WHS’s Sigel delivers on his promise
Inserted into the starting five for his senior year at Whittell High School, Bryan Sigel promised himself that he’d make the most of his final basketball season.
Sigel is a man of his word.
The 6-foot-3 power forward leads the Warriors with 15.5 points and six rebounds per game and is playing a major role in Whittell’s postseason revival.
“I’m just happy I’ve had a chance to shine this year,” Sigel said.
In addition, he’s been one of the more vocal Warriors in praising the fan turnout and enthusiasm this winter.
“He has a well-rounded player,” said Whittell coach Steve Maltase. “He can hit the outside shot, post up and he’s a slasher. As far as our league goes, he’s a tough matchup.”
His teammates respect those contributions along with his leadership.
“Bryan is awesome,” said Warrior freshman point guard Nick Summers. “He’s stepped it up being one of our leaders. Personally, he’s shown me a lot to do. He’s always pushing me in practice to do things right.”
But Sigel knows this talented young team can excel without him. Last Friday, Sigel only contributed two points, but the Warriors beat Incline 48-35 to clinch a spot in the division tournament for the first time since 1994.
“I have faith in my guys,” Sigel said. “I know these guys can do it without me. I just add a little aspect to the game.”
Sigel began to show his talent last season when Maltase routinely kept him on the court during the fourth quarter.
“He has more confidence,” Maltase said. “He had the talent last year, but he didn’t have as many opportunities as far as playing time.”
When Maltase needed to replace last year’s starting five, Sigel did everything to convince Maltase that be belonged in the lineup from the opening tip.
“He put in a lot of time in the off-season. He played spring ball,” Maltase said. “He’s worked very hard to improve his game … he’s similar to Nick in that manner.”
On Tuesday, as the Warriors were making their final preparations for Friday’s division playoff with Lovelock in Hawthorne, Sigel was working overtime on his free-throw shooting. A 79 percent shooter from the line when the season opened, Sigel’s average has slipped, and the flaw is bothering him.
“It’s a mental block right now,” Sigel said. “I always have confidence at the line when it comes to a close game, but it’s the other ones that I pick up during the game that are troubling me.”
Sigel’s free-throw shooting hasn’t reached Shaq-like proportions, and he has limited the number of pointers he accepts. Thus far, advice has come from Maltase, assistant coach John Summers, brother Ken Sigel and athletic director Larry Reilly. Sigel had a breakthrough with Reilly on Tuesday and is confident the worst is behind him.
“I’ve been working on it for months now,” he said. “I never fully extended my arm. I didn’t have confidence in my follow-through, so it fell short every time.”
Undoubtedly, Sigel will get a few opportunities at the line in the division playoff, considering Lovelock hasn’t been able to stop Whittell’s top gun. Sigel has scored 18 and 17 points in the teams’ two meetings this season.
“If we’re struggling with our shooting, he’s definitely the guy we’re going to pound it into,” Maltase said. “I don’t think they have anybody who can play him straight up.”
Sigel isn’t issuing any postseason promises. He’s just going to enjoy his team, the playing time and the fans while it lasts.
“It’s taken forever to get to this point. I’m so happy we’ve reached it,” Sigel said. “We already have a bus of fans loaded to go, so it will be just like a home game.”
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