Brother Rice remains alone on top, captures 13th lacrosse state title in a row

By: Mike Moore | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published June 10, 2017

 Jack Kelly, right, works around a Novi Detroit Catholic Central defender during Rice's 8-7 victory Saturday afternoon.

Jack Kelly, right, works around a Novi Detroit Catholic Central defender during Rice's 8-7 victory Saturday afternoon.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

HOWELL — Joyous elation, a sense of program pride, and deep down, some sweet relief.

This is the expectation, fairly or unfairly, ever single year for the Birmingham Brother Rice lacrosse team.

But expectations and reality often have a way of colliding with, well, unexpected results sitting as the conclusion.

On Saturday afternoon, with 12 consecutive state titles serving as the stark reminder of how this day was supposed to go, the Warriors made it so, sneaking past Novi Detroit Catholic Central 8-7 in a Division 1 state championship from Parker Middle School in Howell for the program’s 13th title in a row.

Was this joy or relief? That was the question hurled at junior Camron Gould moments after the win.

“Both,” he boasted with a smile. “The streak’s a huge deal, no one wants to break the chain. At the same time, I’m overwhelmed with emotion. I’m just very happy for this team.”

Gould was the one fielding questions after the win thanks to his four-goal performance in the final, including the game winner with just 4:27 remaining in the fourth quarter.

“Cam was awesome,” coach Ajay Chawla said. He’s now 75-14 in four years with Rice with four titles. “Every year we somehow have somebody else step up. Cam stepped up for us.”

Gould’s fourth goal broke a 7-7 tie, and Catholic Central failed to generate a decent scoring chance before the final whistle sounded.

“If you would have told me we were going to get held to eight (goals), I would have told you (Catholic Central) would have won,” Chawla said. “Our defense came up big. We’ve been waiting for that game from them for a while. … Our defense really stepped up in the fourth quarter. They held it when we needed to.”

Peter Thompson got the Shamrocks on the board just 3:10 into regulation, but Rice answered right back with three goals from Daniel Reaume, Jack Kelly and Gould for a 3-1 lead.

But Thompson scored his second of the quarter with 32 seconds to play and Ryan Sullivan opened the second with a goal as Catholic Central tied things at 3-3.

Gould then scored twice more, at the 9:42 and 5:23 marks, to give Rice a 5-3 lead at halftime.

Catholic Central, which lost to Rice three years in a row in the final entering Saturday, including by a 10-8 score last year, took its first lead of the 2017 final with three goals in a row to start the third quarter.

Trailing 6-5, Kelly notched his second of the game to even things at 6-6.

CC took the lead back with 3:40 to play in the third, only to see Kelly tie the game at 7-7 with 1:01 remaining in the third.

Gould’s tally was the lone score in the entire 12-minute final quarter.

“Very surreal,” the junior said of scoring four times in his first state final. “It’s probably my best game all season. I was just finding my shot.”

Rice remains the only team to ever win a D-1 state title since the MHSAA began sponsoring boys lacrosse.

Saturday was the third time the Warriors won by a single goal.

They beat the University of Detroit Jesuit 12-11 in 2005 and 2009.

“Every year it gets a little tougher,” Chawla said. His team closes the spring 20-4. “But whether we win by one or win by 10, it’s a win. I’ll take it.”

The Shamrocks finish with a 15-6 record and as a runner up for the fourth year in row.