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Notre Dame handles Jackson to three-peat as conference regular season champions

Notre Dame sophomore guard Brie Rubel dribbles past Jackson junior guard Camryn Alsdorf during last Thursday’s rivalry game at the Event Center. Photo by Jay Forness

For the third winter in a row, the Notre Dame girls basketball team reigned supreme in the SEMO Conference by winning the regular-season championship for the third season in a row last Thursday night.

The Bulldogs (16-7, 8-0 SEMO) did so with a double-digit, 46-36 win over rival Jackson (12-8, 3-2) for what is now their 13th-straight victory over the Indians. Notre Dame hasn’t lost to Jackson since the 2018-19 season.

It was a close contest for the majority of the first quarter as Jackson even took the lead midway through. The Bulldogs only held a 12-9 lead entering the second quarter, but they outscored the Indians 14-8 before halftime to take a lead they’d hold onto for the rest of the night.

In what was a defensive battle, the usual suspects for Notre Dame sophomore post Nevaeh Lucious and sophomore guard Brie Rubel came up big in the rivalry game.

Lucious recorded a game-high seven blocks on top of her 10 points and six rebounds, while Rubel led all players in steals at five as she also came down with seven boards, scored four points and dished out four assists.

Another standout for the Bulldogs was junior forward Eliza Barnette, who recorded a double-double, posting a team-high 13 points and 14 rebounds. Barnette blocked one shot for Notre Dame as well to pace Lucious in the stat sheet, as did sophomores forward Kate Rubel and guard Mia Panton.

Kate Rubel finished with seven rebounds, six points (four shot attempts), three assists and two steals outside of her one blocked shot after missing much of the contest due to being in foul trouble with a total of four.

Rubel filled the stat sheet despite this as the referees called her for not one but two fouls in the first 30 seconds of the game. Lucious had four fouls called against her throughout the night, while not a single player for Jackson had more than three fouls called against them.

However, three Indians were called for three fouls apiece from the whistle-happy referee crew in guards junior Lillie Cole and sophomores Lily Watkins and Rachel Berger.

Scoring wise for Jackson, only senior guard Holland Guilliams (one foul) and junior guard Camryn Alsdorf (two fouls) scored more than five points with 12 and 10, respectively.

Guilliams was held scoreless in the fourth quarter, while Alsdorf scored a majority of her points (six) at the free-throw line. Holland scored three of her points from the charity stripe.

Notre Dame’s defense held the Indians starting post player junior Katy St. John to just two points, while fellow starters Berger and Watkins combined for seven with five and three, respectively. This final contest against Notre Dame this season was tied for the least amount of points Jackson has scored in a single game all winter.

Other key wins for the Bulldogs in conference play to secure a third consecutive SEMO Conference Regular Season Championship came over Kennett (18-4, 6-1 SEMO), Saxony Lutheran (15-7, 5-2) and Dexter (11-10, 2-4).

Against conference and Class 4 District 1 opponent Kennett, Notre Dame blew out the Indians 75-51 back on Jan. 22 at home.

Kate Rubel scored a career-high 24 points in the win while recording five rebounds, four assists, three blocks and two steals. The other half of the Rubel twins Brie and Lucious combined for 28 points with 12 and 16, respectively, as Brie also had a double-double with a game-high 11 steals along with six steals.

Lucious had another big outing in Notre Dame’s 29-point, 66-37 road win over Saxony Feb. 1. Nevaeh produced 17 points and five rebounds, while Barnette had a double-double at 10 points and 10 boards.

Lastly in a 66-39 win over Dexter on Feb. 5 at home, four Bulldogs recorded double-digit points as Brie Rubel led the way with a team-high 15 points (two 3-pointers), while she also recorded four assists.

Barnette produced yet another double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, while Kate Rubel scored 10 points and proceeded to fill the stat sheet with six assists, six steals, three blocks and three rebounds. Lucious was, of course, the other player for Notre Dame to score 10 points and also had four rebounds, four steals and blocked two shots.

Notre Dame only has two more regular-season games left on its schedule before the start of the district tournament. First the Bulldogs will face Cor Jesu Academy (13-8) this Friday at home and then travel to Westminster Christian Academy (4-17) next week on Tuesday.

Notre Dame will likely earn the No. 2 seed in the tournament behind undefeated Doniphan (21-0) since it fell to the Dons 55-53 in overtime Jan. 31 on the road. Luckily for the Bulldogs, though, they will be hosting this year’s district tournament, which is scheduled to begin in two weeks on Feb. 26.

Nick McNeal covers high school sports, college sports and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Cape Girardeau County for the past five years. He can be reached at cbjsports@socket. net.

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