GARDINER — The Gardiner boys lacrosse team prefers to play a controlled game of possession, designed to wear down and frustrate opponents.

On a splendid Wednesday afternoon, the Tigers showed they can play a quick transition game, too.

Alex Nadeau scored three goals and Dalton Sargent added a pair to lead top-seeded Gardiner past No. 8 Freeport 9-3 in an Eastern B quarterfinal game at Hoch Field.

“We had a lot of fast breaks,” Gardiner coach KC Johnson said. “It’s not like us, normally. We’re not a fastbreak team. We like to slow it down.”

The Tigers (13-0) sped it up Wednesday, scoring several goals in transition against the overmatched Falcons (3-10). Gardiner will play No. 4 Maranacook/Winthrop (11-2) in the semifinals.

Josh Caldwell also scored two goals for Gardiner while Keegan Smith and Tyler Jamison each scored and added an assist. Jake Truman and Adrian Heath also assisted on goals.

“We moved the ball really well,” said Sargent, who had an assist. “We knew this was going to be a challenge. We knew they were better than their record because they play teams like Yarmouth and (North Yarmouth Academy).”

The Tigers last played a southern team in a preseason showcase tournament. They’ve been waiting to face off with one since, and on Wednesday it finally happened.

“It was a good test,” Nadeau said. “They were better than I think we probably expected.”

Gardiner never trailed and took a 4-1 lead into halftime. The Tigers then scored two goals 34 seconds apart early in the third to gain some separation.

Both goals came in transition, with Sargent netting the first one when he finished off a pass from Truman to make it 5-1.

“I shot it low to the right side and it went in,” Sargent said.

Nadeau made it 6-1 when he beat Freeport freshman goalie Zac Wogan to the near side a little more than a minute into the period.

“We were moving the ball around and I got to the top of the crease,” said Nadeau, a junior who split time between varsity and junior varsity last season. “I had some room to shoot so I did.”

Nadeau scored again about five minutes later to make it a 7-2 game.

“We were on a fast break and I was coming down and faked the goalie,” Nadeau said. “I then shot it top shelf.”

The comfortable cushion was more than enough for goalie JD Crocker (eight saves) and a physical Gardiner defense.

Added Johnson: “We played pretty good. This is the first southern Maine team we’ve faced so it was good to see that. We played pretty good on defense. We checked well.”

Senior Sam Farrar scored two goals and Clayton Morrison added another to lead the Falcons.

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

[email protected]

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