HOWELL – Both sides knew what to expect in Saturday’s Division 2 Boys Lacrosse Final at Howell Parker Middle School after having faced each other early this regular season.
Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central entered the rematch undefeated behind the sterling goaltending of Crandall Quinn, a junior already committed to the University of Michigan.
Quinn sparked the defense and Jonah McConnell’s four goals paced the offense as the Rangers prevailed 11-8 over Detroit Country Day, after also winning the first March 30 matchup 18-10.
Forest Hills Central secured its fifth Division 2 title, while the Yellowjackets were playing for a potential third.
“We came out a little bit slow,’’ said Rangers coach Andy Shira. “We had some lapses, not moving our feet. We gave them a little too much space to get their hands free and reach back to shoot. It was a good adjustment by our defense coordinator Andrew Clay. Simple things that got us here.
“Crandall is one of the best players in the state of Michigan. He’s deserving of the accolades he has gotten. He was an All-American last year as a sophomore (and) was phenomenal. I wouldn’t be surprised if he got it this year and next year. He stood on his toes.
Trailing throughout the first half, the Rangers did take a 7-6 halftime lead as two stingy defenses kept the game close.
Country Day’s Caden Daley tied the game at 7-7 with 6 minutes, 24 seconds to play in the third quarter. But Forest Hills Central regained the lead on Jake Koning’s first goal of the game.
Nathan Sarjeant give the Rangers their largest lead of the game at 9-7 on a goal late in the third. Country Day’s Talon Garn made it a one-goal game with 8:46 to play, but Miles Duiven scored his second of the game moments later to make it 10-8 FHC.
McConnell scored his fourth goal of the game to give the eventual winners an 11-8 cushion with 5:08 to play.
“We knew they were going to focus on John (Tomsheck) a lot,” Shira said. “Jonah plays well off John. We knew that would free him up.”
“Because they were playing tight on John, it left me wide open,” McConnell said, “so I was able to get open and the midfielders were working their butt off.’’
Country Day was held to two goals during the second half.
“I have a great defensive unit,’’ said Quinn. “They did everything they could to win this game. We came out a little soft at first, and we realized that’s not the game we play. During halftime we had a big speech about it, and we came out and showed who we are.’’
Sophomore midfielder Caiden Ramos got Country Day on the board 90 seconds into the action for a 1-0 lead. Parker Yearego made it 2-0 seconds later.
At the 7:52 mark, Yearego added his second goal of the game to make it 3-0 as Shira was forced to call a timeout. It was Yearego’s 96th goal of the season.
A minute later, sophomore Nolan Hartl got the Rangers on the board to make it 3-1.
A lengthy attack by Forest Hills Central produced a goal by McConnell to trim the deficit to 3-2 at the end of a physical first quarter.
Luke Grove notched his first goal of the game early in the second quarter to make it 4-2. Duiven made it a one-goal game again with his first goal with 7:35 to play in the half.
Forest Hills Central tied it up on Sam Sneider’s goal with 6:14 left. It wasn’t tied for long as Yearego scored his third of the game 10 seconds later to make it 5-4. But the Rangers’ Magnus Salmon twisted and turned until he got free to tie the game at 5-5 less than a minute after that.
Country Day’s Garn scored his first of the championship to give the Yellowjackets a 6-5 lead with 3:14 remaining in the second quarter. McConnell responded 11 seconds later with his second to tie it, 6-6. A minute later, McConnell gave the Rangers their first lead of the game with his third goal to end the first-half scoring.
“I want to give them the credit,’’ said Country Day coach Chris Garland. “It’s a well-coached team, and Andy does a great job with is kids. There’s no one to blame, but it just didn’t go our way today.’’
PHOTOS (Top) Forest Hills Central and Country Day players contend for the ball Saturday, including the Yellowjackets’ Ryan Lyngklip (11). (Middle) The Rangers’ Jonah McConnell (2) chases down the ball with Country Day’s Will Thompson (60) right behind him. (Click for more from Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)
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.