Savages advance

Sigourney senior Kaylee Weber goes up for a shot in the paint during Class 1A regional girls basketball quarterfinal round action against Wayne at Sigourney High School. Weber followed up a 32-point, 17-rebound double-double in a postseason win over the Falcons with a 15-point, 18-rebound double-double in the 1A regional semifinals against Lenox at Clarke High School in Osceola.

SIGOURNEY — Win or lose, one thing was for certain on Tuesday night. 

For seniors like Kaylee Weber, it would be the final time to step on the home hardwood at Sigourney High School. Weber made it a night to remember, scoring 32 points while grabbing 17 rebounds in a dominant double-double that paved the way to an impressive 58-34 win over Wayne in the Class 1A girls basketball regional quarterfinals.

"I reminded the seniors this would their last competitive event in this gymnasium," Sigourney head girls basketball coach Zach Tremmel said. "Volleyball is done. All that's left at home this year are track and softball games.

"Let's not lose this last basketball game. We came out and played one of our best games of the year."

Weber overcame a slow start on Tuesday, racking up 13 points in the second quarter as Sigourney (18-5) dominated play on both ends of the court. While the program's sixth-ever 1,000-point scorer began to connect on lay-up after lay-up, Wayne could not hit a shot from the field managing just two free throws by Emily Jones as the Savages took a 27-10 lead into the halftime break.

"We just really picked up our game," Weber said. "Our passes were right on point. We didn't miss very many. My teammates saw I had the advantage in the post. They knew it and I knew it. I just had to do my work on the inside and my teammates helped push me to take it to that next level."

Weber scored high-percentage looks throughout the contest, hitting three more field goals than the entire team total of Wayne. The Falcons missed 31 of 41 shot attempts and held Emily Jones, the state's fourth-leading scorer, into nine misses on 14 field goal tries as part of an 18-point night for the state's top-scoring junior.

"She's had nights where she's gone for 40 points," Tremmel said of Jones. "We knew that would be their main focus. Between Joselyn (Abell) and Zoe (Webb), I told the girls they had 10 fouls to use, so use them. They used seven in the first half, which was kind of pushing it, but it took a team effort. She's a good player.

"Our goal was that, if we're going to get beat, we're going to make someone else beat us."

The team effort was also on full display on the offensive end. While Weber finished with the eye-popping numbers, it took pin-point passing and a lot of teamwork before the game to set up Weber's 13-18 shooting night from the field.

"I always have three people on me at practice trying to better me every day," Weber said. "My teammates know that if I get inside and I'm triple or quadruple-teamed, they're spotted up and ready to shoot the basketball.

"It's really about execution, especially from the younger players that push in practice every day."

Fellow senior Joselyn Abell would find Weber four times in the second quarter while adding 10 points in the paint for the Savages. Carly Goodwin, one of the freshmen that Weber referenced, added 10 points including a pair of 3-pointers from the perimeter.

Sigourney has now reached 18 wins in a season for the fifth straight year having hit that exact mark in each of the past three seasons. For the fifth time in the past six years, the Savages will compete in a regional semifinal facing 11th-ranked Lenox (19-3) on Friday night at Clarke High School in Osceola at 7 p.m.

"We've become a program that continues to set a tone for consistent success," Tremmel said. "When we get to the postseason, we tend to play well."

Lenox figures to test the Savages coming off a 66-40 win over Bluegrass Tournament champion Moravia on Tuesday. Cassidy Nelson led a balanced attack for the Tigers against the 14-9 Mohawks, scoring 18 points while collecting seven of Lenox's 13 steals in the postseason win.

"We didn't play very well in the first half of last year's regional semifinal against Springville, but that just fueled us to play a much better second half," Weber said. "We know we're gritty. We want to go further. We want to be the best that we can be."

— Scott Jackson can be reached at sjackson@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.

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