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Notre Dame girls reach third final four this school year

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 ~ Updated 12:23 AM

Six of the Notre Dame Regional High School basketball players reached the final four in the fall in softball and volleyball. From left are Allyson Bradshaw, Meghan Dohogne, Jane Morrill, Brianne Sanders, Summer Burger and Nicole Blattel. Notre Dame, which won the Class 3 title in softball and finished fourth in Class 3 volleyball, will play St. Dominic in the Class 4 basketball semifinals Friday in Columbia, Mo.
(Fred Lynch)
Entering their state semifinal game against St. Dominic on Friday at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Mo., more than half of the players on the Notre Dame girls basketball team are one step ahead of their coach.

"I mean, this is my first final four as a player, coach or anyone," Notre Dame coach Renee Peters said before her team's practice on Monday. "... I think they know it's a big deal."

Then again, big deal or not, Peters doesn't want to complicate the situation.

"It's also some games," she continued. "It's also a tournament. Basically, it's just a very glorified tournament at this point. ... You can't put a price tag on the experience they have."

Although none of her players have participated in the semifinals of the state basketball tournament before, six of them have already participated in Class 3 final fours this school year.

Notre Dame players, from left, Jane Morrill, Allyson Bradshaw, Katherine Blasiney and Kaelin Hale celebrate their win last week over Farmington in the Class 4 sectional.
(Fred Lynch)
Starters Jane Morrill and Summer Burger both played on Notre Dame's state championship softball team in the fall along with Brianne Sanders and Nicole Blattel.

Two other starters, Meghan Dohogne and Allyson Bradshaw, finished fourth in the state with the school's volleyball team.

"It's a great feeling," Morrill said. "As a senior, especially, it's just, like, to finish my career that way is amazing. It's the best way to go out -- on top."

Morrill, who has signed to play basketball at Arkansas State next season, said that making her first trip to a final four in basketball is different than her three trips to the softball final four, mostly because softball is something she plays to help pass the time until basketball season begins.

"Way different," Morrill said. "I mean I love softball. Softball is amazing, but basketball has always been my sport, and I guess it's that feeling of, 'Hey, this is my career as a basketball player and it's coming to this,' and it's great."

While the softball team entered the season having finished third in the state in 2007 and second in 2008, the basketball team hasn't made an appearance at the final four since winning the state title in 2002.

"This one feels a little bit sweeter because in softball it was kind of like we were expected to go, whereas this year in basketball I don't think people had as much trust in us," sophomore Summer Burger said.

While the expectations may have been a bit lower to the begin the season, the Bulldogs will enter the final four as the second-ranked team in the state. No. 1 Webb City will join them in Columbia, Mo.

The Notre Dame volleyball team had to defeat De Soto, the second-ranked team in the state at the time, just to advance to quarterfinals and earn a surprise trip to the final four.

The Bulldogs won just one game at the state tournament on their way to a fourth-place finish.

Dohogne, a senior, and Bradshaw, a junior, were the two leading attackers on that team and now have a chance for a final four do-over.

"We've talked about it," Dohogne said. "We just say we got to work hard and maybe this will come out a little better than last time."

Not that she has any regrets about leading Notre Dame to the state semifinals in volleyball for the first time since 2003.

"Looking back on it, I just think about how that was what we worked for and we got there and all the time I spent with my friends," Dohogne said. "It was just a unique, awesome experience. There was nothing ever like that. The competition was so great."

And now she gets to live that experience all over again with a new set of teammates.

"People have been telling us not to get used to it," Burger said. "It's not just another day in paradise because you do have to work for it and it's not an opportunity that's just given to you."

Of course, with the boys soccer team also making a state appearance in the fall and the school's baseball team winning the state championship last spring, Notre Dame athletes aren't exactly unfamiliar with the territory.

"At this school it just seems like everybody's always going to state," Morrill said, "but then you think about it and it's like, 'Hey, not very many people get to do this.' I'm lucky."

Morrill said she looked forward to the ritual of ordering blue T-shirts commemorating a trip to state, the upcoming school assembly to wish the team good luck and, of course, the chance to win another championship ring.

"It's a way to go out on top," Morrill said. "We just want to go and play our best and just do everything we can to be the team on top. Of course, everybody is going to try to do that, so we're just going to play hard and do what's right."

Dohogne said she couldn't think of a better way to cap her high school career than to accept a state trophy with a smile on her face rather than tears in her eyes.

"That would make it," she said. "That's what we work for, and that would be the perfect ending to a good season."

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The State of Missouri is talking about having to cut MILLIONS of dollars in public school funding, yet Notre Dame probably spent around 400,000 on their athletic programs alone last year, and probably didn't use but half their own money, due to donations and such. So it would be news if they DIDN'T go to state multiple times.

-- Posted by 6+4+3=2 on Tue, Mar 9, 2010, at 8:37 AM

Great job girls! You deserve it. Good luck to you.

-- Posted by lseed on Tue, Mar 9, 2010, at 8:58 AM

6+4+3=2---The biggest difference between ND and other local schools is the work ethic of their athletes..They are committed to winning and have built a tradition of pride and I am a Central fan not ND. I see those kids at the gym regularly working out and training while Central kids are texting and playing xbox live...There is just a difference in training NOT money spent on the program. Just my observation

-- Posted by bulletman on Tue, Mar 9, 2010, at 9:42 AM

I agree bulletman!!! Remember everyone, that there is now a state multiplier to ALL private high schools! These kids have to work harder, because they are outnumber in student body numbers (witout multiplier)... Mshsaa wanted to make it fair and the the private school kids have stepped up to the plate and OUT WORKED the others... GREAT JOB ND!!

-- Posted by jackson23 on Tue, Mar 9, 2010, at 11:06 AM

6+4+3=2: I went to a high school where very little was spent on sports programs (Public School, Class 1). Went to state 3x in volleyball while in high school. We had the oldest volleyballs and most outdated uniforms of any team we met in state. We were probably the only school in Class 1 with a gym floor made of hard tiles. The hard tiles didn't give when you dove for a ball or do much for vertical leaps.

Dollars spent on sports doesn't equal to state championships or trips to the final four. Dedicated, hard-working, talented athletes and coaches equal final four. Sure, it's nice to have quality equipment and facilities and high paid coaches, but still, it doesn't equal final four trips!

-- Posted by bargal on Tue, Mar 9, 2010, at 12:15 PM

Notre Dame girls have worked hard to reach state,the main problem of Notre Dame is the playing of favorites over players who don't have pull,this is common in little league where a parent coaches so his(her)child gets to play regardless of ability,but seldom seen in high school.I admire all the girls on Notre Dame,they have a lot of talent and work hard,all are very deserving to win state,and I hope they do.May the best team be on the court,

-- Posted by semohogandfern on Tue, Mar 9, 2010, at 12:23 PM

It's not just work ethic. Private schools enjoy long-time (not highly-paid) coaches who want to be there, not ones just travelling through till better oppurtunities arise. A high percentage of Notre Dame coaches graduated from Notre Dame.(Although this is not always a good thing, as bad coaches are allowed to stay). Private schools get more kids who did travelling sports leading up to high school; Generally speaking, and speaking of percentages only, private school kids have much better parental involvement.

-- Posted by f/k/a/__silk on Tue, Mar 9, 2010, at 12:37 PM

The teams that hit the court for this team are the best, not the one's whos parents have the most pull.

-- Posted by semo2014 on Tue, Mar 9, 2010, at 12:39 PM

Great thing about Notre Dame final fours this year is the contribution of the sophomores. softball had 3 start; volleyball 2; basketball 2. soccer will have 2-3. Jackson and St. Vincent Perryville have great sophomre clases also.

-- Posted by f/k/a/__silk on Tue, Mar 9, 2010, at 12:44 PM

f/k/a/_silk--- you make it seem as if sophomores do everything... i'm not saying they aren't good, but give credit where credit is needed and that's to ALL! the players, not just sophomores Good Luck Lady Bulldogs!

-- Posted by NDbulldog32 on Tue, Mar 9, 2010, at 1:06 PM

Ok...this is a bit of a reach...but to say that Private School kids work harder...have a work ethic that is different than others is just silly. Do you honestly believe that?

Do you honestly believe that Private School kids have more parental involvement? Do you really believe that you serve as the model for all things on and off the field for us "others". That attitude makes me sick. I just wish there was someway to bring people who think that way back down from orbit.

The multiplier is a joke...1.35x when the talent pool has no boundries? This is a tired arguement...public schools are going to be at a disadvantage until MSHAA wakes up and realizes that in spite of all the good reasons to go to a private school...when a private school decides to make athletics one...not the only one...but one of the most important pillars of their educational offering that they are unstoppable in reach and represent a regional talent drain.

I am sorry, but that is just the facts...it isn't something that the administration of the school promotes, it is a by-product of the "extras" that private schools can take advantage of versus the restricitions on public schools and the rules that they must adhere to due to a different classification. These "extras" are their own recruiting tool and unfortunately it is something that is independent of the school's administration, but something that you call..."parental involvement". It is so painfully obvious to anyone and everyone that doesn't benefit from it.

Let me be clear. I am not saying it is wrong...it is what it is. What I am saying is that it is not a level playing field for these kids and because of that MSHAA should step up and do the right thing...private schools need their own classification for playoff scenarios. That is just the only way to really make it fair. I don't care if you have 200 students at your school and play in a 6A brackett...if it is the best 200...it won't make a difference.

Please people, be objective with your comments

-- Posted by bam79 on Tue, Mar 9, 2010, at 2:01 PM

Bam--I won't respond to your multiplier arguement as I'm not that familiar with it, but I will say that I know for a fact that ND athletes outwork other schools in this area. I have had an athlete that went to Central and one on the way and there is no comparison..That doesn't mean that there aren't individual kids that work as hard as ND kids but as a TEAM they do work harder (than Central kids) and that is a fact. They have built a tradition that doesn't exist at Cape Central..It's the same way that Jackson Football used to be.

-- Posted by bulletman on Tue, Mar 9, 2010, at 2:25 PM

Bam is correct. What you are seeing is not primarily the result of working harder it's the benefit of being able to get players from anywhere. If Farmington put a few players on their team from other local teams that are within fifteen minutes driving distance they would beat ND by double digits. It's not a matter of working harder, it's a matter of the 1.35 multiplier being woefully inadequate. Maybe all the ND players are from Cape, if so then that's great. But often times that's not the case. Villa Duchesne volleyball teams best player last year was from South Carolina. How's that for recruiting!

-- Posted by basketball1 on Tue, Mar 9, 2010, at 2:59 PM

Every sport at Notre Dame, including wrestling (which was enjoying its inaguaral year) all went to State this year. Congrats ND!! So proud of all of you.

-- Posted by EX_SID on Tue, Mar 9, 2010, at 3:36 PM

the reason ND does so well is tht they draw from a large pool of athletes. most schools may have 2 or 3 great athletes from there middle school. ND is taking those best 2 of 3 athletes from all the middle schools from northern cape county well into scott county because they are a "regional high school". The eighth grade basketball tournament is a nice recruiting tool showing off all of there grade A facilities. its a shame if they dont win their district in everything every year

-- Posted by NeverWasBeen on Tue, Mar 9, 2010, at 6:14 PM

It is amazing what envy makes a person say or do.Why must we cast a dark cloud over what these kids are accomplishing by being so negative.All the talk about recruiting.Take a look at the rosters of these teams and you will see names that have been around Notre Dame forever.I really hope that everyone who has or will attend Saxony gets use to this crap.Because once you start winning you will get it to.The price one must pay to try to provide a faith based education for your children.Then on top of that you have to listen to this garbage from people whose education you are paying for as well

-- Posted by gatsman on Tue, Mar 9, 2010, at 8:11 PM

You have'nt won it yet, lets see what happens this weekend.

-- Posted by slammer108 on Tue, Mar 9, 2010, at 9:40 PM

Gotta love the support of your community. I wish all teams from Southeast Missouri the best of luck. I also want to add a note thanking the Sikeston fans for their support Saturday at Farmington. They were there to support their team, but also wished ND the best of luck. There are some reasonable people out there.

-- Posted by lseed on Tue, Mar 9, 2010, at 9:59 PM

Wasnt saying ND's team went to final four because of sophomores. Just neat that they went despite the presence of so many sophomores. Obviously without seniors Reinagal in softball, Dohogne and Streiker in volleyball, and Morrell in basketball the teams dont make the final four. ALSO, to ex__sid , not all ND "teams" went to the final four.

Niether swimming team, nor girls cross country, nor wrestling "teams" made it. However, several individuals from those sports qualified for state.

-- Posted by f/k/a/__silk on Wed, Mar 10, 2010, at 7:33 AM

My two children both requested to attend ND.

I paid the full amount and they were not recruited.

The public school drove them to ND.

Talk about recuiting. In the plubic school they can label a student ld and you don"t have to make your grade point average. Talk about a free ride A couple years back a local plubic school had a basketball coach that had 6'6'' player coming out of St Louis. My son did not want to attend a school where a player was remove from school on Wed in handcuff and on the court (in the gym) Monday night.

Every school has good student and good teashers.

I have been on both sides of the fence.

Every school had their problems.

The thing that makes a big diffenence is when the kids or on the floor at Nd they play as a team. I when to basketball games at many local school before my child reach the 6th grade. I seen the difference. I am proud of my children wanting to attend ND.

-- Posted by stumpjummer on Wed, Mar 10, 2010, at 11:15 AM

bam79 rears his ugly head again. If you really want to know the difference between private and public schools its that private schools don't hide the fact that they are a regional school. If you want to attend ND and pay the tuition, they will not turn you away. Its the same at every other school in the area, however the public schools will hide the fact that they have "student/athletes" in their school from outside their "region". That's just the way it is. You can deny it or cry about it or whine about fairness all you want, but the simple fact is that private schools play in classes above their enrollment because they don't hide the fact that they are a regional school even though it's the same in every public school as well.

-- Posted by biggiesmalls on Wed, Mar 10, 2010, at 12:03 PM

biggiesmalls- you really said it! any school could recruit!!! if you move to a different school area to attend a school then that must be recruiting i guess... its funny how that works

as for the bulldogs Go Luck again! Wear your Blue and I'll see you at the games

-- Posted by NDbulldog32 on Wed, Mar 10, 2010, at 12:33 PM

Hey f/k/a/__silk ...if you re-read my post...I never said "teams"...but what difference does it make either way....don't be a debbie downer! Support these kids...don't cross hairs!

-- Posted by EX_SID on Wed, Mar 10, 2010, at 12:52 PM

I support all local teams, as we all should. I wanted Sikeston to beat Borgia, Jackson to beat Webster Groves, even Poplar Bluff to beat Incarnate Word. Problem is, too many local parents want to demonize ND, or demonize Central etc. Notre Dame should congradulated by all local fans, not belittled. They've accomplished something that no other school in Missouri has this year, final four in every girls team sport so far. Couldn't be prouder of them. Remember, even with multiplier, they still have to beat private schools out of St. Louis, and/or much bigger public schools. Tradition is the key.

Look at Delta girls basketball, or Leopold volleyball. Both public, both tremendous.

-- Posted by f/k/a/__silk on Wed, Mar 10, 2010, at 1:26 PM

To bball2010,if you would take a vote of the girls team, on who should be starting you would not have the same starting team,that has been starting,the players know who the starters should be,and who should be the main substitutes,but pull has way and better players don't get to start or the playing time that they deserve.It's a shame that these things happen,but it always occurs when someone with inside pull wants their son or daughter to play before a more talented player and pushes to do so.This occurs often,but not so much in high school,and being a private school I would think ND would rise above this pettyness but I don't think they will.As ND is from our area I hope they win state,the players deserve the tittle.

-- Posted by semohogandfern on Fri, Mar 12, 2010, at 7:54 AM

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