Updated: Apr 4, 2018
What is a sister?
A sister can be a hair-pulling monster; someone who reads your deepest secrets in a journal tucked under your pillow. She can make your face turn beat red when she blabs your crushes name out loud, or tell mom and dad that it was you who broke Grandma’s precious vase.
She’s also the one who will run to the house to grab a hot cloth and a Band-Aid to fix your boo-boo after falling off your bike for the 10th time. She’s the one who sneaks into your room late at night just to read you one more bedtime story. She’ll teach you how to put on mascara for the first time. She’ll help you stand tall in the hallways when someone tries to bring you down.
She’s not just a sister. She’s your safe place and your best friend. And despite all of the times that she’s stolen your clothes, she’s still the only one you want by your side.
Luckily for Jessica and Sophia Wisotzki, they are by each other’s side not only in day-to-day life, but also in basketball.
The two sisters play together for the Walnut Grove Gators and have a special bond both on-and-off the court.
“It’s kind of on-off, but mostly on,” said Jessica about her relationship with Sophia.
“On the court, we just know the chemistry. We love to pass to each other—we just know when each other’s open especially. And I just feel like it’s grown our relationship closer, especially from playing basketball. Outside of basketball, we’re also really close.”
Jessica has been playing basketball ever since the fourth grade. The Wisotzki’s started up their own version of Friday Night Basketball, where their mom and dad coached both her and Sophia. She says it’s one of her fondest memories from their childhood.
Ever since, both Jessica and Sophia have followed their love for basketball up to the high school level. Jessica, currently in grade eleven, will play her final season with her little sister next year. Sophia, currently in grade nine, has another three years left with the Gators.
Recently, Jessica has committed to play at Simon Fraser University once she completes high school.
“I feel less stressed after verbally committing to SFU, especially during my Grade 11 and senior year, because now I can focus on my academics,” she said. “I am beyond excited to play for SFU.”
Jessica admits that the deciding factor for her to say yes to SFU stemmed from the school being a great NCAA university with amazing players and coaches, like head coach Bruce Langford and assistant coach Jessica Wallace.
“A goal of mine was to play post-secondary basketball and Simon Fraser has helped me to achieve that” said Wisotski.
She also has some advice to fellow basketball players who are still deciding where they’d like to go.
“Pick a school where you will enjoy playing basketball and are able to pursue your academic goals" she explained. "Choose a school that you want, not where you think others would want you to attend.”
The youngest Wisotzki sister says she too would like to follow in her sister’s footsteps one day by playing post-secondary basketball. Although she’s uncertain of where she would like to go just yet, she is adamant about continuing to play basketball once she graduates from high school.
Just like Jessica, Sophia began playing ball when her parents introduced her to Friday Night Basketball. She always enjoyed playing with the older girls and perfecting her skills alongside her sister.
“I think basketball brought us closer together,” she said of her relationship with Jessica. “Even when we went on trips and vacations, we’d just grab a ball and start playing. And we’d just have lots of fun playing together ever since we were little.”
Sophia says her sister is her biggest role model.
“My biggest inspiration would be my sister because I always looked up to her when I was little. Every year I grow more towards her and I just love the way she plays and makes me compete harder,” said Sophia.
As for Jessica, she finds motivation in her trainer, Elle Kerfoot.
“We always go [to Elle’s gym] for training and she pushes me and my sister to our hardest that we can get better each day,” said Jessica. “I really look up to her.”
The two train with Kerfoot, who guided the girls to a successful season with Walnut Grove. Both Jessica and Sophia were key components in the Gator’s Provincials run for the championship banner this past year. Despite a valiant effort, the team was defeated by the Kelowna Owls in the championship game.
Both sisters say they definitely have an advantage having each other on the court, given their close relationship outside of the sport.
“I think our chemistry together really brings a lot of energy to the team. We’re able to see each other on the court and pass to each other, and with our teammates, we encourage them to be just as good, too,” said Jessica.
The star Gators share a unique connection that is hard to find in this life—not only as teammates, but also as sisters. They are an inspiration to young girls everywhere, proving that playing alongside your sibling is beneficial to any team and can also be quite fun, too.
Above all, both Jessica and Sophia are two sisters who have made a name for themselves in the basketball community. Thanks to a their shared love for the sport, they have grown together in a way that other siblings may never get the chance to experience.
“She’s one of the most kind-hearted people around. She brings energy to the court, both on-and-off, and just to everyone [around her],” Sophia said of Jessica.
As the two played a game of 21 in an empty gym at Walnut Grove, their smiles never left their face.
Basketball has brought these two sisters closer than ever and while each has an undeniable drive to compete, they still embrace each other in a hug after every game.
Even when it’s just the two of them tossing the ball around on a Friday night.
Written by: Crystal Scuor