Sometimes a basketball season is all about survival.
Waterford Lakes girls coach Steve Robak learned that lesson again during a 49-42 win at Pontiac Notre Dame Prep on Wednesday night.
“The biggest thing we’re facing right now is injuries,” Robak said. “We’ve got two starters out and two other contributors in (walking) boots. Depending on the day, we’re missing four or five girls.”
The missing include junior shooting guard Brooklyn Robak, Steve Robak’s niece and last season’s leading scorer.
Against Notre Dame (1-4), Robak’s daughter, Quinn, did her best to replace Brooklyn’s scoring, leading Lakes with 34 points.
“Quinn was getting to the basket early and getting to the free-throw line,” Steve Robak said. “We were up 19 at half, but they shadowed her in the third quarter and we entered the fourth with only a three-point lead. She scored 11 in the fourth when we really needed it. We had to put the ball in her hands, and she delivered.”
Lakes (3-3) couldn’t stop Justina Gaynor, who led Notre Dame with 20 points. Plus, several Lakes players were in danger of fouling out. An injury to Lakes wing Isabelle Kline in the third quarter further endangered the lead. Kline returned in the fourth and finished with 10 points.
“She (Kline) is one of our seniors and she knocked down a couple big threes,” Robak said. “All night we were trying to keep the ball in her and Quinn’s hands because we had a crew on the floor that just hadn’t had a lot of playing time.”
But relief is on the horizon for Robak. Brooklyn Robak is almost recovered from her concussion and the plan is for her to start practicing next week with a possible return to games in January along with the other missing starter, Lexi Koenig.
“Quinn’s (big) games are nice, but we’d like to be a lot more balanced in our offense,” Robak said.
Lakes’s next opportunity to achieve that balance will come on Jan. 6 when it begins Catholic League play at home against Madison Heights Bishop Foley (3-2), which finished second in its division last season behind Lakes.
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Eric Coughlin is a freelance writer.