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Grafton girls basketball coach Laurie Sieben to retire after 21 seasons with the Spoilers

Sieben, who took Grafton to the last three state championship games, was 356-147 in 21 years as head coach of the Spoilers.

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Grafton's Carlee Sieben shares a moment with her mom, coach Laurie Sieben after the Spoilers win over Drayton-Valley-Edinburg in the opening game of the Region 2 tournament at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center in 2021. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
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GRAFTON, N.D. — Grafton girls basketball coach Laurie Sieben has coached in three straight North Dakota state Class B girls basketball tournament championship games.

There won't be a quest for a fourth-straight trip for Sieben next year.

The 21-year Grafton coaching veteran has decided to retire, Sieben told the Herald on Sunday.

A state champion coach at Grafton in 2012 and 2021, Sieben led the Spoilers to a record of 120-26 across the last five years.

Sieben, a native of St. Thomas, N.D., is 356-147 overall and has been coaching for the past 28 years.

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Sieben's Spoilers team this season lost to Kindred in the state championship game March 5.

Sieben was the state coach of the year in 2012. She was the region coach of the year in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2018. She was the 2002 EDC coach of the year.

"Personally, the timing is right for me," said Sieben, who told her team late last week. "I'm just so grateful to have had such a positive experience."

Sieben has twin daughters playing college basketball for the first time this season. Cassie Sieben is at Mayville State and Carlee Sieben is at UND.

"(This year's Grafton team) helped me a lot this season," Sieben said. "They helped me with my empty nest. There's not a lot of moms that send their kids off to college and then get to spend time with their kids' best friends every day.

"It's been an emotional week. These tears are positive. I'm looking forward to a little bit of flexibility.

"I love winning, but I love what these kids have taught me throughout these years and through this journey. I'm excited. It has been emotional this week, but it has been good."

Sieben didn't rule out a return to the court some day.

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"Retirement seems kind of weird to me, so I don't now that I'm really done teaching or coaching but right now it's the right time to take a break and reset," Sieben said. "Maybe it closes a door to something and opens a door to something new, but I don't know what that is."

Sieben said Grafton veteran girls basketball assistant coach Wade Haugen, who has coached with Sieben for 11 years, will take over for the Spoilers.

Related Topics: GRAFTON
Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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