READFIELD — The temperature was falling and the sun was starting to set. Meanwhile, the intensity between the Messalonskee and Winthrop/Maranacook boys lacrosse teams was just beginning to rise.

Messalonskee dominated in the first half, then had to hang on and thwart a Winthrop/Maranacook rally in the second before coming away with a 10-6 victory at Kents Hill School on a chilly Tuesday afternoon — and evening.

A game that looked like it would be easy became anything but, but Eagles coach Tom Sheridan praised his team’s ability to close out its second victory in as many tries.

“It wasn’t our strongest game of the year, but we definitely made some nice strides out there,” he said. “We really like where we’re at right now, 2-0 and beating another top … team.”

Dawson Charles led the Eagles with four goals, while Austin Pelletier, Josh Languet and Colin Kinney scored two apiece.

Owen Austin scored three goals for the Hawks (0-2), while Skyler Boucher, Timothy Worster and Tanner Evans had one goal apiece.

SPIRITED RALLY

Messalonskee, a Class A playoff team last year, seemed to be on its way to a rout, taking a 5-0 lead into halftime and then scoring the first goal of the third quarter. The Eagles were rifling in shots on offense and stifling Winthrop/Maranacook possessions on defense, but Hawks coach Zach Stewart knew his team needed only a quick fix to get back into the game.

“My halftime speech was we just need to play lacrosse,” he said. “There was nothing to really gain from the first half. Everyone was kind of looking in the clouds and it wasn’t real lacrosse.”

His team quickly woke up. Austin scored on a man advantage, Boucher whipped in a shot and Worster skipped in another to make it 6-3 after three. Messalonskee got one back from Languet on a feed from Pelletier, but goals by Austin and Evans made it 7-5 with 7:18 to go as darkness began to set in due to the game’s 6 p.m. start.

“There was no point in time we were out of that game, until there was 1:19 left,” Stewart said.

The Eagles didn’t let them get any closer. Pelletier scored on an advantage with 5:43 left, and Kinney made it 9-5 30 seconds later. Austin narrowed the gap to three with 3:38 to go, but a Charles goal with 2:15 left rounded out the scoring.

“They’re pretty battle-tested,” Sheridan said of his team’s poise. “We have 13 seniors on our team. … They’ve been there before. Not our strongest game, but I’d rather win ugly than lose pretty.”

DOMINANT START

Messalonskee did plenty of damage early.

Charles was fed from behind the net with 7:27 left in the first quarter, and scored with 4:01 left in the frame when he bounced off defenders and buried a shot. Pelletier made it 3-0 after bringing the ball upfield himself with 2:18 to go, and Languet and Kinney added second-quarter goals with 5:42 and 5:01 left, respectively.

“We did well in the first half, did some nice things out there,” Sheridan said. “We moved the ball well, had some nice plays out there.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

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Twitter: @dbonifantMTM