GHSA Lacrosse State Championship Central: Friday

The GHSA lacrosse state championships take place from Thursday till Saturday at Denmark High School in Alpharetta.

See the results below.


Class 7A 

Girls — Milton 17, West Forsyth 3

Milton extended their state record to 17 championships after a hot start to the game. The Lady Eagles jumped out to an 11-0 lead at halftime. McKenna Merkel led the offense with a hat trick through the first two quarters. Midfielder Alyssa Monje added two goals in the first half. Attacker Peyton Baker came up big in the state final.

“They all played well together today. We shot 90% as a team. McKenna Merkle was 4/4. Alyssa was able to split the defense a couple of times early and get her shots in,” said Milton head coach Tim Godby. “Peyton Baker was a presence inside and was able to finish. All of them had great games. They also accepted their roles throughout the season and turned it on the day when it counted. I am really proud of them.”

Milton was able to dominate the face-offs in the game and controlled the game with the possessions they were able to get forcing West Forsyth into a bevy of turnovers and unforced errors.

“That’s a huge thing to be able to control in the game because you get possessions. We were on fire and the girls were just determined to go after it and get the possessions and 50/50 balls in the game,” said Godby. “We had a lot of hustle plays from defenders when the ball was on the ground. That was huge because it kept us on the offensive end most of the game and they didn’t get a lot of touches.”

 Milton held West Forsyth to its lowest scoring total of the season at three goals and a first-half shutout. West Forsyth got on the board in the third quarter on a Casey McDonald goal. The Lady Wolverines added two more in the fourth quarter from midfielder Cate Cummings and attacker Peyton Baker. Despite the loss, it was another successful season for the Lady Wolverines who made their second consecutive state championship and have won 16 games for two years in a row. The Lady Wolverines will return their leading scorer Bryn Birkholz next season and the majority of their roster as only two seniors graduate.

 Milton won seven consecutive games to end their second and clinched their fourth consecutive title and six of the last seven years not counting 2020 (COVID). Despite adding another championship to the trophy collection, it was certainly not an easy year for the Lady Eagles.

“It’s been a challenging year to figure it out. We had a couple of players injured before the season. Once we get the season going, then we get another girl injured out for a while. Then we get another girl injured and out for the season. Then we get a girl back off the injury list and then another girl returns. At the end of the season, we get a couple of more girls hurt,” said Godby. “It was a revolving door of girls coming out. Trying to figure out the lineup and rotation. We changed lineups more this year than we ever had. We never really got consistent and that was a little bit of a concern coming into the game. Are we going to play to our potential? Are we going to be inconsistent with our shooting? We came out on fire. We got up to 8-0 in the first quarter. We ended up shooting 90% for the game. Most of the games we would make under 50%. We came out on fire and finally got everybody healthy enough to play. We were able to figure out everything at the right time when it counted.”

Boys — Buford 14, Lambert 13 

Buford wins its first ever state championship after Jax Maloney hit the game-winning goal in overtime to lift the Wolves past Lambert. The Wolves tied the game with 58.5 seconds from a Drew Maloney goal to force overtime. Buford scored five goals in the fourth quarter and overtime. It was a game of runs as each team traded blows in the contest. Lambert had hot starts to each half of the game. In the first half, Lambert built a 5-1 lead with attacker Cole Greenfield hitting two goals early. In the second half, the Longhorns started with three unanswered goals before Buford stormed back with a run of their own to get back in the game. Lambert face-off man Max Sciro was pivotal in the game for the Longhorns

“It all comes down to Max Sciro, who is our junior faceoff guy. He was unbelievable tonight. The calls didn’t always go his way but he kept fighting the entire game,” said Lambert head coach John Spaide. “He challenged their face-off guy really well. Max is the reason why. Max kept getting the ball and giving us possessions after goals. He was the biggest reason why we went on those runs because he was getting the faceoffs.”

Midfielder Matthew Scruggs was big in the game for Buford. He finished with five goals. Early on in the game when the Wolves trailed, Scruggs nailed three goals to keep Buford in the game and not allow the game to get away from them. Buford trailed by four goals twice in the game but just wouldn’t quit. They stayed aggressive and continued to put their foot on the gas.

Despite losing in the state championship for the second year in a row, Lambert is a great program and one of the best in the state. The Longhorns have played in the state championship for four consecutive seasons, winning two championships. During that span, Lambert also had four seasons of 19+ wins.

“It comes back to Rich Wehman who started the program 13 years ago. We have excellent coaches around us. The majority of our coaches have played in D1 for many years. That makes a huge difference in building a great youth program that is constantly competitive every year,” said Spaide. “It’s building on that and the kids come in knowing what traditions are prior and wanting to be in that state championship every year because that is what the expectation is. To be successful you have to work hard. To get to the state championship game, it takes more than just showing up. You have to put the effort in at all times.”

Buford avenged their March 22nd loss to Lambert and capped off their best season in program history. Other key contributors in the game were Fritz Whalen and Kamden Clark who each netted two goals a piece. The Wolves finished their season with nine consecutive victories and got their first win against Lambert in the past four tries.



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