GREEN BAY – She won’t remember Notre Dame’s state championship victory last year but Reese Rohde was a part of it and now it’s a part of her.
“We had the first name picked out and then once we did win state we decided,” Notre Dame’s girls basketball head coach Sara Rohde said. “And Golden it was.’
She was 8 months pregnant with Rece Golden Rohde when they were crowned Division 2 champions last season. Her players joked that she might go into labor during the title game – but Rohde didn’t and the Tritons beat DeForest, 52-42.
It was their second straight title but they’ve found defending their championship this time has been more challenging.
“I think they did doubt themselves a little bit, I think they lack a little bit of confidence and it’s helped that we’ve won some games now come tournament time,” she said. Notre Dame graduate two major contributors in Allie LeClaire – at UW-Green Bay now – and Eliza Campbell – at UW-Oshkosh. “But I think we all knew it was going to be harder.
The Tritons struggled for some of the regular season – they started 1-4 – they’ve come together for a postseason push. Notre Dame took down Ashwaubenon and then knocked off West De Pere on the road to advance to sectionals.
“Earlier in the year we didn’t know our roles and we were just trying to figure out who we were as a team. But as the season went on we got a lot better at that and especially now we’re playing real well,” said Olivia Campbell.
They’ve played more together, worked hard and figured out a way to win using the little things that they practice every day. They face Natisha Hiedeman and Green Bay-Southwest in the first game of sectionals Thursday night.
“It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come and I think we can do it so it would be really awesome if we could [win a third title],” Tess Gapinski said.
And what better gift for Rece Golden Rohde’s first birthday than a three peat and yet another golden ball for the Notre Dame trophy case.
“It’s a good balance either way, being pregnant or not pregnant, it’s still the same amount of work,” Rohde admitted. I love this time of year so it’s a good pressure.”