Another Title for Alessi, Brother Rice

June 7, 2014

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor 

TROY – Along with a fortunate few Saturday, Jason Alessi finished his senior year with a win – and an MHSAA title.

But there can’t be many over the last 90 years who have contributed to seven Finals championships. 

The Birmingham Brother Rice senior capped an incredibly successful career by helping the Warriors to their 10th straight Division 1 title after also helping Brother Rice to its third straight Division 2 football championship in the fall.

This spring presented its own set of challenges for Alessi and the Warriors, who lost to an in-state opponent (eventual Division 2 champ Detroit Country Day) for the first time since 2002. But the end result proved typical of an Alessi-led team – Brother Rice dominated Detroit Catholic Central 23-7 in his final championship game. 

“As an athlete, you always want to do more. After that one championship, you want the next. There’s always bigger and better things,” Alessi said. “I’ve been lucky enough to win seven overall and four in just lacrosse. Hopefully I can keep that going in my future. 

“As a senior there’s always an amount of pressure to go out on top and win a state championship. And finally that’s off our shoulders, and we can say at Brother Rice that we were champions. Not too many people can say that across the state or country, but we’re fortunate that we can say that.”

Brother Rice and DCC had met twice before this season; the Warriors won 15-9 and then 12-8 in the Detroit Catholic League Division 1 championship game. 

So it was a little bit shocking when Brother Rice (19-4) jumped out to a 4-0 lead after just nine minutes and led 16-3 at halftime.

Alessi, who tied an MHSAA Finals record with six goals in the 2013 championship game, scored Saturday’s first and finished this time with four goals and three assists. But sophomore Morgan Macko tied that record with six goals, to go with two assists, and junior John Lockwood and senior Joe Dudley both added three goals. 

“Our guys came out pumped. When you get CC in the state championship game, that’s a huge rivalry on any day let alone a Saturday in June,” Brother Rice first-year coach Ajay Chawla said. “They had some great looks early, and I think they deflated CC pretty early. When you take the air out of a team like that, the rest of the game, you kind of own it.

“All of our guys played awesome today. Alessi’s … a guy who comes around once every 15, 20 years. You’ve gotta take advantage of him when you have him. He’s been awesome for us, and today he was a big-time leader for us.” 

Brother Rice broke its 2007 MHSAA Finals record of 17 goals, and the teams together set a record with 30 goals in a championship game, three more than Country Day and East Grand Rapids combined to score in the 2005 Division 2 Final.

But that’s little consolation for the Shamrocks (15-6), who made their fourth championship game appearance in the MHSAA tournament’s 10-year history and first since falling to Brother Rice in 2010. 

DCC defeated Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern 15-14 in overtime in Wednesday’s Semifinal, and Shamrocks coach Dave Wilson felt that effort might’ve zapped a little bit of his team’s usually energy.

“The lockerroom didn’t feel good. The bus ride didn’t feel good. I just thought that there was a lack of energy that we had all year,” Wilson said. “I would have to say out of a 48-minute game, we had six to eight minutes of possession time. We’re the number one scoring team in the state at 15.6 goals per game; we had seven goals. 

“Give Rice credit. They dominated the tempo of the game by keeping possession. And it’s a mathematical certainty that every time you give the other team the ball, eventually they are going to score and they’re going to score a lot.”

Senior Jack Van Acker scored three goals to lead the Shamrocks. 

Alessi initially committed to play college lacrosse next season at the University of Michigan, but since has chosen to continue his football career at Yale University. He’s also in the MHSAA football record book for multiple kicking accomplishments and two kickoff returns – including a 91-yarder for a touchdown during the Warriors’ 2012 championship game win over Muskegon.

“In high school, I’ve had a bunch of great times, to say the least,” Alessi said. “A bunch of memories to look back on and tell my kids, and (making) all my friends. It’s unreal almost. 

“The fans every Friday night, and then coming in for lacrosse. … I’ll sure miss it.”

Click for a full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Birmingham Brother Rice players, including Morgan Macko (13) celebrate a goal Saturday. (Middle) Brother Rice’s Brian Cosgrove walls off Detroit Catholic Central’s Marc Longe.

Representative Council Approves Limited Regional Seeding in Girls Lacrosse at Fall Meeting

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

December 9, 2022

The addition of limited seeding at the Regional level of the Girls Lacrosse Tournament headlined actions taken by the Representative Council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association during its Fall Meeting on Dec. 2 in East Lansing.

Generally, the Council takes only a few actions during its Fall Meeting, with topics often introduced for additional consideration and action during its meetings in winter and spring. This Fall Meeting saw the Council take only three actions, with additional discussion centered on topics expected to receive more specific consideration at MHSAA sport committee meetings this winter and the Council’s meetings in March and May.

The Council approved a Girls Lacrosse Committee proposal to seed the top two teams in every Regional, and place those top seeds on opposite sides of the bracket beginning with the 2023 season. The two teams to be seeded will be determined by using the MHSAA’s Michigan Power Ratings (MPR) formula, which takes into account success and strength of schedule and is used currently to provide seeding information in boys lacrosse, girls and boys basketball, girls and boys soccer, and ice hockey. Only the top two teams in girls lacrosse will be seeded and separated; the other teams in each Regional will be placed on their brackets by random draw.

The Council also approved a Boys Lacrosse Committee recommendation that will allow athletes to participate in up to five quarters per day between teams at multiple levels – for example, varsity and junior varsity – also beginning with the 2023 season. For boys lacrosse multi-team tournaments, if two school teams (for example, the varsity and junior varsity) are at the same event, athletes may play in no more halves or quarters than what is being played by the school’s highest-level team that day. (Example: if the varsity team is playing three 30-minute half games for a total of six halves, a player playing both varsity and JV on the same day can play in six total halves that day.) The “fifth quarter” rule, by allowing athletes to compete on two levels on the same day, is intended to help programs that are otherwise lacking enough participants to field teams at multiple levels.

Taking into account the wintery weather conditions experienced by athletes during the MHSAA alpine ski season, the Council approved a Sports Medicine Advisory Committee recommendation to adopt the “MHSAA Competition and Practice Guidelines for Cold Weather,” which are specific to alpine skiing. The guidelines include a windchill chart and cold standards for ambient temperature. This proposal also was supported by the Ski Committee and will go into effect for the 2022-23 season.

Remaining discussions focused on results from this fall’s Update Meeting survey completed by administrators during the MHSAA’s annual presentations across the state. The Council considered survey data including on questions related to the out-of-season travel rule. The Council also discussed results of a fall survey completed by member school athletic directors and head varsity football coaches concerning ongoing conversations about scheduling and playoff format. Following the Football Committee meeting in January 2023, an ad hoc committee comprised of members of the MHSAA staff, Representative Council, Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA) and Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA) will be convened for further discussion on these topics, with their report to be provided to the Council during its March 2023 meeting.

The Fall Meeting saw the appointment of Westland John Glenn athletic director Jason Malloy for a first-two-year term to the 19-person Council, and the re-appointment of Bay City Western principal Judy Cox for a second two-year term. Malloy previously was appointed to finish a partial term as one of the two representatives of member junior high/middle schools.

The Council reelected Scott Grimes, superintendent for Grand Haven Area Public Schools, as its president; and Vic Michaels, director of physical education and athletics for the Archdiocese of Detroit, as secretary-treasurer. Brighton High School athletic director John Thompson was elected Council vice president.

The Representative Council is the legislative body of the MHSAA. All but five members are elected by member schools. Four members are appointed by the Council to facilitate representation of females and minorities, and the 19th position is occupied by the Superintendent of Public Instruction or designee.

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.3 million spectators each year.