Set of siblings embrace unique experience
Team chemistry is often overlooked. It’s a variable that can’t be tracked in a box score, can’t be fundamentally taught and can take years to develop.
Fortunately for the Minot High School girls basketball team, they have been exploiting a common loophole in a rather uncommon way to overcome this. Sisters times two.
The bond shared between siblings Brooke Nelson and Allie Nelson, along with Brenna Tschetter and Becca Tschetter is a rare anomaly that often goes unnoticed, but is vital to the Majettes’ success.
“I just coach them and sometimes I don’t even think about them being sisters, which is a good thing. Then you know that they blend in well with the entire team,” MHS coach Bernie Wasser said. “I have had it happen before with boys when I was coaching in Montana, but it is really unique when you see two sets of sisters and they are the same age. A senior and sophomore on each family.”
Similarities in unusual differences also affects the roles they play on the team.
Senior Brooke Nelson is a traditional guard, while sophomore Allie Nelson is more of a forward/guard hybrid since she is a couple inches taller – much to the dismay of a younger, more jealous Brooke.
“When she passed me in height (around the sixth grade) that was a big deal that I didn’t really let go of for like a solid two years,” Brooke Nelson said. “I personally like that she has the ability to play both the guard and the post because she has height and quickness.”
The other family tree is similar with senior Brenna Tschetter hanging out in the paint and sophomore guard Becca Tschetter looking to get her the ball inside.
“She is such a hard worker and love to feed her the ball,” Becca Tschetter said. “Playing with Brenna is such a great experience for me. I got to play a lot with her when I was younger, so it’s a neat opportunity that we get to play at the varsity level together.”
Playing together on various travel teams growing up, Becca would have to play up a couple of grade levels to be on the same team with Brenna. By now, they recognize and know each other’s tendencies and preferences.
Occasionally, they even surprise themselves by communicating telepathically.
“We are like literally connected in the mind,” Brenna Tschetter said. “Like we will say the same word at the same time or start singing the same song randomly at the same place in the middle of the song. So, I feel like I know when to look for her and she knows when to look for me. When she passes it into me and I’m trapped, I know where she is going to be relocating. So, I know what she is thinking.”
Knowing someone your whole life certainly has its perks, but it’s not always sunshine and rainbows.
“It really helped me improve as a player by getting to play up with her at a young age,” Becca Tschetter said. “We are best friends. Sometimes we get on each other, but we know we can critique each other in a good way to make each other better.”
That’s what siblings do. The have petty arguments and fight some sometimes, especially when they are driven by competition. But, when it’s over, they still care and want the best for each other.
“They do a great job of encouraging each other,” Wasser said. “At the same time, they have no problems telling each other what they need to do as well. They take constructive criticism from each other.”
Doesn’t matter if that’s in the gym or at home playing a pick-up game of one-on-one.
“When we were little we would play in the driveway,” Allie Nelson said. “Our games can get very competitive. It goes back and forth, I guess. We trade off and on, just depends on who is having a good game.”
The same balanced outcome isn’t found in the Tschetter household. When asked who wins in a game of one-on-one, Brenna was outspoken and assertive.
“I do,” she said. “But, we get so mad at each other, like we will chuck the ball at each other. But, I do. I got five inches on her.”
Becca didn’t have a rebuttal. Although, Brenna conceded that Becca is probably more competitive.
“You can’t teach height, it’s tough getting past her being 6-foot-1.” Becca said. “I’m very intense with her as well, and so she has had to learn how to deal with that. And I have had to learn to deal with her as well on the court.”
Memories made and an experience they get to share together, even after it comes to an end. But, at this moment, it’s a limited blessing that the Majettes are grateful to benefit from.
“Playing with my sister for two years at the varsity level is a special thing that not a lot of people get to do,” Brooke Nelson said.
Allie added: “It’s been really fun and good to have a connection, so we can talk on the court and off the court about the game. It’s a big advantage to have someone that close.”
Alex Eisen covers Minot High School, Minot State athletics and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.