(WFRV) – Making it to the state tournament is an achievement, and especially this year.
“I mean all of our hard work has paid off. We haven’t even really known if we were going to have a season this year. So, being able to go all the way is pretty special,” said senior Sammy Opichka.
“Honestly everything we could get every game we were prepared for, you never know. I wouldn’t have expected it, but I’m really happy that we did,” said senior Georgia Gregoire.
State week is here for girls basketball. A milestone in itself considering where many schools, including Notre Dame, were at the beginning of the season. Just trying to get the season started, and holding on to hope they could reach that final week.
“I think any team that can make it through to this point, like we’ve talked about it, it is an accomplishment because there have been so many challenges, and adversities that have just been different. I mean, no fans, it’s been a really unique year,” said head coach Sara Rohde.
One big change this year is the venue, or in this case venues, for the state basketball tournaments. Due to the pandemic the annual girls tournament has been moved from the Resch Center to Menominee National Arena in Oshkosh, and the La Crosse Center out west for divisions two, four, and five.
That means the Tritons would have the shortest drive of any team that qualified for the state tournament. Now instead of a drive down the street to the Resch Center, they’re heading across the state to bring home gold.
“Definitely not what I envisioned. When you think to go to state you see yourself at the Resch, but it’s still the same thing, finding the energy. I wanted the first few games and there’s no one even in the gym before. I think it’s where we create our own team energy, and that’s when we come out and play our best,” said Gregoire.
Notre Dame could be considered the favorite to win in division two. This year they’ve proven themselves to be among the top teams in the state with wins over the likes of Appleton East, Hortonville, and most recently against Freedom in the sectional finals.
That competition helped get Notre Dame ready for the push to cap off a season for the history books with the program’s fourth WIAA state title.
“I think it means a lot more than any other year I mean, everyone’s going to remember this year. I think it was expected for our team to go this far with how the beginning of the season went and defeating all those division one teams Like, we just competed really well. So, getting this far, and I think it will definitely be the year to remember,” said Opichka.