Season over, champs crowned

Saturday marked the end to the 2016 GHSA lacrosse season. Congratulations to the championship winning teams: Lambert (AAAAAA boys), Walton (AAAAAA girls), Allatoona (A-AAAAA boys), and Blessed Trinity (A-AAAAA girls).

On Tuesday, the AJC released its final rankings for the season.

Before the tournament began, predictions were offered. Matchups for all four games were correctly predicted, with Lambert and Allatoona living up to title-winning billings.

Here's a look at the four champs:

AAAAAA

Boys: Lambert defeated Lassiter 6-3.

The Longhorns completed completed their perfect season, a repeat of the feat they accomplished in 2012. In the process, they became the state's No. 1 overall boys team in Georgia regardless of classification, according to LaxPower.com. The site also has them ranked No. 68 in the country in a computer ratings poll dominated by northeast teams. This marks the Longhorns' third state title in program history.

Girls: Walton defeated Milton 9-8.

The Lady Raiders' victory was no doubt the biggest shocker of the postseason. Milton has dominated GHSA girls lacrosse, winning 10 of the 11 titles of record since the association began officially acknowledging lacrosse champions in 2005. According to LaxPower.com, the Lady Raiders had never beaten Milton, with the Lady Eagles compiling a 15-0 record against them dating back to 2006. That includes Milton winning 14-9 at Walton on March 10. Even with those facts, it's still hard to put into words how big of an upset Walton winning is.

So what was the difference this time around?

Perhaps it was the bulletin board material written here. It could have served as the motivating factor for the Lady Raiders, the extra push they needed. Let's go with that.

A-AAAAA

Boys: Allatoona defeated Westminster 9-7.

The Buccaneers came into their own this season to capture the first state title in program history. With that feat, they are a major contributor the school's burgeoning athletic department. Also with the title game win, the Bucs ended a seven-game losing skid to Westminster that dated back back to 2010. It was Westminster that ended the Bucs' 13-game win streak on April 23 with a 10-9 overtime win, but Allatoona closed the season on a five-game win streak and should be a force to deal with in the years ahead.

Girls: Blessed Trinity defeated Kell 15-13.

The Lady Titans can call themselves state champs for the first time in their program's history. In the process, they ended the back-to-back defending champion Lady Longhorns' hopes of a three-peat. Though Blessed Trinity was predicted by this writer to lose, all signs pointed to a Lady Titans win. They had the better record, were the state's top-ranked team and had already beaten Kell 11-10 on March 8. However, as Walton also proved, the past means nothing and a GHSA lacrosse championship is decided in a single game. The Lady Titans seized the moment.

Credit: Brian O'Shea (AJC)

Credit: Brian O'Shea (AJC)