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Big sisters: Leaders on the court

"We are Family," "Sister Act," "Family Ties" -- there are numerous songs, TV shows and movies to express family, but the Detroit Lakes girls' basketball team is a unique one.

Between the varsity and junior varsity teams, there are six sets of sisters.

"(There's) definitely an advantage getting to play as a family. People say 'we're a family,' but we're actually family," Alice Branden said.

Alice, 11th grade, plays on the varsity team, and her younger sister, Amelea, ninth grade, plays on the junior varsity squad.

Other sets of sisters include Macey and Dana Bentley, Hallie and Abby Hoganson, Betsy and Robin Hutchinson, Corey and Morgan Lof and Nichole and Karin Norby. The older sisters are all seniors, and the younger sisters are all in 10th grade.

"It wouldn't be the same as not having the little sisters. We're just a big family," Macey Bentley said. "(We) want to be with them. It'd be weird not to have them there."

Carey Lof agreed the team is like one big family.

"All the little sisters are our sisters," she said.

Head Coach Mike Hoganson said it's definitely an advantage to have the sisters on his Laker team.

"There's a bond the girls have on the court, and also off," he said.

The older sisters are great role models. "They know what's to be expected," he added. "They've grown up together, at home and on the court."

It's a beginning that starts back in kindergarten when the older sisters began basketball together. From there, the younger siblings followed suit because that's just what happens -- kids play basketball together.

Growing up together, attending school together and playing basketball together can get to be a lot of togetherness though, too.

The sibling fights at home can sometimes follow to the court.

"It can be nasty, especially when you are playing defense," Macey Bentley said.

"It definitely carries to the court," Dana Bentley agreed.

The Hoganson sisters said they check the home fights at the door.

"We forget about it," Abby said.

"We just don't think about it," Hallie agreed.

Alice Branden agreed that it can get frustrating being together too much.

And on the flip side, it's nice to always have someone there to practice with or rehash the game.

"It's good competition," Robin Hutchinson said of having her sister there to practice with.

Macey Bentley said it's nice to have her sister there to "talk about things, especially when you're frustrated. It's nice to know (someone) in the same place you are."

Most can agree there is definitely rivalry at home, but not on the court for Laker games.

"I can give her tips at home, but then she gets mad at me," Corey Lof said.

Nichole Norby agrees, saying her constructive criticism isn't always taken favorably.

Alice Branden said even though her younger sister, Amelea, isn't on the same squad as she is, she watches Amelea on the junior varsity squad and offers helpful tips later.

Whether well received or not, the sisters work together to make the Laker team the team sport it is.

"We treat them more as a teammate than a sister," Alice Branden said.

"You know them so it's better (to have them on the same team.) You're not afraid to yell at them," Hallie Hoganson said.

Corey Lof agreed.

"You know each other. You know their strengths and weaknesses. You know how to help each other."

And best of all ... "It's fun," Betsy Hutchinson said of the sister-filled team.