Brunswick’s Josh Dorr, left, battles with Scarborough’s David McKelvy (22) and Eric Quirk (19) for the ball during the State Class A boys lacrosse championship at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland. The Dragons defeated the Red Storm in overtime, 18-17.
PORTLAND — The Brunswick High School lacrosse team was 10 seconds away from a second straight defeat to Scarborough in the Class A state championship. This one would have been tougher to take.
Down by one in the dying embers of the rematch at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland, Brunswick senior Josh Dorr came out of a timeout and got the ball behind the net. He watched the seconds tick down from 40, to 30, to 20 and then made his move. He darted around the other side of the cage and rifled in the equalizer with 10.3 ticks left.
Once in overtime, the Dragons weren’t going to be denied. Even after Scarborough took the ball away on their opening possession and then called a timeout to craft the final play, the Brunswick senior class stepped up again. This time it was captain Christian Glover poking the ball away from Sam Neugebauer and taking it down the field. He dished it off and soon his brother Aiden Glover had it behind the net. The play was on.
Dorr sprinted toward the cage, caught the pass and scored, keeping Brunswick’s undefeated season intact and earning for the Dragons a second state championship in the three years.
“In a way, we’ve ran that play before,” Dorr said. “Versus Kennebunk, we had that same thing where Aiden was drawing all the attention, I cut back door, got one. My man was peeking at Aiden, trying to get that two-slide, that double. I noticed that, then quickly cut back door, found a hole and squeezed it through.”
Before that, it looked like Brunswick’s season might come to an end after a silly giveaway. After getting the ball back early in overtime, No. 1 Scarborough (13-2) coach Joe Hezlep took his timeout to think things over. Little did he know, the Dragons were planning too — to perfection.
Christian Glover smacked Neugebauer with his pole a couple times before he fell over and the ball rolled out. Glover picked it up and started the game-winning sequence.
“That was a moment in time where we did our timeout, we tried to run our offense. It didn’t happen, they used their timeout and it basically was all-in,” Coach Glover said. “We came back to the timeout as a group and said, ‘Gentlemen, this is it, we’re all-in.’ You know Neugebauer was going to pick up the ball, he’s a stellar athlete. It was kind of a toe-to-toe moment, which paid off well for us.”
“We saw Neugebauer rip us apart the whole game,” Christian Glover said. “He just put his trust in me and the team put their trust in me to mark him up and stop him from what he had been doing. It worked out.”
Neugebauer scored a game-high six goals and ran wild in the fourth quarter, where Scarborough desperately needed to recover from a dominant Brunswick third. Just 45 seconds into the frame, Neugebauer finished high on the Red Storm’s first goal since the end of the first half. Aiden Glover matched him with a goal of his own on the other end but a minute later it was Neugebauer and Marc Gurette back-to-back to make the score 14-13 Brunswick.
Christian Glover picked up a ground ball and completed his hat trick at 7:24, but two more Scarborough goals followed and tied the score at 15.
“As far as quality of a lacrosse game, you can’t ask for anything more,” Scarborough coach Joe Hezlep said. “Two extremely high-level teams, well coached, lead changes left and right. But more importantly, neither team every panicked. Both felt like we were able to win the game and both had chances to. It was a lot of fun.”
“My hat’s off to them because they were down by I think three at one point and then they transitioned in and got us a little bit,” Coach Glover said.
Aiden Glover and Gurette exchanged goals again before a solo strike from Neugebauer gave Scarborough the one-goal lead that sparked Brunswick’s final timeout.
“We didn’t want to be denied,” Dorr said. “As a senior-driven class, we didn’t want to go back on that bus losers, runners-up. Between all of us, we just had that determination to bring one back.”
The determination was very evident coming out of halftime, when the Dragons were down 10-8 and turned it into high gear. First it was Aiden Glover (four goals) finishing on a man-up opportunity at 9:16, then Dorr evening the score from close range.
Aiden Glover finished high a mere 25 seconds later and senior Max Gramins and Dorr each tacked on another before the frame was out. Brunswick scored five unanswered goals and held Scarborough scoreless on the way to a 13-10 lead heading into the fourth.
“That’s when we kind of changed our scheme a little bit down on the defensive end,” Coach Glover said. “Their offense is potent, so we were really nervous about that. On the offensive end, we wanted to push the early offense. We didn’t really want to settle in.”
“I think ground balls,” Hezlep said of the game’s biggest difference. “Between the latter half of the first period and the early part of the third period, Brunswick really hurt us in face-offs and ground balls. It just wore on us.”
Goals were flying in early and Glover’s prediction of a wide-open scoring spree proved true within minutes. Marco Manfra started it by running around the cage and beating a defender one-on-one at 10:37. Aiden Glover responded with a solo run of his own at 10:16 and a couple minutes after that, Gurette was on the board for the first time after a juke-and-score move.
Brunswick fired 14 of a whopping 23 shots in the first quarter.
“We were pretty much playing ourselves,” Dorr said. “Because Scarborough loves to transition. Their poles can handle. Playing ourselves, it’s tough, but we know what doesn’t work against us. We made that adjustment because we have great coaching. That’s a major factor in why we get here every year.”
Neugebauer and Manfra added unassisted goals later in the frame and with the Red Storm often on the break, many scores came via one-on-one take-on plays. Neugebauer capitalized on a bad Brunswick giveaway by beating goalie Connor Pendergast one-on-one and making the score 5-3 at the end of the quarter.
Only four Scarborough shots in the first 12 minutes didn’t result in a goal.
“We had some mismatches maybe down at the defensive end,” Coach Glover said. “Fans would have second-guessed why we’d be putting short sticks down on defense and locking off, but their attack was very, very athletic. We just basically said ‘let’s match athletes with athletes and play lacrosse and see what we can do.’”
It worked early in the second, when a Gramins goal put the Dragons within one and the momentum turned. An unfortunate own-goal from Pendergast only seemed to spark his offense, as the next three goals belonged to Brunswick. After a turnover in the midfield, Christian Glover score two solo goals in less than 20 seconds before Andrew Eno grabbed a rebound and scored to give the Dragons their first lead of the night, 7-6.
The turnovers were already getting out of hand.
“We like to play high-tempo, but this was something else,” Aiden Glover said.
“It’s two good teams playing against each other, lot of transition. There’s going to be turnovers,” Christian Glover said. “That’s just part of the game tonight.”
Both sides were frantically making defensive adjustments, with Brunswick sending the short sticks back and Scarborough tightening up the man coverage.
“You’ve got to just try to get it back to the basics,” Hezlep said. “Slow people down and not let them run by you. Earlier, we let a couple guys just absolutely run by us. And force them to take tougher shots so your goalie has a chance. Both teams are going to score.”
“Communication was really big,” Christian Glover said. “Knowing where our slides were and everything. Especially with our poles.”
Scarborough scored three more times in the quarter and took the two-goal lead into the break. Twenty of its 32 total shots came in the first half. Brunswick fired 52 shots on the other side and forced 18 saves of Red Storm captain Dominic Jay in goal. Pendergast blocked six shots in each half.
Brunswick senior Christian Jensen controlled the face-offs, taking all 10 in the first quarter and 25-of-39 total.
“That has to be the number one game that I’ve coached in,” Coach Glover said. “Especially in the state championship game. Joe’s (Hezlep) a great coach, they’re a great group of athletes. We knew this was going to be a fast-break basketball game with a lot of scoring.”
Boy was he right.