Marquette Catholic is on quite a run in girls sports.
The Mohawks have sent someone, or a whole team, to the state tournament in track and field, golf, softball, cross country, volleyball and now basketball — all since last spring.
"I think the really big thing is growing up, all of our siblings went to state," Marquette senior Danielle Bender said. "You see that and know what it takes to get it done. It doesn't just come; you have to work to get it."
Marquette's senior class, responsible for much of the recent success, was given a push to excel, a trait they have passed down to teammates.
"I know our class has been really pushed to try our best in school and in sports," senior Kelsey Tebbe said. "That really helped us because that gave us the nerve to push the younger kids."
Heading into the postseason, the Mohawks (16-6) were favored to win all their games except the district final against Grundy Center. But the Mohawks pulled out a five-point win to advance to state for the second time in the past three years.
"Everyone knows that when districts come, anyone can win," senior Sarah Lampe said. "We don't think about whether we should or shouldn't win. We just go out and play our game."
Two years ago, Marquette won its first game at the state tournament and held a 12-point lead over Ar-We-Va of Westside in the semifinals before losing. The Mohawks' opponent in this year's opener at 11:45 a.m. Monday is 21-3 Ar-We-Va.
"It will really help with our nerves because we've been there and we know what it's all about," Lampe said.
"I wouldn't want to play anyone but Ar-We-Va," Bender said. "We all want our payback."
Lampe, Bender, Tebbe and senior Theresa Koos were members of the team that made school history two years ago, and they're looking to do it again.
"We know how it feels to win out there, and we want to get back there," Koos said.
"We also know how it feels to lose," Lampe said.
"We don't want to do that again," Koos said.
While the four obviously wanted to return to the state tournament their junior year, it was watching their crosstown rivals — Bellevue High School — advance to state that spurred on this return trip.
"Last year, we were at Wells Fargo watching and we were like, 'We will be here next year,'" Bender said. "That was our No. 1 goal."Now they've made it, so the most difficult part is over, but there's still work to do.
"Districts is the time when you work the hardest," Tebbe said. "State is the time to have fun, and still work hard."
So what are the Mohawks looking for Monday when they take the court?
"We want to win," Koos said.
"If we play our best and know we couldn't have done anything else and we still get beat, fine," Lampe said.
"We want to leave everything on the floor and know when we're done we couldn't have done anything else," Bender said. "That's what we said all season."
Marquette Catholic is on quite a run in girls sports.
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Interest in Ernst rises as his game does, too
The rising River King senior is spending the summer playing for the Iowa Barnstormers traveling basketball team. This weekend they're playing in the Fab48 tournament in Las Vegas.
Jones leaves UNO program
Jalen Jones is done with basketball — for now, anyway.
The 6-foot-5 Clinton High grad who had committed to play for Nebraska-Omaha, has left the program, and according to his Facebook page, has enrolled at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids.
The enrollment office at the community college confirmed that Jones was registered for classes this fall at Kirkwood. Kirkwood coach Bryan Petersen, a Clinton High graduate, declined to comment and gave no indication that Jones would play basketball for the Eagles this winter.
"College basketball isn't for everybody," Clinton coach Nick Lawrence said. "A little time away might do him some good."
Jones came home to Clinton after spending just a few days with the Mavericks, and enrolled to Kirkwood shortly thereafter.
Jones, the Herald's Player of the Year, averaged 19 points a game for the River Kings in his senior season and finished with the second-most rebounds with 160.
He shot 41 percent on the floor and 28 percent from 3-point territory. He committed to Omaha before last season started in October.
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