It’s been eight years since Grafton won its first and only state championship over Linton-HMB 76-54. The word that comes to mind is domination when you compare this season to the Spoilers 2011-12 state championship season. Grafton’s average margin of victory in this year’s Region 2 tournament was 31.3 points and they won the title game over Thompson by 20 points. It’s been a season of domination for Laurie Sieben’s squad.
On paper, the No. 2-seeded Spoilers (21-3) have all the pieces to win a state title this season and they have no seniors on their roster. Grafton is led by junior Carlee Sieben who has been a four-year starter for the Spoilers. Carlee Sieben is averaging 19.6 points per game, 5.5 assists, 3.8 steals and 3.2 rebounds. She has one of the highest basketball IQ’s in Class B and is eager to show her skills at the state tournament level. If you haven’t seen Carlee Sieben play ladies and gentlemen, you’re in for a treat this weekend. The Spoilers are also paced by juniors Julia Dusek and Cassie Sieben. Dusek is averaging 13.2 points per game, 5.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.6 steals while Cassie Sieben has knocked down 45 3-pointers this season and extends the floor nicely for Grafton.
The Spoilers have a starting lineup that is a good mixture of younger and older players. Sophomore guard Reagan Hanson does a little bit of everything for Grafton and Laurie Sieben likes to tell people Hanson is the definition of grit. Hanson acts as a spark plug even though she starts. It just seems whenever she is involved on the court the Spoilers levels of effort go up a notch. The Spoilers also start another underclassmen in freshman Walker Demers. Demers is Grafton’s post presence and is phenomenal rim protector and has doubled her productivity from her eighth-grade season.
Interesting note: The Spoilers made a state tournament appearance in 2003 as a Class A team and lost in the first-round to Mandan. That was the last season Grafton was Class A.
State tournament prediction: Grafton has waited a long time for this opportunity. They’ve compiled a 76-20 record over the last four years and have had tough battles in the Region 2 tournament. This is the Spoilers year in my opinion. Carlee Sieben is one of the best players in Class B and good guard play is one of the things a state championship team must have. I predict a runner-up finish or better for Grafton. Laurie Sieben is one of the smartest coaches in Class B and has 26 years of coaching experience and has been Coach of the Year four times in her career. I believe Grafton has a very legit shot at winning the title Saturday night.
Carlee Sieben | Jr. | PG | 5-foot-7
Reagan Hanson | So. | G | 5-foot-8
Cassie Sieben | Jr. | G | 5-foot-10
Julia Dusek | Jr. | F | 6-foot-0
Walker Demers | Fr. | C | 6-foot-3