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Kizer sisters lead Douglas

by Chuck Smock

It’s not surprising that Brooke Kizer and Tomasa Kizer, sisters born 10 months apart, have been close their whole lives.

Brooke’s November birth date made her too young to start school with the Class of 1998. Tomasa was born the following September, early enough to join her sister as a member of the Class of 1999.

The two Douglas seniors are key members of the Tigers basketball team. They both will play important roles on the DHS softball team next spring.

On the hardwood, Brooke is a dominating presence at forward. Tomasa is an outside shooting threat who shares time at the point guard position.

The sisters are a coach’s dream, according to Douglas head coach Werner Christen. Both are fundamentally sound basketball players. Both work as hard in practice as they play in games. And both are inspirations to their teammates as well as their coaches.

“Neither is real vocal, but they do a good job leading by example,” Christen said. “They’re great kids to have on the team. Both have good senses of humor and they’re a lot of fun to have around.

“They’ve been playing together forever. They’re part of the class that has rebuilt this program. They’re a big part of it.”

Brooke, who is in her third season on the Douglas varsity, quietly goes about her business in the paint. She rebounds. She sets screens. She blocks out.

“Brooke does the dirty work that’s unnoticed by a lot of people, but not by her coaches and the other coaches in the league,” Christen said. “She’s just a gamer. We usually put Brooke on the biggest scoring threat from the other team, and those players almost always have a height advantage.”

Brooke is not shy about mixing it up under the glass.

“It’s fun,” she said. “I like to play down low. I like to be rough. But I like to shoot, too.”

She uses a knack for positioning to grab key rebounds. She also has quick hands and feet and is able to work to deny the ball to opponents in the post.

“Brooke has a real good savvy for the game,” Christen said. “She does all the little things.”

Tomasa is in her second full season on the Tigers varsity. She was called up from the junior varsity, where she gained valuable experience running the point, for the zone playoffs at the end of her sophomore season.

She shares point guard duties with Andrea Honer. And she is one of the best shooters on the team.

“Tomasa is a point guard who can score,” Christen said. “She does a great job. She knows how to get open and knows how to get the ball to the open player.”

Tomasa can drill the 3-pointer. She moves well without the ball, which allows her to cut to the basket for easy layups. She also has a quick first step that lets her drive the lane.

Brooke, Tomasa and fellow Tiger senior Jenny Smokey have been playing organized basketball together since they were in the third grade. The Kizer sisters credit their father, Junior Kizer, and their uncles, including Craig Kizer who is an assistant coach for the Douglas boys’ basketball team, with helping them develop their athletic abilities.

“My dad is the one who got us into basketball and all the sports we play,” Brooke said. “He works with us constantly. It’s fun. We do everything together. We talk about sports and we work on new moves.”

The support they get from their family is especially noticeable at home games, according to Tomasa.

“It’s been a big factor,” she said. “They’ve helped us throughout or whole lives. They’ve supported us in everything we do, and when you see them there (in the stands) you want to do better for them because they want you to do well.”

Tomasa also said former Tigers head coach Randy Green gave her a lot of confidence in her shooting ability.

The Kizers, along with Smokey and seniors Rosie Contri and Rebecca Rippee have helped the Tigers post a 7-4 record that has included a second-place finish at the Galena Mountain Classic and a third-place finish in a Las Vegas tournament last week.

Brooke said the experience of playing together for several years has been one of the keys to the Tigers’ success this season.

“We have a lot of returners from last year’s varsity,” she said. “It helps that we have that experience and that the JVs (junior varsity players from last season) are pretty good coming up.”

Tomasa added, “We’ve been doing pretty good. We’re not only in better shape, we’re smarter with the ball and we’re playing together as a team. Everybody is pretty much equal. We’re all pretty close and we’re good friends. That’s very important, I think.”

Douglas will open league play with a road game at Wooster on Jan. 5.

While Christen is excited to see how his first varsity squad will play when the games count, he has already begun to think about his coaching days without the Kizers.

“I’m going to really miss them next year,” Christen said. “I wish this season would go a little slower. There are not too many Brookes and Tomasas out there waiting in the wings.”

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