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BOYS LACROSSE: Brother Rice blazes past Cranbrook in early-year showdown of state powers

By: Jeff Dullack, April 9, 2014, 6:00 am
BIRMINGHAM – On Tuesday afternoon, things couldn’t have gone much better for Birmingham Brother Rice on the lacrosse field.
The host Warriors jumped out to an early 5-0 lead against Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook and never looked back, cruising to a convincing 20-8 win in an early-season battle between two of the top lacrosse teams in the state of Michigan.
First-year Brother Rice head coach Ajay Chawla admitted everything was turning up roses for his team on Tuesday, crediting seniors Reid Fisher (seven goals) and Jason Alessi (four goals) for pacing the Warriors’ attack the whole way.
“Everybody was working for us as a whole,” he said. “Our offense was clicking, we were real solid on our breaks, in our 6-on-6 offense, we were able to find their weaknesses and really exploit them right off the bat. Guys like Reid Fisher really stepped up for us today and so did Jason Alessi, two guys that are seniors really put their games together today and came up big for us. Our defense got it together after a little while and started playing really well as well, so that’s really kind of where it was at for us.”
After Cranbrook cut its deficit down to as low as four (8-4) in the second quarter after a goal from Johnny Wagner, Brother Rice responded in a big way.
The Warriors (4-0) closed out the first half on an 8-1 run, kicked-started by goals from John Lockwood and Alessi and closed out by three consecutive scores from Fisher, the final one coming with 43 seconds left before halftime to give Brother Rice a 16-5 advantage entering the break.
Fisher scored four goals during the 8-1 run, while Morgan Macko and Bo Pickens each netted a goal of their own during the scoirng flury.
“The offense was really working it well today,” Fisher said. “When one player succeeds, it’s based off of other players helping him out, so I couldn’t have done it without the other guys on offense.”
Brother Rice opened the second half with a dominant showing defensively, not allowing a single goal in the third quarter. Receiving two more goals from Fisher, one more from Macko and another by Joe Dudley, (a goal was set up by a highlight reel assist from Alessi) Brother Rice grabbed a 20-5 lead heading into the fourth period of play.
Despite the affair’s high-billing, the Warriors knew it was still early in the campaign and didn’t want to get over hyped.
“We just wanted to treat it like any other game,” Fisher said. “Don’t worry about how they (Cranbrook) play, but worry about how we play and just play as hard as we can.”
Cranbrook netted three goals in the fourth quarter, as Taylor Ghesquiere, Matthew Giampetroni and Wagner each scored to cut the Brother Rice lead down to 20-8.
Ghesquiere and Giampetroni helped pace the Cranbrook assault with three goals each, while Wagner chipped in with two of his own.
In an astounding statistic, Brother Rice hasn’t lost an in-state lacrosse match, whether regular season or postseason, in a dozen years (2002).