Brother Rice Answers Hartland's Championship Challenges

By Jason Schmitt
Special for Second Half

June 12, 2021

HOWELL — Over the years, teams have learned not to blink an eye when facing Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice on the lacrosse field.

It really doesn’t take all that long for the Warriors to make an opponent pay.

Hartland learned that first-hand Saturday during the MHSAA Division 1 Final at Parker Middle School. The Warriors erased a two-goal deficit over the final 21.4 seconds of the first half, then proceeded to outscore the Eagles, 6-0, in the third quarter en route to a 14-9 victory.

“That was huge,” Brother Rice head coach Ajay Chawla said. “We’re down two, and they’ve taken the momentum over. We score two quick ones there at the end. That was a game changer. We went into the locker room and instead of being down two, we’re tied.”

Hartland had rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to grab a 5-3 lead with 1:15 left in the first half. Five Eagles scored, capped off with a goal by senior Charlie Anderson, who took a pass from freshman Drew Lockwood and scored to give his team its biggest lead of the game.

Brother Rice wasted little time answering. Sophomore Ben Eck scored the first of his two goals, battling his way through the Eagles’ defense to put one upstairs and cut the lead to 5-4. After gaining possession of the ensuing faceoff, Chawla called a timeout to set up one last play before halftime.

“We were talking (during the timeout),” said Warriors senior Luke Dudley. “I wasn’t really beating my guy to the net in the first half, but I was getting my hands free. I knew I had (Josh Schlackman) off the pick, hit him, bang.”

The goal certainly changed the momentum in favor of Brother Rice.

“We fell asleep a little bit, and there were a couple of plays that we needed to be dialed in on to end the quarter. That happens,” Hartland head coach Nick Levanti said. “They’re a good team, and if you give them opportunities to score, they’re gonna. We gave up some easy ones there.”

Brother Rice dominated the third quarter. Sophomore Sam Klein scored seven seconds into the second half, and Dudley scored three of his game-high four goals in the third.

Brother Rice lacrosse“We were obviously a little worried at first, going down, it was a bit of a surprise,” Dudley said. “But we’ve got guys out here who can step up and score. The offense got together. The defense got together. And we talked things out and knew what we had to do. We came out, got some gritty goals.”

Hartland scored the first goal of the fourth quarter, snapping an eight-goal streak by the Warriors. Junior Ryan Krause took a pass from junior Bo Lockwood to make it an 11-6 game. But Brother Rice would answer with a pair of goals from Dudley to push the lead back to seven.

“If you want to play good lacrosse, state championship lacrosse, there’s a margin for almost no error against any team,” Levanti said. “Especially Brother Rice.”

Eight Brother Rice players scored in the win. Robert Reaume, Josh Schlackman and Eck each had two, while Zach Rivers, Paulie Fortino, Klein and Hunter Polonkey each added one. Seniors Tommy Kunz and Nate Randall combined to make 12 saves in goal.

It was the second-consecutive Division 1 championship for the Warriors, who have now won 15 of the 16 MHSAA Division 1 titles handed out.

“At halftime, we reminded them of what they can do,” said Chawla, whose team finished the season 18-2. “They've never lacked heart and hustle and energy this year. What we have lacked sometimes is a little execution. We just weren’t executing. And we started to execute there in the second half. You saw what kind of team we can be when we execute.”

Senior Noah Luck led the Eagles with three goals. Bo Lockwood finished with a pair of goals and four assists. Drew Lockwood (two goals), Krause and Anderson rounded out the scoring for Hartland (22-2), which lost only to Brother Rice (twice) this season.

The Eagles are a young team, and Levanti said he’s excited about the future.

“We had a lot of young guys who stepped up and helped us throughout the year,” Levanti said. “We learned a lot about ourselves, about how tough we really are. It’s incredible, the amount of work ethic these kids have. We have a lot of sophomores, a lot of freshmen. I think there’s a really bright future for this program.”

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Brother Rice’s Ben Eck (38) works to get past Hartland’s Jack Sargeant. (Middle) The Eagles’ Joey Mattord (23) walls off Rice’s Connor Borkowicz.

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.