BIRMINGHAM – Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice remains the only Division 1 boys lacrosse champion in MHSAA history. But not without having to withstand pesky Ann Arbor Pioneer in Saturday’s Final at Seaholm High.
The Pioneers hadn’t lost a game this season and jumped out to a 2-1 lead. But after breaking the game open in the second quarter, Brother Rice hung on for a 14-8 victory to continue a title streak that has included every MHSAA championship since it became an association sport in 2005.
Senior Riley Kennedy had five goals – including four straight during the 10-2 second-quarter run – plus two assists for the Warriors. Senior Henry Nelson added three goals and three assists.
“The most important thing is we’ve got to play our game,” Brother Rice coach Robert Ambrose said. “We weren’t doing that. We weren’t executing like we should, playing a little selfish or (not) moving the ball. So we just said, ‘Hey guys, we’ve got to regroup. We’ve gotta go after it. We’ve got to get into our zone, and play our game.’”
Pioneer (21-1) held its early lead until Nelson’s first goal tied the score 2-2 just more than a minute into the second quarter.
But despite outscoring the Warriors (20-2) by two goals during the second half, Pioneer could never make up for the early barrage.
Senior Eric Loveless led Pioneer with three goals and an assist in the team’s first championship game appearance.
“The second quarter, we just got shell-shocked. We went from being up 2-1, and then all of a sudden it’s 11-3. … We just sorta got overwhelmed from where we were,” Pioneer coach James Corey said. “And we battled. For three quarters we hung with this team, and I think we have a lot of talent, a lot of heart.
"But they’re the best team for a reason, and they showed it in the second quarter.”
PHOTOS: (Top) Brother Rice senior Henry Nelson (shooting) fires one of his three goals into Pioneer's net Saturday. (Middle) Warriors senior Liam Timmis (41) leads a run during the Division 1 boys championship game. Photos by John Johnson/MHSAA.