In 6-foot-1, St. Charles North Reagan Sipla Combines the size of a post player with the skills of a goalkeeper. It makes it one of the toughest defensive encounters in the region.
But what does Sipla think?
“I would say I am a versatile ranger, especially at my height,” she said. “I can create shots for my teammates and I can create my own shots. It opens up a lot for my team.”
The junior guard showed off those traits Thursday in the Duquesne Conference’s 46-39 win in Batavia. Sibla scored 15 points, six rebounds, five rebounds and three assists.
North Stars coach: “She’s incredibly versatile” Mike Tomczak He said. “She is as long as you will find in this area. She has guard skills, but she has another size.
“What she does is get in a lot of lanes and deflect balls. Aggressively that’s where she makes her money. We ask her to do a lot of different things on both ends.”
However, much of Sipla’s responsibility comes from her defensive effort for St. Charles North (15-4, 6-1).
While she did not guard the Batavia Star Brooke Carlson Head to head, Sipla’s presence helped slow Carlson down.
After scoring 16 points in the first half to keep Batavia (12-8, 4-3) in the thick of things, Carlsson ended up with 20 points in the game.
“She’s the only player on our team who can play all three levels of defense comfortably,” said Tomczak. “But that speaks to its versatility.”
Batavia jumped out to an 11-1 lead but trailed 26-25 at halftime. Carlson was on fire, hitting five three-pointers.
“I knew it was tough,” Tomchak said. “I didn’t think she’d shoot 90% from three. It’s a credit to her. A lot of those shots were contested in the first half, but she hit them with a rhythm.
“I thought Brooke took her game to another level. Two years ago, she let the kid shoot. Now, she can hit you from every level.”
But the North Stars turned up the heat defensively to take control of the game.
St. Charles limited North Batavia to three points in the third quarter, pushing the lead to 40-28 after consecutive three-pointers from Alyssa Hughes And Katrina Stack.
“I thought we came out very strong in the second half,” Tomczak said. “To go out 11-1 on the road in a tough place to play, I mean, you’re going to have a long night. But we fought back.”
But Batavia did not back down. The Bulldogs opened the fourth quarter 9-0 and cut the deficit to 42-39.
The North Stars iced the win on the line. Hughes, who scored a team-high 16 points, and Cibla made a pair of free throws in the final minute.
“I thought we fought and played great in the fourth quarter,” Batavia coach said Kevin Jensen He said. “We had an attempt to hook her up. I was so proud of the girls. They fought like crazy.”
“Two more pictures come in, we do it a little better and limit the best two to one bucket less each, that’s all it takes.”
Sipla’s unique skill set stood out to Jensen, especially due to being 6-1.
“It’s more about vision,” Jensen said. “When you’re hitting the ball, when you’re passing the ball, even on the drive, if somebody’s guarding you and they’re 5-foot-8, they can be a pest.
“I feel like the longer you train, that’s the advantage. A girl can see and pass the pass over you the most. It’s a tough match.”
Paul Johnson is a freelance reporter at The Beacon-News.