The Coyotes have not one, but two sets of identical twins this season on their varsity roster — juniors Tai-Sheim and Jai-Keem Anthony, and sophomores Jalen and Jehlani Warren.
Chemistry is the name of the game for both sets of brothers.
The Anthonys moved to the Wesley Chapel area from Atlanta as fifth graders, already in tune with each other on the basketball court. They began to develop roles when they came up to the Wesley Chapel High (WCH) junior varsity team as sophomores a year ago, Tai-Sheim as a guard/forward, Jai-Keem as a point guard/shooting guard.
“I remember the first game (at WCH) last year, I scored 19,” Jai-Keem said. “The next game, I scored 21 and it seemed to get easier from there.”
The brothers never have a problem finding each other on the court. “I know I can look up the court and he (Tai-Sheim) will be in the corner for the three,” Jai-Keem said. “It always easy for us to find each other on the court.”
Both players would like to be the Cypress Creek point guard, but Tai-Sheim has accepted his role. “I’m fine with it (not being the point),” Tai-Sheim says. “He (Jai-Keem) is shorter, so coach put him at point. I just try to fit in wherever I play.”
The two have a lengthy history on the courts, however, and sometimes Jehlani and Jalen have even had to face off as opponents in various leagues. “When we used to play together in rec leagues, they made us play on separate teams because we were so good together,” Jehlani says.
The Warren twins’ dad, Christopher, says that it wasn’t until their last year of AAU basketball that his twins were allowed to play on the same team together.
“They would take turns taking over games,” Christopher Warren said. “They pushed the offense along and were a good 1-2 punch.”
The Warrens grew up in Virginia Beach, and only moved to the Wesley Chapel area last year. They, like the Anthonys, developed into their respective roles playing in rec leagues and in middle school.
Jehlani was more of a shooting guard or small forward, and Jalen played a lot of point guard. He has since shifted to shooting guard and forward for the Coyotes, as Cypress Creek already has Jai-Keem and freshman Willie Ravenna, who can play point. But, Jalen still finds his brother when he needs to deliver a pass.
“When I’m dribbling in, he (Jehlani) knows if I’m gonna cut or pass it,” Jalen says. “It’s very exciting because he’s the person I know best, and I know he’s not going to fail me.”
There’s a mutual confidence boost when the twins are on the floor together. “I’m more confident (with Jalen on the court),” Jehlani says.
The sets of twins, and the rest of the Coyotes, picked up their first win ever by beating Sarasota Military Academy 53-49 on Dec. 19 — their last game before the holiday break. Their schedule so far has been brutal, with losses to Wiregrass Ranch High, Berkeley Prep and Tampa Catholic.
Isaiah Flores leads the team with 8.3 points a game, with Jai-Keem right behind him at 7.3 and Tai-Sheim at 6.
“Both sets of twins are great kids that come from great families and they give 100 percent,” Coyotes head coach Anthony Mitchell says. “Our team is a work in progress, but having siblings together helps unite us.”