Prior to this season’s Drury Southwest Invitational hosted at Notre Dame, the Immaculate Conception junior high girls basketball team had only played in two games.
However, this didn’t stop the Eagles from dominating the competition as they won each contest in the tournament by at least 26 points. Immaculate Conception out-scored their opponents by a combined total of 156-52 and won the Drury Southwest Invitational Championship with a 45-19 win over St. Ambrose-Chaffee on Sunday.
“I’ve coached most of them since about third grade, so that helps,” Immaculate Conception head coach Matt Rubel said. “We only get to practice once or twice a week and only have a few games.”
For anyone who follows basketball in Southeast Missouri, though, they wouldn’t be surprised by these outcomes if they looked at the Eagles roster. There they would find the names of two Rubels — Brie and Kate — who are the younger twin sisters of current Notre Dame stars senior Lexi and junior Tori Rubel.
“We handled only having played in two games before this tournament very well because we had experience with both those teams, and we had a lot of practices leading up to these games,” Brie said. “It’s nice be able to get these championships for the trophy case and contribute to that part before we leave.”
The Rubel Twins combined for 116 of Immaculate Conception’s 156 total points in the tournament (74.4%) as Kate averaged 24.3 points per game, while Brie finished with an average of 14.3 points per contest.
Brie and Kate already have a well-developed chemistry that makes them a dangerous duo as the two are always finding each other with the ball for easy scores.
“Brie is just kind of always there,” Kate said. “Whenever I get a rebound, I know she’s going straight down, and I know I’m giving it to her even if there’s someone coming.”
Brie added, “I just know she’s always taller than everyone pretty much, and that she will get those passes”
While Brie and Kate produce a majority of the Eagles scoring, they do everything else on the court just as well. Brie averaged the most assists (five per game) and steals (4.7), while Kate finished as the leader in rebounds (6.7) and blocks (1.3).
Brie Rubel recorded a double-double in the Eagles 58-23 semifinal win over St. Augustine with 18 points and 10 steals. She also recorded six assists, five rebounds and two 3-pointers.
Already standing at 6-foot, Kate Rubel led Immaculate Conception in scoring each game as she had a tournament-high 29 points in her team’s 53-10 win over Nell Holcomb in the first round. She followed that up with 28 points versus St. Augustine and lastly 16 against St. Ambrose-Chaffee.
Kate missed a majority of the third quarter of the championship game due to being in foul trouble, but she more than made her presence felt throughout. She dominated the boards with eight rebounds, stole the ball four times, dished out three assists and had one block.
“Kate’s instincts are very good both on offense and on defense,” Coach Rubel said. “She is extremely athletic and enjoys being athletic on the court. She does some things where I just kind of look over at my assistant and just kind of smile and say, ‘Boy, that was pretty.’”
Brie Rubel, who is 5-8, stepped up for Immaculate Conception when Kate was out with foul trouble. Brie finished second in scoring with 11 points, while also having three rebounds, three assists, three steals and blocking one shot.
“Brie is so quick, and now she’s starting to grow a little bit, too,” Coach Rubel said. “She used to always be the shortest on our team, but now she’s one of the tallest while still playing point guard and guarding the other team’s point guard.
“When she’s got the ball in her hands, I don’t even look at her because I know we’re getting the ball down the court. She takes the pressure off of everybody else.”
On top of following in the footsteps of Lexi and Tori, Brie and Kate’s father Coach Rubel was a 1,000-point scorer at Notre Dame. Brie and Kate’s aunts Ashley Millham and Lisa Nice won the Notre Dame girls basketball’s programs only state championship in 2002.
The Rubel Twins had two words to describe how it feels playing basketball in Southeast Missouri and having the last name “Rubel”: special and pressure.
“It’s also just kind of there,” Kate said. “You know you have all these people a part of you, and we have our little cousins coming up and everything. The name is just kind of there.”
When asked what makes Brie and Kate different from Lexi and Tori, Matt Rubel said, “They’ve been around the game a little bit more. They have probably been in the gym more, and they’re better freelancers, whereas Lexi and Tori regimented in a system for what we did. With Kate and Brie, we just turn them loose and say, ‘Go play,’ and I enjoy that more.”
To no one’s surprise, The Rubel Twins were both selected to the Drury Southwest Invitational All-Tournament Team as were two other members of Immaculate Conception: Aidyn O’Daniel and Lola Wunderlich.
All but three players who suited up scored for the Eagles in the title game versus St. Ambrose-Chaffee as O’Daniel finished as her team’s third-leading scorer with six points. She also produced a team-high four assists while pacing Kate in rebounds with five.
Wunderlich tied for the fourth-most points on Immaculate Conception with Syndey Essner at five apiece, and Wunderlich also had four rebounds, three assists and three steals on top of that.