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Balliet siblings continue NWL tradition

Northwestern Lehigh sports history has numerous siblings who have either played different sports or sometimes, played together on a team. The girls’ basketball program has a lengthy list of sibling teammates and currently has three players who are following a family tradition of playing for coach Chris Deutsch as Lady Tigers.

Junior Paige Sevrain has two sisters who came before her and she played one season with her closest sister, Sydney, who also got to play with their eldest sister, Gabby. Cara Thomas did not have the opportunity to play with older sister Erica, whose name is on the gymnasium wall as a 1,000-point scorer, but she is making her own mark with the team averaging just under 11 points per game. And the Balliet sisters, Brynn and Brook, are teammates this season.

The dynamic of having sibling teammates is an interesting one for Deutsch.

“I think a lot of times, siblings make each other better,” said Deutsch after his team beat Saucon Valley Tuesday. “The younger one has someone to kind of lead her through things and make her more comfortable and the older one wants to set the example. Sometimes, a little sibling rivalry plays into the mix, and they push each other.”

If there is a sibling rivalry between senior Brynn Balliet and freshman Brook Balliet, it certainly does not show when you talk to them. Brook talks about how her sister has helped her through the growing pains of being a freshman on a successful team, while Brynn talks about the bond that playing basketball together has given them.

“I’ve found it helpful,” said Brynn. “We have grown close over the last year and it’s nice to have someone that I truly connect with. We push each other, and we can help each other with our mental game because we are always there to support each other. I can express my anger to her, and she can do the same with me.”

“It helps to have someone else tell you what they see on the court, too,” said Brook, the freshman. “We can be honest with each other and give feedback and even let each other know when we could have been sharper with something, or we coach each other on what our shot looks like.”

Both sisters play two other sports, but basketball is the only one where they are teammates. Brynn will continue her athletic career at Washington College in Maryland, where she will major in engineering. Her sport of choice is not basketball, but instead, she will instead compete in field hockey in college, after her basketball and softball careers are done at Northwestern Lehigh. Brook played soccer in the fall before the basketball season and will go out for track and field this spring.

With their busy schedules, time management is tough, but they help each other there, too.

“It’s nice that she can drive, so she can drive me places,” said Brook with a laugh.

“It really keeps us on the go and we both love being busy,” said Brynn. “We don’t like sitting around and we are constantly on the go.”

Brynn’s senior season opened in a frustrating way when she had to miss the first two games with a finger injury, but she has returned to the court, playing with her finger wrapped. Deutsch believes it may have affected her shooting a little, but her overall play has not suffered.

“I think Brynn is playing some of her best basketball right now,” Deutsch said. “She’s a scrapper and plays hard and has always been very coachable, but this is the best I have seen her play in her four years.”

While cracking the lineup on a team with the success that Northwestern Lehigh has had is never easy, Brook has put herself into the starting lineup this season as part of a young group of players who are ensuring success in years to come.

“The older players on the team have been great and they have done a really good job of leading us and supporting us,” said Brook. “It’s been nice and having an older sister as one of those players has made it especially nice for me.”

As a team, the Lady Tigers have opened the calendar year with a four-game winning streak, picking up wins over Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Bangor, and Southern Lehigh. The streak has them at 9-3 overall and 8-1 in the Colonial League as they look to repeat as the league champion.

PRESS PHOTO BY LINDA ROTHROCK Brook Balliet brings the ball up the court during the Tigers' season-opening win over Whitehall.
PRESS PHOTO BY MIKE HAINES Sisters Brook and Brynn Balliet are the most recent in a long line of siblings to play in the Lady Tigers basketball program.