Other teams would key on him.
But Stevie McKee still came through all season, with a total of 80 goals, 44 assists and 83 ground balls.
The senior from Holt also came through in big games. He scored half of Holt’s goals in the 11-10 double overtime state semifinal loss to Ann Arbor Pioneer that ended the Rams’ season.
McKee has been selected as the Lansing State Journal boys lacrosse player of the year.
“He would draw the other team’s top defender, but he never backed away from the challenge,” Holt coach Mike VanAntwerp said. “He was always willing to be the guy with the ball and the pressure to make a play. He did a lot of things for us offensively, whether it was score or find open guys. We were lucky we had a lot of guys who could score. So a lot of games Stevie would score five or six goals, while other games he had five or six assists and only one or two goals. He was willing to do whatever was necessary for the team to succeed and not be worried about the numbers he could put up.
“But the bigger the game, the more burden he would shoulder. He put up big numbers in our playoff run.”
McKee recognized his team could make a deep tournament run when Holt recorded a 13-3 win on March 24 over a Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern/Eastern team the Rams had lost 12-3 to in a 2011 regional final.
“We handled them pretty well, so I felt pretty confident that we could keep winning,” McKee said. “We also scrimmaged (eight-time Division 1 state champion Birmingham) Brother Rice pretty close, and that kind of gave us some more confidence that we could stick with some good teams.”
After securing their third straight CAAC title, which was their second consecutive outright league crown, the Rams opened MHSAA tournament with wins over Waverly (16-0) and Forest Hills again (14-8) before edging Rockford (10-7).
“That was a 2- or 3-goal game the whole time, a nerve-racking game,” McKee said. “It was a hard-fought, intense game that got us our first regional championship ever.”
Holt then fell behind 7-2 at halftime and was still down by five with a quarter to go in its state semifinal with Pioneer.
“We all knew we could pull it off,” he said. “We scored two goals in 25 seconds, and then tied it up.”
Pioneer’s Dylan Swanson — a national championship summer league teammate of McKee’s — scored the game-winner in the second OT.
“It was a pretty rough way to lose, but the team did really well to come back,” McKee said.
VanAntwerp praised McKee for another area of his game as well.
“He was a team captain, and set a great example for the other kids,” VanAntwerp said. “How much he worked as an individual was a positive example for our younger players.”
McKee not only helped Holt to an 18-2 record, he was also one of three CAAC players to be named as a U.S. Lacrosse All-American. The others were senior teammate Alex Hrapkiewicz and Okemos senior goalie Matt Henry.
McKee plans to attend NCAA Division II Queen’s University of Charlotte, N.C.