BY AARON PATTERSON
Sibling rivalry can be intense. Simply the idea of trying to one-up one of your closest family members for mere bragging rights is typically enough raise the level of competition.
But while battles between immediate family members are often hyped, the rivalry created among extended family shouldn’t be minimized. Former Oakwood Comet Kyle Elliott, and his cousin and former Westville Tiger Robert Elliott know first hand just how competitive family members can be. The last four years have been proof as evidenced by the non-stop trash talking between the two.
“We’ve always been real competitive with each other,” Robert Elliott said. “Every game, we just try to out-do each other no matter what it is. Whether it comes to just winning the game or stat-to-stat, we always compare.”
No game in their respective high school careers stands out more in the mind of Robert Elliott than a game two years ago at Oakwood High School. He said Kyle Elliott had lofty expectations prior to the game, but things didn’t quite go as planned.
“My junior year when we played at Oakwood, he told me that he was going to score twice as many points as me,” Robert Elliott said. “I ended up scoring 30 points and he fouled out of the game. It’s always been a go-back game.”
Kyle Elliott never lets his cousin off the hook so easily, and is always quick to point out exactly why he was outscored.
“I fouled out in the third quarter, so I couldn’t really guard him,” Kyle Elliott said. “We had slower people guarding him. It was more of a luck thing for him.”
Robert Elliott clearly won that battle, but Kyle Elliott recalls another head-to-head battle as his most memorable. This past season the two teams met in Westville and the fortunes were flipped.
“There was one game in Westville which was unusual because I’m usually one of the main people that scores,” Kyle Elliott said. “I ended up not scoring at all, but I held him to like (nine) points.”
Despite going scoreless in the game Kyle Elliott and his Comets got the last laugh.
After spending their entire lives playing against each other, the duo is hoping to get one final laugh together as they team up for the Illinois All-Stars in this weekend’s third annual Battle for the Border All-Star competition against the Indiana All-Stars.
The two teamed up for the first time last summer in a three-on-three tournament and found success. Now in their follow-up performance, they will have the opportunity to compete together in two full five-on-five regulation all-star games.
“I think it’s pretty exciting,” Kyle Elliott said. “It’s something new. We always thought it would be cool to play together. This gives us an opportunity to do it and see how we work together.”
They will team up with an Illinois All-Star roster including Austin Calhoun (Schlarman Academy), Chris Hoult (Chrisman), Austin Toler (Bismarck-Henning), Brad Hermann (Mahomet-Seymour), Matt Kruse (Monticello), Bryan Phipps (Monticello), Alex Rabe (Cissna Park), Donald McKinley (Urbana), and St. Joseph-Ogden’s Louis Acklin and Chase Patton.
The Indiana All-Stars will boast an impressive roster filled with talent including local products Michael Duane (Fountain Central), Brayden Woodard (North Vermillion), Luke Davenport (Fountain Central), and Nathan DeVillez (Seeger Memorial).
Entering the third year of the series, the two states have split wins, and the Elliotts are determined to do their best to give Illinois a 2-1 advantage. But win or lose, Robert Elliott is just thrilled to have the opportunity to play one more weekend.
“After the last all-star game, I figured that was it and it kind of sucks because I’ve worked so hard for everything,” he said. “All of the practices you put in, it’s gone. Now, I have one more chance to play. It’s just fun to be able to get out and do it again.”
The two teams will meet tonight at Covington High School, and again Saturday at the Palmer Arena. Both games are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.