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A basketball family: Field’s Harlin sisters form special bond on the court

A basketball family: Field’s Harlin sisters form special bond on the court


Field sisters (left to right) Abby Harlin, Anna Harlin and Ally Harlin are in their second season playing together for the Field Falcons. Identical twins Abby and Ally are sophomores and Anna is a senior.
Tom Nader/Portage Sports


By Tom Nader

Publisher and Editor


For more than a year, opponents of the Field girls basketball team have probably felt like they were seeing double.

Well, triple, actually.

With identical twins Abby and Ally Harlin, alongside older sister Anna, the Harlin family is responsible for three-fifths of the Falcons’ starting lineup.

For parents Rich and Brenda Harlin, it has been an amazing experience.

“We had thought for many years how cool it would be if all three girls ended up playing together in high school,” said Brenda Harlin, whose twins are sophomores and Anna is a senior. “Watching all three girls grow and develop over the years, becoming varsity players, and for them to be doing it together. We absolutely love watching them out on the court playing together.”

For the sisters, it took much of last year to develop the chemistry that didn’t carry the frustration over from the court and into the living room.

Abby and Ally have always played together throughout their youth, but the 2021-22 season was the first team they had teamed up with Anna for basketball.

The only other time they had all played on the same team was about four years ago in softball.

Abby Harlin drives into the lane for Field against Rootstown defender Kylie McCulloch.
Shannon Eldreth/Special to Portage Sports

“That didn’t go as well as things are going now,” Abby Harlin said, with all three girls remembering plenty of arguments from that spring on the diamond that were simply the result of competitive siblings that wanted the best from and for each other.

“This year, I think we have learned how to play with each other,” Abby Harlin said. “We have grown up a lot too, and I think we have gotten even closer with each other.”

Abby and Ally Harlin help make up a starting backcourt that also currently includes sophomore Makayla Miller, while fellow sophomore Tia Ulrich works her way back from a shoulder injury. Anna Harlin is in the front court alongside sophomore Delilah Rahe.

With all the sophomores on the team, including her twin sisters, Anna Harlin has extended her leadership role on the team to that of a big sister to all of her talented underclassmen teammates.

“I think that is something that has just come with the fact that I have been around all of these girls for so long,” Anna Harlin said. “My sisters have played with the same group of girls forever, and I was always at all of their games and their tournaments, cheering them on. Now we are all teammates and it is pretty cool.”

Field senior Anna Harlin boxes out for a rebound attempt.
Shannon Eldreth/Special to Portage Sports

And by the end of the year, the sisters will have two seasons of memories to share with each other and plenty of stories to revisit.

“It is really a special thing, and I think we will look back on it as one of the best times in our lives,” Ally Harlin said. “We will be able to talk about all the memories, funny stories and laugh together.”

A family bond with the sport that actually dates back to when they were very young.

Days in the driveway playing one-on-one with each other, playing competitive shooting games with their grandfather Chet Harlin and their father Rich Harlin joining in to play and work on fundamentals and techniques.

“We practice a lot of foul shots at our house,” Anna Harlin said with a smile.

Smiles are part of the Harlin sisters’ permanent personalities. Surely, there are frustrating moments on the court as a team and with each other, but that is sports. It quickly gives way to moments like Monday night when they were all talking amongst each other, smiling and laughing.

With one sister starting a sentence and another sister finishing the sentence and a third sister adding a detail about the sentence.

A chemistry that defines their friendships, but also their life as teammates.


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