Waterford Lakes heads to first Class D semifinal since 1993 with win over Genesee Christian
WEST BLOOMFIELD — Defense and rebounding go a long way in March.
And it’s for that reason why Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes’ boys basketball team is going to the Breslin Center and the Class D semifinals after a 48-30 win over Genesee Christian in Tuesday’s quarterfinal at West Bloomfield High School.
For the Lakers (25-0), it’s their first appearance in the state’s final four since 1993 and just the third in program history (1969).
"It wasn’t beautiful, but we told the guys before the playoffs that, along the way, defense and rebounding were going to have to win us games because the offense wouldn’t (always) be there," Lakers coach Paul Robak said. "I didn’t think it wouldn’t be there for 32 minutes, but oddly enough it wasn’t there for 32 minutes and we still won.
"That’s a good one," he added, of the win. "I told the boys we deserved to go there and that’s why we’re going. it doesn’t always have to be pretty."
The Lakers trailed 11-8 after a first quarter marred by turnovers and forced offense before seizing control in the second. Our Lady of the Lakes began the quarter on an 11-0 run, led 19-15 at the half and never looked back.
The catalyst? A stifling defense and pounding the glass to the tune of a 44-20 advantage in rebounding.
After a reverse layup by Genesee Christian’s Andrew Curton, the Soldiers didn’t make another field goal for nearly 16 minutes until midway through the fourth quarter with the game well out of reach.
"We just needed to calm down, play better defense and execute on offense," said Our Lady of the Lakes senior Nick Robak, who finished with a double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds. "We work on our defense a lot. That’s what we try to specialize in."
"We told the boys, actually after the end of the first quarter, we told the boys the shots aren’t falling yet, they’ll start falling," Paul Robak said. "That may have not been true, but we told them let’s just rebound. Let’s just get the ball, rebound, play defense, get out in transition and see if we can’t get some easy ones."
Junior Andrew Kline added 11 points and five boards as the only other Laker to reach double figures.
The Soldiers (17-7), playing in only their second quarterfinal and first since 2006, mustered just three free throws in the third quarter as Our Lady of the Lakes opened up a 15-point lead, 33-18.
Junior Travis Rose led the Soldiers with 11 points and five rebounds.
"They’re a great defensive team," Genesee Christian coach Dan Chapman said. "When you’re not making any shots at all, it makes it that much harder.
"I’d like to have seen that game if we make a jump shot or two."
Our Lady of the Lakes will take on Morenci (23-2), a 60-43 winner Tuesday over Wyoming Tri-Unity Christian, in Thursday’s 6 p.m. semifinal.