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Notre Dame loses bid for fourth consecutive state title 

By Rich Palzewic

Contributing Writer

Notre Dame Academy’s Sydney Whitehouse plays defense in the Tritons’ 60-52 loss to Pewaukee in the WIAA Division 2 state title game on March 9 at the Resch Center in Green Bay. Rich Palzewic photo 

ASHWAUBENON – In a battle of two of the state’s best girls’ basketball teams, this one didn’t disappoint.

Searching for state history, Notre Dame Academy came up just short in its quest for a fourth consecutive Division 2 state title after falling to No. 1-state 1-state-ranked Pewaukee, 60-52, at the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon on March 9. 

It was the third straight season the two teams met in the Division 2 title game. 

Both teams will play in the Division 1 ranks next season. 

The Pirates (29-1) began this season with an identical 60-52 victory over the Tritons (28-2). 

“A big shoutout to Pewaukee,” Notre Dame Coach Sara Rohde said after the loss. “They played well, and I don’t think it was our night.”

Notre Dame came out of the gates slow after the Pirates jumped out to a 12-2 lead early in the game. 

The Tritons’ Sydney Whitehouse kept her team in the game early by scoring eight points, only to see the Pewaukee bump its lead to 21-10. 

“We got into foul trouble early and had way too many turnovers,” Rohde said. “We were on our heels early and didn’t react the way we needed to. Pewaukee controlled the tempo, and we didn’t.” 

Notre Dame ended the game with 15 turnovers, which the Pirates turned into 21 points. 

After the slow start, Notre Dame seemed to calm down and got back into the game. 

The Tritons went on a 9-0 run to pull within 21-19 with 6:36 remaining before halftime. 

With the Pirates leading 26-23, Notre Dame’s Paige DeMoulin hit a three to tie the game. 

Pewaukee grabbed the momentum back and ended the first 18 minutes of play with a 6-0 surge to pull ahead 32-26 heading into halftime. 

The Pirates continued to roll after intermission by scoring 10 straight points to bump their lead to 42-26 – completing a 16-0 run spanning two halves. 

But Notre Dame didn’t go away quietly. 

From there, the Tritons scored 15 of the next 17 points to claw their way back, 44-41.

Trista Fayta scored six points during that span, while Kaia Waldorf added five.

After the Pirates went back up 53-45 with 3:54 remaining, Peyton Musial nailed a three-pointer, Waldorf added a bucket and Fayta had a steal and bucket to pull Notre Dame to within 53-52 with 2:31 remaining in the game. 

“As a player, you have to stay cool, calm and collective,” Fayta, an Illinois State commit, said. “It was a little frustrating (getting so close), but then we’d have a turnover, miss a shot and then Pewaukee would score. There are so many teams that don’t get this chance, so I feel fortunate we got to state again.” 

After pulling to within one, the Tritons wouldn’t score again, as Pewaukee ended the game by scoring the last seven points. 

Overall, Notre Dame shot 47.8% from the floor (22-46) but only attempted eight free throws, making four. 

The Pirates went to the line 23 times, converting 20 of those attempts (87%). 

“The (free-throw) discrepancy did affect us a bit, but I was proud of how hard my girls fought and got back into the game – they never gave up,” Rohde said. “We just couldn’t get over the hump. But, these seniors went 115-5 during their four years – that’s remarkable.” 

Fayta ended with 13 points, five assists and three steals to lead the Tritons. 

Waldorf added 11 points, while Whitehouse and Musial each added 10. 

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