Watching the final 3 minutes, 13 seconds of the Division 5 championship game from the bench wasn’t in Mary Sigler’s gameplan.
The Royals had to figure out a way to finish off Barneveld without their leading scorer after Sigler fouled out in the fourth quarter.
But the Royals found a way to hold off the Eagles as Assumption pulled out a 39-35 win to claim its first WIAA state title Saturday afternoon at the Resch Center.
“It’s was hard,” said Sigler, who scored nine points in the Royals’ 39-35 championship win over the Eagles. ” It’s hard sitting on the bench, especially in a big arena like this because you’re not used to it.
“I’ve been getting into foul trouble lately, and kind of expected it, but it was still hard to sit out,” Sigler added, who averaged 17 points per game this season.
The Royals’ go-to-girl got into early foul trouble, picking up her third personal early in the third quarter, forcing coach Joe Birkhauser to sit her for most of the period.
Seconds after Sigler hit a 3-pointer to put Assumption up 14-7 with 28 seconds left in the first quarter, she picked up her first personal foul.
By the time the half rolled around, the Royals had a comfortable 24-13 lead, Sigler had seven points and two fouls.
But at the 5:09 mark of the third, Sigler picked up her third foul and had to come out of the game with Assumption leading by nine points, 26-17.
The Eagles, who won state titles in 1995, 1998, 1999 and 2005, still trailed by seven at the end of the third quarter.
Barneveld started to chip away at Assumption’s lead only after Sigler picked up her fourth personal at 5:40 of the fourth quarter.
“It was hard not being able to do anything when they (Barneveld) made their run on us and tied it late in the game,” Sigler said.
The Royals still led by six, when Barneveld’s leading scorer, Rachel Slaney, scored her first points of the game, a long jump shot that closed the gap to 31-28.
That’s also when Barneveld began to put full court pressure on Assumption, forcing the Royals in to several turnovers.
“We were really nervous when Mary wasn’t on the court with us, but Hannah (Skibba) calmed us down and got us back to playing our game,” said freshman Gena Grundhoffer, who led the Royals with 10 points.
Added coach Joe Birkhauser, “There was a time when we had two freshmen a couple juniors and a senior, out there when Mary was on the bench and the girls came through. I’m proud of how they worked together and pulled out a big win.”
Sigler returned to the game midway through the fourth, but fouled out with 3:13 left in the game.
Grunhoffer came up big down the stretch, making four free throws and a put-back to breath new life into the Royals.
“It was awesome to see my teammates step up, especially a young freshman who hit some big shots,” Sigler said. “Gena had a huge role at the end and it was just an awesome feeling when the buzzer sounded.”