‘Dynamic duos’ distinguish themselves on prep, college levels

Lauren, right, and Ashley Henderson of Gabriel Richard in Riverview.

Where are they now?

That question came to mind with the induction last month of Ashley Henderson into the Catholic League Hall of Fame.

It was January 2011 when I filed a story — then, just the sixth in the beginning stages of writings for these pages that’s grown to 241 (but who’s keeping count?) — about a pair of sister student-athletes from the polar sides of the Metro area: down south in Riverview Gabriel Richard: Ashley (Class of 2014) and Lauren (2012) Henderson, and up north in Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes: Lauren (2011) and Lexi (2013) Robak.

These dynamic duos earned a stack of all-state and all-league honors for their stellar prep careers, leading their respective schools to new heights of championship glory. Ashley Henderson and Lauren Robak each reaped additional honors on the collegiate level.

The induction was an “overwhelming experience,” Ashley said. “I was able to end my career on a happy note.”

She and her sister Lauren, who dominated the backboards, combined for 41 points of the team’s 55 total to lead the Pioneers to the school’s first CHSL girls basketball championship in 2012.

“Playing together, on the floor at (Detroit Mercy’s) Calihan Hall, was a dream come true for us,” Ashley said.

In her senior year, Ashley sparked Richard to its first appearance in a state semi-final game — scoring 31 points in a quarterfinal contest, then following up with a career-best 32 points in a heartbreaking semi-final loss.

Sisters Lexia Robak, left, and Lauren Robak joke together before the start of the game against Foley, Thursday, Dec. 13.

Ashley also was a whiz in soccer, setting school career goal marks at both Richard (42) and at Saginaw Valley State University (40), where she received Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference honors three years in a row.

At Saginaw Valley, in practices and games, Ashley’s trademark was a fierce competitiveness. “I played with a chip on my shoulder,” she said. “Coming from a small school, no one could tell me that I couldn’t make it (in college). I never liked being last. If you’re not first, you’re last.”

In her induction remarks, Ashley paid tribute to Gabriel Richard: “It was a privilege going to a Catholic school. It meant a lot to me.”

The Robak sisters, coached by their father, Steve, who’s entering his 11th season on the sidelines this fall, led the Lakers to the top of the CHSL and Class D girls basketball mountain, winning three championships at each level. Both were long-distance sharpshooters, draining 392 three-point buckets — among the top 35 all-time in the state — between them: Lexi 232, Lauren 160.

Lauren Robak started her post-prep career at Oakland University, but was red-shirted by a hip injury. She transferred to Northwood University, where she made an immediate impact on the basketball scene, eventually scoring 1,456 points, nine shy of the school’s all-time record — an achievement that would certainly have been hers if not sidelined for 10 games with a stress fracture in her foot her junior year.

So, where are they now?

Lauren Henderson, 22, began an academic career at the University of Michigan, where she is in the pre-medicine program majoring in kinesiology. Ashley, 21, graduated from Saginaw Valley in May majoring in health science and communication arts. She “loves” her job at Insight Global in Southfield, a worldwide placement and staffing services company.

Lauren Robak, 24, has taken her business degree from Northwood to the sales department at Al Serra Chevrolet in Grand Blanc. Lexi Robak, 22, expects to graduate from Oakland in August with a marketing degree.

Don Horkey

Contact Don Horkey at [email protected]