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St. Joe girls chasing a state title, their coach chasing history

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -

"I think they want it more than us," Assistant Coach Kristen Dockery said.

But flashback twelve years ago, Dockery, Melissa Lechlitner, and Sydney Smallbone all helped lead St. Joe to their first girls basketball state title, and now return this year to do it as coaches.

"It feels a lot different," Smallbone said.

Smallbone says her biggest challenge is getting her players to get their jitters out quickly.

"It might be the first couple of possessions that they're a little awestruck still but they've got to play through it and any big player who is on that stage needs to know, OK it's game time, now it's time to go to work," Smallbone said.

St. Joe will look to their seniors, Daly Sullivan, Nicole Konieczny, Savannah Scott, Killian Mountford, and Abby O'Connor, a group Smallbone says is on the cusp of greatness.

"Those girls want it, they were at a final four last year, they came very close last year, now is one step further, it's the last time they're going to put on that St. Joe uniform and that really needs to fuel them," Smallbone said.

It's a team chasing a dream, and a coach (Smallbone) chasing history. With the win, she would become the first woman ever to win a state title as a player and as a head coach.

"To be able to win in Indianapolis for a state title would be a special experience as a coach but for me it's about these kids and all the time, blood, sweat, and tears they've put into this season, we hope it pays off for them," Smallbone said.

"I can barely believe this is happening and it's a really great opportunity and I think it would be even more special in some ways to do it as a coach because I really think we're enjoying the moments," Dockery said.

The Lady Indians battle North Harrison Saturday at 6 pm at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

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