ORONO, Maine — Courtney Anderson has spent countless hours on the basketball court with her younger sister Kristen Anderson.
They starred together at Leavitt High School in Turner, sparking the Hornets to a Class B state championship in 2011.
More recently, the Andersons have been key contributors for their respective Division I teams — Courtney at Maine and Kristen at New Hampshire.
The siblings are likely to square off at some point when the Black Bears play the Wildcats in a key America East Conference game on Thursday at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
Courtney, a senior for UMaine, is thankful for the opportunity.
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“It is rare, and we’re extremely blessed to be where we are at as a family and as siblings,” she said Wednesday. “Just to go to great institutions and get a great education free and to play basketball at such a high level, we’re extremely blessed.”
She began as a nonscholarship player at UMaine in 2011. Courtney, a 5-foot-4 guard, has appeared in 16 games this season, averaging 2.1 points, 1.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 14 minutes per game for coach Richard Barron.
Kristen is a redshirt sophomore for UNH and, as a 5-foot-7 guard, has played in all 19 games, making nine starts for coach Maureen Magarity. She is averaging 6.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 27.2 minutes per contest.
Courtney said her focus against the Wildcats will be on doing whatever is necessary to help her team win. Even if she has to guard her sister, she doesn’t expect it to be either motivation or a distraction.
“I don’t think we let that get to us,” said Courtney, who twice previously has been involved in a college game against her sister. “I won’t say we’re above trash talk, because we’re not, but it really is more about the blessings of it all than it is about the day-to-day competition when it comes to the two of us.”
There has always been a high level of competitiveness in the family between the sisters, parents, Mark and Tammy Anderson, and younger brother, Austin.
“I’ll do sit-up competitions with my dad; I raced my mom this summer in a sprint,” Courtney said. “It’s all for fun. We love competition.”
The Andersons’ parents will be in the unique position of cheering for both teams.
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“You know you’re going to win and you know you’re going to lose,” joked Tammy, who coached her daughters at Leavitt.
They have gone to great lengths to support their daughters. At least one parent attends each home game at UNH and UMaine. That means watching the other game on a tablet while in the gym and texting each other game updates.
“It’s about being fair and the kids knowing that we’re supporting them 100 percent,” Tammy said.
“I think we all realize that it’s a special blessing. It’s a proud moment for all of us,” she added.
The Andersons had special fleece pullovers made for head-to-head meetings that include the slogan “House Divided.” They feature the number “4” worn by each, along with dueling team logos and the color schemes of their schools.
Tammy is gratified that despite the challenges of having her daughters playing on different teams, it has worked out well for both.
“I wanted them to have their own experience,” she said. “They’re both very happy where they’re at. They love their teams and their coaching staffs and their schools.”
The sisters have worked out together extensively during the offseason, and each knows the other’s strengths and weaknesses. Neither will back down during any potential one-on-one situations.
But once the final horn sounds, all will be forgotten.
“They’re best friends anyway, so basketball is secondary to the relationship that they have,” said Tammy, who sends each of the girls a text message before every game.
“It’s the same thing every time: I love them, and I’m proud of them, and ‘Have fun. Enjoy the journey,’ ” she said.
This article was written by Pete Warner from Bangor Daily News, Maine and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.