Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes is back in business as the Lakers last week welcomed back Lauren Robak for the Catholic League C-D division playoffs and won two games to advance to the league title game.
The Lakers defeated Riverview Gabriel Richard, 47-42, at home on Thursday, Feb. 10 in a quarter-final game before following up with a 53-49 victory over Pontiac Notre Dame Prep in a semi-final game at Madonna University on Saturday, Feb. 12.
Next up for the Lakers (13-3) is another meeting with Marine City Cardinal Mooney in the Catholic League C-D Division title game at Calihan Hall on the campus of the University of Detroit Mercy on Sunday, Feb. 20.
Our Lady is the two-time defending C-D division champion and this season will mark the fourth straight championship game appearance for the Lakers, and the third straight season the Cardinals and Lakers have met for the division crown.
Cardinal Mooney won the C-D division in 2008 and shared the Catholic League East Division title with Our Lady this season after splitting two meetings, with the Cardinals defeating the Lakers on Thursday, Feb. 3.
The Lakers were without Lauren Robak two weeks ago due to illness, but she returned this past week, although she wasn’t at 100 percent.
However, it was her effort off the bench that helped Our Lady survive Gabriel Richard, as she led the Lakers with 15 points, while her sister Lexie Robak had 14 points, including 4 three-pointers, and Carlee Cottrell had 10 points.
“Meghan Topolewski gave us great defensive effort as usual and made it hard on Richard’s ballhandlers with her defensive pressure,” said Our Lady Head Coach Steve Robak.
Our Lady led by 9 at halftime before Gabriel Richard cut the lead to one point in the fourth. However, the Lakers were able to pull away and hold on at home.
The Lakers then traveled to Madonna University to face Notre Dame Prep in the semifinals on Saturday, Feb. 12 and the outlook seemed dim for Our Lady, as it trailed 16-6 after the first quarter, 26-20 at halftime and 42-32 at the end of the third quarter.
“In the first half, we had some very good shots, but they weren’t falling for the most part and when we got to the free-throw line, we didn’t take advantage of it,” Coach Robak said.
But, the tide turned in the Lakers’ favor in the fourth quarter, as Notre Dame’s star point guard, Brooke Borowski, exited the game with 5 fouls.
Our Lady took advantage of her absence trailing by four, as Ava Doetsch, who also came back this past week from an ankle injury, stole the ball and scored on a layup to cut the lead to two.
Lauren Robak then gave Our Lady its first lead on a 3-pointer with one minute left in the game.
Our Lady kept up the pressure the rest of the way and was able to hold on for the thrilling victory.
Lauren Robak finished with 24 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter, and 8 rebounds, while Cottrell had 15 points and Doetsch had 6 rebounds and 4 steals.
“Notre Dame out-rebounded us and out-shot us from the floor and the free-throw line, but our girls never stopped playing hard and this was a great win for our group,” Coach Robak said. “We can really build on this win because we were down 14 points to a good team and fought back for the win.”
Our Lady played at Dearborn Divine Child on Tuesday, Feb. 15 after press time and will travel to Saginaw Nouvel Catholic tomorrow, Thursday, Feb. 17 before heading to Detroit Mercy for the Catholic League C-D Division title game against Cardinal Mooney on Sunday, Feb. 20.