Waterford Lakes reaches first state final
East Lansing – A season ago, Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes fell just short of advancing to its first state final, losing in the final seconds to Morenci.
But when the Lakers returned to the Breslin Center on Thursday, they were determined to take the next step.
In a back-and-forth game against Wyoming Tri-unity Christian, Lakes took a 55-53 lead on a Noah Robak 3-pointer to kick-start a 12-0 run to finish the game and earn a 64-53 victory and advance to the Class D final.
Lakes (23-4) will play top-ranked Powers North Central in Saturday’s 10 a.m. final.
Lakes coach Paul Robak said that after the quarterfinals his team’s mindset wasn’t about being happy to have made it to the semifinals again.
“That started after the last game,” he said. “We told the guys that we’re happy and excited to be here, but the purpose of being here is to win, all of the things where we get to talk to media and things, that’s wonderful but that’s really not the reason, that really set the tone for us.”
After Tri-unity Christian (20-6) took a 50-47 lead early in the fourth quarter on a Braydon Sherrod 3-pointer, Lakes’ Andrew Kline responded with five straight points to give the Lakers a 52-50 lead.
The Crussaders regained the lead on Willie Otole’s 3-pointer, but Robak’s 3-pointer 10 seconds later gave the Lakers the lead back for good. Kline’s dunk would give Lakes a 57-53 lead with two minutes remaining.
Devin Senerius, who scored 17 points, said that playing in the semifinals a season ago was a big help to Lakes as they tried to close out the win.
“Playing on the big stage is not easy to do,” he said. “Having that experience definitely played its part.”
Senerius also had 12 rebounds and his brother, Clay, scored 11 points and had 10 rebounds. Kline added 15 points and Noah Robak had 12 for the Lakers.
A basket from Clay Senerius, followed by three points from Devin Senerius, all but put the game out of reach in the closing seconds.
Clay Senerius said the biggest difference for his team down the stretch was its defense.
“It came down to defense,” he said. “We really stepped up at the end, we got those three really big turnovers. We just kind of committed to playing defense and from there, the offense would have opportunities from us getting turnovers and running to the ball.”
Collin Rosendall led Tri-Unity Christian with 17 points and Javi Cuevas had 12.