Working out postseason kinks, No. 2-ranked Novi Detroit Catholic Central rolls past No. 7 South Lyon for regional title
MILFORD — When you win one, the expectation is that you’ll win another.
It only becomes problematic when it becomes the thought that you’re ENTITLED to win another.
That sort of thinking may have crept into the minds of a few of the Novi Detroit Catholic Central players, as the Shamrocks began the defense of their first Division 1 state championship.
And it’s something they’ve quickly tried to quash.
“I think it (last year’s run) helped us, and it kind of didn’t help us at the same time, because some of the kids that were on the team last year, maybe started to feel a little entitled, and maybe got a little lazy toward the start of the playoffs, but we’re really trying to hammer the message home that this is a new team this year, and that we have a different chemistry,” CC senior Joe Kamish said. “It’s going to be a lot of hard work getting to that state championship again, and hopefully we can win a title.”
The No. 2-ranked Shamrocks took a large step in that direction on Tuesday, beating No. 7-ranked South Lyon Unified, 23-10, in the D1 regional finals at Milford High School, pulling away with a lopsided second quarter.
CC led 6-4 after one period, but after the two teams swapped goals in the second, the Shamrocks ripped off four goals in the span of 1:59, and seven unanswered before the half to blow the game open.
“The ball was definitely going our way. We were handling ourselves, face-offs and clears-wise, possessing,” South Lyon coach Justin Boughton said of the early parity. “Same thing that happened last season when we played them in the regional finals: The second quarter killed us. What did they put on us, seven or eight in there?
“It’s tough to come back from that.”
The Shamrocks (18-3) advance to Quarterfinal 3, where they’ll face the winner of Wednesday’s regional final between Clarkston and Rochester Adams. Quarterfinals will be held either Friday, May 31, or Saturday, June 1.
Early on, it looked like it was going to be a more difficult matter. A few defensive breakdowns led to South Lyon matching CC goal-for-goal through the first few minutes of the second period.
“It’s been our focus the last couple of games to start stronger, and not let them hang with us, because it just kind of slows the whole team down. Coming off the Memorial Day weekend, we hadn’t really practiced, so we were expecting it to be a little tough at the beginning. But I was just really proud fo the defense, because they had a little trouble in the first quarter, I think, but the offense just kept putting the goals in, and then towards the end of the game, I think we had a (one-goal) quarter in the second, which was just good for the overall morale, and from then on, they just played great,” Kamish said. “The defense is still working through some issues, but after what I saw today, I think they’re improving a lot, and the offense just keeps getting better, which is a great sign.”
There was plenty of offense for the Shamrocks.
Kamish scored seven times — including three times in a 58-second span in the third to make it 21-8 — while Ryan Sullivan and Ryan Birney scored four each, and Jake Petro three.
“I think we have a really talented offense overall. When there’s the starting six out on the field, there’s really not one guy that can’t shoot the ball from the outside,” Kamish said. “I think overall that just gives us a lot of confidence coming in, and we expect to score at 50, 60 percent every game, which is really helpful.”
It didn’t help South Lyon that it was without starting goalie Quinn Uphoff.
“Our senior goalie, he actually shipped off to the Marines (Monday) night,” Boughton said, “so we had two young men stepped into the cage for us, who I think played phenomenally well on short notice to get set up for this game, playing against the gunfire that these guys have.”
South Lyon’s offense did put up a fight, too.
While the Shamrocks have scored 68 goals in three postseason games, the 10 goals allowed Tuesday to South Lyon was more than the Shamrocks had given up in any game but two in their last two postseason runs (12 to Hartland in the semis and 10 to Birmingham Brother Rice in the finals.)
Cole Meidt and David Owen scored three times each, while Josh Helton and Nick Harvath both scored twice.
"I just wanted these guys to play with everything they had, leave it all on the field. Don’t leave this game with any regrets,” Boughton said. “We have 18 seniors, and I don’t think any of them have any regrets.”