Things are looking up for the Sibley-Ocheyedan girls basketball program
Led by two sophomores, the Sibley-Ocheyedan Generals are expecting better results in girls basketball.
SIBLEY, Iowa -- The Sibley-Ocheyedan High School girls basketball team is fun to watch now. Every time the Generals step onto the floor, they have a chance to win.
That wasn’t always the case.
Their last winning season was 2013, and for most of the seasons since then it’s been brutal. They were 0-22, in fact, for the 2018-19 campaign.
Last year, however, a light came on. Two lights, actually. Two freshmen -- the long and the short of it, you might say -- instilled the Generals with a fresh burst of energy. Madison Brouwer, a 6-footer capable of flourishing on every part of the floor, and Bria Wasmund, a quick 5-5 dynamo who can dribble, pass and shoot, came on the scene. The team lost its first eight games before Christmas last season, then went 8-6 after that.
Today, they’re angling for more.
“I think one of our goals should be to have a winning record,” said second-year head coach Steven Kellen.
Sibley-Ocheyedan won its first game of the season 59-54 over Boyden-Hull, then beat Sioux Center 42-31 on Tuesday to run its record to 2-0 (they were scheduled to play at Sheldon Friday night).
Brouwer and Wasmund are team leaders now, and they looked the part in Tuesday’s home win against Sioux Center, leading the squad in scoring with 18 and 10 points, respectively. Both called out signals to their teammates on the court. Occasionally, on defense, Brouwer -- who also brought the ball up on offense at times -- played the point, forcing the Warriors to pass over or around her rangy presence. Wasmund then, played near the basket, moving side to side on the baseline.
They make a great duo, but they both insist their teammates are just as important.
“It’s not us. It’s as a team, too,” said Brouwer, to which Wasmund heartily agreed.
Kellen concurs. “We can’t be at our full potential if somebody on our team isn’t at full potential,” and he’s quick to give credit to other players like senior 5-11 center Kelli Greenfield, junior wing Ariana Noonkester and 6-0 sophomore Marissa Ackerman. Several other Generals played well on Tuesday, defending the ball, grabbing key rebounds and making smart passes.
As for Wasmund and Brouwer, they say they’re still learning how to be leaders.
“Definitely still growing into it,” said Wasmund. “As a point guard, I didn’t really know what to expect (last season).”
The speed and aggressiveness at the varsity level had to be experienced in order to be understood.
“Definitely the ball pressure that is applied. It was definitely more physical than middle school,” Wasmund admitted.
Brouwer agreed. “I kind of feel like I’m still growing into it a bit. But I think it’ll come easier as we go into the year.”
Both sophomores, who are also top runners in the cross country program, love basketball. They played on summer teams and spent a lot of time in the gym working individually at their games.
Wasmund averaged 12.8 points a game as a freshman and dished out 103 assists. Kellen is impressed with her outstanding floor vision and describes her as “a one-girl press breaker” and a gym rat.
“It’s very hard to get her to take a day off,” he said.
Brouwer averaged 15.2 points and 9.9 rebounds last season, with 61 assists 66 steals and 43 blocks. She shot 48.5 percent from the floor.
“She’s a gamer. She’s long and she’s intimidating,” Kellen said.
Both of Sibley-Ocheyedan’s super sophomores are well acquainted with the program’s struggles through the second half of the last decade, and they looked forward to their opportunity to help improve the situation.
“Watching them when I was younger, I just thought, ‘Man, I want to work hard so we can turn this around,” said Wasmund.
The 2020-21 team, however, still needs to get better, said Kellen. “We need to improve on some facets of the game. We need to improve on the defensive end of the floor. I think last year we were concentrating mostly on just putting points on the board. I think the offense will kind of take care of itself, but we have to work on the defense.”
Win or lose, though, the Generals are trending in the right direction.