High school girls lacrosse: Bear River stands alone after capturing its second-straight 4A championship
It took all of about 13 minutes for Bear River to prove not just that the Bears are the best girls lacrosse team in 4A, but also that it isn’t even close.
No. 1 Bear River made history as Utah’s first 4A back-to-back state champion in girls lacrosse with a 19-7 beatdown of No. 2 Mountain Crest, claiming the second-ever 4A state title in the sport.
And according to Bears head coach Jeremy Webb, one can expect much of the same in the foreseeable future.
“We’ve got some holes that we’ll have to fill, but we’ve got a lot of up-and-comers as well,” Webb said. “We’re building a culture in training that’s going to be here to stay.”
Bear River went through 4A like a wrecking crew. The Bears won their three playoff games by an average of 17 goals and never scored less than 17 goals against another 4A team during the regular season.
What made this season special for the program, Webb said, was what Bear River did outside of the 4A landscape. The Bears hung wins over multiple 5A and 6A teams, and they nearly knocked off Corner Canyon in the early part of the season while they were missing three starters.
“We told our players we’re a big-time team, so we’ll play a big-time schedule, and they came through,” Webb said.
The Mustangs were a heavy underdog going into the championship game after Bear River crushed them twice during region play. By the title game’s end, an even further testament to the Bears’ dominance was how one of Mountain Crest’s captains told her teammates, “That was the best I’ve ever seen us play!”
The Bears needed just 14 seconds to take the first lead of the game as junior Mackenzie Mickelson streaked from midfield all the way to the net and buried an unassisted goal. That shot catalyzed Bear River’s opening 5-0 run in the first five minutes of the match, finally broken up by Mustangs senior Aisha Porter’s unassisted goal at 20:14.
The Mustangs briefly stemmed the tide with another goal a few minutes later, but it was all Bears for the rest of the first half as they scored the next seven goals over a 12-minute span to break the game wide open, triggering a running clock with a 10-goal lead with 6:10 remaining in the first half.
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The offense scored seemingly without effort every time the Bears got past midfield. Quick passing and surgical cuts to the net made every Bear River seem like it lasted just seconds.
“One of the things we’ve focused on this year is playing selfless, and our whole team has really bought into that type of culture,” Webb said. “It doesn’t matter who scores, it doesn’t matter who gets the assist, it doesn’t matter who’s the star on the team. They’re all out there playing for each other.”
To be fair, it’s a little easier to net care who scores when just about everyone does. Bear River had eight different scorers in the game, led by Mickelson with five goals and an assist all in the first half. Bears sophomore midfielder Shelby Wilkinson backed up the effort with four goals and two assists.
Even in a blowout, the Bears struggled with foul trouble, incurring three yellow cards in the first half and five for the game. Bear River was forced to play most of the second half a player down and had two players disqualified. The fact that it didn’t matter spoke volumes.
Until further notice, it’s just the Bears and everyone else in 4A.