Blogs > Burney's Bytes

Burney's Bytes will focus primarily on the local preps sports scene, but will also touch on some college and pro athletics, mostly in regards to athletes who hail and have played high school sports in Oakland County. My goal for the blog is to be conversational and anecdotal, a more relaxed and free formal take on high school athletics than you see in regular game day coverage.

Friday, January 15, 2010

New Look Lakers

The new look Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes girls basketball team appears to be just as dangerous as the old look Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes girls basketball. WOLL is currently 5-2, coming off a back-to-back wins over powerhouse opponents and looking lethal as ever. 
It hasn't been easy though. The Lakers have had to overcome several hurdles to be back on track to towards the type of season they had last year when they claimed district, regional, and CHSL Tournament championships. First, third-year head coach, Steve Robak, and his squad were hit hard by graduation.  Five seniors, including all-conference shooting guard, Allison Robb, rock-solid floor general, Jen Losiowski, and ace 3-point-assasin, Taryn Stevens, from the '09 team had to be replaced. Robb's presence in the Lakers' line-up was so invaluable, that her back injury in the state tournament probably prevented WOLL from reaching the Class D Final Four.
Then, if that wasn't bad enough, the Lakers top player, junior studstress, Lauren Robak (the coach's oldest daughter), suffered a broken hand in the team's opening game win back in December.
To fill in the gaps, coach Robak called in his reserves…aka "The Sisters of Powerful." Stepping into the starting line-up this season are freshman phenoms, Lexie Robak and Ava Doetch. Lexie is Lauren's younger sister and Ava is the younger sibling of starting all-conference center, Alexis Doetch. Both have been outstanding and aided much in the transition. As has junior point guard Megan Toplewski, who has admirably filled the shoes of Losiowski and is doing an excellent job of running the Lakers' offense. Freshman Hailey Howell looks like a future force to be reckoned with too and junior Farrah Nordman is a fireplug off the WOLL bench. The younger Robak and Doetch play much older than their respective 14 years might dictate.
Senior Alexis Doetch continues to be an intimidating presence in the paint and can be counted on for a double-double practically every time she hits the floor.
Oh, yeah, and then there's Lauren Robak. Back in the line-up as of last week and almost fully-rehabbed from her injury, this lady hoop queen does it all. Already committed to Oakland U just down from her house and arguably the best female bballer in all of Class C and D (not to mention most of Classes A and B to boot), Robak is the definition of a coldblooded killer on the court - a modern day prep version of George "The Iceman" Gervin. She scores in bunches and at all the right times.  She can hit from outside and mid-range. She can take it to the basket with the best of them and barely ever misses from the charity stripe (not only doesn't she miss free throws, she hardly ever hits anything but the bottom of the net with all her attempts). As a sophomore, Robak averaged 24 ppg and led the county. In a game last January, she went for 44 points. In the 2009 CHSL Tourney Final at Calihan Hall, she went for 36 points, 31 in the second half, in the Lakers come from behind defeat of MC Cardinal Mooney. It goes down as one of the all-time great post-season performances in the history of the state. With her team down eight late in regulation, she scored eight straight to force OT – this included a pair of free throws to tie and force the extra-session with 5 seconds left. In OT, she scored all nine of the Lakers points, including the game-winning lay-up on a perfectly placed pass from Topelewski with under 2 seconds on the clock.
Out for three games, Robak came back with reckless abandon, scoring 24 in her first full game back, as well as surpassing the 1000 point plateau in a Lakers win. Sporting momentum from climatic return, she helped lead WOLL to wins over a previously-unbeaten RO Shrine squad last Thursday and one against Cardinal Mooney this past Monday.
Once Robak is at full-playing capacity, which should be soon, and the rest of her capable and cagey supporting cast gel around her just like last year – which seems to be the direction things are headed – watch out, things could get really ugly for the Lakers' opponents. I'm seeing a very possible return to the quarters in store for WOLL this season and most-likely another CHSL title banner to hang in the gym. Coach Robak, his team, and the way they play, represent everything that is right and good about high school sports. They should all be very proud.


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