Preview: Contenders Converge on Athens

June 5, 2015

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Three teams playing in Saturday’s MHSAA Boys Lacrosse Finals at Troy Athens are familiar with the setting – they played on the same field for the same prize only a year ago.

Birmingham Brother Rice has won all 10 Division 1 titles in MHSAA history, and Detroit Catholic Central was runner-up in 2014. Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood is seeking its second Division 2 title in three seasons after finishing runner-up last spring – and faces an opponent, Okemos, that will enjoy competing on the season’s final day for the first time.

The Division 1 Final begins at 2 p.m., followed by the Division 2 Final at 4:30. Click for more information including all results from this season's tournament. Both finals also will be streamed live on MHSAA.TV, viewable with subscription, and broadcast on

Here's a brief look at the four teams vying for titles (player statistics do not include Semifinals): 

Division 1

Record/rank: 18-4, No. 1 at end of regular-season
League finish: First in Detroit Catholic High School League A
Coach: Ajay Chawla, second season (37-8) 
Championship history: 10 MHSAA championships (most recent 2014). 
Best wins: 14-7 over No. 9 Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern in the Semifinal, 14-3 (Regional Final) and 17-3 over No. 6 Birmingham United, 7-4 and 15-8 over No. 7 Detroit U-D Jesuit, 11-4 and 14-10 over No. 2 Detroit Country Day, 14-6 over No. 3 Detroit Catholic Central.
Players to watch: Ross Reason, jr. G (6.90 goals-against average); Brendon Kennedy, sr. A (29 goals, 12 assists); Morgan Macko, jr. A/M (56 goals, 46 assists); John Lockwood, sr. A (54 goals, 47 assists); Riley North, jr. A (31 goals, 11 assists).
Outlook: The Warriors have continued to dominate Michigan boys lacrosse, going undefeated in-state with the only losses. They fell to one of Indiana’s top teams (Culver Military Academy) three times and a Canadian power (Toronto Hill Academy) while also beating one of Ohio’s best in Upper Arlington and Indiana’s top-ranked team, Carmel. All seven all-staters from last season are gone, but more of the best from 2014 have continued to carry the program – Lockwood and Macko were among the team’s top scorers last season and combined for nine of the team’s 23 goals in last spring’s championship game win over DCC.

Record/rank: 14-5, No. 3 at end of regular season
League finish: Second in Detroit Catholic High School League A
Coach: Dave Wilson, 10th season (131-62) 
Championship history: Division 1 runner-up 2014, 2010, 2007 and 2006.
Best wins: 14-13 over No. 2 Detroit Country Day in the Semifinal, 14-13 over No. 4 Brighton, 13-6 (Regional Final), and 7-4 over No. 7 Detroit U-D Jesuit, 20-9 over No. 9 Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern, 19-12 over No. 5 Troy, 11-8 over No. 10 Ann Arbor Skyline.
Players to watch: Zach Crawford, sr. A; Andrew Caris, jr. LSM; Alex Jarzembowski, jr. M; Rocco Mularoni, jr. A (Statistics not submitted.)
Outlook: DCC is back in the Final for the second straight season after edging Country Day, last season’s Division 2 champion, in the Semifinal. This team has a bit of a different look – there are only eight seniors, and only four start. In addition to wins listed above, the Shamrocks also were 3-1 against Division 2 teams that finished the regular season ranked among the top four, losing only to top-ranked Forest Hills Central (9-7 in DCC’s first game this season). They’re on a roll with eight straight wins – including six over ranked opponents – since falling to Brother Rice 14-6 in their only meeting this season.  

Division 2

Record/rank: 13-9, No. 4 at end of regular season
League finish: Fourth in Detroit Catholic High School League A
Coach: Mat Wilson, fourth season (55-31) 
Championship history: Division 2 champion 2013 and 2006, runner-up in 2014 and 2007. 
Best wins: 8-7 (OT) over No. 1 Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central in the Semifinal, 11-5 over No. 6 Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, 13-12 over Division 1 No. 2 Detroit Country Day.  
Players to watch: Johnny Wagner, sr. M; Bennett Faliski, sr. M; Peter Augier, sr. M; Michael Langdon, sr. D; Jack Blumberg, sr. D. (Statistics not submitted.).
Outlook: Cranbrook Kingswood is back in the Final for the third straight season and despite graduating a pair of standout offensive players after finishing runner-up last spring. Wagner is finishing a career that already has him entered in the MHSAA records listings three times, and he with the other four players mentioned above all earned all-state honors in 2014. The Cranes started 2-7 but faced both Division 1 finalists and top teams from Ohio; they are 11-2 since and have given up only 16 goals total over four tournament games.

Record/rank: 17-2, No. 2 at end of regular season
League finish: First in Capital Area Activities Conference
Coach: Shawn Grady, 13th season (156-77)
Championship history: Has not played in an MHSAA Final.  
Best wins: 14-10 (Semifinal) and 12-9 over No. 3 East Grand Rapids, 12-10 over Division 1 No. 4 Brighton.
Players to watch: Blake Grewal Turner, sr. A (60 goals, 21 assists); Cole Jamieson, sr. M (27 goals, 18 assists); Bennett Sherman, jr. A (56 goals, 31 assists); Cameron Stelljes, sr. G (5.20 goals-against average); Sam Horton, sr. D.
Outlook: The Chieftains have been building toward this first-time Finals appearance, improving their win total four straight seasons and with a group that went 15-2 in 2014 with five all-staters that are back this spring. Okemos’ only losses this season were to two of the best in Division 1 – by two goals to No. 9 Forest Hills Northern in the opener and then by only one goal to No. 3 Detroit Catholic Central in the regular-season finale. Those were two of only four opponents who scored more than seven goals on the Chieftains this season.

PHOTO: Okemos' Blake Grewal Turner works to get past a DeWitt defender during a victory this season. (Photo courtesy of Alan Holben Photography.)

State Champs! Network: 2023 Lacrosse Finals Highlights

July 19, 2023


Join Sean Baligian and Greg Durham as we take a look at all of the action from the 2023 Lacrosse State Finals Congratulations to our State Champions:

Division 1 Boys - Brother Rice
Division 2 Boys - Forest Hills Central
Division 1 Girls - Brighton
Division 2 Girls - Detroit Country Day