GIRLS BASKETBALL: WOLL ousted by Pittsford roadblock once again in state semis

| March 17, 2016 | Comments (0)




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EAST LANSING — After losing in last season’s Class D state championship game, Pittsford earned a return trip.

It came once again at Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes’ expense.

For the second straight season, top-ranked Pittsford proved too   for the fifth-ranked Lakers to overcome, as they posted a 62-43 victory in the state semifinals at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center.

Pittsford ousted WOLL by a 57-26 count in last season’s semifinals. The Wildcats will play at 10 a.m. Saturday in the state finals.

“That was a the best team we’ve played all season. They came in with a great game plan,” said Pittsford coach Chris Hodos, whose program is 90-8 in his four seasons as head coach. “I think we were able to make some shots in the second half and we did a nice job rebounding and contesting Waterford’s shots.”

Pittsford out-rebounded WOLL by a 46-28 count and the Wildcats held the Lakers (20-5) to 23.1 percent shooting (12-for-52) in the contest.

Our Lady of the Lakes had to play a perfect game in order to beat Pittsford. The Wildcats held 11 opponents to under 20 points this season, including five to under 10 points.

Pittsford owns wins over Litchfield (69-5) and North Adams-Jerome (81-6) and 22 opponents scored 37 or fewer points against the Wildcats, who lost in overtime to powerhouse St. Ignace in last year’s state finals (64-60).

“We knew they were a very good team and it would take a special effort to beat them,” offered ninth-year Our Lady of the Lakes coach Paul Robak. “They are really physical and we missed a lot of shots. We missed several layups and that hurt us. I think if we made some of those and we kept it to within six, maybe eight points heading into the fourth quarter we wouldn’t have had to foul and press so much.”

Senior center Maddie Clark — an all-stater in basketball and volleyball and a state champion discus thrower in track and field — became a matchup nightmare for Lakes. Clark finished 9-for-10 from the floor and scored 24 points to go along with 16 rebounds in leading the Wildcats. Jaycie Burger added 15 points and Laura Smith scored eight for Pittsford.

WOLL tied for the second highest points scored against Pittsford this season, as the Wildcats yielded 62 to Grass Lake. Only four schools scored more than 40 against Pittsford.

“Earlier in the season, our boys coach (Mike Burger) told me I thought our defense was terrible,” said Hodos. “We really worked on skills and defense everyday. I think our defense is a lot better than it was earlier in the season.”

After several lead changes in the first quarter, Pittsford close with an 8-0 run to build a 17-10 advantage. The Wildcats extended the lead to 31-19 at the half.

Pittsford outscored the Lakers 12-5 in the third quarter, keeping WOLL from scoring for the first 5:29 of the stanza. By the start of the fourth period, Pittsford led comfortably 43-24.

“We were much more prepared than last season, when we were overmatched,” said Robak. “But that is a very good basketball team. We would have had to have made a lot more shots to keep it close.”

Our Lady of the Lakes made their sixth appearance in the Final Four in a seven-year span.

“We’ve had a great run since I’ve been here,” noted Robak. “These seniors weren’t apart of the state championship teams a few years ago. But they grew up watching them and wanted to be part of that legacy. Our goal was to win a state championship and obviously we came up short of that goal. But this group got to two semifinals and have carried on our tradition.”

Tiffany Senerius scored 20 for Our Lady of the Lakes, while Alex Troy added seven points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers.

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