EAST LANSING — In a day of bad shooting, Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes conquered a scoreless second quarter Thursday night at the Breslin Center, rallying in the fourth for a 35-27 victory against Athens in the Class D semifinals.
“I know you didn’t ask me, but I was getting worried,” coach Steve Robak said before his team outscored the Lady Indians, 20-5, in the final 8 minutes. “That wasn’t the way we envisioned it might go.”
The Lakers, who scored 28 points in an overtime victory over Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart in the quarterfinals, went 14 minutes, 36 seconds without a point.
When senior Ava Doetsch finally scored with 4:50 left in the third, the three-time defending champs only trailed by five, 18-13, because Athens was having scoring troubles of its own.
Once Doetsch scored, Athens responded with free throws from Chantel Davenport (11 points) and a lay-up by Allysha Beal to increase the lead to 21-13. When Jessica Parry scored Lakes’ second basket of the half, the Lakers trailed by seven, 22-15, entering the fourth quarter.
Then the switch went off in the champions.
The Lakers scored seven straight points in 1:16 to tie the game, 22-22, on a lay-up by Anna Robb. And Lakes took the lead for good on a triple by Lexie Robak (13 points), 25-24.
“We just knew we had to come out and play our game and not worry about the other team,” Robak said. “I don’t know why we were nervous, but I guess we were.”
Four-year starters Doetsch and Robak have made a career winning state titles — including a soccer state title as freshmen, the seniors have four.
“In the huddle we just said let’s try to score,” said Doetsch, who scored eight points. “We were shooting our free throws and it was like ‘Hey, it’s like practice’ — a joke here or there.”
The Lakers’ press was no joke in the fourth quarter as they forced 11 turnovers.
“Our goal was to win the quarter and if we won the quarter we’d win the game,” said Athens coach Calvin Quist. “We didn’t handle their pressure in the fourth. From an X’s and O’s standpoint we didn’t put ourselves in position to handle their zone.”
Contact Perry A. Farrell: 313-222-2555 or email@example.com.