DE PERE — Eliza Campbell knows Allie LeClaire is the go-to player on the Notre Dame girls basketball team, but that doesn’t mean Campbell can’t once in a while upstage her teammate.
Thursday was one of those nights when Campbell took center stage and she showed, when on her game, Notre Dame might just be unbeatable.
The senior forward scored a game-high 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as the Tritons defeated rival De Pere, 46-33, to break a tie for second place in the Fox River Classic Conference.
“She made shots, got a lot of rebounds,” Notre Dame coach Sara Rohde said. “That’s what Eliza does, she does the little things. She had a really nice game.”
When the players reached the locker room, you could hear a celebration.
“It means a lot because De Pere obviously is one of the top teams in the conference,” said Campbell, a UW-Oshkosh recruit. “On top of that, I know a lot of the girls. I play with them in the summer.”
Campbell wasted no time in getting going. Off the first tip her sister, Olivia, threw an alley-oop pass that Eliza easily converted.
“I love that play,” Campbell said. “It’s just a good play to have. I like it because I can jump over them. It was the first time we executed it well (this season.)”
While Campbell sparked the Tritons, LeClaire played the role of role player. The Green Bay recruit handled the ball, looked for the open player and as usual just played a good floor game.
She ended up with 10 points, which is about 10 below her average, but that didn’t matter. Carli (seven points) and Kayla Borseth (five) combined for 12 points, so the Tritons had plenty of offensive options.
“I thought our girls came out confident tonight,” Rohde said. “Both Borseths just shooting it when they’re open and making it. Yeah, we definitely need that if we’re going to be successful.”
Added Campbell: “I knew I had to have a big game, but Kayla, Carly and Olivia, when they got going, that’s when we started clicking.
De Pere (10-4, 6-2) assistant coach Jeff Charney said it’s tough when LeClaire isn’t the only player scoring.
“It is,” Charney said. “Allie can score but she made those kids better. You have to kind of pick your poison.”
Notre Dame (12-1, 7-1), ranked No. 3 in the FOX 11 Top 11, remains one game behind Sheboygan North in the loss column in conference play, while De Pere dropped to second place. The Tritons knew a loss would likely doom their chance to at least share the league title.
“It’s big (to win) because I think De Pere can beat them,” Campbell said of North, which has to play at De Pere yet this season. “Our conference is very tight, so having big wins in big games is huge.”
“It was a really big conference game,” Rohde said. “I told our seniors they needed to step up. I thought this is the year we were the favorites and had to step up.”
After the game many members of each team gathered for a photo. While this is a rivalry, the players know each other, as Campbell said, so it’s a fun game to play.
“I’m really excited because I grew up watching Notre Dame play De Pere,” Campbell said. “On top of that, me knowing them. They’re a really good team. We know we have to come out and be ready to play.”
- Notes: The last time Notre Dame beat De Pere none of the current players were on varsity at the time of the game. Notre Dame beat De Pere, 53-39, Jan. 7, 2011. … Bailey Ryan led De Pere with 10 points. … Notre Dame outscored De Pere, 8-3, in the fourth quarter.
- Game ball: Campbell, who was tough to stop.
- Numbers game: 11 Points Campbell scored in the first quarter.
Follow Doug Ritchay in Twitter @dougritchay