Howell — The more things change, the more they stay the same.
While it seems the competition is making strides to catch Birmingham Brother Rice’s dominant lacrosse program, it’s still not enough to dethrone the perennial powerhouse.
Brother Rice got all it could handle from Detroit Catholic Central in the Division 1 boys lacrosse championship game on Saturday afternoon. But at the end of the day, Brother Rice came out on top yet again with a thrilling 8-7 victory to capture the program’s 13th consecutive state championship.
Tied 7-7 with the third quarter winding down, junior Brother Rice attacker Cameron Gould fired a shot that nearly beat the buzzer and would have given his team a huge wave of momentum heading into the final quarter. But the goal was waved off as the official deemed the ball did not find the back of the net before the buzzer sounded.
Gould was angry, but he collected himself and delivered in the fourth quarter, when he scored for the fourth time and propelled his team to a historic victory.
“I was going nuts when they called it off,” Gould said. “I knew I had to do something for my team. I knew I had to step up, and I think I did that. It feels great.”
It was the fourth year in a row Brother Rice (20-4) had to go through Catholic Central (15-6) in the state final, and the seventh time during the 13-year title streak. This was the first time the two played a one-goal game in the state championship, though, and that fact wasn’t lost on Brother Rice head coach Ajay Chawla.
“If you would have told me we would get held to eight (goals), I would have told you that they would have won,” Chawla said. “We’ve been waiting for that game from them for a while. Our defense came up big.”
Catholic Central got on the board first when junior Peter Thompson scored two first-quarter goals, the first coming just over three minutes into the game.
Brother Rice struck for the next three and was able to keep Catholic Central at bay for the rest of the first half, taking a 5-3 lead into the break.
The third quarter was full of action. Joey Kamish scored the first goal of the second half, and brother Brennan Kamish followed with two tallies of his own to give Catholic Central a 6-5 lead.
Sante Dybowski stopped the bleeding for Brother Rice 42 seconds later to tie things at 6-6. Nick Capatina scored for Catholic Central before Jack Kelly answered with his third goal of the day for Brother Rice to set up a final quarter that featured the lone goal from Gould.
When asked if his team smelled blood in the third quarter, Catholic Central head coach Dave Wilson answered without hesitation: “Absolutely.”
“I thought we did a better job coming out of halftime taking care of the ball. When we had some offensive opportunities late, we just didn’t make the most of them. One more play and we’re probably going to overtime.”
Time of possession played a big factor. Brother Rice won 17 faceoffs with freshman Manny Betrus taking the drop, compared to just three for Catholic Central.
East Grand Rapids wins in Division 2
East Grand Rapids avenged last year's boys lacrosse Division 2 finals loss to Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central with an 11-9 win Saturday afternoon.
The title is the fourth in East's history but its first since 2009.
East fell behind 2-0 in the first quarter before reeling off four consecutive goals on its way to a 5-3 halftime lead.
Senior Hub Hejna scored four times, senior Ben Keller scored three times and junior Eric Solberg netted two goals for East (19-1).
Junior Bryce Clay had five goals for Central (15-7).
Geoff Robinson is a freelance writer.