Twins Shea and Shannon Welburn double trouble for Wellesley girls basketball

Twins Shea and Shannon Welburn double trouble for Wellesley girls basketball


WELLESLEY – Shea Welburn tossed the basketball into what would appear to most an empty space on the floor. Framingham’s defenders collapsed on what they assumed was an errant pass, hoping for a steal.

Then her twin sister Shannon Welburn flashed across the lane, caught the pass and quickly dropped it off the window for a layup and two Wellesley points.

“Sometimes I’ll throw it into space and be like ‘oh geez, she actually got it,'” Shea said. “I know she’ll be there. I know she can catch it.”

Shannon also occasionally makes a cut not expecting the ball because of the difficulty of the pass. Then the ball ends up right in her hands for an easy layup courtesy of her twin sister.

“I’m like ‘how’d she get it there?'” Shannon said.

Welburn twins attached at the hip

Wellesley’s Welburn twins always know where the other is or wants to be on the court. The sophomores started playing basketball together on a hoop at home. Older brothers Jack (four years older) and Brady, a senior, never made it easy.

“It definitely toughened us up,” Shea said.

Their organized basketball careers began in third grade, and they’ve played on the same teams since. The goal, though it’s still a few years away, is to stay on the same team through their college careers.

“It’s my dream to play basketball with her in college,” Shannon said.

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The Welburns also share the soccer field, tennis court and nearly every moment off of it.

“We’re pretty much best friends. We’re always together,” Shannon said. “We’re really lucky to have each other and I think it definitely helps us because we’re never alone and we’re always with each other. It’s a huge aspect of our life.”

Shea wears No. 2 for the Raiders, while Shannon is No. 3. It’s difficult to tell the identical twins apart otherwise. Both can handle the ball or shoot. They wear their light brown hair in the same ponytail during a game. Their cheeks flush the same shade of red. Shea called herself a better defender, and Shannon claimed better rebounding prowess.

“It definitely helps to have the numbers. You can tell a little bit by the mannerisms,” Wellesley coach Glen Magpiong said. “One might have a different gait when they run or walk. You can tell a little bit in the face. Other than that, it’s pretty damn similar.”

‘We’re very competitive people’

They’re both tenacious in pursuit of the ball. They hunt for steals and rebounds like a pair of younger sisters whose older brothers wouldn’t let them have it.

“It’s our competitiveness. We’re very competitive people,” Shannon said.

Those turnovers and outlet passes put them in transition, where the Welburns truly thrive. Their connection manifests in full. One can gauge when the other is about to grab a steal or rebound and streaks up the court for a wide open layup. Magpiong occasionally has to harp on playing team defense to them and shrinking the court by jumping to the ball because a missed gamble can leave the team a defender down.

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“I have to pick my poison because they’re so good at jumping the passing lanes,” he said. “They better know darn well they’re going to get the ball.”

Late in Friday’s game against Framingham, the Raiders held a slim two-possession lead defending a Flyers possession in the final minute. Shea pounced on a pass and raced up the court. Two Framingham defenders trapped her shortly after she crossed half court following a slight bobble. Magpiong called for timeout. Shannon cut up the open floor while he turned away from the play. It wasn’t granted, and Shea fired a dart that Shannon converted to a layup without dribbling.

“They are so tenacious. They are so tough,” Magpiong said. “They were really fun to watch.”

One of them has scored in double digits each of the last six Wellesley games. They’ve combined for 35 in each of Wellesley’s past two wins.

“Sometimes I have to watch whether or not they’re too connected and others aren’t getting involved,” Magpiong said. “They have to manage that, and they’ve done a good job of that.”

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The Raiders are the No. 5 in team in the Division 1 power rankings and have won their last five games with no seniors on the roster.

“I believe each one of my teammates will have my back. That helps drive us on the court. We rely on each other and we are there for each other,” Shea said. “We want to succeed for each other.”

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