Sigler embraces role as role playerMarch 11, 2020
By COREY STOLZENBACH
LINCOLN CITY — Cole Sigler grabbed many headlines leading Heritage Hills to the Class 3A state championship during football season, but basketball season has been different.
The senior is averaging 7.5 points per game, having scored 188 on the team. Usually it’s the trio of junior Blake Sisley and seniors Murray Becher and Simon Scherry who fill the score sheet for the sectional champion Patriots. That contrasts from Sigler being the Heritage Hills star quarterback, rushing for more than 1,000 yards and totaling eight interceptions on defense this fall.
But Cole Sigler is a winner. He’s been through it all — both the highs and the lows. He knew how it felt in 2018 when the football team went undefeated in the regular season, only to lose in the sectional semifinal, and to be a starter on last year’s basketball team that lost in the sectional opener after losing just one game in the regular season.
That hasn’t been the case this year, though. Sigler won the Mental Attitude Award at state after leading the Patriots to their first sectional championship since 2014 and also a state runner-up finish.
He’s fourth in scoring behind Sisley, Becher and Scherry this season. His 57 deflections are second only to Scherry on the team, and he rounds out the top three with an average of three assists per game. Sigler’s play helped the Pats claim their first sectional championship on the hardwood since 2003.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Sigler said. “We’ve had a lot of success in football and basketball, and it’s just been a joy to be a part of my senior year here at Heritage Hills.”
Sigler believes his senior year success stems from a relentless work ethic and trying to be better than he was the day before. He and his teammates are all trying to take their game to the next level. Sigler aims to be a leader, to be positive and to encourage his teammates. It doesn’t bother him at all that he’s a role player in one sport after starring in another sport.
“Whether you’re the star or the role player, I’m just happy to be out here and contribute in any way I can and helping us get wins and whatever it takes to win,” he said. “I’ve said from day one I just want to win and win championships — whatever it takes to win.”
“We wouldn’t be the same team that we are without him, let’s put it that way,” Pats coach Nate Hawkins said.
Hawkins sees Sigler as a football player who plays basketball. He always plays hard and exudes toughness, which is exactly what the Pats need. The fourth-year coach also touted the passion and the leadership skills that Sigler brings, and struggled to find a word to describe someone who embodies all of his attributes.
He’ll give Sigler some tall tasks. Heritage Hills did not have Becher Dec. 13 when it welcomed North Posey. Sigler’s job that night? Guarding Josiah Ricketts, who joined the 2,000 point club this season. Ricketts scoring 27 points that night did not change Hawkins’ mind on how well he thinks Sigler guarded Ricketts, and the Pats came away with a 75-67 win in overtime. Sigler himself scored 17.
“I think if nothing else, more so what Cole did was wear him down a little bit because he was constantly chasing him, constantly chasing him,” he said. “...He forced Josiah to move and we really just kind of wore him down because in that fourth quarter and in that overtime period is when we really took advantage of North Posey and we were able to find a way to win that game. A lot of that had to do with Cole and his athleticism.”
Heritage Hills is ranked No. 2 in Class 3A, but is meeting No. 1 Silver Creek Saturday morning, and if the Pats win, they’ll either have to do with No. 3 Greensburg or host Washington inside the Hatchet House for the regional title.
Hawkins said Sigler will most likely be guarding junior Holden Groher because he’s a set shooter and basically the same type of player that Sigler is. The Pats will be dealing with junior Trey Kaufman, who is getting NCAA Division I attention, and Hawkins anticipates Sigler will have to help Sisley in dealing with Kaufman.
Only one team can advance to semistate. Two on Saturday gives Heritage Hills its first regional championship ever, which would add another layer to the success Sigler has enjoyed as a senior athlete.
“I think those guys just following along with them and being able to celebrate all those victories just kind of fueled their fire as they headed into this basketball season,” Hawkins said.
“I think everyone saw how much fun that was and now we got a chance to keep on doing it in basketball and everyone’s just really excited,” Sigler said.
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