Up North: When The Grizzlies Take The Court, It's Like A Family Reunion

Chelsie Brown
Created: March 18, 2019 09:08 PM

Whether it comes to playing alongside your brothers, playing with your cousins, or being coached by your dad, when the North Woods boys basketball team takes the court, it's almost like a family reunion.


"We've got Net Lake represented. The Tower, Soudan, Lake Vermilion area. We're in the Orr area, so we draw from all the whole area," said North Woods head coach Will Kleppe. "It's kind of unique in that regard."

Between the Goggleye's, the Chiabotti's and the Kleppe's, those three families make up almost half of the team's roster and even half of the coaching staff.

"I mean you can look in the crowd and find half of our families sitting there next to each other," said senior guard Chase Kleppe.

Among the 18 players listed on the roster there are four Chiabotti's, two Kleppe's, two Goggleye's, plus their cousin Bryce Chosa. There's also familiar last names among the coaching staff in Coach Kleppe and assistant coach Jerry Chiabotti. Let's just say, a majority of the players on the team all grew up playing together.

"Getting yelled at," is what sophomore forward Darius Goggleye said he remembers about playing with his cousins.

"We used to play in the backyard all the time. All six of us and it used to get pretty heated sometimes," added senior guard Cade Goggleye, Darius' cousin.

Because they're related, the players know each others strengths well.

"Brendan, his is just shooting. That's all he does. Jared's is more of driving to the basket and Dylan-he's a shooter," said freshman guard TJ Chiabotti on what his two brothers and cousin Jared's strengths are on the team.

The Grizzlies credit their family ties to their chemistry on the court and it's why they secured their spot in the state tournament for the third straight year. For some players, it will be their first time on the state stage.

"I'm really excited," said freshman guard Davis Kleppe. "It's going to be a fun time. I always dreamed of it as a kid."

The best part is that they'll get to do it alongside their cousins, their brothers, and their father for potentially one final time.

"These guys with their older brothers, their older cousins teaching them how this is done, telling them what it takes to get here and showing them how hard you have to work to get here, I think that's special," added coach Kleppe.


Chelsie Brown

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