Burlington Notre Dame found a way after trailing by double digits and rallied to win the Class 1A state championship.
Riley Kilbride scored 16 points and sank the tie-breaking free throws with 11.8 seconds left as third-ranked Notre Dame beat No. 1 Newell-Fonda 57-54 in a tense, back-and-forth title game.
Notre Dame lost in the semifinals in its first state tournament appearance last year, then won it all in its second try. Newell-Fonda finished as the runner-up for the fifth time and is still looking for its first championship.
Kori Mesecher added 11 points and 13 rebounds for the Nikes, who trailed 43-31 midway through the third quarter, and Emily Salvador had 10. Season scoring leader Taylor Hickey was held to four points but contributed with five assists and five rebounds.
Claudia Larsen led Newell-Fonda with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Rene Maneman added 14 points, six assists and five rebounds and was voted captain of the all-tournament team. Brianna Wells scored 12 points for the Mustangs, who lost to Central Lyon 63-61 in last year's title game.
Notre Dame got back into the game with a 7-0 run late in the third quarter, then held Newell-Fonda without a basket for the first 6:15 of the fourth quarter while opening a 54-47 lead.
Newell-Fonda tied it at 54 on 3-pointers by Wells and Tayler Schrank. But Kilbride drew a foul as Notre Dame worked for a basket and made both free throws for a 56-54 lead. Then she came up with a steal to thwart Newell-Fonda's attempt at a final shot and Mesecher made a free throw to finish it.
Both teams finish their outstanding seasons with 24-3 record.
Maneman was joined on the all-tournament team by Larsen, Hickey, Kilbride, Janesville's Victoria Leyh and Colo-Nesco's Caitlyn Riese.
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