For the second straight season, CJ LaBreck of Thornton Academy is the Varsity Maine Player of the Year in boys’ lacrosse. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

If there was a doubt about his credentials as a big-game player, Thornton Academy senior midfielder CJ LaBreck put them to rest in the Class A boys’ lacrosse state final – for the second straight season.

Locked in a game-long battle with an inspired, underdog squad from Falmouth High, LaBreck scored five of his team’s eight goals. He capped the season and his high school career with the title-winning goal 42 seconds into overtime.

Thornton Academy senior CJ LaBreck scored the winning goal in the Class A state final and was named All-American for the second year in a row. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

“I knew this was our time to make a move and we knew, all of us together, it was definitely time to end the game,” LaBreck said. “We weren’t planning on going to overtime but once we were there, we were going to make sure.”

As a junior, LaBreck scored six goals to rally Thornton to its first state title in a 14-12 win against Falmouth.

“He wants the ball. He was not afraid to get the ball,” said Thornton Coach Ryan Hersey. “Offensively he wanted to put the team on his shoulders and he absolutely did that.”

And for the second straight season, LaBreck is the Varsity Maine Player of the Year in boys’ lacrosse. Also a two-time US Lacrosse All-American, the versatile midfielder recorded 42 goals and 22 assists.

His overall scoring was down a bit from his junior year (44 goals, 34 assists), but LaBreck’s intent to distribute the ball remained high, especially after Thornton’s overtime loss to Cape Elizabeth in the regular season – the Trojans’ only loss the past two seasons.

“When we lost to Cape, we told him, you’re going to have to get the other kids involved, and to his credit, he did that very, very well,” Hersey said. “If this was last year’s team, he probably would have had 42 goals and 42 assists. With all our finishers (from 2018), he probably doubles his assist total. But he did it, and we had kids step up.”

After the Cape loss, a game when Thornton was dominated in faceoffs, Hersey and his staff decided if a similar situation arose, they would have LaBreck take faceoffs.

The plan was put into action in the state title game. Falmouth’s Shane Allen hadn’t lost a faceoff well into the third quarter. LaBreck was called on.

“I knew I wasn’t going to do it with talent and would just do it with hard work,” LaBreck said. “If it was the difference between us losing a game or me taking a faceoff, I knew I’d give my (best) effort to make sure I at least gave him a hard time.”

LaBreck, with the help of his teammates on the wings, battled Allen to a near standstill, winning three of the seven draws head-to-head.

In late August, LaBreck will head to New Jersey to begin his college career at Division I Monmouth University.

“The next step will be Division I, so I know anything I did in high school won’t matter, basically,” he said. “It’s going to be about taking bigger steps and working even harder than I have before.”


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