GARDINER — Finesse met force when Gardiner and rival Oak Hill squared off in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B boys lacrosse game on a sun-splashed Tuesday. Score one for finesse.

Tyler Jamison scored four goals to lead an otherwise balanced attack and the quick Tigers wore down the rugged Raiders 16-4 at Hoch Field.

Alex Nadeau and Austin Moore each scored three goals while Keegan Smith chipped in with a goal and four assists for Gardiner (6-0). Kyle Flaherty scored two goals to lead the Raiders (4-1).

“They are a hard-hitting, physical team,” Gardiner coach K.C. Johnson said. “That’s old school Oak Hill lacrosse. Move the ball, hit hard. It’s how they play. They’ve always played that way. The key was to wear them down. They play a short bench and we knew that going in.”

The Tigers did eventually wear the Raiders down, but the physicality took a toll. Gardiner senior captain midfielder Seth Wing suffered a jaw injury on a crosscheck and is out indefinitely, Johnson said. 

Gardiner led just 3-0 after the first quarter before erupting for four goals in a three-minute span to pull away.

Smith started the spurt when he beat Oak Hill goalie Matt Martin from about 5 feet in front of the net with 9 minutes, 16 seconds left in the second. Smith then set up Jamison a little more than a minute later to make it 5-0. Josh Caldwell scored an unassisted goal off the ensuing draw and the Tigers were in control, up 6-0.

“I give Gardiner credit,” Oak Hill coach Dan Brannigan said. “They cashed in on their opportunities. When we had opportunities, we didn’t cash in.”

Added Jamison, who also had an assist: “You want to put the nail in the coffin. You want them to get down in the dumps. We just wanted to keep it up.”

The Raiders finally broke through on Gardiner goalie JD Crocker when Caleb Provost scored with 6:45 left in the second.

However, Gardiner answered about two minutes later when Jamison took a pass from Smith and beat Martin with a laser of a shot.

“We were at our best when we were moving the ball,” Jamison said. “I just try to find open space and take advantage of my shots.”

Gardiner led 8-1 at the half and kept the pressure on in the third quarter.

“We have high expectations,” Moore said. “We knew what we had to do and we came out and did it. We have a lot of weapons. That’s the strength of this team.”

Adrian Heath scored two goals for Gardiner as well. Calvin Cooper and Dalton Sargent also scored.

Brian Daniels scored a goal and Jon Averill had an assist for Oak Hill.

“It came to a point where we couldn’t pass and catch,” Brannigan said. “It’s frustrating. I have a team made up of mostly football players. We’ll always be a physical team. We’ll continue to play tough.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640
[email protected]

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