Legacy Lives On; Rice Extends D1 Reign

June 6, 2015

By Bill Khan
Special for Second Half

TROY — Morgan Macko is being modest when he says there are no superstars on this year's Birmingham Brother Rice lacrosse team.

Anyone who scores 11 goals in two career MHSAA championship games isn't just another good player.

Macko scored five goals and added an assist, as Brother Rice extended one of the most dominant dynasties in MHSAA history with a 16-7 victory over arch rival Detroit Catholic Central in the Division 1 championship game Saturday at Troy Athens.

The Warriors have won all 11 MHSAA Division 1 championships, going 54-0 in postseason play during that time. They are 159-1 against teams from Michigan since 2005, the lone loss being an 8-7 overtime decision at Detroit Country Day on April 16, 2014. Brother Rice, which tests itself regularly against strong opposition from Indiana, Ohio and Ontario, has a 223-27 overall record in those 11 seasons.

"There's a tremendous amount of pressure," Brother Rice coach Ajay Chawla said. "I'd be sitting up here not telling you the truth if I told you they didn't feel it. They feel it. Every year, they don't want to be the guys that let the legacy down. We didn't shy away from talking about it. We didn't treat this like another game. We understood this was a state championship."

And nobody understands how to raise the level of his game with a championship on the line better than Macko.

Last year, Macko tied a Finals record shared by two other Brother Rice stars by scoring six goals in a 23-7 victory over Catholic Central. Like last year, Macko scored all of his goals in the first three quarters, not as stat-stuffers in the final minutes.

Macko's 11 goals in back-to-back finals broke the record of 10 set by Brother Rice's Jason Alessi in 2013 and 2014.

"It's really fun playing on these big stages in front of a pretty big crowd," said Macko, a junior who was brought up to experience the postseason as a freshman. "You feed off each other's energy, and it's a lot of fun out here."

Three of Macko's goals came during a back-and-forth second quarter in which Brother Rice held off a Catholic Central charge. His fifth goal, which opened the second-half scoring and increased Rice's lead to 11-4, was called the biggest goal of the game by his coach.

"He's a big-game player," Chawla said. "He finishes well. He produced for himself, but he also was the recipient of a lot of great dodges by a lot of guys. It's our unselfish plays that allow him to get goals when his guy slides off him and we find him. Overall, it was a great performance by Macko, but you have to credit that whole offense. The score speaks for itself."

Macko finished with a team-high 63 goals this season. He was one of four Warriors to record hat tricks in the game, with Bo Pickens, Riley North and John Lockwood all scoring three goals. It was the second Finals hat trick for Lockwood.

"There are just weapons everywhere," Macko said. "There are no superstars. The defense can't focus on one guy. You have to worry about everyone. There are threats all over the place."

So, even though Macko had six goals against them in last year's Final, the Shamrocks knew they couldn't sell out just to stop him.

"They have so much depth," said Catholic Central junior Rocco Mularoni, who scored five of his team's seven goals. "They play really well as a team. You can't pick out one individual guy to shut down."

Catholic Central (17-5) started strongly enough, opening the scoring on a goal by Mularoni with 9:15 left in the first quarter. Shortly after tying the score 1-1 on a goal by Pickens with 7:20 left in the first, Brother Rice called timeout. The Warriors came out of the timeout on fire, scoring two goals 34 seconds apart to grab a 3-1 lead. Brendan Kennedy and Lockwood scored to extend the lead to 5-1 after one quarter.

The Warriors (19-4) scored three goals in the first 3:39 of the second quarter to build an 8-1 lead.

Just when it appeared a rout was in progress, Catholic Central restored some drama to the game by scoring three times in a 43-second span to make it an 8-4 game with 7:23 left in the second.

The Warriors regrouped with goals by Pickens and Macko in the final 1:30 of the quarter to take a 10-4 lead into halftime.

"I don't think we were very worried," Chawla said. "Our guys had to settle down a bit. We know they play on streaks and emotion. Once our guys settled down, we got those two at the end of the half, which were huge goals for us. That took a bit of the momentum back."

Brother Rice had the only two goals of the third quarter, with Macko scoring with 9:48 left and North with 25.8 seconds to go.

North's third goal increased Brother Rice's advantage to 15-4 with 9:01 left in the fourth quarter, getting the lead within one goal of invoking a running clock. Mularoni ensured that wouldn't happen, scoring two goals 57 seconds apart to make it 15-6 with 6:57 left.

Goals by Pickens of Brother Rice and Zach Crawford of Catholic Central completed the scoring.

Catholic Central has lost to Brother Rice in the Finals five times and in the Semifinals once.

"We seemed to turn it over a lot against Rice," Shamrocks coach Dave Wilson said. "We know when we have the ball we're going to score; at least that's how we do against 99 percent of the other teams in the state of Michigan."

The Warriors' streak of dominance doesn't appear likely to end any time soon. They are set to return seven of their nine starters from the championship game, including Macko.

And there are always players who have yet to wear the Brother Rice uniform waiting in the wings, eager to carry on the tradition.

"If you come in and can play, you can play,” Lockwood said. “We have a lot of younger kids who are going to come up and keep getting better."

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Brother Rice’s Morgan Macko (13) drives on the net with a Detroit Catholic Central defender working to intercept. (Middle) Detroit Catholic Central’s Chris Clark looks upfield during Saturday’s Final.

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

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com 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.