless second quarter.

“We buried ourselves in a little hole,” Gardiner Coach K.C. Johnson said. “When we played our style of lacrosse, we did fine. When we play a pressing defense, we do well.

“Today we didn’t do a good job with our pressing defense.”

Gardiner trailed 7-0 in the third quarter before Connor Manter scooped up a ground ball and shoveled it past freshman goalie Spencer King. A minute and a half later, Manter fed a cutting Parker Hinkley from behind the net, and Hinkley cut the lead to 7-2.

Venden answered for Yarmouth, which dominated the final 12 minutes.

“We had a rough start (to the season),” said Bill Jacobs, who had a goal and six assists for Yarmouth, “but I think toward the middle of the season we kind of locked it in. I think our practices have gotten much faster and we’ve had a kind of different momentum.”

UPDATE: This story was corrected on June 16 at 10:20 a.m. to show that Yarmouth will play in its fifth consecutive state championship game.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: