BY DAN STICKRADT
HOWELL — Trying to solve the Rubix Cube has become a frustrating riddle for many for more than 30 years.
Things are starting to play out the same way in prep boys lacrosse in Michigan. Teams simply cannot solve Birmingham Brother Rice in the sport, especially in the postseason.
The top-ranked Warriors captured their 12th MHSAA Division 1 state title June 11 at Howell Parker Middle School with a 10-8 victory over second-ranked Novi Detroit Catholic Central.
Brother Rice has not lost a tournament game since the MHSAA adopted the sport in 2005 and has only regular season loss to an in-state foe over the past 12-plus seasons.
The Warriors own several other state and Midwest titles in boys lacrosse through the coaches association sponsored-tournaments prior to 2005.
The win marked the third straight season that Rice (20-2) downed Catholic Central in the state finals. Brother Rice has defeated CC six times in the state finals overall, while Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern-Eastern Unified (twice), Ann Arbor Pioneer (once) and Detroit U-D jesuit (three times) have come up short in quests to dethrone the mighty Warriors.
The expansion and constant growth of lacrosse in Michigan is apparent as teams are gaining ground on Brother Rice, which defeated CC by 16 goals two years ago, nine last year and only two goals this year.
“Catholic Central came into the game inspired, well-prepared and playing like a team that really wanted to beat us,” noted second-year Brother Rice coach Ajay Chawla. “Dave Wilson has done a nice job with that team. He had them ready. We expected a (great match) from them.”
Catholic Central (17-5) scored first and both teams traded off three goals each in the first period. Brother Rice held a 2-1 advantage in the second quarter for a 5-4 halftime lead.
CC tied the game at 5-5 in the first minute of the third stanza and the Warriors scored the s could only next three goals and held a 4-3 edge in the frame for a 9-7 advantage entering the final chapter of the season.
Both teams could only muster one goal apiece in a defensive fourth quarter, giving Brother Rice the upper hand once again.
Morgan Macko scored what proved to be the game-winner in the third period and added four assists for the Warriors. Nick Dudley scored four times for Brother Rice.
Peter Thompson netted the hat trick for Catholic Central.
“We need to go on a run in the third (quarter) and we were able to do that,” said Chawla. “I think that was the difference. And we played great defense (down the stretch) allowing CC to score one goal over the final (15) minutes.
“I am proud of our team for the way we played. There is pressure winning so many straight titles,” continued Chawla. “We found a way to win (again) in the end.”