West Bloomfield — Waterford Lakes has never played for a state championship in boy’s basketball. Now it is one step closer to avenging its heartbreaking semifinal loss from last year. It brushed off a miserable first half on offense to take down Catholic League rival Marine City Cardinal Mooney with a 52-46 win in a Class D quarterfinal Tuesday night.
Lakes (21-4) struggled mightily on offense in the first half, missing countless layups while the turnovers on both sides piled up. It didn’t score for the first five and a half minutes of the second quarter, but it forced 13 Cardinal Mooney turnovers while committing 10 of its own.
Cardinal Mooney scored just five second quarter points and didn’t score for the final four and a half minutes of the second frame.
After Lakes led 12-11 at the end of the first quarter, poor shooting sent the teams into halftime with Lakes leading, 18-16.
In the second half, Lakes turned the ball over just once while forcing seven more Cardinal Mooney turnovers. That led to easy baskets in transition, and this time around, Lakes didn’t miss.
“We felt like we were running really good actions (in the first half), but we couldn’t buy one,” Lakes coach Paul Robak said. “We wanted to start strong in the second half because we wanted to remove the pressure. Thankfully, we did.”
Cardinal Mooney (17-8) lived and died from 3-point range over the first three quarters. Four of its six field goals in the first half came from beyond the arc, where it shot 7-for-19 for the game. By the time it figured out how to get good looks at the rim with Michael Prioa (eight points), Lakes had already built a solid fourth-quarter lead.
The rejuvenation of the Lakes offense was led by Devin Senerius and Andrew Kline. Senerius scored a team-high 16 points, while Klein finished with 12 points, four steals and three blocks.
Kline’s ability to wreak havoc on the defensive end made him Mr. Everything for Lakes, who stretched a two-point halftime lead to eight entering the fourth quarter.
“It’s huge for everyone here, everyone’s been working real hard,” Kline said. “We just stuck with our game plan and coach told us the shots would start falling.”
Cardinal Mooney was led by Daniel Everhart with 16 points.
Lakes will meet Wyoming Tri-unity Christian in Thursday’s Class D semifinals.
Geoff Robinson is a freelance writer