After falling short of the state tournament in recent years, Weeping Water is determined to end that frustration.

And two high-scoring guards just might make that happen.

The Class D-1 Indians are getting major contributions from junior Peyton Barrett and sophomore Grace Cave. The 5-foot-6 Barrett is averaging 21.5 points and the 5-8 Cave is at 17.6.

The duo has helped Weeping Water go 13-2 and put a state tourney berth in its sights. The Indians have stayed home the past two seasons after losing in the district final.

“Our girls don’t shy away from the talk that we want this season to be different,” coach Joel Haveman said. “They embrace it and are motivated by it.”

Barrett, who averaged 14 points last season, stepped up her game. She poured in 34 while sitting most of the fourth quarter in a recent victory over Fort Calhoun.

“She is constantly in attack mode,” Haveman said. “I never have to tell her to be aggressive and she’s done a great job of finishing at the rim.”

The coach added that he’s been pleasantly surprised that Barrett has been able to boost her scoring average.

“She’s always been a good shooter but she’s added a level of confidence now,” he said. “It seems like she’s playing with a little more of an edge.”

Cave drew attention last year as a freshman, when she averaged 17 points a game. She has an offer from UNO and interest from other Division I schools.

“Grace is extremely gifted,” Haveman said. “I could tell when I saw her play in fourth grade that she was going to be a point guard someday.”

The coach said Cave’s versatility is one of her biggest strengths.

“She can hit from the outside or use her quickness to get inside,” he said. “She’s also a great passer and I think that’s what separates her from everyone else.”

Haveman said it’s rare for a player from Class D-1 to be receiving major-college looks, but Cave deserves it.

“She’s already shown that she’s worthy of the attention.”

Though Barrett and Cave are 1-2 in almost every one of the team’s offensive categories, Haveman is quick to point out other players also have important roles.

“Peyton and Grace know they couldn’t do this alone,” he said. “The others don’t get a lot of glory, but they know we’re all in this together.”

Haveman, in his fifth season as coach, has his own state tourney motivation. A graduate of Weeping Water, he helped the basketball team reach state in 2007 — a trip that snapped a 46-year drought.

The Indians lost in the first round when Haveman was a junior. He hoped to help his school return to state as a senior but suffered a season-ending knee injury days before the first game.

Weeping Water went 9-12 that year and didn’t return to the tournament.

“It was not the best senior season for me,” Haveman said. “I’d like to get back to state again someday, but this time as a coach.”

The Indians have been to the girls tourney once, in 2012. One of Haveman’s assistants, Mary Mozena, was a member of that team.

“I was a senior in college that year and I came back and watched,” he said. “Mary has a lot of good insight and the girls really relate to her.”

Though it’s looking good so far, Haveman knows his squad still has a tough road ahead. The East Central Conference tournament will include Class C-1 No. 4 Louisville, and the Indians’ last five regular-season foes have a combined record of 57-14.

“It won’t be easy,” he said. “But I have a good feeling about this group.”

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Mike covers high school sports, primarily volleyball in the fall, girls basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring and summer. He also reports on horse racing for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @MPattersonOWH. Phone: 402-444-1350.

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