Panthers fall to Peoria-Notre Dame but advance to play for Third Place

Wilmette, IL- The Regina Dominican Varsity Basketball Team fell to Peoria- Notre Dame in a hard fought match, and the Panthers will compete at 7:45 PM tonight for Third Place.

Peoria- Notre Dame overcame Regina Dominican 71-25 in the IHSA Final Four match-up on Thursday, February 29. The Panthers will play again tonight at 7:45 PM for third place which will be the teams 3rd appearance in over 20 years battling for the third place spot. 

Coach Bob Newton spoke to the press after the game, "We just lost to one of the best teams in the state- we want them to win it all. We want to lose to the champion and also be able to end our season with a win tonight." With two outgoing seniors, Jillian DeFranza and Olivia Fraterrigo emphasize the impact of winning for each other and for Payton Olszewski ‘24 and Maddie Witchger ‘24. “...the love that the seniors have for us and how much they trust us coming in our freshman year, and welcomed us, when we come back next we are going to want the win more not only for ourselves but for them.” said Olivia Fratterigo ‘26.

The varsity team has two current seniors, Payton Olszewski ‘24 and Maddie Witchger ‘24, who paved the way for the fairly young team to secure three regional titles in back-to-back-t0 back years, and sectional and super-sectional championships this season. The team has 6 freshmen/sophomores in a 8 player rotation with the leading scorers being Jillian DeFranza ‘26 10.4 ppg, Natalia Cerrado ‘26 7.5 ppg, and Olivia Fraterrigo 7.3 ppg. 

The Panthers brought the spirit of their home student section “The Panther Pit” with them to Normal, IL. Regina Dominican students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumnae made the trip down state to support the basketball team. 

“We are full of gratitude not just for our players but for all the students at Regina Dominican. They get to share in this, they are not just spectators. Their fingerprints are all over the trophies that we have won to get us to where we are today.” said Assistant Coach, Joe Fabianski. “We as a program are grateful to have the Regina Dominican student body as partners on this journey. The spirit of Regina Dominican is unmatched, and you won’t find that at any other school. If you want to see an example of that spirit, see the joy on our bench.”

The Panthers will compete for third place tonight at 7:45 PM at Redbird Arena in Normal, IL. A double header could quite possibly lead to an incredible comeback. 

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Rooted in the Dominican tradition, we challenge young women to be independent thinkers, relentless truth-seekers, and confident, compassionate leaders. Regina Dominican is located at 701 Locust Road in Wilmette, Illinois.

For more information, please contact us at 847.256.7660.