Gritty Griffin Scane Honed Competitive Spirit With His Family

PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER


Griffin Scane plays the game with an intensity that sets him apart.

His toughness was on full display midway through the 2022 campaign when Scane came down with mono roughly two weeks before Culver Academy was set to head east for a key spring break trip. Eagles coach Jon Birsner assumed there was no way Scane, who had lost 20 pounds due to the illness, was going to make it back in time for the trip.

Birsner guessed wrong. Scane met the Culver bus on its trip east.

“It was massive,” Birsner said. “He’s the heart and soul of our team, and we were going to play in our biggest games and we thought we were going physically without him, and he just wrote to me and was just like, ‘I’m fine. I’m playing.’”

Scane did more than just play.

The USA Lacrosse Midwest Boys’ Player of the Year had two goals and two assists to lift Culver to one of its best victories of the season, a 12-7 triumph over McDonogh (Md.), which went on to win the MIAA “A” Conference. 

“Once we got there, my adrenaline kind of got going,” Scane said. “Once the game started, I had to put everything aside and just play. We were preparing for that part of our season forever. I was sick, but once the game started to get going, my adrenaline was going.”

That was one of many sterling performances against top teams that led Scane to be the lone Midwest player selected for the 17th Annual Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Game.

“It was an honor going second wave, and especially with so many great guys going, and even the kids that didn’t, there are so many kids that are just amazing players that don’t even get into that game,” Scane said. “So, it’s just such an honor that I was even considered, and the fact that I got in, I’m just really honored.”

Culver’s trip to the eastern seaboard wasn’t the first time Scane stood out for his toughness.

Indeed, Scane, who tallied 45 goals and 24 assists as the Eagles went undefeated in the region and captured Midwest Scholastic Lacrosse Association and Premier Prep titles, has long stood out for his ferocity on the defensive end and the way he chases 50-50 balls.

“What he looks like at the end of the game is a car accident because the way he plays, he plays so physical in every aspect of the game,” Birsner said. “Offense, defense, ground balls, riding, clearing, he’s a physical dodger, he’s a physical cover guy and so he is literally covered in cuts and bruises and welts after every single game and he just doesn’t say a word about it.” 

How would Scane describe his style of play?

“Gritty.”

“I just love everything about lacrosse and making a big play on a ground ball or a huge turnover on a ride or something, to me, it’s just as fun as scoring a sweet goal to tie a game,” Scane said. “It’s just being out there on that field, and after COVID, not knowing what’s happening, [I’m] really not taking any second for granted, just leaving it all out on the field.”

According to Birsner, Scane’s toughness surely stems from his family, including two older siblings playing college lacrosse: James (Robert Morris) and Izzy (Northwestern). 

“He’s the competitor, and player he is because of his family,” Birsner said. “They are [an] All-American family, great people, but they get sports, and they get competition.”







Birsner recalled that when he first took over the Eagles job, in the middle of a pandemic, he checked in with a number of his players to see how they were holding up. The Scane family, he was told, had passed the time by playing a number of ferocious Wiffleball games. Scane noted that they also played plenty of two-on-two lacrosse and added that the family basketball games got so competitive that his father threatened to take the hoop down if the arguments didn’t stop.

“That’s the type of family they are,” Birsner said. “They’re all fierce competitors, so they’re the type of family to back each other up, no matter what, but also try to destroy each other in any game that they play and that’s how he was raised and that’s why all of them have had so much success.”

Scane was more than a sharp competitor, however, in 2022. He was a leader in every aspect of the game.

“He’s the type of guy that if we need a big-time clear, he just will go and hunt the ball and demand that you give it to him because he’s going to run through three guys to get us that possession,” Birsner said. “But he’s also going to ride you sideline to sideline.”

And he was a leader off the field as well.

“Griff led that charge,” Birsner said. “He was voted captain, and since day one, you heard his voice in practice.”

FINAL MIDWEST TOP 10

1. Culver Academy (Ind.), 19-2

The Eagles’ impressive 2022 campaign included wins over McDonogh (Md.) and St. Ignatius (Ohio) and two victories apiece against Hill Academy (Ont.) and Western Reserve Academy (Ohio). Even their two losses were impressive, as Culver fell by a single goal to Boys Latin (Md.) and Gonzaga (D.C.). Previous: 1

2. Upper Arlington (Ohio), 22-1

The Golden Bears avenged last year's state title game loss to Dublin Jerome with a 12-10 triumph in this year's championship game rematch. Richmond commits Leo Caine (56 goals, 36 assists) and Chris Mazzaferri (43 G, 25 A) combined for 41 points in the last three games for Upper Arlington, which went undefeated in the Midwest, including impressive wins over Brother Rice (Mich.), Hamilton Southeastern (Ind.) and MICDS (Mo.). Ohio State commit Sam Burns (42 G, 15 A) and Bellarmine commit Chris Reynolds (94 groundballs, 32 caused turnovers) also impressed to earn All-American honors. Previous: 2

3. Loyola Academy (Ill.), 21-3

The Ramblers' defense came through at states, holding Wheaton Academy (Ill.) and Lake Forest (Ill.) to five goals apiece in the semifinals and title game, respectively. Two of Loyola's three losses came on the East Coast while the third came to Buckeye State runner-up Dublin Jerome (Ohio). Previous: 3

4. MICDS (Mo.), 18-1

The state champion Rams' lone loss of the season came to Buckeye State champion Upper Arlington (Ohio). George Herron saved 62.9 percent of the shots that came his way, Harry Kohler and Tyler Peterson each tallied 50-plus ground balls and Landon Gelven, Mark Mintzlaff and Bjorn Sjogren all notched at least 70 points for MICDS. Previous: 4

5. Forest Hills Central (Mich.), 21-0

The Rangers overcame an early 3-0 deficit to top Detroit Country Day (Mich.) 11-8 in the Division 2 state championship game. Jonah McConnell led FHC with four goals and two assists and was a dominant force all season for the Rangers alongside fellow top scorer John Tomsheck. Previous: 5

6. St. Xavier (Ky.), 21-3

The Tigers’ 21-win campaign included a massive number of goals: 430 (or 18 per game). St. Xavier’s lone losses came to two of the best teams in the country – Culver (Ind.) and Western Reserve Academy (Ohio), as well as an overtime loss to Norfolk Academy (Va.). A myriad of Tigers players earned all-state honors: attackers Trevor Havill, Henry Mercer and Jack Phelps; midfielders Luc Boudreau, Bryce Heitmann, Jackson Poma and Jake Sendaydiego; defenders Matthew Donhoff and Ben Marks; faceoff man Brandon Shaffner; goalie Bryce Moad and LSM Jackson Campisano. Previous: 6

7. Dublin Jerome (Ohio), 19-3

The Celtics dropped a tight state title game to Upper Arlington (Ohio) despite five goals from their Everhart duo, three from Preston and two from Chase, and 14 saves from Brady White. Led by a loaded senior class that included University of Denver commit Chase Tzagournis and White (Army), Dublin Jerome's resume includes victories over three state champions: Hamilton Southeastern (Ind.), Hartland (Mich.) and Loyola Academy (Ill.). Previous: 7

8. Hamilton Southeastern (Ind.), 15-6

The Royals wrapped up their second straight state title in impressive fashion, turning a one-point game at the half into a 17-7 victory over Cathedral (Ind.). Ohio Wesleyan commit Garrett Smith delivered a seven-point performance, Michael Mattaliano added five points and Blaine Wertz notched a hat trick in the state championship game for HSE, which rebounded from a 1-3 start to win 14 of its last 17 games. Previous: 8

9. Hartland (Mich.), 18-4

After falling in the state title game to Brother Rice (Mich.) a season ago, the Eagles snagged their first state championship with an 11-10 overtime victory over the Warriors. It was fitting that senior Bo Lockwood scored the game-winner, as the Michigan commit easily topped 200 points (96 goals, 121 assists) on the season. Previous: 9

10. Benilde-St. Margaret’s (Minn.) 19-0

The Red Devils clinched an undefeated season with a 10-9 state title game victory over Prior Lake (Minn.), led by a spectacular performance in the cage by Justin Dalum and a game-winning goal by midfielder Mitch Dokman. Benilde-St. Margaret got balanced scoring all year, with four players topping 50 points: Gus Bell, Carsen Brandt, Cam Gelling and Sky Rold. Previous: 10

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