Todd, Nikes Look to Shock #2 Marquette Catholic, Punch Ticket to State

Written by Nathan Bloechl on February 26, 2020

By: Nathan Bloechl — sports@kilj.com

(Photo Courtesy: Dan Hockett, West Burlington City)

KILJ — Notre Dame Nike girls’ basketball isn’t used to this feeling.

It’s only been three seasons since they last appeared in the Class 1A State Tournament, but it’s been three years too long for a program that’s recently reached the pinnacle.

Well, they’re on the precipice of greatness once again.

Tonight, the #11 Nikes travel to Pleasant Valley High School where they’ll battle top-seeded and second-ranked Marquette Catholic (22-1) to punch their ticket to the 2020 Tournament.

State champions in 2014, semifinalists in 13′, 15′ and 16′ and quarterfinalists’ in 17, Jim Myers bunch — a young bunch — is knocking on the door of another tournament appearance, one in which that has not been as easy, perhaps, as other years.

As with any young team — they roster four seniors — the long season grinded on the Nikes.

At the end of January and beginning of February, the Nikes dropped 3 of 5, falling to SEISC champion Mediapolis, ninth-ranked Van Buren and West Burlington.

Since that February 11th loss to West Burlington, Notre Dame has won three straight, all of which in dominating fashion; a 55-23 drubbing of WACO, a 71-25 blitz of Winfield-Mount Union and a 69-49 rout of Lone Tree.

Through it all has been the stellar play of senior wing Rylie Todd.

Todd, one of the elders stateswomen of the group, is second on the team with 10.1 points per game but has taken on more of a scoring load in the postseason averaging 15.6 points per game while connecting on 38% of her three points shots.

Also finding her rhythm has been sophomore Katy Stephens who has taken her game to the next level in the postseason, averaging a team-high 16.6 points per game.

They’ll need to continue that hot stretch tonight against the second-ranked Mohawks, who come in with a sparkling 22-1 ledger, with their lone loss coming in December to Maquoketa Valley.

Marquette Catholic has made the State Tournament two of the last four years, qualifying last season (semifinalist) and in 2016-17 where they were a quarterfinalist.

The Mohawks have dreams of hoisting a gold ball this year.

Notre Dame is hoping those dreams end tonight.

Tale of the Tape:

Who: #11 Burlington Notre Dame (20-4) vs. #2 Marquette Catholic (22-1)

Where: Pleasant Valley High School, Riverdale, Iowa

When: Wednesday (tonight), 7:00 p.m.

How to Listen: KILJ-FM 105.5 and kilj.com with Nathan Bloechl and Kent Bennett

What’s At Stake: A trip to the Class 1A State Basketball Tournament

BCMoore PredictionMarquette Catholic by 1