Feb 27, 2022
DES MOINES — Even before they reached high school, South Central Calhoun seniors Sayer Steig and Addisyn Korleski made it their mission to play at the state basketball tournament.
When Emma Anderson joined the Titan program, she bought into the mission.
Tuesday night, the three seniors will fulfill that journey when South Central Calhoun meets Dike-New Hartford in the Class 2A quarterfinals at Wells Fargo Arena. Tip is scheduled for 6:45 p.m.
The Titans (19-5 overall) pulled off two upsets in regionals to reach the final eight for the first time since 2015. That included a thrilling 54-51 come-from-behind win over Sibley-Ocheyedan in the finals last week.
“Us seniors feel like we are on cloud nine,” Steig said. “It feels absolutely great to make it to state. I had so many emotions in those closing seconds (of the regional final).
“I was shocked because it didn’t seem so real. Seeing the tears and the smiles on the faces of the fans couldn’t have made me any happier.”
During the celebration, Steig found Korleski and the two embraced, remembering their previous trips to state as visitors.
“The moment I jumped into Addisyn’s arms was when I realized our hard work finally paid off,” Steig said. “We have been down to the state tournament before to watch. We knew that is where we wanted to play one day.
“It looked like a blast to be playing on that court. Now, we finally get to go and live that dream.”
South Central Calhoun was denied in the regional semifinals a year ago. That defeat, though, fueled the fire for this current run.
“Going to state is a dream come true,” Anderson said. “We came so close to the tournament last year and we all took it personally and worked extremely hard in the offseason. I’m so incredibly proud of the commitment, time and energy all the girls have made to making this possible.
“I feel like so many people doubted us; not for a second did I doubt these girls. Coach always tells us if we play together and as one that we can’t be beat. Everyone bought into that and seeing the results is when I knew we could be the team to make it to Wells Fargo.”
Juniors Riley Batta and Kylee Schleisman lead the Titans in scoring at 17 and 12 points per game. Steig is at 7.5 points, Anderson five and Korleski just over three.
“I’m so excited to share this moment with my classmates,” Anderson said. “Addisyn and Sayer are great senior leaders and I’m very honored to be part of the senior group. It’s the best feeling ever to play alongside your best friends, let alone accomplish something like this with them.”