March 08, 2001 11:00 pm
TIGER FAMILIES: The Greater Oregon League schedule allowed Ross Weaver (back left) and Greg Schuft to watch their sisters Christie (front left) and Amanda this season. (The Observer/C.J. GISH).
TIGER FAMILIES: The Greater Oregon League schedule allowed Ross Weaver (back left) and Greg Schuft to watch their sisters Christie (front left) and Amanda this season. (The Observer/C.J. GISH).

By C.J. Gish

Observer Staff Writer

The state basketball tournament has been extra special for two La Grande families.

The Weavers and Schufts are watching not only one child, but two, playing for the Tiger boys and girls basketball teams at this weeks OSAA-U.S. Bank Class 3A State Championships.

Ross Weaver, a senior, and Greg Schuft, a junior, are on the boys team, while their sisters sophomores Christie Weaver and Amanda Schuft are on the girls team.

Playing this season at the Class 3A level, after dropping from the 4A ranks, has been a big bonus for everyone involved. It has given the siblings, and their parents, a chance to see one another in games each week. In the past when La Grande was still a 4A school, the boys team would be on the road when the girls team played at home, and vice versa.

My parents really like the idea of us playing together. Its easier for them to see our games, Christie said.

For the Weavers, their father, Mike, has had first-hand experience not only watching, but coaching both as well. He was Ross AAU coach from fifth through eighth grade, and hes the assistant coach on this seasons girls team.

I enjoy watching Rosss games more than I do sitting on the bench coaching Christies, Mike said. Its really neat that both teams are here at the state tournament at the same time.

Someone whos had first-hand experience coaching all four is La Grande girls coach Isaac Williams. Williams was the La Grande boys JV coach before taking over the girls team this season.

I had Ross for two years and Greg for one. Theres a lot of similarities between (the siblings). Greg and Amanda are both tough defensively, are fast and get a lot of hustle points. Ross and Christie both shoot well from the outside, handle the ball well and are very intelligent.

La Grande boys coach Aaron Mills has seen the same attributes.

Ross is like Christie. Theyre the go-to player in a pinch and are very knowledgeable about the game. Greg is our utility guy and I expect him to be a defensive player. I think the girls depend on Amanda like that, too.

Christie was named the Greater Oregon Leagues Player of the Year and led the Tigers with 16 points per game. Ross was an all-GOL honorable mention selection and was second on the team with a 12.2-point average. Amanda averaged 3.2 points and Greg 1.6 points per game.

The four all have something in common, too. They started playing basketball young and against each other.

Weve been playing ever since we got a hoop outside when we were little, Amanda said. When we were little, I was better. Now Gregs better than me. Now we just play tip-in and not one-on-one.

As for the Weavers, Mike described Ross and Christies matchups. Theyd go down to the barn and play. It was a war. I think Christie got more out of it than Ross.

But Christie says the one-on-one battles no longer take place.

He always pressured me into playing him, but he gets aggressive on the court and I dont want to get hurt. When we were little, he would burn me every time.

Christie also likes it that they both have the same number 13.

I look on the (roster) board (in La Grandes gym) and it says Weaver and Weaver. I just got my number last year. I dont know about him. I think he wanted to be like me, she said. If anyone could have the No. 13 on the boys team, Im glad its my brother.

After games, evaluating the other siblings game isnt an option.

I just congratulate (Amanda) for playing hard, Greg said.

I try to help her, but she usually knows as much as I do, said Ross, adding hes happy he and his sister advanced to the state tournament.

Im glad it happened this season, and Im proud of my sister.