Novi Detroit Catholic Central put up a fight, but in the end, the lacrosse world still belongs to Birmingham Brother Rice. The Warriors — the only team in history to win the Division 1 title — extended their championship streak to 12 by turning back Catholic Central, 10-8, in Saturday’s championship at Howell Parker Middle School.
It’s the third straight year that Rice (20-2) has beaten CC in the title tilt, even though the Shamrocks have gotten closer each time. The 2014 game was a 16-goal blowout while last year’s differential was nine.
“Two years ago it was 23-7 and now it’s only a two-goal game; that speaks to the expansion of lacrosse in Michigan and I think that’s great for everyone,” said Brother Rice captain Morgan Macko, who scored once and had four assists.
“They came in, they were inspired, they fought hard. CC’s going to play hard against Rice every time they come in. We expected it,” Brother Rice coach Ajay Chawla said. “Coach (Dave) Wilson did a nice job getting these guys ready. At the end of the day, we knew we were going to have a dogfight on our hands.”
For much of Saturday’s contest, there were indications that this one might have gone either way. The Shamrocks (17-5) scored first and there were five ties, until Rice scored three times within a 21/2-minute span in the third quarter — with each play set up by Macko — to get some breathing room.
“We needed to put two or three goals together to snap their backs, and we did that,” Chawla said. “That helped us a lot and we kept that two-goal lead even when they answered. I’m proud of the way the boys played.”
Macko fed junior Nick Dudley twice, viewing the play from behind the cage and finding Dudley at the top of the crease. Macko said it was similar to last year’s final, when he scored five goals.
“If you look at those past couple of games, the past two state championships, there wasn’t much individual efforts on those goals, it was all teammates setting me up and I was in the right place at the right time,” said the Bellarmine University commit. “I wasn’t really benefiting me today, it was Nick Dudley in the right place at the right time, and that was huge for us today.”
Dudley — the smallest player on the field at 5-foot-5, 120 — scored four times.
“His vision is amazing. It was him,” Dudley said of his senior teammate. “Catholic Central’s a good team, and we’ve just got to keep working hard and make sure that close score doesn’t happen again.”
Still, Wilson said, someone is bound to knock off Brother Rice eventually.
“From our perspective, it’s not a matter of ‘if,’ it’s a matter of ‘when,’ ” he said. “We feel confident in that and we are working very hard.”