- Associated Press - Friday, March 7, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Riley Kilbride scored 16 points and Burlington Notre Dame rallied from 12 down in the second half to beat Newell-Fonda 57-54 Friday night and win the Class 1A girls championship.

Kilbride sank the tie-breaking free throws with 11.8 seconds left, then stole the ball to deny Newell-Fonda a final shot at tying or winning the game. That left the top-ranked Mustangs as the state runner-up for the fifth time in five championship game appearances.

Kori Mesecher added 11 points and 13 rebounds for the third-ranked Nikes (24-3).

Season scoring leader Taylor Hickey was held to four points but contributed with five assists and five rebounds.

Claudia Larsen had 17 points and 14 rebounds for Newell-Fonda (24-3), which hurt itself by missing 14 of 25 free throws.

With Larsen scoring inside and guard Rene Maneman running the show, Newell-Fonda led 43-31 midway through the third quarter and appeared well on the way to ending its title game frustration, which included a 63-61 loss to Central Lyon in last year’s state finals.

But Notre Dame got back into the game with a 7-0 run late in the third quarter. It also held Newell-Fonda without a basket for the first 6:15 of the fourth quarter while opening a 54-47 lead, helped by 3-pointers from Kilbride and Courtney Coffin.

Newell-Fonda recovered to tie it at 54 on 3-pointers by Brianna Wells and Tayler Schrank.

But Kilbride drew a foul from Maneman as Notre Dame worked for a basket and made both free throws for a 56-54 lead. Then she made her big steal as Maneman tried to pass the ball into the post and Mesecher hit a free throw to finish it.

Maneman finished with 14 points, six assists and five rebounds and was voted captain of the all-tournament team.

Larsen, Wells, Hickey and Kilbride joined her on that unit, along with Janesville’s Victoria Leyh and Colo-Nesco’s Caitlyn Riese.

Notre Dame lost in the semifinals in its first state tournament appearance last year. It went all the way this time - at the expense of a frustrated Newell-Fonda team.

The Mustangs also finished second in 1997, 2000 and 2008.


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