McMillan sisters get one more home game
Grace, a senior, and Audrey, a sophomore, have been playing varsity basketball since they arrived at McMinnville High School. Their older sister, Jessica, also played four years of varsity basketball for the Grizzlies and is now a freshman on the Linfield women’s basketball team. Jessica isn’t the first in her family to play basketball at Linfield, and it appears she will not be the last.
Grace and Audrey will get to play at least one more game together when the Grizzlies play at home at 7:15 p.m. tonight in the 6A play-in round vs. Gresham. A win would put the Grizzlies in the state playoffs.
Basketball was an important part of the McMillan sisters’ lives long before they entered high school. The three dedicated countless hours to practice and playing on different teams, usually doing so together. Grace and Audrey often played outside using a neighbor’s hoop.
“There was one year we went out there and played one-on-one every day,” Audrey said.
Jessica said her and her sisters are classic siblings, who always get after it. Jessica said she remembers Audrey always battling with her older, taller sisters. Now it’s Audrey that is one of the tallest.
The sisters’ parents, Dan and Christina McMillan, both played basketball in college. Christina played two years at Eastern Oregon University, while Dan played four years at Linfield College.
“My mom, when we were little, used to do little basketball camps for us out in the driveway,” Grace said. “Our parents really got us into it because it was the only sport they really played.”
McMinnville coach Sean Coste played with Dan McMillan for three years at Linfield College. Coste said he thinks the McMillan sisters grew to love basketball because of their parents’ passion for the game.
“There’s a love there from both the parents,” Coste said. “Maybe that was why when they went out and bought Christmas presents, they bought basketballs.”
Audrey said she remembers being in middle school and watching her two older sisters play in high school.
“I always really supported them,” Audrey said. “And I’d be as nervous as they were before the games.”
When Audrey joined her two sisters on varsity, their sisterly connection became apparent on and off the court.
“I don’t think you noticed that maybe they were looking for each other on the floor,” Coste said. “But I know that there were times you could see chemistry just between the three.”
Grace agreed she and her sisters had a certain connection on the court.
“There’s that extra energy playing with your sister,” Grace said. “Always knowing where they are. We always just played really well together.”
The three sisters share the same favorite memory of playing together on varsity. It was the first time Audrey, then only a freshman, started with Grace and Jessica.
“That was awesome,” Jessica said. “My Senior Night was really cool too. It was pretty emotional (because) it was our last game at home that we were going to play together.”
Grace and Audrey said it was tough to see Jessica graduate. They have missed her leadership.
“And her height and long arms,” Grace said jokingly.
Now that Grace has finished her senior season, next year Audrey will play high school basketball without a sister for the first time.
“I hate thinking about it,” Audrey said. “Hopefully I’ll get to play with them in college and stuff, but I don’t know where I’m going to go. It’s definitely going to be a lot different.”
After Grace graduates, she plans to study elementary education at Linfield and join her sister on the women’s basketball team. She said she grew up going to Linfield football games, and feels comfortable at the school for more reasons than her family ties.
Whether or not Audrey will follow in the footsteps of her father and two older sisters to Linfield remains to be seen.
“If I had to decide right now I’d probably go there,” Audrey said. “My sisters will be there and I don’t like the idea of leaving family.”
All three sisters made it clear that there is no pressure from any members of the family to go to Linfield and play basketball. They don’t hesitate, though, to admit they would love to play on the same team together again.
“My sisters are like my best friends,” Jessica said. “It’d be great having them as teammates again.”