Brooke Pahukoa will finish her career as one of the school's top two all-time scorers, and her twin Brittney is every bit an impact player, as well.
Never mind her eye-popping statistics and jaw-dropping athleticism.
It’s the little eyes watching that matter most to Brooke Pahukoa as she closes out a remarkable career with Lake Stevens High School in this week’s Class 4A state girls basketball tournament at the Tacoma Dome.
Pahukoa has scored 1,360 points the past four seasons, believed to be the second most in school history behind Jordy Roses’ 1,555 in the mid-1980s. Pahukoa is the key reason ninth-ranked Lake Stevens has a chance to contend for what would be the school’s first state basketball title, girls or boys.
But Pahukoa cares more about stature than stats, and wants to be sure she doesn’t let down those looking up to her.
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“I personally want to be known for being a good role model and being a good leader,” she said.
She mentions the poem “Little Eyes Upon You” as a reminder that children closely follow their idols.
“They want to be just like you and they’re watching you when you don’t even know,” Pahukoa said. “That’s a big thing that I live by for my high-school career, and I hope I’ve made good impressions on a lot of the younger girls, ’cause it means a lot to me that they look up to me.”
Coach Randall Edens pays Brooke and twin Brittney the highest compliment when he says he’d be happy if his three young children grow up like them.
“I can only hope my kids will emulate who (they) are as siblings, daughters, students and athletes,” he said.
Edens heard about the twins long before he first saw them play in middle school as “two skinny little girls” with tons of potential. They come from athletic parents. Jeff played professional football and Debby was a star volleyball player.
Brooke, two inches taller at 5 feet 9, started realizing her basketball potential as a freshman, when she became a key player off the bench during the Vikings’ run to the state quarterfinals.
They’ve both been impact players ever since, although Brooke clearly draws the spotlight more often. She was voted WesCo North Player of the Year for the second straight season and is a two-time Star Times selection.
But there is no sibling rivalry or jealousy.
“She deserves it, she works so hard and no one can stop her, ever, she’s great,” Brittney said. “What she does for our team is very special.”
The twins will play next season at Boise State. Edens praises both, but calls Brooke “a once-in-a-lifetime player.”
She’s an unselfish one, too, and it took some prodding for her to become the kind of scorer the Vikings needed her to be without thinking of herself as a ball hog. Brooke averages nearly 20 points and hasn’t missed a beat since sitting out six January games with a dislocated right pinkie, which still pops out and has to be taped.
Brooke says Brittney never makes her feel guilty about her higher profile.
“I’m lucky enough to have a sister who does not care,” she said. “She wants what’s best for me and there’s no competitiveness when it comes to that. She knows how big of a role she plays and what a great player she is. … I could not do what she does. She’s absolutely phenomenal.”
Brittney is known as the tougher defender, one Brooke hates to go against.
And no one wants to wrong one of the twins in front of the other, when either becomes fiercely protective. That was particularly evident in soccer, their sport of choice when they were younger.
The bond runs deep.
“Unless you’re a twin, it’s kind of hard to understand,” Brooke said. “Not only is she my best friend, but she is everything that I need her to be at any moment. … I would not be the person I am today without her.”
Their best basketball days are ahead, Jeff said. Brooke drew more Division I scholarship offers, and there’s a slim chance the two might have gone separate ways if they wound up with different college preferences.
But, independently, each put Boise State at the top of the list after they toured six campuses last summer. They are excited about the future, but have unfinished business at the state tournament this week, especially after last year’s upset loss to Skyview in the regional round.
Together, the Pahukoas plan to lead Lake Stevens to the top.
“That’s the dream,” Brooke said.
Sandy Ringer: 206-718-1512 or firstname.lastname@example.org