TOPSHAM — Sure, Connor Whitten scored seven goals. Sure, Wells coach Matt Petrie handed him the game ball afterward. But is the senior midfielder satisfied?

Hardly.

“The job’s not finished,” Whitten said after third-seeded Wells held off a determined Oak Hill/Monmouth/Lisbon St. Dominic team 13-10 in a Class C boys lacrosse semifinal Tuesday at Mt. Ararat High School.

The Warriors (13-3) will play the winner of Tuesday’s late semifinal between No. 1 Maranacook/Winthrop and No. 4 Morse/Boothbay for the state title Saturday at Portland’s Fitzpatrick Stadium.

It’s no wonder Whitten isn’t satisfied. After experiencing several previous playoff disappointments, he won’t settle for a runner-up plaque.

“My first three years of high school, we made it to this game (the semifinals), and we lost it three years in a row, so it’s really good to finally get the monkey off our back,” Whitten said.

Advertisement

The back-and-forth game saw neither team lead by more than three goals until late in the game. Every time Wells seemed to have some breathing room, Oak Hill came storming back as Petrie had to persuade his players to take an occasional breather.

“It’s a tough balance,” he said. “You’ve got kids you want to get on the field and you start making some shifts. They didn’t want to go away. Skill gets you here, but heart wins it.”

Wells led 7-4 early in the third quarter before second-seeded Oak Hill (10-6) scored four of the next five goals, including three from Adam Hinkley, to make the score 8-8 after three. But the Warriors pulled away in the fourth with four straight goals thanks to a careful possession game. Whitten’s fifth goal gave Wells a 9-8 lead 4 minutes, 4 seconds into the period, and goals by Whitten, Brandon Talevi and Connor Rooney gave the Warriors a 12-8 cushion with 3:47 left.

“Clearly their game was a little confusion and they were winning the chaos in transition,” Petrie said. “So we just wanted to take control of the game, eat some clock, find the net and run our offense and just stabilize the game.”

Wells held off a late Oak Hill rally that included Lukas Bergeron’s 100th career goal with 1:17 left in the fourth. But Whitten — who else? — had the last word with his seventh goal with 19.4 seconds left.

Hinkley led Oak Hill with four goals, while Bergeron added two.

Advertisement

Wells goalie Carter Austin made nine saves, while Oak Hill’s Owen Welsh had eight.

Wells’ Dominic Buxton was a force on faceoffs, often passing the ball to a teammate and leaving the field for a substitute after several wins — when he wasn’t charging toward the net with the ball.

“He’s averaging about 78% percent faceoff wins this year,” Petrie said. “Oak Hill gave him some fits in, but he figured out his guy and that made a difference in the second half.”

First-year Oak Hill coach David Snyder refused to hang his head. The Raiders started the season 2-3 before they won seven of their next eight games, including a 17-6 quarterfinal win over Fryeburg Academy last Friday.

“We made a lot of changes, and I really didn’t know the players to start the season off, so it took us a little while for us to get to know each other,” Snyder said. “It’s bittersweet.”

Comments are not available on this story.