June 05, 2013 - When the running clock started in the third quarter, the celebration had begun for friends and families in the stand - the Wolves were about to win their first regional title in boys lacrosse.
The team celebrates their victory. Photo by Wendi Reardon (click for larger version)
The Clarkston Boys Varsity Lacrosse team took the championship from Holt charging at the net in the first half leading to the 18-3 win.
"It was a great game for the program, for the ohana, for our family and for our friends," smiled senior co-captain Kyle O'Grady. "It has been a long journey. We have worked really well as a team on and off of the field really pushing for this moment."
"Winning the first regional title with this group of guys it's great," Brian Kaminskas, head coach, added. "They came out so ready and focused. They talked all year about making their mark and moving us forward. I think you could tell from the first couple of passes that's what they were here to do. It is a good group of kids I am very proud of them."
Holt started the game off by firing shots at the Wolves' net only to be stopped by junior goalie Jake Hendricks.
Clarkston was the first to make it into the goal off a shot from O'Grady off a pass from senior middie AJ Kowal with 4:27 left in the first quarter.
"AJ played his best game since he has been here," Kaminskas added. "He had a terrific night. Every time the ball was on the ground, he was the one picking it up or the one putting it down.
The momentum grew from there as the boys scored four more goals from Kowal, O'Grady, Connor Dziewit and Reid Kaminski with less than three minutes to go in the quarter.
The Rams opened the second quarter with their first goal. Clarkston responded with a goal made by Connor Ward with an assist from Dziewit with 8:50 to go in the half. Eight seconds later Kaminski added one more goal to the board.
The Wolves closed the half with a 12-1 lead with one more goal from Ward with nine seconds left.
O'Grady led with five goals and four assists. Dziewit and Ward each had three goals and three assists and Kaminski had three goals. Austin Egler, Robert Hall, Jim McKillop and Keaton Mitchell added one goal each.
The Wolves beat Troy Athens in the semifinals, 11-6. They pulled ahead in the second quarter with Ward tying the score at two points. Mitchell brought the boys into the lead after picking up the ball when the goalie went into the field to pass it. He raced to the goal and scored with 7:41 left in the first half.
Kaminski led the team with three goals. O'Grady, Dziewit, Ward and Mitchell added two goals each.
The Wolves face off against a familiar foe, Brother Rice, as they head to the semifinals on Wednesday at Seaholm, 2436 W. Lincoln Street in Birmingham, 6 p.m.
Brother Rice has knocked Clarkston out of being in the final four the last two years by claiming the spot. This season the team is preparing by practicing as they usually do.
"We are concentrating on how we work our system, how we are suppose to run them, and hoping things will turn out great," O'Grady said.
"They are aware there are two more games to play," Kaminskas added. "They want everyone coming to know they are serious."
The winner moves on to the state finals on Saturday at East Grand Rapids High School, 2 p.m.
Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.