It’s a moment that just seems fitting.
With senior guard Allie Schulte basketing 14 points along with Kinzi Cleavinger pitching in 13 points, Nazareth is heading back to San Antonio with a 56-37 victory over White Deer.
“It feels great,” Nazareth head coach Eric Schilling said. “This feeling never gets old. These players have been through this before. There’s no feeling of satisfaction. There are bigger and better things we are going at.”
For the Swiftettes, they will be gunning for their 21st state title for the program, with a bad taste after last year’s short run.
“We have a lot of revenge from last year,” said Schulte. “We have a bad taste in our mouth. We’re excited.”
Alongside Schulte and Cleavinger, Ellen Schilderink pitched in eight points and Abby Schmucker tallied seven.
White Deer had no players finish in double-figures. Alex Taylor recorded a team high nine points. Chancie King, Angela Parsley and Rylee Brown netted six points respectively.
The Does kept Nazareth on their toes in the early stages of the game, taking the early 3-2 lead.
Just like Paducah where the start was slightly slow, Nazareth was tested early, as expected with a determined White Deer squad.
The two teams traded the lead four times throughout the first quarter, as Nazareth held a 10-8 lead after a quarter of play.
To start the second, Nazareth found a rhythm offensively, sparking a 8-0 run in the first half of the quarter, courtesy of a Schulte and Cleavinger jumper and converted free throws from the senior and Hallie Kleman.
The Doe had an opportunity to knock on the Swiftettes door in the late stages of the quarter, but couldn’t convert free-throws as White Deer went three-for-five in a span of 105 seconds.
Going into the locker room with a 26-15 advantage, Nazareth elevated their gameplay to start the second half.
The Swiftettes rolled to a 12-1 run in the first five and a half minutes of the quarter, where Cleavinger pitched in seven during that span.
“It was very similar in our game the other night against McLean,” Schilling said. “Shots weren’t falling but we were playing good enough defensively to keep them at arm’s length.
Ever since that run, the Does struggled to find a rhythm on the offensive side, but had some good plays at times.
Parsley drained a three that stopped the Nazareth run, cutting the lead to 38-19 with about three minutes left in the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, more of the same would take place for the Swiftetettes. Schilderink netted a jumper that sparked a 6-0 run in the early stages that eventually put the game out of reach and punched Nazareth’s ticket to the state tournament for another successful year.
Nazareth will join Garden City, Dodd City and Slocum in the state tournament field with action starting on Thursday, March 2 at the Alamodome.
“It doesn’t matter who’s down there,” said Schilling. “Everyone is going after the same thing. The teams that are most prepared, the hungriest are the ones that come out on top.”