Find My Team >>

Log in to High School OT with one click using your favorite social network:
Log in using your High School OT account:

Wrong email/password combination.

Forgot password?

Register with High School OT using your favorite social network:
Register for a High School OT account using our web form.
Log In

Womens Basketball

4 sets of sisters power top girls team in Iowa

Published: 2013-02-05 11:19:21
Updated: 2013-02-05 11:19:21

Feb 5, 2013

You could say the girls on the Mediapolis High School basketball team are like sisters to each other. And there's a good chance you'd be right.

The Bullettes feature four sets of sisters on a team that is 20-1 and ranked seventh in Iowa for its class. That doesn't even count Aubrey Siegle and her sibling, Chloe, the team manager. The girls recently won their conference and could become the first Mediapolis squad since 1987 to earn a berth in the eight-team state tournament finals.

"You've played with them growing up, so you can guess what they're going to do. You know what kind of player they are," said senior Allison Hedges, whose sister Ashley is a freshman on the team. "You know what move they're going to make."

In fact, sibling intuition is often the best play in the Mediapolis playbook.

Post player Haley Hillyard recalled getting stuck in the corner with a pass thrown by her little sister, Heidi, during a recent practice. Haley figured that Heidi's next move was a sharp cut to the basket, even though Haley seemed boxed in. Without a word and barely a glance, Haley chucked it through heavy traffic and straight to Heidi for a layup.

Those kinds of moments happen quite a lot.

"It's great opportunity to see how they're alike in so many ways," said coach Todd Rogers. "But you can also see how they're different too, which is nice to see because they want to be their own individuals."

Mediapolis is a rural farming town of about 1,500 tucked in the southeast corner of the state, just west of the Mississippi River, with a quiet Main Street anchored by diners, a post office and the local paper. Despite its size, the town has always been something of a hotbed for girls basketball.

The school qualified for the state tournament in 6-on-6 basketball 21 times between 1962 and 1987 under coach Vernon McLearn, an Iowa legend. The atrium of the school, within sight of a pair of cornfields, is decorated with dozens of plaques and trophies celebrating the team's storied past, and the girls pass by that shrine every day on the way to the gym.

The game remains a vital part of the town's personality, and the girls on this year's team have been playing together for years. Unlike other teams, the Bullettes have often always had a sister there to push them past their comfort zone.

The girls insist that they hardly notice the fact that half the team is related to each other. But they also all believe that their sisters have made them much better players.

It doesn't stop at hoops, either. Four sets of these sisters play on the volleyball team, which made it all the way to the state semifinals. Three of the pairs are also cousins.

"We're each other's biggest criticizers. Like, if you're doing something wrong (we'd say), 'Well, you should have drove, you should have not done that.' We'll tell each other because we're sisters. Nobody else is going to say anything about it. So it's almost a good thing because you have someone who's (giving) you some advice." Haley Hillyard said.

According to Rachel Holsteen, living under the same roof also helps.

"They can get mad at you, but they have to get over it sometime," she said.

There's also no doubt that part of the team's personality is driven by sibling rivalry. But team unity isn't an issue with these girls, whose familiarity allowed them to transition seamlessly from volleyball to basketball season.

The Bullettes had their first game just 11 days after their last volleyball match. They won by 56 points. The team motto this year is "Together We Make it Rain."

"A couple of times when we've had a couple of sets of sisters on the floor at one time, it just seems like they do know we're they're at. Some of their passes, I wonder how in the world that pass got there. They know," Rogers said.

Though the team's leading scorer, Andrea Larson, doesn't have a sister on the team, five of the next six behind her in points are related. The Hillyards and Holsteens have each taken nearly the same number of shots and average roughly the same amount of points per night, and the nine sisters combine for roughly two-thirds of the team's scoring.

It all stems from what the girls describe as "one big family," and one they hope makes the three-hour drive to Des Moines together for the state tournament next month.

"Since I was little, my mom always told me, 'You're going to get along with your sister no matter what," Haley Hillyard said.



The Bullettes:


Follow Luke Meredith on Twitter:




This story is closed for comments.

Our Take
More Our Take
  1. ZachMayoHSOT: This got ugly quick. Clayton Comets score six runs in T3 and now lead Garner 8-0.
      — Thursday, April 24, 2014 7:34 PM
  2. ZachMayoHSOT: I'm at Garner tonight. Trojan baseball hosting the Clayton Comets and trailing 3-0 in T3.
      — Thursday, April 24, 2014 7:25 PM
  3. NickStevensHSOT: Congrats @principalcghsnc! RT @HighSchoolOT: Cardinal Gibbons principal Jason Curtis has been named the NCHSAA Principal of the Year.
      — Thursday, April 24, 2014 4:31 PM
  4. HighSchoolOT: Cardinal Gibbons principal Jason Curtis has been named the NCHSAA Principal of the Year.
      — Thursday, April 24, 2014 4:30 PM
  5. NickStevensHSOT: I think a fun story would be to get a few local HS golfers to teach me how to play golf. And by fun, I mean funny. Because I'm terrible. ⛳️
      — Thursday, April 24, 2014 12:11 PM
  6. HighSchoolOT: Exercises can help speed recovery from vision-related concussion symptoms
      — Thursday, April 24, 2014 12:03 PM
  7. ZachMayoHSOT: If only Clayton-Garner baseball could generate football-type levels of #MessageBoardMadness. Class would be much more entertaining today.
      — Thursday, April 24, 2014 11:30 AM
  8. NickStevensHSOT: Happy #roocup day! Today marks the day I add an extra 5-7 minutes to my commute to work just so I pass a Kangaroo. #addicted
      — Thursday, April 24, 2014 10:52 AM
  9. Chris__Edwards: RT @NCGridironNews: Deana King (@NCPreps) Needs alittle help getting the 2014 NC Prep Football Yearbook funded:
      — Thursday, April 24, 2014 10:50 AM
  10. ZachMayoHSOT: Don't look now, but Sanderson baseball is streaking.
      — Thursday, April 24, 2014 7:00 AM
  11. HSOTCap8: HERITAGE: Streaking Spartans rout Heritage on the diamond
      — Thursday, April 24, 2014 1:28 AM
  12. HSOTCap8: SANDERSON: Streaking Spartans rout Heritage on the diamond
      — Thursday, April 24, 2014 1:13 AM
  13. HighSchoolOT: Streaking Spartans rout Heritage on the diamond
      — Thursday, April 24, 2014 12:58 AM
  14. HighSchoolOT: RT @ZachMayoHSOT: Sanderson baseball made quick work of Heritage on Wednesday night. They've won 4 straight in the Cap8. READ:
      — Thursday, April 24, 2014 12:32 AM
  15. ZachMayoHSOT: Sanderson baseball made quick work of Heritage on Wednesday night. They've won 4 straight in the Cap8. READ:
      — Thursday, April 24, 2014 12:31 AM
  16. ZachMayoHSOT: I'm officially out of words to describe how good Wake County pitching is.
      — Wednesday, April 23, 2014 9:29 PM
  17. HighSchoolOT: RT @ZachMayoHSOT: BSB FINAL: Sanderson 8, Heritage 1. #hsotscores
      — Wednesday, April 23, 2014 9:17 PM
  18. ZachMayoHSOT: BSB FINAL: Sanderson 8, Heritage 1. #hsotscores
      — Wednesday, April 23, 2014 9:09 PM
  19. HighSchoolOT: Exercises can help speed recovery from vision-related concussion symptoms
      — Wednesday, April 23, 2014 9:01 PM
  20. ZachMayoHSOT: Things still going well for Sanderson baseball. Spartans lead Heritage 7-1 entering the seventh.
      — Wednesday, April 23, 2014 8:54 PM
  21. Chris__Edwards: Nothing frustrates me more than 18 holes on the golf course.
      — Wednesday, April 23, 2014 8:23 PM
  22. ZachMayoHSOT: Sanderson baseball scores five runs on four hits in the first against Heritage. So that's not a bad way to start.
      — Wednesday, April 23, 2014 7:14 PM
  23. Chris__Edwards: Watching the Cubs today... Seems like this game is a microcosm of the last 100 years. #WrigleyField100
      — Wednesday, April 23, 2014 5:40 PM
  24. Chris__Edwards: RT @Duke_BASE: 2014 Recruiting Class Spotlight: James McGhee - Baseball Recruiting Class Spotlight
      — Wednesday, April 23, 2014 5:16 PM
  25. Chris__Edwards: RT @Duke_BASE: Aggressive Approach Guides DUAA's Facility Growth -- #goduke
      — Wednesday, April 23, 2014 5:16 PM
  26. HighSchoolOT: RT @ADHSJagClub: Athletic activities are on as scheduled as of now. @JMBpreps @HighSchoolOT
      — Wednesday, April 23, 2014 11:38 AM
  27. HighSchoolOT: Due to a power outage, Athens Drive HS will close at 11:30 AM.
      — Wednesday, April 23, 2014 11:26 AM
  28. HighSchoolOT: We try. RT @Million_Clay: @HighSchoolOT dropped off
      — Wednesday, April 23, 2014 10:00 AM
  29. HighSchoolOT: STORY: Middle Creek beats Panther Creek 4-3 after trailing 3-0 in SWAC baseball:
      — Wednesday, April 23, 2014 9:52 AM
  30. HighSchoolOT: SLIDESHOW: Middle Creek rallied to beat Panther Creek in a SWAC baseball game 4-3:
      — Wednesday, April 23, 2014 9:49 AM
  31. HighSchoolOT: SLIDESHOW: Millbrook's boys LAX team hammered Garner 16-2 on Tuesday:
      — Wednesday, April 23, 2014 9:48 AM
  32. HighSchoolOT: SLIDESHOW: Apex defeated Athens Drive 7-4 in baseball yesterday (via @NickStevensHSOT):
      — Wednesday, April 23, 2014 9:48 AM
  33. HighSchoolOT: Apex downs Athens Drive in baseball, 7-4
      — Wednesday, April 23, 2014 12:26 AM
  34. HighSchoolOT: Late-game Mustangs pull through against Catamounts
      — Wednesday, April 23, 2014 12:26 AM
  35. HighSchoolOT: Millbrook boys lacrosse team hammers Garner, 16-2
      — Wednesday, April 23, 2014 12:26 AM
  36. HighSchoolOT: RT @ZachMayoHSOT: Trailing 3-0, @CREEK_BASEBALL rallied back to win an important SWAC game over @_Panther_Creek_ tonight. STORY:
      — Tuesday, April 22, 2014 11:55 PM
  37. HighSchoolOT: @mattsholtis Thanks!
      — Tuesday, April 22, 2014 10:43 PM
  38. HighSchoolOT: Anyone have the Apex-Athens Drive baseball final from tonight?
      — Tuesday, April 22, 2014 10:42 PM
  39. HighSchoolOT: RT @NickStevensHSOT: I'll have pics from Apex-Athens BSB, Millbrook-Garner LAX, and Panther Ck-Middle Ck BSB on @HighSchoolOT later tonight.
      — Tuesday, April 22, 2014 10:03 PM
HighSchoolOT Forums
More HighSchoolOT Forums