CRANSTON — On a rainy afternoon in April, Jack McGreen scored four goals and Gabe Wooten tallied three as the Narragansett boys lacrosse team edged Westerly 12-11.
Knowing the Bulldogs would be clamping down on their top scorers in Sunday’s championship rematch, the Mariners got the contributions from other players that they needed but never quite found their usual rhythm. The result was a scoreless final stretch in a back-and-forth game as Westerly held off the Mariners for an 8-7 win and the Division III title at Cranston Stadium.
“They shut off Jack and Gabe and we finally paid the price for kind of being a two-headed monster,” Narragansett coach Mark Chafee said. “Some of the guys stepped up and scored but we just didn’t really know what to do to solve that puzzle.”
No. 2 Narragansett was the top remaining seed in the tournament after Westerly - the No. 4 seed – had slipped past No. 1 Burrillville by one goal in the semifinals. The Mariners had identified Westerly as their top competition from the moment they played the April thriller. The Bulldogs wouldn’t lose another game.
“Pretty evenly matched teams,” Chafee said. “I think they have a little more balance offensively than we do. They run a nice scheme. Everybody’s involved.”
Two goals was the largest lead for either team in the title game. After Narragansett turned a 3-1 deficit into a 3-2 game with 4:51 left in the second quarter, neither team led by more than one goal for the rest of the game.
The Mariners got three straight goals from Wooten and Jack Patrick to take a 4-3 lead into halftime. Westerly outscored them 3-2 in the third quarter, sending the game to the fourth deadlocked at 6-6.
Ben Reddington broke the tie early in the fourth quarter with a goal off a pass from Wooten, making it 7-6 with 11:34 left, but the Mariners wouldn’t score again. An extra-man opportunity slipped away and turned into a short-handed goal for Westerly when Ben Morrone scored in transition, tying the game with 10:23 left.
“We made some bad decisions on a couple of man-ups, threw it right into the pile,” Chafee said. “That’s the way it goes.”
Westerly goalie Brandon Tallardy turned away a shot by Narragansett’s Owen McCadden that would have broken the tie. Soon after, another Narragansett turnover led to a transition opportunity for Morrone. The state’s top point-getter in the regular season, Morrone finished on the break to give Westerly the 8-7 lead.
Narragansett had a golden opportunity when Westerly was whistled for a penalty with 3:38 left, but a bad pass led to a turnover and the Mariners came up empty. Westerly controlled the ball down the stretch, leaving the Mariners with just one more sustained possession. McGreen and Teddy Evans both had looks at the goal on that final trip but misfired.
“They double and triple teamed Gabe. We just didn’t know what to do,” Chafee said. “Some of the guys are not ready for that. It’s too bad, because they fought really hard.”
Westerly won the title for the first time since 2015. Narragansett was hoping for the program’s first-ever crown.
“It was great,” Chafee said of the season. “I’m so proud of these guys. The three captains (Wooten, McGreen, Patrick) they’re going to be tough to replace. The other seniors, Ben had a great game today, Owen and Teddy hadn’t played in a few years. The kids were awesome. I think back to the first meeting I had. We had six kids coming back. We’ve come a long way. Hate to lose in the end, but that’s the way it goes.”