When hard work comes to fruition the rewards can be glistening. Such was absolutely the case as the Siegel Stars shined brightly in their sectional win in the boy’s class AAA TSSAA basketball tournament on March 8.
The goal of any team in the Tennessee state basketball playoffs is to make the state tournament. A trip to the Murphy Center in Murfreesboro means you have emerged as one of the best eight teams and have a chance at the golden trophy.
For a group of senior shooting Stars from Siegel (27-4), this was their final opportunity at a trip to the glass house on the campus of MTSU. Much to their credit, this bombastic bunch stepped up in a huge way while whipping Warren County 72-58.
“When this group came in as freshmen I knew they had a chance to be special,” says Siegel head coach Dyron Birdwell. “To their credit they put in the hard work and the time it takes to get better. They have matured as a team and to see them get the opportunity to make a trip to the glass house is very satisfying for our program. It’s very heartwarming to see their dedication pay off.”
Balanced scoring has been the strength of these Stars throughout the season and the Warren County win was no different. The three 1,000 point scorers on the roster certainly did their part as Jaylen Wetzel, Matthew Schneider, and Zion Swader each tickled the twine to the tune of 17. Fellow senior Martise Jackson tossed in 13 big points for good measure.
“The thing about this group is anyone in our starting lineup could be the leading scorer in the game,” says Birdwell. “We count on them all and they play so well together. They are an unselfish bunch and all make each other better.”
Now the quest continues as this prolific group of Stars will look to bring home the school’s first ever state title in basketball. No stranger to Tennessee’s elite eight, Siegel has made seven previous trips to Murphy Center (2005, 2006,2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014) but have yet to take home the big trophy. Getting to this spot has been the focus since this group first hit the hardwoods together four seasons ago. Now it is time to seal the deal.
“We will take a day or two and enjoy being the sectional champions,” says Birdwell. “But these kids have their sights set on bigger goals and we will get our feet back on the ground and concentrate on preparing for our first opponent.”
Siegel will take on Oak Ridge in the opening round on Thursday, March 18. Tip time is slated for 7pm on the MTSU campus.