Brotherly love: Placer basketball siblings are heated rivals on the courtBy: Matthew Kimel, Journal sports editor
There was a strange trend when the Placer High School boys basketball rosters were set this year: Several of the varsity players have the same last name as the junior varsity guys.
For possibly the first time in school history, the Hillmen have four pairs of brothers in their basketball program in the DiRuscio, Entz, Frew and Lewis siblings.
“It’s very rare,” said Placer varsity coach Mark Lee. “I might have had four (sets) in the last 15 years.”
Lee was asked if any of the younger brothers could beat their older siblings in one-on-one games.
“You’d have to ask them,” he said.
The responses varied from brother to brother. But the general consensus was that the siblings love competing against each other — even when their on-court rivalries become a little heated.
“Some elbows get thrown,” said Dylan DiRuscio, a 6-foot-6 senior center on the varsity squad.
DiRuscio’s little brother, Justin, a 6-3 sophomore who plays post on the JV team, understands that a little aggressive basketball is OK because it’s all friendly in the end.
“If he beats me down,” Justin DiRuscio said, “it improves me and probably helps him somehow, I imagine.”
The DiRuscios, whose father (6-6) and mother (6-1) were successful hoops players in their younger days, seem like they born to play the game.
“If we didn’t (play basketball) I don’t know what we’d do with all the height we have,” Justin DiRuscio said.
Cole Lewis, a freshman point guard on the JV team, thinks he’s beaten his older bro Jalen mano-a-mano.
Jalen Lewis, a senior varsity forward, said the scoreboard begs to differ.
Nonetheless, the Lewises enjoy going at it against each other.
“We’ve been playing for a while,” said Jalen Lewis, whose dad, Ralph, is a first-year freshman coach at Placer. “Since I can remember, we’ve always just been in the backyard playing hoops.”
The Entz brothers have also been playing backyard basketball for as long as they can recall.
“Being the older brother, I never want to lose,” said Brennan Entz, a senior point guard for the varsity team. “I get in there, foul him a bit and make sure I win.”
Conner Entz, a JV sophomore guard, admits the games get a little rough.
“But since I’m taller than him,” Conner Entz said, “I have a height advantage and it helps out.”
While the Entz brothers, who played varsity soccer together this fall, don’t fight on the court, they do tend to get into arguments.
“Whatever it takes to win,” Brennan Entz said. “It gets intense sometimes.”
The Frew brothers have a hotly contested rivalry, too, and they said the games typically end in a fight — although their parents aren’t apparently aware of the situation.
“I dominate him almost every game,” said Daniel Frew, a sophomore JV post.
Logan Frew, a junior guard on the varsity team, disagreed.
“I always win, usually,” he said.
The Frews have been clashing on the court since they were 6 or 7 years old.
“Any kind of fight,” Logan Frew said.
Despite the brotherly love, coach Lee is enjoying having all the players in his program.
“They’re all very good students,” the coach said, “and very good kids, too.”
Reach Matthew Kimel at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @matthewkimel