Boys lacrosse: Birmingham Brother Rice sneaks by Detroit Catholic Central for Division 1 title
Howell — Birmingham Brother Rice controlled the ball as the clock ticked away in the final seconds of Saturday's Division 1 boys lacrosse finals, and that was exactly what Detroit Catholic Central didn't want to see.
Brother Rice's Justin Glod found a sliver of space and fired a shot on goal which reached the back of the net with one second left on the clock, giving his team a 14-13 state title victory.
"In our minds, we knew that we had this game from the start," Glod said. "We know that (Catholic Central) is not as good as us and we came out and showed it."
For the sixth straight year, Detroit Catholic Central and Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice met in the boys lacrosse Division 1 finals, but it’s been a relatively one-sided rivalry, favoring the latter. That continued on Saturday afternoon as Brother Rice claimed its 14th title in 15 years.
There was a different feeling surrounding the Brother Rice program after losing its first lacrosse state final game last year to Catholic Central since Division 1 was formed in 2005.
"It was a different season," Brother Rice coach Ajay Chawla said. "They came out with a lot of fire this year. And the leadership on this team may be the best leadership I've seen on any program I've played in or coached at."
Catholic Central came out swinging against undefeated Brother Rice (22-0), taking a 6-2 lead after the first but that was erased within the first six minutes of the second quarter thanks to five straight goals to make it 7-6.
A four-goal run to end the half gave Catholic Central a 10-7 lead but Brother Rice's defense clamped down in the second half, giving up just three goals while scoring seven of its own, including the last-second game-winner.
Chawla knew the offense would come and was confident in holding the final possession of a tied game.
"We knew if we had the possession at the end of the game and we had the ability to shoot and score, it was going to happen," Chawla said. "We knew we had to put it in (Justin) Glod's hands. He's been there before, he's a senior, he's a leader, he's a heck of a good player. You guys saw what happened. It was awesome."
This is the fourth time in program history that Brother Rice finished the season unbeaten.
"Actually our only goal this season was to go undefeated," Glod said. "That was all we thought about and we knew that we could do it."
Glod finished with three goals. Pat O'Hara, Dylan Braddock and DJ Dixon each scored three goals as well.
In a sport dominated by Brother Rice, who had won the first 13 state titles since the creation of Division 1 back in 2005, Catholic Central has been a quiet No. 2 power. In fact, Catholic Central (20-4) has made eight of the 15 state championship games.
That dominance by the state's top two Division 1 teams has been dubbed "boring" by some, but Catholic Central coach Dave Wilson doesn't mind.
"Reading on social media, other people are getting tired of it; I'm not sorry," Wilson said.
Wilson admitted that losing this way didn't sting any more than if it were a blowout, but his team has nothing to hand its head on.
"The kid made a heck of a play, you can't be mad," Wilson said of Glod's goal.
Catholic Central was led by Joseph Kamish who scored six goals. Ryan Birney added four.
After being part of the first Brother Rice lacrosse team to lose in the state finals in program history, Glod and his senior teammates had a storybook ending to their high school careers.
"I've been growing up a Brother Rice fan since I was in the fifth grade and all I wanted to do was be a part of that and contribute to (the tradition)," Glod said. "Best way to top (my career) off."
Connor Muldowney is a freelance writer