The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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March 1, 2013

Mohawks sophomores ready to replace seniors

DES MOINES — Girls basketball teams from Marquette Catholic with Kelsey Tebbe, Danielle Bender, Theresa Koos and Sarah Lampe on the roster have two wins in two trips to Des Moines.

Mohawk teams without those four are winless in three trips.

Marquette sophomores Blake Banowetz and Nikki Blum are planning to change that.

“I’m more determined than upset,” Banowetz said after Wednesday’s semifinal loss to Newell-Fonda. “We have two more years to come back.”

Tebbe, Bender, Koos and Lampe were sophomores on a team dominated by seniors in 2011 when the Mohawks won their first game at the state tournament. They returned as seniors and doubled the school’s win total with an overtime win Monday in a quarterfinal.

This crop of sophomores is hoping to equal — or exceed — that feat.

“We’re going to come back both years,” Banowetz said.

“We’re going to work our butts off in the offseason,” Blum said.

That would be just fine with the current seniors.

“I know as a sophomore, we really looked up to our seniors,” Lampe said. “They really helped us grow as players. When we played at state with those four seniors, we thought, ‘Hey, why can’t we do this our senior year, too?’ I hope we put the drive in the underclassmen and the heart — well, they already have plenty of that. I just hope they set their goals high and they never give up until they reach them.”

The underclassmen learned plenty from these seniors, too.

“They showed us how to be determined and never give up,” Banowetz said. “They pushed us. Now we know what to do next year when we’ll be older.”

Blum said: “They definitely taught us it was a team sport. It takes more than one person to win the game.”

With only one junior — starter Grace Sieverding — on the roster, Blum and Banowetz — the most experienced of five sophomores on the roster — will likely have to take on bigger leadership roles.

They learned some tips for that from the seniors, as well.

“They’re always pumping us up,” Blum said. “When we’re down, they encourage us.

“On the court, they were always positive.”

Banowetz said: “They always believe in you. ... They helped you out. They’re just there for you. We’ll be there for everyone next year.”

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