On and off the basketball court, Nate Siewert and Noah Gjermo have a knack for hitting all the right notes.
When the Deerfield seniors — who have been best buds since kindergarten — aren’t using their voices to win awards as part of the school’s ensemble choir, they are leading the Demons to places they’ve never been before on the basketball court.
Their next stop: The Demons’ first trip to the WIAA state tournament.
Not bad for those “two tall blonde guys in Deerfield,” as Siewert described the pair. These days, they rank No. 1 and No. 1A in terms of celebrity status in this small community, about 20 minutes east of Madison.
“The whole town is barely 2,000 people, and everywhere I go, every 10 steps down the hallway, I’m stopped by teachers, classmates and community members,” Siewert said. “It’s been amazing.”
Second-seeded Deerfield (23-4) will meet third-seed Chippewa Falls McDonell (17-10) at 10:45 a.m. Friday at the Kohl Center in a Division 5 semifinal.
The past three seasons have been special for the Demons, who have a 38-game unbeaten streak in the Trailways Conference and have reeled off three consecutive 20-victory seasons since Gjermo and Siewert’s freshman class won 18 games.
Gjermo joined the varsity at the beginning of his freshman year, and Siewert was promoted in time for the WIAA regionals that season. Since then, the pair has formed the backbone of Deerfield coach and alumnae David Borgrud’s veteran squad, which starts four seniors and a junior.
Siewert and Gjermo also closely resemble each other statistically, as the 6-foot-4 Siewert averages 17.3 points and 10 rebounds a game and the 6-2 Gjermo averages 16.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists.
Both were named first-team all-conference this year, and Siewert was the player of the year. Siewert also ranks fourth on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,061 career points.
Gjermo, who is thought to have about 950 career points, likely would have eclipsed the 1,000-point mark if he hadn’t been forced to miss two-plus games due to injury this season.
“With Nate, he’s just a genuinely nice kid,” Borgrud said. “He’s in the band, the school musical, show choir, he refs youth basketball games on Saturday morning. He’s all in. And this goes for both of them: if I ask them to do anything, like attend a youth game, they’ll absolutely be there.
“And Noah is just a kid that doesn’t quit. He’s had ankle problems this year, but it’s like, ‘Coach, I can play.’ He’s had a couple of bouts with the flu and gutted it out and played. They have such a loyalty to their school. It’s really good to see.”
Not only will the state competition signal the end of their high school basketball careers, it will likely mean the end of their hoop dreams. They have chosen different paths for college.
Gjermo will play football at NCAA Division II Bemidji (Minn.) State. Siewert also will cross the border to attend the University of Minnesota and study biology in hopes of following in his parents’ footsteps and become a doctor. Also a trumpet player, Siewert said he also might try out for the Gophers’ marching band.
“I’ve received a lot of information from coaches that want him to play for their schools, but he’s a pretty focused kid,” Borgrud said.
But before any of that happens next year, the two tall, blonde kids from Deerfield hope to hit some golden notes this weekend.
“Everything we worked for is coming to an end,” Gjermo said. “And all great things do come to an end. It’s kind of sad to see, but for it to end this way is pretty amazing.
“Just making it to state is awesome.”