AUGUSTA — Fifth-seeded Oak Hill got two minutes with a man up late in Wednesday’s Class B North boys’ lacrosse quarterfinal against No. 4 Cony.

That’s virtually an eternity in lacrosse, but Steven Gilbert needed less than half that time to make it to extend the Raiders’ season.

Gilbert scored twice in a 51-second span to break a 7-7 tie and give Oak Hill a 9-7 victory at Alumni Field.

The Raiders (8-5) advance to face top-seeded and unbeaten Gardiner in the semifinals at 4 p.m. Friday at Hoch Field.

“All we’ve been preaching this past week (is) one more game, one more play,” said Gilbert, a senior attack. “We have to keep it going. They were getting a little chippy. We took advantage of that.”

Gilbert had three goals, while Darryn Bailey, Marcus Bailey and Matt Eaton added two apiece for Oak Hill. Chad Bickford led Cony (8-5) with four goals and Zach Whitney had two.

Cony rallied from a 4-0 deficit to lead after Bickford’s fourth goal made it 7-6 with 9:16 remaining. 

Darryn Bailey scored the equalizer 33 seconds later, and it remained tied for nearly five minutes before Cony junior attack Nick Robinson was flagged for an illegal body check, an unreleasable two-minute foul, with 3:55 to go.

Gilbert capitalized 23 seconds later, taking a pass into the middle from Eaton and firing it past Cony goalie Cameron Gallant from about 15 feet out to make it 8-7.

With Robinson still in the penalty box, Gilbert added the insurance goal off a Darryn Bailey feed with 3:32 left.

“We’ve had a few lapses (with the man advantage) but nothing crazy,” Gilbert said. “I’d say we’re about 50/50 on man-up, as long as we get the ball moving and do what we’re supposed to do.”

“I was hoping for at least two (goals) out of it and they got two,” Oak Hill coach Joe Hinkley said. “Two minutes is a long time.”

Gilbert nearly returned the favor to the Rams when he received a one-minute slashing penalty with 1:43 remaining. Tough defense in front of goalie Nate Marcotte and a steal by Adam LaPointe with 45 seconds left kept the Rams at bay.

Oak Hill started the game strong, too, building a 4-0 lead by the end of the first quarter on two goals by Marcus Bailey and individual tallies by Gilbert and Darryn Bailey.

“That was huge. Usually we’re slow for the first 12 minutes of the game,” Hinkley said.

“That first quarter, we stunk,” Cony coach Chad Foye said. “We came out flat and you can’t do that in playoff games. We buried ourselves quickly and had to fight back. We did and then we made a mental mistake at the end of the game to get a two-minute penalty.”

A persistent Bickford finally got Cony on the board 1:36 into the second quarter after Marcotte denied him on two consecutive shots. Whitney made it 4-2 a short time later.

The Rams had a chance to cut further into the deficit after an unnecessary roughness penalty on the Raiders. But Marcotte (14 saves) made three outstanding saves from his knees, and Eaton’s goal made it a three-goal margin again for halftime.

“Watching (Cony) in warm-ups, they were all shooting low or underhand,” Marcotte said. “So I knew I was going to have to be on the ground a lot and shut them down.”

“I don’t know what he does, but he just came around this year and I shake my head and say ‘How the heck did you do that?'” Hinkley said. “He stands on his head for us every game. I can’t ask for a better kid. It’s tough as a freshman stepping in for varsity lacrosse and having an 18-year-old coming at you with 60-70 miles-an-hour, and he’s not afraid.”

Cony played fearlessly to start the second half and got goals from Bickford, Whitney and Sam McCray to tie it inside of the first three minutes. Bickford’s second goal of the period gave the Rams their first lead, 6-5, with 6:47 to go in the third.

“Once we got ahead, we slowed down again. We got way too comfortable and we didn’t finish the game off,” Foye said. “That’s kind of been the story of us all year.”

Eaton scored 1:17 into the fourth quarter to tie it.


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