Prep Basketball

Girls' basketball notes: West Branch is back from hiatus, and the wins have resumed

Coach Jarod Tylee and the Bears were hit hard by COVID-19

West Branch Coach Jarod Tylee yells to his players during their girls' basketball state-tournament game last year. The B
West Branch Coach Jarod Tylee yells to his players during their girls’ basketball state-tournament game last year. The Bears are 13-1, having won four games in six days after a long idle stretch. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

Jarod Tylee had it. Some of his players had it.

“Between our boys and our girls programs, we were pushing 25 (COVID-19) cases,” said Tylee, girls’ basketball coach at West Branch.

Tylee had “all the symptoms” — a 102-degree temperature, a cough, body aches.

“It knocked me down hard for four or five days,” he said.

But Tylee is back, the Bears are back, and they’re playing like they never left.

After nearly three weeks between games, Class 2A second-rated West Branch has picked up where it left off, rattling off four victories in six days.

“We’re fortunate that we have an experienced team,” Tylee said. “Anything we were going to do wasn’t going to be new.”

In the four games back, the Bears (13-1 overall, 13-1 River Valley Conference) have allowed 33.3 points per outing.

“We’re defending really well,” Tylee said. “Defending and rebounding, those are two things we talk about a lot.”

Defense kept West Branch in the game Tuesday, when it shot just 2 of 19 and committed 13 turnovers in the first half, but recovered to defeat West Liberty, 46-39, at home.

As Tylee mentioned, the Bears are full of experience. Four starters are seniors, led by Bradley recruit Sasha Koenig, who is averaging 22.2 points per game. Classmate Taya Young adds 10.8 points per game, junior Delaynie Luneckas provides 10.9 points and 8.6 rebounds per contest.

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“We’re not as deep as we were last year. Our starters play more minutes this year,” Tylee said.

High-five for Sigourney

Two of Sigourney’s primary ball handlers are a freshman (Carly Goodwin) and a sophomore (Rain Barthelman).

In late-game situations, you’d never be able to tell.

The Savages have won six games by 10 points or less in their current 11-game winning streak, and the reward is a fifth consecutive South Iowa Cedar League East Division title.

“Our young guards have really taken care of the ball, and we’ve been executing down the stretch,” Sigourney Coach Zach Tremmel said.

The win streak has been highlighted by Monday’s 43-42 road upset of Class 1A No. 13 North Mahaska.

Sigourney is 16-3 overall, 12-2 in the SICL.

“At five years in a row, it hasn’t been just one group of kids,” Tremmel said.

Senior Kaylee Weber has been a major part of the last four titles, though. Weber is averaging 20.5 points and 10.3 rebounds, shooting 55 percent from the floor.

“She’s big and physical, and has played a lot for us since she was a freshman,” Tremmel said. “She draws so much attention. And since Christmas, our other players have been able to knock down shots around her.”

Waukon’s all-around ace

Annika Headington reached the 1,000-point plateau in Waukon’s victory over Decorah, but her fingerprints on the Indians’ success extend well beyond the scorebook.

A senior, Headington ranks third in the Northeast Iowa Conference in scoring (15.1 points per game), second in rebounds (7.9 per game), and first in both assists (4.8) and steals (4.1).

Waukon is 14-3.

Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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