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The Middletons of Leesburg: Sisters are basketball royalty at Tuscarora

Kennedy Middleton, left, and Isabellah Middleton have shined for an undefeated Tuscarora squad this winter.—Photo Courtesy/Bill Vocke
The Tuscarora High School varsity girls’ basketball team is undefeated through their first 15 games of the 2017-2018 season. Two key players helping to spark the Huskies' success this winter happen to be sisters. Senior Kennedy Middleton and sophomore Isabellah Middleton lead the team in several statistical categories, averaging a combined 37 points per game.

The Middleton sisters have been playing basketball for 16 years combined, and have two older brothers who played basketball for Heritage and Tuscarora high schools as well. Kennedy is a former D1SA Spartans AAU player and Isabellah plays for Loudoun Freedom AAU.

After reaching the 1,000-point milestone as a junior, Kennedy recently became Tuscarora's all-time scoring leader. She scored 30 points on Jan. 5 to push her career total to 1,320 points, surpassing the mark set by Alexis Bailey (1,316).

"I like breaking records,” said the older Middleton, in her fourth varsity season with the Huskies.

It's safe to say that Isabellah is following in her big sister’s footsteps and making a name for herself.

“I definitely see myself breaking records by the end of my high school career. Definitely some of Kennedy’s too," Isabellah said with a grin. “I personally want to break the rebound record and double-double records in a season and career."

On the court, their chemistry is clear. “One advantage that we have is being able to talk to each other in any kind of way and not get upset with each other," Kennedy explained. "We just communicate differently compared to other girls on the team and I think that is an advantage."

Isabellah agreed, “I think it’s good to play on the same team together because even though we argue at home sometimes, on the court we actually get along and work together. I also think we read each other well and know what each other needs to do in the game.”

Tuscarora head coach Michael Newkirk has seen Kennedy mature throughout her high school career.

"I have cherished watching someone evolve the way that Kennedy has since she was a freshman on a senior-heavy team, but she carved her way through. Now as a senior, she leads us night in and night out. It’s really refreshing to see her continue to progress.”

“The love is obviously there, there’s just a competitive nature between each other," Newkirk said of the Middletons, the third set of siblings he's coached at Tuscarora. "Isabellah challenges Kennedy in practice and they put competition on everything that they do in practice. But there’s always unconditional love.”

The sisters are clearly in sync and continue to lead their team.

“I’d say one word to describe us on the court is efficient because we don’t just look to score. That’s not our thing," Kennedy said. "Everyone loves to score but how you score is what matters. Both of us try to involve everyone and we try to make the whole game an efficient game where everyone gets to score and feel like they are a part of something."

Tuscarora has won multiple conference/district titles in recent years. The Huskies have also qualified for the state tournament each of the last three seasons.

Kennedy and her teammates are aiming to take the next step this winter.

“My big goal is to be region champs and go to states. We’ve been to states all three years and I don’t like to lose. I’m not sad about it but I’m upset. It’s my senior year and I want a ring."

Following her final varsity season, Kennedy is determined to play at the next level. “I want to play college basketball and study criminology. I haven’t had any offers yet, but the last signing period is in April so I have time and will see how many offers I get."

"I know she can be really successful in college playing basketball and I think she could one day go into the WNBA," Isabellah said of her sister. "Even though she doesn’t always get attention, I feel like she is one of the best around. She can do really big things."

Photos by Bill Vocke

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