Back in the Final Four: Lakes cruises past Michigan Lutheran Seminary to reach state semis once again

| March 13, 2012 | Comments (7)





WATERFORD — As the two-time defending state champions in Class D, Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes’ girls basketball has played with a chip on its shoulder all season.

Despite a tough schedule, the Lakers have were only able to finish seventh in the final Associated Press Class D state rankings.

Three of their four losses have been to schools from higher classes — one to a Class B state power Dearborn Divine Child (No. 6) and two to Class C schools Saginaw Nouvel Catholic Central and Madison Heights Bishop Foley — with only loss against a fellow Class D school coming over Christmas break to Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart, and that loss came when Lakes was missing three of its top players to a club soccer tournament.

BACK TO EAST LANSING: Carlee Cottrell and Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes teammate (Tori Duffey (No. 12) hug after the Lakers clinched their third straight Class D state semifinals berth Tuesday with a win over Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary. Photo | Larry McKee,

Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes, the two-time defending Class D state champions, will have a third crack at the title as they advanced to the Final Four for the third straight season following a 38-30 victory over Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary at Waterford Kettering.

“I wish we had the recognition. I don’t understand why we don’t, but we talked about it with the girls that we don’t care about the rankings,” said Waterford Lakes coach Steve Robak, whose team played in its fourth straight state quarterfinal and is now 3-1 in those games. “We care about the end of the season. We get to Breslin and win a state championship, then in our mind we’re the best team in the rankings.”

The Lakers (22-4) will face unranked Portland St. Patrick in the state semifinals at 6 p.m. Thursday at Michigan State’s Breslin Center with a berth in Saturday’s 10 a.m. state final on the line. Top-ranked Bark River-Harris and Athens, honorable mention in the rankings, will meet in the other semifinal Thursday night.

Michigan Lutheran Seminary finishes the season 18-7.

““The girls were all fired up in the locker room and this has been our goal all season,” said Robak. “We all wanted to go back.”

Lakes struggled to a 10-8 lead after the first quarter and 18-13 advantage at the half.

WOLL attempted more three pointers (14) than two-point baskets (11) in the first half and finished just 7-for-25 from the floor over the first two quarters, including 1-of-14 from beyond the 3-point arc.

Michigan Lutheran Seminary didn’t figure any better, as the Cardinals were a dismal 5-for-23 shooting, including 0-for-7 from long distance, in the first half.

“That’s what we talked about. There are nights that the ball just doesn’t want to go in and it was one of those nights for all of the girls,” said Robak. “We did not shoot the ball well at all. We continued to give the effort on the (defensive) end and we did enough on the defensive end to win.”

The Lakers forced 15 turnovers in the contest and consistently frustrated the Cardinals throughout the game. Michigan Lutheran Seminary shot just 9-for-41 from the floor and 2-for-13 from three-point range.

“Waterford is so athletic,” sighed Michigan Lutheran Seminary coach Terry Vasoid. “You really have to work for everything against them. I had hoped that we could shoot a little better from the outside. But they shut us down and they were out on the shooters that we have. We’ve got a nice post player (Faith Schroeder) and we pounded it down to her occasionally and she was effective.

“We played well and I’m proud of the way we played,” added Vasoid. “Waterford is a tough team. We had to get out on their shooters, too. The game I saw them play, they’ll put up 30 threes a game and they’ll hit at least a third of them. We knew we had to get out above the three-point line and they have really good range. We held them to (one three-pointer).”

Michigan Lutheran Seminary last made the quarterfinals eight seasons ago, and that was a period of three straight Elite Eight finishes in Class C. Now a Class D high school, the Cardinals made a long run with a young group and limited the Lakers to perhaps their lowest shooting night of the season.

Faith Schroeder and Maria Prange both finished with seven points and seven rebounds for Michigan Lutheran Seminary. Amanda Aldrich and Haley Hanen both added five points and four rebounds, while Jessica Friebe chipped in with seven rebounds and four steals for the Cardinals.

Carlee Cottrell scored 15 with five rebounds and two blocked shots for Lakes. Lexie Robak added eight points, five boards and three steals, Tori Duffey chipped in with seven points and six rebounds and Ava Doetsch chipped in with six points, six rebounds, six steals and three assists for the Lakers, who only had seven players actually get in the game.

SPLITTING A SEAM: Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes junior Ava Doetsch finds a hole in the Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary defense during the Lakers' 38-30 Class D state quarterfinal win. Photo | Larry McKee,

Lakes finished 13-for-41 from the floor and 1-of-18 from three-point range.

It marked the Lakers’ second game of the postseason that was decided by single digits.

“”We got some steals (at clutch times) and we did a good job of possessing the ball very well, (we) spread the floor and we tried to pull the ball out of their zone and we have a lot of ball handers, that’s a strength,” said Robak.


Associated Press Final Regular Season Polls

The top 10 teams in the Michigan Associated Press high school basketball poll, with records in parentheses. Totals are based on 15 points for a first-place vote, 14 for second,etc.:

Class A (School, First-place votes, Record, Points) — 1. Grand Haven (5) (19-1) 75; 2. Lansing Waverly (19-1) 66; 3. Midland (17-2) 64; 4. Detroit Martin Luther King (17-3) 59; 5. Clarkston (18-2) 48; 6. East Kentwood (17-3) 47; 7. Westland John Glenn (17-2) 42; 8. Waterford Kettering (18-2) 39; 9. Detroit Pershing (17-3) 37; 10. Inkster (14-5) 31

Others receiving votes — St Johns 27, Grosse Pointe South 22, East Lansing 18, Dearborn Edsel Ford 9, Warren Cousino 5, Port Huron Northern 2, Farmington Hills Mercy 2, Flushing 2, DeWitt 2, Romeo 1, Auburn Hills Avondale 1, Mattawan 1.

Class B (School, First-place votes, Record, Points) — 1. Goodrich (5) (20-0) 75; 2. Portland (20-0) 66; 3. Birmingham Detroit Country Day (17-1) 60; 4. St. Joseph (20-0) 58; 5. East Grand Rapids (20-0) 52; 6. Dearborn Divine Child (18-2) 50; 7. Hudsonville Unity Christian (19-1) 44; 8. Kingsley (18-1) 34; 9. Paw Paw (18-2) 31; 10. Grand Rapids Catholic Central (17-3) 27.

Others receiving votes — Chelsea 23, Ludington 15, Gladstone 14, Grand Rapids South Christian 12, Eaton Rapids 12, Freeland 11, Grand Rapids Christian 6, Muskegon Oakridge 5, Midland-Bullock Creek 3, Harper Woods Chandler Park 2.

Class C (School, First-place votes, Record, Points) — 1. Morley-Stanwood (5) (20-0) 75; 2. Concord (20-0) 68; 3. St. Ignace La Salle (20-0) 65; 4. Niles Brandywine (19-1) 55; 5. Kent City (20-0) 53; 6. Reese (20-0) 45; 7. Flint Hamady (18-1) 44; 8. McBain (19-1) 42; 9. (tie) Houghton (19-1) 24; Grosse Pointe Woods University-Liggett (16-4) 24

Others receiving votes — Saginaw Valley Lutheran 21, Adrian Madison 17, Manchester 16, Traverse City-St. Francis 12, Mendon 9, Clare 7, Lawton 7, New Lothrop 5, Lincoln Alcona 5, River Rouge 2, Grass Lake 2, Gobles 1, Johannesburg-Lewiston 1.

Class D (School, First-place votes, Record, Points) — 1. Bark River-Harris (2) (19-1) 69; 2. Mt Pleasant Sacred Heart (2) (16-2) 62; 3. Gaylord St. Mary’s Cathedral (1) (19-1) 61; 4. Posen (18-2) 54; 5. Eben Junction Superior Central (18-2) 50; 6. Marine City Cardinal Mooney (15-4) 47; 7. Waterford Our Lady Of The Lakes (14-3) 46; 8. Lansing Christian (18-2) 42; 9. Deckerville (17-2) 40; 10. Climax-Scotts (18-2) 37

Others receiving votes — Kingston 16, Brimley 13, Bear Lake 13, Custer-Mason County Eastern 11, Crystal Falls Forest Park 11, Hillsdale Academy 9, East Kentwood West Michigan Lutheran 9, Watersmeet 3, Rapid River 3, Ontonagon 2, Athens 1, Ellsworth  1.

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