The Newman Catholic Girls basketball team won its second straight state title this past weekend and today we honor them as our collective Newsline 9 Athlete of the Week.
The Newman Catholic girls basketball team had high expectations this season and lived up to them. The Cardinals won the Division-V state championship this year after winning the Division-IV championship a year ago.
In their seven March wins, Newman's margin of victory has been an average of 42 points game. But even then they said this year has been harder because Newman is the defending champ.
"It never gets old, every time it's special," Coach Tom Weinkauf said. "It's probably a little more special because all year long, these kids have had a target on their backs."
"It's great to have back to back state championships, because this year we had a target on our back the whole year and everybody was giving us their best shot," said senior Therese Dlobik.
Newman absorbed those shots and found themselves in a familiar place… on top of the podium. The players say last year's title run was vital to this year's run. And they say what the younger kids learned this year will give Newman a good shot at three in a row.
"I think it's pretty good for them to be able to go to state last year and this year," said Senior Taylor Thomas. "Because now they know what the atmosphere is like and now they've got a taste for it, and now they'll want it even more."
"I think that experience is going to be very valuable, because now they've seen what it's like to play on that kohl center floor," Dlobik added. "And now they're going to work just as hard to be able to get back there."
Dlobik and Thomas are seniors and will be moving on next year, but they left a work ethic on remaining players that has the underclassmen confident in a third straight title.
"The senior class really pushed us, playing against them every day in practice, they've prepared us, and I think we're going to come back and do a three peat," junior Brianna Jehn said.
If a three peat were to happen, it will be without six seniors from this year's squad and with a bigger target on their backs.