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Brothers Zack and Zane

Zack and his brother Zane’s passion for basketball is known around the Ranch. Even before they arrived, the fire was lit.

“My mom introduced it to me,” Zack said.

She showed them the game and got them interested in learning to play. From that moment on, the boys were unstoppable.

While living at the Youth Ranches, Zack and Zane got the opportunity to play with the local Junior League Division Boys Ranch basketball team.During the 2019-2020 season, they helped the Ranch win its first championship. Part of that success was attributed to the brothers stepping into leadership roles on their team.

In the 2020-2021 season, Zack and Zane decided to try something new. They had played on the Boys Ranch team for two years, and it was time to move to the next level. They tried out and made the Suwannee Middle School basketball team.

“I knew kids there, so I already had a connection with the teammates and the coach,” Zane explained.

Even though there were a few familiar faces on the SMS team, over the course of the season, the team grew closer as friends.

“On and off the court, we just hang out and have the same interests,” Zane said.

This dynamic between players has produced an exciting experience.

“A lot of it is about chemistry; you know what the person is going to do, so you can all work as a team,” Zack said.

Anticipating each other’s moves is important, but building trust is what really makes the team a success.

“You have to trust your teammates. That’s a big thing,” Zane said. “If they need to talk to me about anything, they can trust me. I’ll be there for them.”

Zack echoed his brother, explaining how a team is there for each other, on and off the court.

“We help each other through emotional times, and we correct each other,” Zack said.

When the team respects one another, it allows leaders to step up and make the team better. Toward the end of a frustrating game, Zane saw an opportunity to correct and encourage his team. By halftime, they were down by 19 points, and Zane stood in front of all the boys and tried to explain what he saw.

“I saw what was wrong,” Zane said. “So I had to tell them and we fixed it as a group.”

The team listened to him, so he followed that up with a pep talk to get everyone pumped for the next quarter. The team went on to catch up and win the game by one point. Another aspect of playing with the SMS team that both boys enjoy is the ability to travel to different games. While the Boys Ranch team gave them the opportunity to learn how to work as a team, it’s the school team that packs up the bus and gives them the opportunity to meet and play basketball with kids from other schools around the state.

Basketball is important to them, so Zack and Zane take their studies seriously. They have to keep their grades up in order to continue playing. Both boys are holding their spots on the A/B honor roll. Zack’s favorite subject is math, and Zane likes math and science, particularly biology. Anyone who plays with them know that Zack and Zane will have their back. Both boys are quick to defend their friends and their team.

“If you’re my friend, I will be there for you,” Zane explained. His brother echoed this sentiment. “I have a lot of sympathy for people. I want them to know they can talk to me,” Zack said.

This compassion is part of the leadership skills they picked up while living at the Ranch. They understand the importance of being there for each other and for the team.

“We have fun off and on the court,” Zane said. “And when it’s time to work, we work and we don’t play around.”