Melissa Lechlitner to Aimee Litka was a common theme in 2005.
And it was a main reason South Bend St. Joseph became the first South Bend school to ever win state in girls’ hoops.
Almost three years later, the two were in opposing uniforms, battling each other.
Litka is a junior at Valpo while Lechlitner is a sophomore at Notre Dame.
It was the second meeting between the two, but this year’s had more flair being in South Bend.
“It was kind of funny,” Lechlitner explained. “I saw a couple of my high school coaches in the stands and their wives. I’m sure it was nice for her to come here in front of the hometown crowd.”
This is the second time Litka, a junior, has played in South Bend. She saw limited action against Notre Dame as a freshman.
It was also the second time she has played against Lechlitner. The two faced off at Valpo a year ago.
But playing her former teammate in their hometown just blocks from their high school was truly special.
“It’s always a lot of fun playing against someone you played a couple of years with in high school,” Litka said. “We formed a lot of memories in high school winning a state championship and just being able to play against her was a really nice experience.”
Both had big games.
Litka scored a career-high 17. Lechlitner dished out a season-high seven assists.
Of course, Lechlitner won the major battle as the Irish won by 38 points.
She even won their one individual battle when covering Litka. Aimee went for a spin move and Melissa shut it down and forced a walk.
“It’s kind of funny, you guard someone so many times in practice you tend to know their tendencies a little bit,” Lechlitner joked.
“Yeh, she knows that is one of my moves,” Litka admitted with a smile on her face.
The night was extra special for Litka because she is now a starter.
Her coach considers her one of the team's hardest workers and someone who went the extra mile to become a team leader.
How hard does she work?
The evidence is right on her face—a black eye she received in practice last week. She says it looks a lot better now.
“All throughout my life I know nothing is handed to you,” Litka explained.
“It takes a lot of hard work to be a good player and I really focused on getting better. It’s gotten me to where I am today.”
Litka is averaging 12 points and 4.4 rebounds per game this season.
She and Lech will battle one more time next year at Valpo.