Eureka College women's basketball
The Brown family had a big desk calendar in the kitchen, so the eight kids could write their initials and where they were going to be that day.
For Khassandrae and her younger sister, Emilee, the entry usually read: “at basketball practice.”
The two sisters, who played basketball together at East Peoria High School, are now teammates at Eureka College.
If you see one, the other is usually not too far behind.
“We go everywhere together,” said Khassandrae, who transferred to Eureka after Emilee had already made a commitment to play for the Red Devils. “We’re pretty close.”
Both are starters for first-year coach Taren Martin. Khassandrae averages about 14 points a game. Emilee averages eight points a game.
“Kas (Khassandrae) is a natural leader, and she has been one of our best players on both ends,” Martin said. “They are so different, though. Emilee is more of a feistier player. You tell her what to do, and she just goes out and does it. They are both really good kids. They have good hearts and they come from a good family.”
Emilee, a freshman, committed to play for Eureka last year under previous coach Abby Hearn.
Khassandrae, a junior, played two years at Kankakee Junior College before committing to play for U of I Springfield.
One day, she rode along with Emilee (actually she drove. Emilee doesn’t like to drive) to a shoot around at Eureka.
“I really liked it here,” she said. “And, Emilee was here. So, I decided to transfer.”
Entering this season under a new coach, the sisters were not sure what roles they would have on the team.
It did not take long for each one to earn a place in the starting lineup.
“I didn’t expect to start, but I really don’t like sitting on the bench, so I worked as hard as I could,” Emilee said.
“My personal goal was to come in and try to be a leader, and to work hard every day at practice,” Khassandrae said.
Martin said the Browns have a natural chemistry that comes from playing together their whole lives.
“They are like two peas in a pod, on and off the court,” Martin said. “Kas can say something to Emilee, and they get it right away.”
Sometimes, she doesn’t have to say anything at all.
“I’ll just give her a look,” Khassandrae said, smiling. “She knows what I mean.”
Emilee said she always looked up to Khassandrae, going back to when they were little girls.
“She always made me work hard, but we had fun, too,” she said. “I’m glad she’s on my team again.”