Pittsford blows past Waterford Lakes, 57-26, reaches first state final
East Lansing – Throughout his time coaching Waterford Lakes, Steve Robak witnessed his fair share of top players across the state face his team during his eight years in charge of the Lakers.
And on Thursday night, his team was introduced to Pittsford forward Maddie Clark.
The sophomore forward scored a game-high 26 points and had 10 rebounds to help lead her team past a Lakes team that not many expected to make it to the Breslin Center, in the Class D semifinal game, 57-26.
With the win, the Wildcats (26-0) now advance to their first state championship game, where they will face the winner of the St. Ignace-Frankfort game on Saturday at the Breslin Center at 10 a.m.
Clark said that she had hoped to have the type of game she did on Thursday, but said that if she didn’t she was still had confidence in the rest of her team that they would move on.
“I would hope so,” she said. “But if not, I have my teammates to back me up. If I have a rough night, they’ll be there to back me up.”
Robak said that Clark is one of the most competitive players his team has faced over the years because of her ability to rebound.
“This girl was one of the toughest, if not the toughest,” he said. “We’ve seen Jasmine Hines and the likes of that and she’s not like that, because Jasmine is one of a kind, but in terms of what she does, she’s hard to game-plan for. With (Jaycie Burger), we can pressure her and try to limit how she touches the ball, but a girl that rebounds, if the ball doesn’t go in, there’s a good chance (Clark) is going to get it. She’s just a great rebounder.”
Pittsford was dominant right out of the gate jumping out to an 8-3 lead with all eight points coming from Clark less than five minutes in.
Pittsford would then increase its lead to 16-5 after the first quarter and led by as many as 15, 21-6, early in the second quarter.
Pittsford led 24-9 at halftime lead thanks in large part to 18 points and nine rebounds from Clark.
Pittsford coach Chris Hodos said that while knowing his team would be heavily favored in the semifinal game, his message to his team was simply to stick to their style and take care of the little things that helped the Wildcats reach new heights.
“Just to play our game,” he said. “That’s exactly what I told them when we walked in. It’s the small things that we do, the boxing out, the help (defense), the kind of things that help us win games.”
Defensively, the Wildcats were suffocating as they limited Lakes to 7-of-43 shooting for the game, while also outrebounding the Lakers, 59-35.
Burger, a sophomore, had 10 points, seven rebounds and six assists to back Clark. Burger said reaching the final is something that her and her teammates have been aiming for since the beginning of the season.
“It’s been a dream come true,” she said. “We started out at the beginning of the season with the goal to win our league, and we did that, so we moved on to districts, we accomplished that and we moved on to regionals, we accomplished that and then our goal was to move onto the final and now our goal is to win this game. It’s a dream come true. It’s every basketball players dream to play for a state championship.”