LAKE STEVENS — Some might think twin sisters Brittney and Brooke Pahukoa would be used to the spotlight, playing basketball for Lake Stevens High School in front of hundreds of people.
But under a different spotlight, with friends and family members watching them each sign a national letter of intent, the two got a little nervous.
“You should see my signature, it’s like, all squiggled,” Brittney said, after the signing ceremony in the high school library. “My mom was like, ‘The speech is over, you’re okay.’ I couldn’t even write.”
“I was trying to tell my hand not to shake, because my hand was shaking,” Brooke added. “Not that I was nervous for signing, just after talking. My signature’s a little sloppy.”
The twins officially committed Wednesday afternoon to play basketball at Boise State University once their high school careers are complete. On hand while each signed their letter of intent were several teachers, coaches, teammates, friends and family members, including parents Jeff and Debby Pahukoa.
“I’m very proud. I’m very proud of what they’ve accomplished,” Jeff Pahukoa said. “I’m looking forward to what they have to achieve. I think Boise’s a great fit for them.”
In a press release issued by the Boise State athletic department, Broncos head coach Gordy Presnell said he was thrilled to have the two Vikings on his team next year.
“The Pahukoa twins are great players and terrific students, but they are even better people,” Presnell said. “There is no question that we want them representing our program.”
It was an-all day celebration for the twins, who were up early to fax official letters to Boise State.
“This morning we got up before school. Parents took pictures then, too, of course,” Brooke said. “At seven o’clock in the morning. And then we faxed” the letters to Boise State.
Then, Brooke went to her first class and found a surprise waiting for her.
“My first period class all dressed up in orange and blue. Every single kid was in orange and blue,” Brooke said. “It was crazy. Everywhere I went there were people telling me, ‘Congrats.’ I had teachers I’ve never had before come up to me and tell me congratulations. … I got to see how close this school and community is. It was a lot of fun.”
Vikings’ head coach Randy Edens said it was fun to celebrate the Pahukoas, who are diligent workers at Lake Stevens High School and are usually the ones helping organize parties like the one held on Wednesday.
“For what these two have done, not only (for) our program but for our campus here, and what they mean to a lot of different people that have gone through our program, everyone being here is really a testament to them and who they are as people,” Edens said.
“They’re such remarkable young ladies that it’s finally nice to turn the tables on them because they would be doing it for somebody else.”
Last summer the sisters toured several universities. Between the two of them, they had about 15 offers, Debby Pahukoa said. The sisters decided they wanted to play together, and soon after decided they wanted to play together at Boise State.
Edens said that his job was to make sure that “fit-wise, it makes sense for them,” and he believes Boise State is a good fit. Aside from having great facilities, the pahukoa sisters will be able to make an immediate contribution, which Edens believes was an important aspect of Brooke and Brittney’s decision.
“They wouldn’t want to sit at a huge program for a couple years and bide their time,” Edens said. “They’re more of, we want to do something right now and do something to make a positive impact.”
The twins celebrated their commitment with a ceremony, which included a surprise visit from their brother, Brady Pahukoa, who played football for Lake Stevens and had a similar ceremony last year when he committed to Central Washington.
Brooke and Brittney helped put on that ceremony for their brother.
“I’m not really used to this. I just feel blessed,” Brooke said. “I’m overwhelmed with how much support came out here.”
Brittney was surprised by just how many papers she had to sign.
“There were four different papers to sign and I thought there was one,” Brittney said, noting that her father kept sliding more papers over to her to sign. “I’m thinking, ‘What? How many am I signing?’”
Jeff Pahukoa, who played football at Marysville Pilchuck High School and the University of Washington before playing for the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams and Atlanta Falcons, said his wardrobe has expanded since his children started committing to universities.
“I have become a big Boise fan,” said Jeff, who was wearing a white “Boise State basketball” shirt. “I still bleed purple and gold, but my son’s at Central so I wear red — I can’t say crimson — red and black. I’ve got lots of Boise stuff.”
Brooke, last year’s Herald Player of the Year, is a three-time member of the all-state team, making the first-team last year as a junior. Last season she averaged 15 points, five rebounds, three steals, two assists and a block per game.
“Brooke is one of the best high school athletes in the country,” Presnell said. “She has a great pull-up jumper. She has had an exceptional high school career.”
Brittany, a point guard, impressed Presnell with her court awareness. Last season she averaged eight points, five assists, five steals and four rebounds while starting all 24 games for the Vikings.
“Brittany is an intelligent point guard that shoots the 3 (point shot) well,” Presnell said. “She is an outstanding athlete who has had a very successful high school career. We are looking forward to having her in our program.”
But before they join Presnell’s program, they still have one more year left at Lake Stevens, and they each know what they want to accomplish during it.
“I’d really like to win a state title before I graduate, so that’s my plan,” Brittney said. “We’ll see how that goes.”
“We better get a district title,” Brooke said. “I mean, I want to win games. I want to have fun. If we win all the games but lose that one and end up going to state then it is what it is. But it’d be nice to get that fourth one for sure.”