Newman Catholic returns to state tournament for second straight season

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- After defeating Wausaukee in their sectional final matchup Saturday, the Newman Catholic girls' basketball team is headed back to the Resch Center in Green Bay for the second year in a row.

The third seeded Cardinals will take on second seeded, undefeated Clayton Friday morning.

The Bears will be making their fourth straight state tournament appearance.

Both teams competed in, and lost their semifinal matchups last season.

Newman head coach Jason Vanden Elzen said the team is using last year's loss as fuel for the fire.

"We've been trying to use it as a stepping stone. We know what we're capable of with teams like Black Hawk and the things that we're capable of here. We need to rise to the occasion," Vanden Elzen said.

"I mean, since we got there last year we kind of had a hard game when we went there," junior Lauren Shields added. "It's been in the back of our minds and its kind of been the goal the whole season. Especially having one lone senior and trying to get her back to state was definitely in our mind."

Last year's experience can only benefit the team.

"It helps a lot," junior Julia Seidel said. "Everyone is returning except for two seniors. Just the experience last year, we started off kind of flustered and not really set in. So just having that experience and being used to the court is definitely going to help when we go down there this year."

Mackenzie Krach, the team's lone senior, said a trip to Green Bay is the best way to finish her season.

"It's my last time ever being at the Resch and it's a bittersweet feeling, ending it there. I couldn't imagine a better way to finish my career here," Krach said.

Newman's game with Clayton is set to tip around 10:45 am Friday.