Alex Rose (5g)
Mason Marano (3g, 2a)
In Saturday's first game, we witnessed the Plano Wildcats face off against the Hornets from Greenhill. These two teams did not face one another during their regular season so this match-up was particularly intriguing. Just a year ago, the Wildcats advanced to the Final Four before being bounced by the eventual state champions, Colleyville. For Greenhill and Coach Kevin Barnicle, this was their first trip back to the Final Four since 2014.
Right out the gates, Greenhill got it going as they jumped out to a 4-0 lead heading into the second quarter of action and enjoyed a very comfortable, 7-1 lead at halftime. To the Wildcats' credit, they would not go away easily but still found themselves down 8-4 headed into the final stanza before dropping the game 13-5.
Coach Barnicle's group was able to control the tempo of the game by employing a zone defense and essentially playing "make it, take it" off the stellar play of Mason Marano at the face-off X. Greenhill scoring was paced Alex Rose (5G), Marano (3G/1A), William Coben (4G/1A), and Caleb Holdridge (5A).
Between the zone and their woes at the face-off X, Plano had a tough time gaining possessions and generating quality scoring opportunities. In the losing effort, the Wildcats registered just 2 goal scorers; Ardi Elliott (2G) and Ryan Healing (2G).
With the win, Greenhill was able to survive and advance into the program's first ever State Championship game and would await the winner of Rockwall vs Colleyville.
Once the dust had settled on the first match-up of the day, we were treated to another game between two quality opponents in Rockwall and Colleyville. Rockwall, a senior-laden team, was bounced in the 2016 semi-final game in overtime by McKinney. Colleyville, the defending State Champions, were the 6th seed coming out of the North District and navigated a tough road to get into the final weekend of play by defeating Highland Park D2, Frisco, and Georgetown.
In the early going, Colleyville managed to score first and take a 1-0 lead on the Frontier Utilities Electric Play of the Game. From that point on, though, Rockwall thundered back as their offensive weaponry exploded to take a 7-1 lead into the 2nd quarter. Carson Newman was dominant at the X for Rockwall, and they enjoyed possession after possession as the result. By halftime, Rockwall was in complete control and enjoyed a 13-3 lead heading into the final frame. They ended up punching their ticket to the program's first ever State Championship appearance by winning 15-5.
Rockwall's offensive depth was on display as 9 different players found the scoring column: Brody Lowry (3G/1A), Luke Fisher (2G), Carson Newman (2G/1A), Hunter Roberts (2G), while Austin Otten, Dylan Brunk, Reed Lewis, Preston McMahon and John Burton all added goals of their own.
For Colleyville, Trevor Brown was outstanding and registered a hat trick while Clayton Moore had 2 goals of his own.
And just like that, the table was set for the 2017 Division 2 State Championship game. On Sunday, we would witness Rockwall take on Greenhilll for all of the marbles. Stay tuned as we break down the Championship game tomorrow.