AP NEWS

If you talk it, better walk it

February 17, 2019

La PORTE — When star Marquette Catholic forward Sophia Nolan was asked about Northfield coach Melissa Allen’s comments about her team’s chances against the Blazers, she rolled her eyes with a hint of a smile after her 26-point performance helped end the Norsemen’s season at the La Porte Semistate on Saturday.

“I definitely don’t feel like we’re the underdog,” Allen said in an interview with The Herald-Argus earlier in the week. “We don’t have their experience of the last three years, but I’m very comfortable in how we’re going to come out Saturday. We’ve worked a long time to get where we’re at and we’re not going to just anybody take it away. Maybe it’s me being a little cocky, but there’s no reason we can’t come in and win the game.”

There’s an old expression that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson made famous during his time working for World Wrestling Entertainment as one of the company’s biggest stars.

Don’t sing it. Just bring it.

“We read that in the locker room before the game,” Nolan said on Allen’s comments. “I used that to fire me up and used it to fire us up. We all pulled together and used that to fire us up.”

Northfield brought everything they could against Nolan and the Blazers and it wasn’t enough, as Nolan scored 10 of her game-high 26 points in the final period and the top-ranked Blazers rolled on to their second straight state title game.

Blazers coach Katie Collignon said her girls used that as “an extra sense of motivation to get the job done.”

“They said something like we’re gonna have a rude awakening or something,” Nolan said. “They said they were gonna stop me. I had 26 points. They didn’t stop me. I’m sorry, but that made me mad. They said they were gonna shut us D-I players down and they didn’t.”

Sophia’s twin sister Emma echoed those comments with how much they both used the pre-game comments as a driving force in their victory on Saturday. “We were very surprised that some of those comments came from the coach,” Emma Nolan said. “We were obviously very fired up about that and just wanted to take care of business.”

The latter part of Emma’s words is the kicker in the situation and a callback to what Allen said earlier in the week.

“We’re not going to look to change. We’ll take it like it’s just another game, and hopefully take of business,” Allen said.

Check and mate.

“We read the newspaper article that got put out and that really pumped us up,” Blazers guard Morgan Crook said. “We were really ready for this game. It was so fun. We always know we’re gonna have a target on our back and newspaper articles like that just give us more fire and more motivation to do something like this.”

Job done. Business handled.

But, there’s one big game still left to go for the No. 1 Blazers next weekend in Indianapolis.

“I’m thrilled for our girls to go back-to-back,” Collignon said. “I’m hoping for the same result, but we gotta bring it. Games like this show us what we need to work on and I think it’ll be our best game yet come state time.”