KENTS HILL — North Yarmouth Academy’s once comfortable five-goal lead over top-seeded Maranacook/Winthrop seemed to be evaporating before its eyes in the late stages of Friday’s Eastern B boys lacrosse semifinal. So coach Peter Gerrity told the Panthers they needed to play the possession game and try to hang on for the final five-plus minutes against the explosive Hawks.

Freshman Henry Farnham listened to his coach’s instructions, but much to Gerrity and the rest of the team’s relief he forgot about them at the most opportune times.

Farnham scored four goals, including two momentum-changing clinchers in the final 4 minutes, 15 seconds, to lead No. 4 NYA to an 11-7 win over Maranacook/Winthrop at Kents Hill School.

“Both of those were kind of empty nets,” Farnham said. “Coach told us to not score, to try to possess the ball instead. But I almost had no choice but to score.”

“That was nice of him to contribute like that offensively today,” Gerrity said. “He’s been playing hard all year, but that was a lot of goals today, which is perfect timing.”

Trevor Lachance led all scorers with five goals for NYA (6-8). Kyle Morand, Denver Cram and James Canwell scored two goals apiece for the Hawks (11-3).

Turnovers and penalties plagued the Hawks all game. Trailing 8-4, they were a man down for the first three minutes of the fourth quarter due to an illegal stick. NYA didn’t score with the advantage, but burned valuable time to sustain momentum until Lachance scored off a nice feed from Jake Rasch to make it a five-goal cushion with 7:58 left

“We just couldn’t get things together,” Maranacook/Winthrop coach Zach Stewart said. “We’d get a little bit of momentum and then we’d go back to throwing passes away and not riding. It hurts because the things that we’ve done so well all season, we didn’t do well today.”

The Hawks started to look like themselves with a 45-second, three-goal flurry by Canwell, Morand and Cram that pulled them within 9-7 with 5:33 to go. But Farnham scored the momentum-breaker with 4:15 left, then the Hawks picked up a tripping penalty that helped lead to Farnham’s final goal with 2:30 remaining.

“Our first game of the season, we beat them (5-3). But they were ranked No. 1, so we were unsure of what the turnout was going to be,” Farnham said.

“We played one of our best games of the year,” Gerrity added. “We haven’t been putting together four straight quarters of quality lacrosse. We’ll take a quarter off and fall asleep for a little bit. But they came to play the whole game today.”

Lachance set the tone by staking the Panthers to a 2-0 lead. The Hawks rallied to tie it before the end of the period with scores from Morand and Cram.

Bailey Clark gave Maranacook/Winthrop its first and only lead with a goal 1:20 into the second quarter. But the end of the half went downhill quickly for the Hawks as NYA tallied three unanswered goals — two by Farnham and one on a man up strike by Lachance — in the final 2:12.

Canwell scored 1:28 into the third period to pull the Hawks back within a goal, only to have Jeremy Thelven start a run of three straight NYA goals to end the quarter to widen the margin to 8-4.

NYA advances to the regional final on Wednesday, when it will face the winner of Saturday’s other semifinal between No. 2 Yarmouth and No. 3 Gardiner.

For Maranacook/Winthrop, it is the third year in a row its season ended in the semifinals.

“We went above and beyond our expectations,” Stewart said. “The kids played their hearts out every game. It’s tough when we don’t get to play games like that all that often and we get 10-point victories, and it doesn’t help us when we don’t know how to play from behind.”

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

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Twitter: @RAWmaterial33