BOYS BASKETBALL: Waterford Lakes ousts Cardinal Mooney to earn another trip to Final Four

| March 23, 2016 | Comments (0)



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WEST BLOOMFIELD — After suffering through the heartbreak of a 53-52 setback in the Final Four last season, Andrew Kline vowed to lead Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes back to the Breslin Center this season.

“We didn’t plan on just getting back, but we plan to go a little further,” said Kline. “I know a lot of people out there, other than us, believed that wouldn’t do as well, but we believed it.”

Despite converting only 20-of-55 shots from the floor (36.4 percent) Tuesday and just 2-for-15 from beyond the three-point arc (13.4 percent), Waterford Lakes posted a 52-46 victory over Marine City Cardinal Mooney Catholic in the Class D state quarterfinals at West Bloomfield High School.

The result? A return trip to the state semifinals and a date with fellow state powerhouse Wyoming Tri-Unity Christian.Basketball - ball from above basket

“This is what we wanted,” added Kline. “We only returned three guys with any real varsity experience, so we started slow. But we’re playing some good basketball right now.”

Kline and the taller Lakers (21-4) caused problems for the Cardinals all night and despite their shooting woes, slowly pulled away in the second half. WOLL forced 20 turnovers, held Cardinal Mooney to 37.8 percent shooting (17-for-45) and led by as many as 12 points (46-34) in the fourth quarter before pulling off the dogs in the final two minutes.

Senior guard Devin Senerius finished with 16 points and seven rebounds, and the Lakers gained contributions from up and down their lineup. Kline had 12 points, four assists, four steals and three blocked shots.

Senior forward Clay Senerius had a fine floor game with seven points, four rebounds, four assists and four steals, senior forward Joe Clifford followed with six points and seven rebounds and freshman guard Noah Robak chipped in nine rebounds for Our Lady of the Lakes, which posted a 34-23 edge on the boards.

With Kline and the Senerius brothers playing key roles in last season’s Final Four run, Lakes coach Paul Robak has handed the trio the reigns to lead them once again.

““They’ve been here and they love the bright lights,” smiled Robak. “That’s experience. They’ve been in big games and not just in basketball. They’re seniors and they’ve been successful in a lot of sports.”

The Lakers’ length and experience were the key factors in the win. WOLL dominated the boards, unlike the last time they met in late February.

“We made an adjustment at halftime with one of our defensive sets,” offered Robak. “We thought our defense was pretty good in the first half, but we wanted to make one more adjustment. We wanted to slow down some of their passing angles because they are a methodical team. That threw them off a little bit. Plus I think our length caused them some problems.”

In the first half, the two teams combined for 23 turnovers (13 against Cardinal Mooney, while Lakes was just 6-for-25 from the floor and Mooney 6-for-21.

The Cardinals took an early 8-2 lead on threes by sophomore Daniel Everhart and 6-foot-6 senior center Michael Proia. Lakes closed with a 7-3 run to go up 12-11 after the first period.

Mooney kept Lakes off the scoreboard for the first 5:33 of the second quarter, but hurt its own cause by not scoring a bucket for the final 5:38 of the quarter.

WOLL led 18-16 at the half.

Everhart finished with a game-high 17 points, draining four three-pointers, to go along with four rebounds, four steals and three assists for Cardinal Mooney (17-8). Proia added 10 points and five rebounds for the Cardinals, who only received seven bench points — all coming in the final minute.

“My kids have given me so much over the course of this season,” said Cardinal Mooney coach Michael McAndrews. “We gave them a battle. In the end, their length got to us. When they can put 6-4 and 6-5 guys on the wings, everything we had what we thought were good looks. Once you go against it, it’s tough when you have guards at 5-8.”

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