Notre Dame Academy GBB rolling towards potential 3-peat

Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 9:51 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - We are now 10 years removed Notre Dame Academy’s first state title in girls basketball.

“10 years ago?” head coach Sara Rohde said. “That is crazy to think about. Like my assistant Eliza Campbell was on that first team. We were just reminiscing about that the other day. It is crazy to think about. But it’s still such a vivd memory at the same time.”

And since then? Coach Rohde has built a powerhouse program -- one that has claimed 4 gold balls in the last decade.

“I am happy with that, yes,” Rohde said.

“She is very competitive,” said junior Trista Fayta. “She is very good with us. She is pushing all of us to our limits and knows what we each can handle. I think that’s what makes her a good coach.”

“She is definitely intense, but we need that somtimes,” said senior Hope Barrington. “I remember when I was younger, I would look up to the players, know that would be me soon. And then it just seems like it went by so fast, being a senior and everything.”

“We have Sara to thank,” said junior Gracie Grzesk. “She does so much for our program. She is determined. And she is never satisfied. We are always wanting more.”

This year’s squad is filled with girls who have won 2 straight state titles, but they are always hungry for more. And with only one senior on the squad, the back-of-the-mind dream for this year’s juniors is to win 4.

“It would be incredible,” Fayta said. “I think it would be such a good thing to look back on, and to tell your kids eventually. But we will see.”

“I think we just need to focus on the now and not get too worried about the future,” Grzesk said.

The Tritons dropped their season opener to the team they met in last year’s championship: Pewaukee. But after that 1-point defeat in November, Notre Dame has won 16 straight games. And they’ve won their last 10, all by at least 45 points, not allowing a single foe to even reach 40 in that span.

“I did not know that,” Barrington said. “I guess that just shows how focused we are on defense.”

“Yeah, 100 percent we take pride in that,” Rohde said. “We can’t be lazy. We can’t take anything for granted. And we are just trying to get better every game.”

“I think our mindset coming into games is just to dominate either way, whether it is good competition or not,” Fayta said. “Anyone could play a good came, come out of nowhere and beat us.”

“It has been fun,” Grzesk said. “I think we really have impoved a lot over these last couple months compared to the beginning of the season.”

“We put the ball in the basket,” Rohde said. “That is one thing I have noticed this year. We can score better than any team I have coached. That is what sets this team apart from other teams.”

Amidst a long regular season awaiting elite competition in the playoffs, the Tritons are finding ways to heighten competition.

“We definitely focus on defense,” Barrington said. “We find their top few players. We look at how many they are averaging a game and try to cut that in half. So then we have little defensive goals like that.”

“That’s just a good goal for all of us to work on,” Fayta said. “Especially if we want to make it back to state.”

“I think it gives competition for us,” said Grzesk. “It makes us strive to be better.”

Only 2 programs have more girls basketball state titles than these Tritons. And only 3 coaches have more than Rohde’s 4.