Heading into the THSLL D1 Final 4, the storylines were admittedly outstanding. In one matchup, you had a battle of the unbeatens - The Woodlands, the 1 seed from Houston, taking on ESD, the 1 seed from Dallas. The stage was set with the Woodlands coming in at 23-0 and ESD coming in at 17-0. On the other side of the bracket, you had a rematch of the State Championship with Jesuit taking on Highland Park. Two great games, tons of talent on the field, and no shortage of intrigue. We were thrilled to call both of these games on #StickStarProductions.
The Battle of the Unbeatens.
As we said before, the Woodlands vs. ESD game had tons of hype around it, and it did not disappoint. Both teams, loaded with talent, showed their explosive nature from the git go. Guys flying around, making plays, and getting to the rack. The skill level and athleticism was tremendous. It was very exciting, and, in the booth, everyone enjoyed watching how it all played out.
After the 1st, it was the Woodlands up 2-1; at the half, it was all tied up; and, going into the 4th, ESD had taken the one goal advantage. At the end of the 1st half, there was a play taken straight out of a WWE match as Ramsey McCreary was literally and figuratively body slammed to end the half. No flags went down, and McCreary was slow to get up. Eventually, though, he did, but this set the tone on what was a very close, contested 1st half. In cage, both goalies made tough save after save. While there were definitely goals scored, the quality in the pipes made it extremely difficult to fully take the lead.
The game was tied at 7 off of a Jack Barron goal, with the Woodlands going Man Up face, when Paxton Marks came up with a huge ground ball, which ultimately led to ESD scoring on man down. The Woodlands tried to double Montgomery, he broke contain, and found Shawn Tran to go up by a goal. On the ensuing ESD possession, Tran found Brandon Meaux for a time and room shoot that pushed the advantage to a 2-goal lead. This lead would grow and ultimately prove to be insurmountable. The Highlanders truly had a great season and with a massive junior class, they will be back in the discussion for top team again in 2018. ESD, the only unbeaten left, had one more game between them and a perfect season.
ESD: Brandon Meaux 2G/2A, Nakeie Montgomery 1G/2A, Shawn Tran 2G/1A, Michael Colpack 2G, Patrick Skalniak 1G/2A, Braden Rhone 1G, Rives Castleman 1G, Jack Loftus 1G.
The Woodlands: Brandon Baty 1G/3A, Ramsey McCreary 2G/1A, Jack Barron 2G, Nick Rauchle 1G, Jacob Moore 1G, James McDowell 1G
Josey Records Man of the Match: Jack Tabor (3G/1A) & The Iron Planet Heavy Lifter: Luke Millican, 1 Goals Against in 2nd Half.
The other match-up had the Highland Park Scots, the #2 seed out of Dallas, taking on their rivals, the Jesuit Rangers, the #3 seed out of Dallas, in a Championship Rematch. In their regular season match-up, the Scots defeated the Rangers 7-5 at Jesuit. However, to defeat a quality opponent two times in one season is very tough.
In this match-up, the Scots came out and established themselves early by taking a 3-1 lead up until roughly two minutes left in the first half. Jesuit, utilizing a boat load of staggered screens, was finally able to get loose with a Jack Tabor goal to trim the deficit to one. And, at the 16 second mark, HP was late on a slide to David Sprock where he tucked a quality shot in near pipe to tie it all up. An interesting turn of events as HP was playing well and saw their lead vanish as the half came to a close.
In the second half, the real story was Luke Millican. Millican started making save after save, which made it very tough for the Scots. Millican gave up only 1 goal in the 2nd half, and, if that is happening, your likelihood of victory decreases significantly. The Rangers outscored the Scots 5-1 in the second half and were led by Jack Tabor who finished the game with 3G, 1A. In a losing effort, Kyle Massimilian was incredible at the Face Off X going 16-0 to give Highland Park more than their fair share of opportunities.
With the victory, the Jesuit Rangers were one step closer to repeating after avenging the regular season loss to the Scotties. With this loss, a pretty significant chapter in Texas Lacrosse also came to a close. The legendary, Highland Park Head Coach, Derek Thomson, winner of seven State Championships, had coached his final game for the Scotties. Thomson leaves a pretty unbelievable legacy and a standard that will be very difficult to surpass any time soon. We wish Coach Thomson and his family the very best after their dedication to Texas Lacrosse these last 20+ years.
Jesuit: Jack Tabor 3G/1A, David Sprock 2G, Daniel Burnum 1G, Grayson Hassell 1G, Peter Buell 1G.
Highland Park: Parker Alexander 1G/1A, Max Holsomback 1G, Cooper Kneese 1G, Owen Seebold 1G.
With the table set, we now had a rematch of the final regular season contest between Dallas Jesuit and ESD, a game we brought to you on #StickStarProductions. Without a doubt, we would ultimately be in store for one of the most exciting games of the entire season in a Championship match that would be an instant classic. In the Championship Game, ESD would try to cap off an incredible undefeated season, while Jesuit would be looking for the elusive repeat. Of course, we brought it to you live! Stay tuned as we will have the State Championship Recap up for tomorrow!