As good as South River’s defense was Friday — as good as that defense has been all season — the only one who could put an end to Wootton’s late-game charge Friday was attackman Dylan Mansur.

Though the defense did its part to keep the Seahawks close in their Maryland 4A/3A state semifinal, it was Mansur who pulled South River back early, eventually put them ahead and then steadied them late. The junior scored five goals, including one to turn back a furious fourth-quarter Wootton comeback, in a 10-7 win at Northeast High in Pasadena to lift the Seahawks to their fourth straight state title game.

“It’s too much for words really,” Mansur said. “It’s just how it fell. It’s not about an individual effort by me. It’s a team effort in all aspects of the game.”

South River’s defense checked with precision and hustled to Wootton attackers, but the high-powered, previously unbeaten Patriots went on two three-goal runs amid the pressure.

“That’s a hell of a team,” South River Coach Paul Noone said. “It’s a game of runs, and they caught us, but I’m just proud of our team to stand up and make a stand after that.”

When Wootton (17-1) had a 3-1 lead with two minutes to go before halftime, Mansur scored two goals in less than a minute to send the game to the third quarter tied. Later, after the Patriots turned in a fourth-quarter comeback with three goals in two minutes to tie the game, Mansur scored the goal that steadied the Seahawks (16-2).

“I don’t know what to say about him,” Noone said. “Every time I think we’re down, we take a step forward. It’s fun to watch. We’re fun to watch when we fly around the field and defense turns into tremendous offense.”

Wootton’s offense had been held to fewer than 15 goals four times — and never to fewer than 11 — in 17 games coming into Friday’s game. But while they couldn’t shut them down for the whole 48 minutes, the Seahawks settled for about 43 minutes of disruption, including holding the Patriots scoreless for a stretch of 15 minutes. South River was relentless from its own zone to Wootton’s, as checks turned clears into loose balls and Seahawks’ sticks filled passing lanes to turn potential assists into turnovers.

“These guys are the best in the state,” Noone said of his defense. “I don’t care, you can call me out, they’re the best in the state collectively, as a unit. By themselves, I think they’re the best personally, but as a unit, they’re as good as it gets. There’s no getting around it.”

Thanks to a standout night from Mansur and that typically solid defensive effort, the Seahawks will return to the 4A/3A state title game — a year after a 13-10 loss to Westminster — against the winner of Saturday’s other semifinal between Howard and Dulaney.

DCIAA: Wilson beat St. Anselm’s, 9-3, in the inaugural Washington Interscholastic Lacrosse League championship Friday at Wilson to become the first D.C. public school to win a postseason lacrosse tournament.