Brighton — After taking a 13-7 lead with just under seven minutes to play in the MHSAA Division 2 girls lacrosse championship Saturday, East Grand Rapids was forced to hold on as Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood put on a furious rally.
Isabella Scane scored three of her five goals in the final six and a half minutes, but the six-goal deficit proved too much to overcome for Cranbrook-Kingswood as East Grand Rapids held on for a 13-11 victory and its fifth consecutive state title.
Cranbrook-Kingswood (17-7) came into the game looking to avenge a 19-6 loss in last year’s championship game and two tightly-contested regular season losses this season to East Grand Rapids. It got off to a hot start, scoring the game’s first three goals. East Grand Rapids answered with two of its own, but Grace Giampetroni and Sophia Milla pushed the Cranbrook-Kingswood lead back to three at 5-2 midway through the first half.
That’s when East Grand Rapids (17-4) went on a tear.
Mary Schumar, a freshman playing in just her sixth game at the varsity level, scored the first of her six goals as East Grand Rapids netted the final four tallies of the first half and stole the lead, 6-5, before the break.
“Our team just had to settle down and start picking them apart,” East Grand Rapids coach Rich Axtell said. “They were patient and got layups.”
After Schumar scored to start the second half, Cranbrook-Kingswood scored for the first time in nearly 18 minutes with a third goal from Giampetroni.
It wouldn’t be enough to slow the East Grand Rapids onslaught.
Schumar added two goals during a 4-0 run that pushed the lead to six, and despite playing on its heels for the final six-plus minutes, East Grand Rapids had done enough to be able to run out the clock.
“You’ve got to give them credit,” Cranbrook-Kingswood coach Greg Courter said. “They’re the class of our division. We were playing catch up most of the second half and ultimately we ran out of time.”
Lindsay Duca had eight assists for East Grand Rapids, coming up just one shy of the championship game record in girls lacrosse.
“We let our guard down but we came back and got the job done,” Duca said. “We lost seven starters last year. I think pulling (Schumar) up was one of the best moves. She really stepped up and filled in some big shoes. Coming in as a freshman is really scary and she handled it well.”
Cranbrook-Kingswood goalie Brigitte Ballard saved nine shots to keep her team competitive as it was outshot, 22-14.
Geoff Robinson is a freelance writer.