CAPE ELIZABETH — Thornton Academy’s boys’ lacrosse team is heading back to the Class A state final.

But not without a scare.

For the second year in a row, the second-ranked Golden Trojans found a way to beat Cape Elizabeth in the Class A South final, again building a big lead over the top-ranked Capers, 7-1 at halftime. But this time, Cape Elizabeth battled back and got pulled within three before Thornton Academy held on for an 8-5 victory.

CJ LaBreck and Gavin Tanis both scored twice to help the Golden Trojans improve to 13-1 and advance to face Falmouth (10-5) in the Class A state final Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium, at a time to be announced.

“We knew (Cape) had the ability to come back,” said Thornton Academy Coach Ryan Hersey. “We tried very hard to stop that in the fourth quarter.”

Thornton Academy, which suffered its only loss in two seasons at Hannaford Field on April 29, 8-7 in overtime, went up 4-0 after one quarter Wednesday as Sam Edborg, Tanis, Labreck and Anthony Bracamonte all scored. Golden Trojans senior goalie Ean Patry made five key saves to frustrate the Capers.

“Ean is an All-American for a reason,” said Thornton Academy defenseman and captain Eli Arsenault. “He makes huge saves at huge moments. It’s such a relief to have him in net.”

LaBreck added a goal 31 seconds into the second quarter and Thomas Levasseur and Colby Bolduc beat Cape Elizabeth goalie Jack Dresser as well and the Golden Trojans were on the brink of a first-half shutout, but with 41 seconds to go, Colin Campbell scored for the Capers.

Tanis scored his second goal with 5:58 remaining in the third quarter, but the Golden Trojans didn’t score again and Cape Elizabeth made a run.

After Nick Martin scored to make it 8-2 after three, Martin, Archie McEvoy and Phil Tarling beat Patry (seven saves) in the fourth and with 5:23 to play, the Capers were within three.

Cape Elizabeth got three possessions with opportunities to make things really interesting, including one man-up, but the Capers turned the ball over each time.

Thornton Academy then milked the remainder of the clock.

“It feels great to get back to states,” LaBreck said. “It was a great feeling to go undefeated last year, but beating them after losing to them earlier this year feels even better.”

The Golden Trojans beat Falmouth 14-12 in last year’s state final and downed the host Yachtsmen 10-4 on May 28.

“They have nothing to lose, so they’ll come out ready to go,” Hersey said. “We need to get back to focusing on (Falmouth). This game was great, but if we don’t win Saturday, it won’t be as sweet.”

Cape Elizabeth, which hung close thanks to 15 saves from Dresser, suffered its first loss in 14 games.

“We didn’t get off to the start that we wanted,” said Capers Coach Ben Raymond. “Ean made some saves on our good looks and defensively, we had a couple breakdowns.

“Our seniors did a great job this year and not just on the field. They’ve been great leaders and that’s why were successful. Tonight, they helped us dig our way back and there’s a lot to be said for that.”

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