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20111209_Shary-v-San-Benito-069Most brothers spend their young adult years butting heads, forging their identities and their personal views often by contradiction to each other if not outright conflict. However, Sharyland varsity basketball starters, Joaquin and Jesse Pistokache, are a different breed of brother altogether.

Joaquin “Quino” Pistokache blazed the trail. Quino, the 6’2, 190 pound elder Pistokache, is a senior and a fourth-year starter on the Sharyland varsity basketball team. Quino, as older brothers often are, is a natural leader. In his second year as team Captain, Quino is the vocal leader of the team. Spend just a few minutes watching the Rattlers play and that much is obvious. Quino can be seen exhorting his teammates when they’re down and admonishing them when they’re wrong. But he can also be counted on to congratulate them when they succeed. However, lest you think Quino is merely a figurehead, he has also led the Rattlers in scoring for the past two seasons. Quino also leads the team in offseason workouts.

“I really just want to get the team going,” said Quino. “Starting in the summer, we did a lot of workouts. I had the guys over at my house working out five times a week.”

“House” is somewhat of a misnomer. While yes, the Pistokache’s do in fact live there, it is no mere house. It is in fact home to a large yard that is one part athletic wonderland, complete with multiple basketball hoops, and one part torture chamber where every manner of muscle-building device can be found. You can find other Sharyland athletes from different sports there as well, running, jumping and lifting weights. It isn’t uncommon for Quino to put in time doing layups and shooting the basketball all while tied to a bungee cord for resistance.

20111209_Shary-v-San-Benito-057Tied to the other end, of course, is younger brother and freshman varsity starter Jesse Pistokache.

Jesse, who earlier this year was playing point guard for the Texas Titans, an Amateur  Athletic Union (AAU) club team who won the National Championships two years in a row, is following in his brother’s footsteps quite literally. The 6’3, 185-pound freshman is starting his first year in high school, just like his older brother. Also like his older brother, Jesse is a natural scorer. In the Titan’s 2011 Championship run, Jesse scored 30 points in multiple games.

But perhaps even more remarkable than Jesse’s ability to score, is his willingness to take direction. And yes, even from his brother.

“I think one of Quino’s best assets is his leadership,” said Jesse. “When you look at him you really look at him as a second coach. He knows how to put the players in their positions and help us get better as a team. He has a lot of experience.”

When asked what happens when he himself needs to be put in position, Jesse is quick to be deferential again.

“I know lots of times during the game that what’s coming out of his mouth is good stuff,” said Jesse. “Since this is my first year and he’s been around the system a lot longer I know it’s better to just listen and that it will probably help me during the game.”

20111209_Shary-v-San-Benito-027The two of them playing at the same time stand to help Sharyland to a fifth consecutive 30-5A district playoff berth. Quino, who also happens to lead the team in bicep-size, plays a ferociously physical game and can be seen barreling into the paint or fighting for rebounds. Slimmer, and perhaps a bit slicker, Jesse brings the ball up the court with a smooth grace that would almost appear lazy if he wasn’t also moving so fast. Between the two and their contrasting styles, Sharyland stands to pack quite an offensive punch.

“Both of us have a good feel for how each other plays,” said Quino. “Even though this is our first year together we’re already a step ahead. Both of us have the same goals so it makes things a lot easier.”

Predictably though, in practice it can also make them work harder.

In practice when we see one or the other slacking off or not giving their all, we’ll just look at each other or get on to each other,” said Jesse. “Or, in a game if we’re in the wrong position we’ll give each other the heads up.”

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