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We are halfway through May. It seems like we were just previewing all of the boy’s high school lacrosse action taking place in Michigan. The playoff tournaments got underway last week and will conclude during the first two weeks of June. These are great times and memorable experiences for the players, coaches, and parents taking part.
To get you ready for the action, we sat down with coaches and officials from both states to get their take on the 2023 season. Before we begin with the preview, here are the dates and locations for both states’ quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals.
Division 1: Hartland High School
Division 2: Forest Hills Central High School
🗓️ June 1 or June 2
📍 Location TBD
🗓️ June 7
📍 Location TBD
🗓️ June 10
📍East Grand Rapids High School
Michigan Division 1 Preview
A committee made up of athletic directors and coaches met during the first week of May to seed the teams for the Division 1 Tournament. Brother Rice and Hartland remained the two top-seeded teams. Grandville and Grand Ledge fell out of the Top 8 teams and were replaced by Rockford and Muskegon Mona Shores. Each of the Top 8 seeded teams earns the top spot in its region. Here are the Top 8 teams in Division 1, their preseason rankings are in parentheses.
- Birmingham Brother Rice (1)
- Hartland (2)
- Rockford (NR)
- Clarkston (4)
- Lake Orion (8)
- Detroit Catholic Central (3)
- Muskegon Mona Shores (NR)
- Brighton (6)
Detroit Catholic Central’s fall from three to six raised a spirited discussion in the Michigan high school lacrosse community. The Shamrocks played only six games with a 5-1 in the in-state competition. The Shamrocks played eight out-of-state teams that the committee did not consider in their rankings. While some in the DCC community may have felt slighted, the team responded with wins over Brother Rice (1), East Grand Rapids (D2 #3), and Forest Hill Central (D2 #2) since the seedings came out.
Division 1 Team Insight: Clarkston High School
LPG spoke with Clarkston Head Coach Brian Kaminskas on how he and his staff prepare his team for the postseason. Clarkston is 37-4 as a team the last two years and is looking for its second straight regional championship. Kaminskas shared the importance of being seeded for the playoffs. “We work hard in the regular season to get a top seed. It’s a focus for us. We know that if we can pull a top seed we have a better opportunity to advance deeper in the bracket.”
Kaminskas is in his 25th year at Clarkston and shared how he and his staff keep the Wolves focused on their playoff run. “We always focus on skill, we know the better our skill set, the better our skill set the better chance we have at being successful.” Kaminskas shared that he likes to use the quote from the Navy Seals with his team. “You don’t rise to the occasion, you fall to the level of your training.”
Division 1 Regions to Watch
Here are a few key regions that LPG will be watching. Who can spring the upset?
Region 1: Muskegon Mona Shores comes in as the top-seeded team in the region. They will face stiff competition from Grandville in the Regional Semifinal.
Region 2: Rockford earned the top seed in Region 2 after missing out on a top seed in 2023. Grand Ledge was pre-seeded #8 before the season and is 17-2 on the season.
Region 4: Brighton fell from 6 to 8 from the pre-season to the regular season. They will face a battle from South Lyon who has a strong defense and face-off unit.
Region 8: Clarkston held on to the four-seed after a strong regular season. They will likely face Grand Blanc High School in the regional final. These two have a history of playing close, low-scoring games. The Wolves should not be looking ahead at a possible quarterfinal rematch against cross-town foe Lake Orion.
Michigan Division 2 Preview
The Divison 2 seedings demonstrated volatility compared to the pre-season ratings. Detroit Country Day followed up its 2022 finalist performance with a 15-2 record to earn the top seed. After going undefeated in 2022, Forest Hill Central had four in-state losses and fell from the top spot. Cranbrook was the only school to earn its way into the rankings, replacing Orchard Lake St. Mary’s. Each of the Top 8 seeded teams earns the top spot in its region. Here are the Top 8 teams in Division 1, their preseason rankings are in parentheses.
- Detroit Countr Day (2)
- Forest Hills Central (1)
- East Grand Rapids (3)
- Grand Rapids Catholic Central (4)
- Cranbrook (NR)
- Okemos (8)
- Haslett (5)
- Portage Northern (6)
Division 2 Team Insight: Cranbrook
JD Hess is in his third year as head coach at Cranbrook and earned the 5th seed in Division 2. Don’t let the 7-11 record fool you, Cranbrook has battled injuries and a demanding schedule in 2023. Hess spoke of how he saw his team ready to start turning a corner as they start their playoff run. “We had a weird week last week. FHC and DCC beat us up pretty good early in the week, and then we played Grand Rapids Catholic Central on Friday. We went down seven to at the half and then made this pretty nice comeback and ended up losing by one.”
Despite the three losses, all top-ranked teams in D1 and D2, the loss to GRCC showed something to Hess and his staff. “(We) showed something in the second half, so we’re just trying to find, how do we get that energy and effort that we had in the second half for a full 48 minutes? Because if we can do that, I think we’ve got a pretty good shot at making a little run here.”
Division 2 Regions to Watch
Region 14: Cranbrook earned the 5th seed after not being ranked in the pre-season. Fellow Catholic League foe Orchard Lake and two Rochester schools will make the Cranes earn their way to a regional championship.
Region 13: Okemos will have to travel over an hour for their regional host site. Dearborn Divine Child hosts the region and has been a program on the rise.
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