One is a sophomore, new to the varsity level but fearless on the court and passionate about helping her team win. The other is a senior, experienced and confident with the ball in hand, reading the defense and guiding her teammates with smart play calls. On the court they are just teammates, numbers 1 and 21, but they share a bond that goes beyond basketball: Haylee and Morgan Baker are sisters.
It’s a rarer experience, siblings playing sports together; often the age difference is too great or the skill gap too wide. In the instances where it can occur, a unique relationship can be seen, one that transcends simply being teammates.
“It’s been fun, playing together,” said Haylee, the older of the two. “We always seem to know where each other is, a sort of sister sense. We communicate well together … most of the time.”
Such an experience is not without its challenges. Teammates argue and fight across all sports — it’s a natural consequence of competitive play, and the Baker sisters are no different, though they have a silver lining.
“There’s some spats on the court once in a while for sure,” said Haylee. “We’ll call each other out, but it’s because we challenge one another to be better.”
Due to their age difference, the Baker sisters were unable to play basketball together until this sole season. In an unfortunate turn of events, Haylee was out for a significant portion of the preseason due to injuries. It wasn’t until just a few weeks ago that Morgan began taking the court regularly with her older sister.
“I was looking forward to playing with her this season, so her being injured early on was upsetting,” said Morgan. “Now that she’s back though, I’m excited.”
When it comes to basketball, Haylee is often running the offense as point guard, while Morgan flexes on the wing as a shooting guard. Despite their respective roles, they find different strengths in one another, and work well with their team to provide opportunities to score.
“She’s a great shooter,” said Morgan.
“She’s better at driving,” said Haylee.
The season for the HRV girls has been rough, to say the least. With a 2-15 overall record (0-3 in league,) and key players out for the season with injuries, the Eagles are struggling. Such is not seen in the players though, as each game they take to the court with confidence and determination.
“As a senior on the team, and I think I speak for all seniors on this, we know we aren’t as strong this year,” said Haylee. “This season is about helping the younger girls and trying to grow the program for the future. We want to have fun and show the girls what varsity basketball is like.”
As for the future of the Baker sisters, their paths are splitting off. Haylee plans to attend college and pursue collegiate softball, a sport she also plays for HRV. Morgan has her junior and senior years to look forward to, two more seasons of varsity basketball. While her sister won’t be on the court, she’ll still be around occasionally.
“I’m going to try and come to some games,” said Haylee. “I want to see how she grows and gets better.”