The family that plays together |

The family that plays together

Adam Robertson
Lailani Otuafi races the ball past a Sparks player during a Fallon home game.
Adam Robertson / LVN |

The Churchill County High School basketball teams have been described as a family, but for sophomores Leilani and Leta Otuafi, this is doubly true as the game has brought the cousins closer together.

Since joining the varsity basketball team, Lailani Otuafi has scored 683 points with 77 three-pointers and 99 free throws; she has also has 276 rebounds, 162 assists and 190 steals. Leta Otuafi has scored 334 points with three treys and 43 free throws; she also tallied 179 rebounds, 26 assists and 76 steals.

Lailani and Leta began playing basketball in sixth- and seventh-grade respectively. They said the game brought them closer together and Leta said they excelled more because of their existing relationship; the pair was already close and automatically had someone they were comfortable practicing with.

“Everything we did in basketball, we did together,” Lailani said.

Leta agreed.

“I feel like since we knew each other, because we grew up together, it was easier for us to develop the skills more because we were there for the other to encourage,” she said.

The Otuafis said they have loved every second of being on the basketball team. Lailani said the time went by fast and they should go all out.

This week, the cousins will be going with the basketball team to the Northern 3A regional tournament in Winnemucca. Leta said it’s nerve-wracking to go to regionals, since they went last year as well. She said she hopes the team does its best, and doesn’t overthink things once they got into the game.

There is also some small concern over injury. Early in the season, Leta hurt her knee and missed several games. She was recently cleared to play, though, and is confident of being able to get back into the game.

Lailani has also played soccer, but Leta only plays on the basketball team. Both plan to continue playing basketball their junior and senior years.