Wagner Scores Dream Finish for Cranes

June 6, 2015

By Bill Khan
Special for Second Half

TROY — Johnny Wagner had a once-in-a-lifetime moment three days earlier, but may have topped it on Saturday.

The Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood senior netted the winning goal in overtime of the MHSAA Division 2 Semifinal against Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central on Wednesday, putting the Cranes in their third straight championship game. 

With another overtime looming, Wagner lived out yet another dream scenario by scoring the championship-winning goal with 10.5 seconds left in regulation, giving the Cranes a 10-9 victory over Okemos at Troy Athens.

Wagner's fifth goal of the game broke a 9-9 tie that Okemos achieved with a late three-goal outburst, capped by Charlie Ciuk's tally with 1:20 remaining. The Cranes led 8-4 with 7:45 left in the game. 

"It was a similar play the last game in overtime," said Wagner, who had a hat trick when the Cranes won the 2013 championship. "It's something we've been working on. It's been an exciting week. It's a big one."

Cranbrook Kingswood got possession following Ciuk's goal and called timeout with 53.5 seconds remaining. Wagner held the ball coming out of the timeout before breaking toward the net and burying a shot into the upper-right corner. 

It was the biggest goal of his career — or at least in the last three days. And he will have to watch the video to see it for the first time.

"I did not see it go in," Wagner said. "I thought the goalie saved it and everyone started jumping all over me. I got hit. I was shooting off my back foot. I'm not complaining." 

There was never a doubt which player would take the final shot for the Cranes.

"That is exactly what we expect out of him," Cranes coach Mat Wilson said. "That play at the end was just to get the ball to your best player and let him do his thing." 

While Wagner's goal was the final shot taken by the Cranes, it wasn't the final shot of the game.

Okemos won the ensuing faceoff and called timeout with 7.3 seconds on the clock. Cole Jamieson, who had two goals, ran with the ball from midfield and fired wide to the left of goalie Ryan Rosenthal from 10 yards out. 

"It went wide," said Rosenthal, a 5-foot-5 senior who started in the last three Division 2 Finals. "Me and Trey (Greissing) ran to the end line to get that possession. At that point, we knew we had it."

Although Okemos was able to come back from four goals down to tie it, Rosenthal made two big saves from close range in the third quarter when the Chieftains were rallying from a 5-2 halftime deficit. 

"I think he was the player of the game," Wilson said. "I'm not sure what his stats are, but he is an incredible leader. He kept us in the game. Without him, this might have turned out differently."

It appeared that the Cranes had safely secured their third MHSAA championship when the second of Wagner's four fourth-quarter goals gave them an 8-4 lead with 7:45 remaining in the game. But that goal was part of a wild scoring spree by both teams that produced six goals in 2 minutes and 19 seconds. Blake Grewal Turner's second goal with 5:26 remaining got Okemos within 9-8. 

The scoring subsided for a few minutes until Ciuk took a pass from Monty Frankfort and went to the net for the tying goal with 1:20 to go.

"We were up a little bit, but knew this team could score," Wagner said. "They're a big offensive threat, so we knew it wasn't over. They got it to 9-9. I was on my tiptoes; I think the whole team was. To score and put the game away is unbelievable." 

In the end, perhaps it was big-game experience that carried the Cranes. They were playing in their third straight Final, while Okemos was in the title game for the first time.

"We knew we weren't playing the way we usually play," Grewal Turner said. "I think we came out a little timid. We realized once we started pushing, they didn't stand a chance. We started pushing too late and it showed; we lost by one." 

Grewal Turner opened the scoring with 10:53 left in the first quarter to give Okemos its only lead. Riley Matthews scored the first two of his three goals just 1:15 apart to give the Cranes a 2-1 lead before Bennett Sherman's tally with 1:42 left created a 2-2 tie after one quarter.

Charlie Pistner, Wagner and Greg Aikens of Cranbrook Kingswood scored the only goals of the second quarter, as the Cranes took a 5-2 lead into halftime. 

Jamieson and Sherman scored back-to-back goals to get Okemos within 5-4 with 3:36 left in the third quarter. Matthews collected his third goal to end the third-quarter scoring, and Wagner scored the first two goals of the fourth to give the Cranes their 8-4 lead.

Jamieson, Davis Lewandowski and Adam Goodsir had fourth-quarter goals for Okemos.

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Cranbrook Kingswood's Johnny Wagner possesses the ball during Saturday's Division 2 Final. (Middle) The Cranes' Bennett Faliski (7) pushes upfield with Okemos' Anders Stakey defending.

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.