GIRLS BASKETBALL: Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes looking to pen its name in the record books
WATERFORD – History is on the line these next couple weeks, as the Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes girls basketball team seeks a fourth straight Class D state championship.
Only two teams in MHSAA history – girls or boys – have won four state titles in a row on the hardwood.
If the Lakers, currently 17-5, raise another banner, it will be the first time ever a hoops program wins four consecutive state crowns in Class D.
The two programs to pull off the four-peat in the past are River Rouge’s boys’ cagers who captured four trophies in a row in the 1960s and Flint Northern’s girls’ ballers, winners of four straight during the late-1970s and early-1980s.
The heart and soul of this season’s WOLL squad are four-year letter-winners Lexie Robak, Ava Doetsch and Jessica Parry, all three big parts of the last three Lakers’ state-title runs.
Robak, an all-state shooting guard and one of the most lethal 3-point assassins to hail from the area in recent memory, and Doetsch, a slick and steady swing able to play both in the backcourt and frontcourt, are four-year starters. Parry, the team’s point guard this season, after playing on the wing the past three years, is a two-year starter and the definition of an ‘X-Factor.’
Anna Robb, a junior guard and the Lakers’ defensive-stopper, is also in her second year starting and can hurt opponents on offense when left open.
Shelby Mann, Haley Howell (all-state volleyball honoree), Lindsey Ross and Erin Koelher and the Troy sisters (Gabby and Alex) are stellar role players, augmenting Robb and the team’s ‘Big 3,’ of Robak, Doetsch and Parry.
Making this season even sweeter, in recent weeks, both Robak and Doetsch exceeded the 1,000-point mark for their careers and the club avenged a loss in the Catholic League tournament.last season by claiming the program's third CHSL championship in four years.
Doetsch and Parry are stars on the soccer pitch as well and will each be getting their kicks-on at the college level, with Doetsch, a three-time all-state pick and owner of 117 goals entering her senior campaign this spring, signed with University of Nebraska-Omaha and Parry inked with Schoolcraft.
Robb is a two-sport standout, too, and has been an all-league selection at forward on the soccer field for the Lakers’ powerhouse pitch contingent the last two years.
This winter’s quest for the crown on the hardwood provides Doetsch and Parry a rare opportunity to collect ‘one for the thumb,’ as in a fifth state championship ring. The pair nabbed a state title in soccer in 2010, before returning to the state finals last spring and losing.
Not one to take anything for granted, Doetsch’s outlook is extremely even-keeled.
“Every season is different and just because we’ve had success in the past doesn’t mean it’s a given that we’re going to reach those same heights this year,” she said. “That’s got to be you’re way of thinking in order to stay hungry and remain as focused as possible,” she said.
On Friday, Doetsch and her teammates survived a scare from upstart Birmingham Roeper prior to securing the program’s sixth straight district crown with a 44-40 win.
Coming through in the clutch like she has so many times in her career wearing a WOLL uniform, Doetsch sank several late free throws in Friday's district finals to sew up the title and stave off the feisty Roughriders.
At the helm of all six district-title teams, Lakers’ head coach, Steve Robak (Lexie’s dad), knows what a special group he’s had on his hands these last handful of seasons.
“They’ve been a pleasure to be around and help grow as players,” said Robak of his club. “I couldn’t have asked for a better mix of girls, the kind that don’t want to take shortcuts and try to do things the right way. What they’ve been able to build around here at this school is pretty impressive. It’s something that will always be remembered throughout time. That’s really something to be proud of, regardless if we win another state championship or not. We’re just enjoying whatever time we have left together and we’ll let the pieces fall where they may.”