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A few Bulldogs get their first experience at a state final four
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Notre Dame senior Katherine Blasiney and classmate Lacy Boeller were two of the few upperclassmen who had yet to make a trip to a final four.
"It's just amazing to make it here," Blasiney said after her team's loss in the Class 4 championship game Saturday at Mizzou Arena. "Everybody's come and gone from our school except for me and Lacy Boeller on the basketball team. Ever since the first day of practice, we've just been like, 'We want to make it there. We want to make it to Mizzou Arena.'"
Blasiney scored five points in the title game, including a crucial 3-pointer to narrow Webb City's lead to four points with less than five minutes remaining that led to an eruption in the Notre Dame crowd.
"Everybody stepped up this year to hit big shots to try to grab the lead," Blasiney said. "That was just really all I was trying to do, keep our team going, keep our motivation."
Sophomore Brooke Bohnert also got her first taste of final four action.
"It was my first time ever," she said. "It was great. It was a fun experience and it was probably the best because it was this group of girls. Everybody made it fun."
Summer Burger, who won a state title with the softball team in the fall, also said the basketball team enjoyed a special bond.
"Everybody is so goofy," Burger said. "Outside of basketball we're still really good friends and we just connect really well and have a really good team chemistry."
Those friendships won't be affected by a second-place finish.
"It's been a really great experience," Burger said. "Obviously if we would've gotten first it would've been a lot better, but nothing can take away being with the team and creating all of our memories."
It's never too soon
Notre Dame coach Renee Peters couldn't help but laugh a bit when she was asked about next year's team just minutes after the end of this season.
"When you look at it, on paper, we've got three starters coming back that have got final four experience, so that's not a bad thing to have happen," Peters said. "Next year the dynamics of our team are going to be a little different."
The Bulldogs will lose two interior players with the graduation of 6-foot-1 center Jane Morrill and 5-9 forward Meghan Dohogne.
"We've got Brooke [Bohnert] and Allyson Bradshaw back," Peters said. "Summer Burger got a lot of experience here at the end. We've got girls sitting on the bench getting experience. We were quick this year, but we're going to have to really rely on our speed next year."
Morrill and Bradshaw, a junior, accounted for two-thirds of the Bulldogs' scoring at the final four.
Bradshaw scored 44 points combined in the semifinal and championship games while Morrill had 33. The rest of the players on Notre Dame's roster combined to score 38 points.
Bohnert, Notre Dame's second-leading scorer, finished with nine points at the final four after averaging 12.5 points per game this season.
Dohogne on the boards
Dohogne entered the final four as the Bulldogs' second-leading rebounder, averaging 6.0 per game, but she led the team in that category in both games at Mizzou Arena.
Dohogne followed a game-high eight rebounds in her team's semifinal win over St. Dominic with 11 in the championship game.
Dohogne has a fourth-place state medal from volleyball this season to go with her second-place basketball medal.
"It's been awesome," Dohogne said of her career at Notre Dame. "Would've loved to go out with a win, but it happens. Overall I wouldn't take anything back, and it's been great."