GREEN BAY — The Notre Dame girls basketball team finished its regular season Thursday and if there were any questions if the Tritons are ready to defend their Division 2 state title, there aren’t anymore.
The Tritons dismantled Green Bay Southwest, 55-13, in a Fox River Classic Conference game, announcing they’re ready to make a bid at a repeat.
“I feel like our girls get nervous sometimes and don’t come out and play the way they’re capable of playing,” Notre Dame coach Sara Rohde said. “I thought we came out and played the way we’re capable of playing. I was very happy.
“I thought his would be a very good test before the tournament time.”
Rohde thought that because the last time these teams met Notre Dame got a late basket from Eliza Campbell to eke out a 37-35 win. This time, Allie LeClaire made sure no last-second heroics were needed.
LeClaire opened the game in take-over mode, scoring 13 first-quarter points and that set the tone. LeClaire finished with 26 points and in the process became the school’s all-time leading scorer for boys or girls basketball with 1,395 points (Tom Skaleski 1,387, Premontre).
“It’s pretty cool,” LeClaire said of breaking the record. “I look back at all the hard work I’ve put in. I feel like it’s finally starting to get noticed. My teammates and coaches put me in really great situations, so I guess it’s pretty cool.”
Key to LeClaire’s performance Thursday was her 3-point shooting, as she drained six treys.
“I’ve been working on my 3-point shot a lot, so I think that helped,” LeClaire said. “Just being confident and looking for the shot.”
LeClaire had help, too, as fellow senior Campbell added 16 points. Southwest (16-6, 11-5) witnessed when these two get going, it can be tough.
“When Allie’s aggressive and looks to shoot, she’s hard to stop,” Rohde said. “Eliza’s always pretty aggressive. Those two are a great combo.”
Rohde said the main reason her team played much better this time against Southwest was the offensive approach.
“I feel like at Southwest we always struggle,” Rohde said. “I think we changed it up a little bit offensively. We got our girls moving. I think that helped a lot. We just did a motion (offense).
“Our girls get stagnant sometimes against a zone and that wasn’t the case. We move, we’re better.”
Notre Dame (21-1, 15-1) is a No. 1 seed in the postseason and expectations are a third straight trip to the state tournament at the Resch Center. After Thursday’s performance, you can see why.
“We’re definitely excited,” LeClaire said. “We’ve grown a lot. We’re all really excited.”
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay