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Don Ketchum

Staff Writer,

Triplets strengthen basketball programs at Arizona Lutheran

Nov 19, 2012

By Don Ketchum

At Phoenix Arizona Lutheran, basketball is as easy as 1-2-3.

The Lamberson triplets, Kris and B.J. on the boys’ side and Karolyn on the girls’ squad, are primary reasons why the Coyotes are listed among the state’s top teams going into the 2012-13 season.

The Arizona Lutheran boys were the No. 1 team in Division IV and the girls were No. 3 in The Arizona Republic’s preseason rankings.

The girls open play on Tuesday (Nov. 20) against Tempe in the (Phoenix) Moon Valley Thanksgiving Tournament and the boys begin on Nov. 27 at Chandler Valley Christian.

The triplets are juniors. Kris is 6-foot-1 ½, B.J. is 5-10 ½ and Karolyn is 5-6. B.J. was named after his dad, Bill, Kris named after the triplets’ doctor and Karolyn named after her grandmother.

Kris said they initially had thought about going to Phoenix Brophy (boys) and Phoenix Xavier (girls), but pursued other options and decided on Arizona Lutheran.

“We think it’s one of the better schools around and it’s close to where we live,’’ Kris said.

Their dad coached them in club basketball.

Karolyn played on the boys’ teams until around the age of 13, and said that was of benefit to her.

“It made me a lot tougher,’’ she said. “I was kind of scared at first, but it made me a better player. After playing against boys, the girls’ game seemed a lot slower, in some ways easier.’’

They weren’t forced into the game, B.J. said.

“It was because we liked it and we still like it,’’ he said. “It has been a fun experience, getting out there and playing for the same school at the same time.’’

“It’s a lot more competitive than some sports,’’ Kris said.

And Karolyn: “I love being around the team. You get to know the other girls, trust them. You count on each other and them on you. I think some of the things you learn help to prepare you for life after you don’t play anymore.’’

The triplets were born in California but moved to Arizona at age 2, B.J. said, when their mother’s job necessitated a change. Their father still takes them out to shoot at nearby parks.

And the triplets hang out together.

“We sort of have the same group of friends,’’ Karolyn said. “When you invite one of us to something, you invite all of us.’’

Arizona Lutheran’s boys fell to Phoenix Country Day in the Division IV state championship game. Despite losing eight seniors, the Coyotes still will be a factor, Kris said.

“This year, we have more talent than experience,’’ he said. “We have some raw talent.  We want to prove to people that we belong among the best teams.’’

“We want to be playoff contenders,’’ B.J. said. “It seemed like we had a lot of close games last year, and we think we can turn those around. We have a good-shooting team.’’

The girls’ team fell to Joseph City in last year’s semifinals, and, Karolyn said, “We felt we deserved to be in the finals. So this year, we have that experience, and we have more motivation.’’

Kris said playing with his brother and sister at the same time “has been a special experience. It is very rare for triplets. It is the goal of all us to win state. If we could do that at the same time, it would be great.’’