Detroit-area Catholic high schools claim 16 state championships

Eleven Detroit-area Catholic high schools or Catholic High School League members claimed 16 state championships in the 2017-18 Michigan High School Athletics Association post-season tournaments.

Two schools each with three titles accounted for nearly half of the pool: Novi Detroit Catholic Central won Division 1 titles in soccer, wrestling and lacrosse. Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood took the laurels for Division 3 boys tennis, Division 3 girls swimming, and Division 2 girls lacrosse.

Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, winners for the fifth year in a row of Division 3 competitive cheerleading, was one of six schools who were repeat winners: Cranbrook in boys tennis and girls lacrosse; Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett in Division 4 boys tennis for the third year in a row; Catholic Central in wrestling; Bloomfield Hills Marian in Division 2 soccer; and Macomb Lutheran North in Division 3 girls golf, which they won last year in Division 4.

Two schools added brand new trophies to their showcases: Catholic Central in soccer and lacrosse, and Riverview Gabriel Richard in Division 3 baseball.

The other champions were Bloomfield Hills Sacred Heart Academy in Division 4 tennis; Ann Arbor Greenhills in Division 4 boys soccer; Farmington Hills Mercy in Division 1 swimming; Warren De La Salle in Division 2 football; and Notre Dame Prep in Class B volleyball.

To quote the late Paul Harvey: “Now, the rest of the story” behind some of these achievements.

Cranbrook’s sensational lacrosse attacker, Isabelle Scane, scored 101 goals this year en route to a formidable state career record of 461 goals and 570 points. She is taking her talents to Northwestern this fall. Caroline Forester, a 2015 Marian grad who is attending the University of Tampa, is second best with 411 career goals, giving the CHSL the top two in this category.

Senior captain and linebacker Brendan Madigan recovered a snap that had sailed over the Livonia Franklin backfield and ran 13 yards for the touchdown on the first play from scrimmage to give De La Salle a fast start to a 41-6 triumph. The last time a similar situation occurred in an MHSAA Final was in 2005.

Marian’s 4-2 win over Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern in soccer kept the Mustangs’ 47-win streak intact. They were 24-0 in 2017, 22-0-1 this spring. By the way, Marian athletes had a busy tournament schedule. They finished runner-up in tennis, volleyball, golf and swimming.

Riverview Gabriel Richard junior Matthew Silka was three outs away from becoming the first pitcher to toss a complete-game no-hitter in MHSAA finals history in a 3-0 shutout of Madison Heights Bishop Foley. Instead, he became just the fifth pitcher in finals history to allow just one hit in a complete game. Gabriel Richard last played in a baseball final in 1994, dropping a heartbreaking 5-4, 11-inning game to Grandville Calvin Christian.

The other state final featuring a pair of CHSL schools had fans anticipating a finals showdown all spring long between CC and Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice.

The Warriors were 189-2 against Michigan-based schools that included 100-0 versus CHSL opponents (28-0 vs. CC) when, in April, the Shamrocks prevailed 10-9 in overtime. About a month later, CC shocked Rice again, 11-8, for the CHSL championship, which Rice had won for 20 straight years.

For the biggest prize of all, the two archrivals squared off for the eighth time for the Division 1 lacrosse title. Rice was the 13-time, and only, champion in lacrosse since the MHSAA had sanctioned the sport in 2005.

The Shamrocks rallied from three goals behind with eight minutes to play for an 11-10 victory and, finally, the long-awaited state championship trophy.

Don Horkey Don Horkey

“A streak is not going to last forever,” said Brother Rice coach Ajay Chawla.

“It’s a bit of relief,” said CC coach Dave Wilson. “It feels good to beat Rice.”

The seed for what happened in lacrosse might have been planted in the Warriors’ psyche in February when CC broke Rice’s 26-year dominance as CHSL swimming champion.

Contact Don Horkey at [email protected].